Iranian leader Ahmadinejad tells Time: We are opposed to all nuclear weapons

By Shlomo Shamir

Haaretz

Elul 27, 5766

NEW YORK - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in an interview with Time Magazine published Sunday that Iran is not seeking to obtain nuclear weapons. "We are opposed to nuclear weapons. We think they have been developed just to kill human beings. They are not in the service of human beings," said Ahmadinejad.

The interview is part of Time's cover story, which is devoted to Iran's president.

Ahmadinejad was asked why he refuses to suspend uranium enrichment as a confidence-building measure.

"Whose confidence should be built?" asked Ahmadinejad.

Time: "The world's?"

Ahmadinejad: "The world? The world? Who is the world? The United States? The U.S. Administration is not the entire world. Europe does not account for even one-twentieth of the entire world."

Asked whether America and Iran were fated to be in conflict, Ahmadinejad said "no, this is not fate. And this can come to an end... We are living our own lives. The U.S. government should not interfere in our affairs... They should serve the interests of the U.S. people."

Referring to his statements that Israel should be wiped off the map, Ahmadinejad said: "People in the world are free to think the way they wish... Our position toward the Palestinian question is clear: We say that a nation has been displaced from its own land. Palestinian people are killed in their own lands by those who are not original inhabitants, and they have come from far areas of the world and have occupied those homes. Our suggestion is that the five million Palestinian refugees come back to their homes, and then the people of those lands hold a referendum and choose their system of government. This is a democratic and popular way."

Asked whether he believed the Jewish people have a right to their own state, Ahmadinejad replied: "We do not oppose it. In any country in which the people are ready to vote for the Jews to come to power, it is up to them."

Asked about his denial of the Holocaust, he said "I just raised a few questions. And I didn't receive any answers to my questions. I said that during World War II, around 60 million were killed. Why only six million? And if it had happened, then it is a historical event. Then why do they not allow independent research?"