Speaking exclusively with RT, the Iranian President has pointed out that the 21st century is about knowledge, while nukes are the means of the past. He also discussed the “Arab Spring” and Iran’s place in international relations.
Click for the full version of the interview (transcript and video)
Speaking of Iran’s stance on the “Arab Spring”, the President of the Islamic Republic believes that these events reflect problems that go far beyond the needs of the people of the region.
“It is not only the people in the region but the entire global community is not satisfied with the current status in the world,” he said. "The current situation in the world is not fair. There are class distinctions, there are pressures, there are conflicts, armed conflicts, and a large number of nations in the world are being humiliated all the time. Today justice and dignity are among the requirements of all human beings. All nations are seeking to gain justice and nations in our region and North Africa have the same aspirations; and I think that nations in North Africa and our region have the ability to run their own countries and they have the ability to reach their goals and objectives."
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad believes that NATO and the United Nations have made a mistake in “having meddled in Libya.”
“The Security Council has made a mistake,”he said. “Instead of sending bombs and planes to Libya, they should have sent mediation groups in order to prepare for free elections under the auspices of the UN.”
Instead, Ahmadinejad continued, the SC “hastily issued the resolution,” which has complicated the situation and led to numerous deaths among the civilian population.
Iran’s human rights situation has been a long-standing issue for international organizations, including the United Nations. However, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad dismisses all criticism.
“There are 35 kinds of democracies in the world. English democracy and German democracy are different; and American democracy and Russian democracy,” he said. “In Europe, the rights of human beings are being violated. There's also the same situation in the United States, in Asia, in Africa.”
“We have an independent judiciary and we have very transparent legal proceedings,”the Iranian president continued.“We have mass media, we have free press and they criticize the government.”
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad admitted that Iran is far from being perfect in terms of freedoms but, he said, his country is “among the best countries in the world in this respect.”
Recently, Iran has stepped up construction works on a new set of centrifuges to produce highly enriched uranium. The West describes it as a “provocative act.” However, the Iranian leader insists that his country’s ultimate objective is to develop peaceful nuclear energy, while nuclear weapons are prohibited by Islam.
Anyway, it is the means of the past century, he added.
“We do not want nuclear weapons. We do not seek nuclear weapons. This is an inhumane weapon. Because of our beliefs we are against that. Firstly, our religion says it is prohibited. We are a religious people,” Mahmud Ahmadinejad explained. “Nuclear weapons have no capability today. If any country tries to build a nuclear bomb, they in fact waste their money and resources and they create great danger for themselves.”
The President of Iran insists that no country possessing nuclear weapons has benefited from it.
“The Americans have nuclear bombs and nuclear weapons and could they win in Iraq and Afghanistan? Could nuclear weapons help the Israelis to gain victory in Lebanon and Gaza? Could nuclear weapons save the former Soviet Union from collapse?”he said. “Nuclear weapons are the weapons of the previous century. This century is the century of knowledge and thinking, the century of human beings, the century of culture and logic.”
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad pointed out that nuclear weapons are not going to be the determining force in the world in future:
“It is about the power of people, not weapons. Our goal in the country and the goal of our people is peace for all. Nuclear energy for all, and nuclear weapons for none. This is our goal.”
He also pointed out that Iran’s activities in the sphere of nuclear energy are closely monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA:
“There have been no documents against Iran from the agency. It is just a claim by the US that we are after nuclear weapons. But they have no evidence that Iran is diverting resources to that purpose."
The Iranian leader considers the possibility of the US and Israel launching a military campaign against his country real, but Iran, he says, is prepared.
“They want to do it but they know our power. They know that we would give them a very decisive response,” he said.“We would give them a crushing response. This is a normal reaction – we have a saying: if someone throws a small stone you reply with a bigger one. We will defend ourselves with our full capability.”
Despite the recent announcement by Iranian authorities of a financial dispute with the Russian Federation over the construction of a nuclear power plant in Bushehr, the Iranian leader insists that he is not aware of any disagreements.“I am just hearing this from you. I have only just talked with President Medvedev. He said there is no obstacle for the operation to start on time,”
said the Iranian president, adding that the plant is expected to be fully operational by the end of this year. Russia’s taking part in constructing the nuclear plant in Bushehr not only marks the good relations between the two countries, but also signals to the world community Iran’s intensions to build nothing but a nuclear power plant, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told RT’s Kevin Owen.
“Iran and Russia are two neighbors. Geographically we will always remain neighbors, we cannot change that reality because we cannot move our land,” said the Iranian leader. “Earlier, I had very good talks with Mr. Putin and also very useful discussions with President Medvedev. I hope we'll be able to expand our bilateral relations, especially with regard to the present global economic and political changes. Iran and Russia can offer common solutions to the current international issues.”
With presidential elections coming up in 2013, RT asked President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of his plans, as this is the second, meaning the final, term of presidency for the Iranian leader. President Ahmadinejad replied he is not going to be idle after the elections.
“I am a university professor and I have kept this job and profession, and I will continue to serve the nation anywhere and at the university. There will be no problem,” he said.
On being asked what he will miss most about his presidential job, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, half-laughing, “I will miss myself.”
In his concluding words, the Iranian leader addressed viewers with words of solidarity:
“We really love all human beings: language, race, color of skin does not matter. Wherever there is a human being, there is someone that must be respected. We are really sad when we see discrimination and poverty in the world. Hopefully there will come a day when there is no discrimination or poverty. We are very sad that the world is suffering from conflicts and hope that peace will prevail in the world. This is the history of our country – peace, wellbeing, security and friendship for all, respect for all. This is not going to happen unless we all unite, we should all be together to build a better tomorrow – and that day will come.”