September 22, 2011
Every popular uprising around the world against US-supported dictatorships is actually fueled by the “rejection of the extreme capitalist system which is inhuman at its core,” the Iranian president genuinely believes.
Ahead of his speech at the UN General Assembly, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shared with RT his views on the Palestinian push for statehood, and the situation in the Middle East and his country in general.
RT: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, thank you very much for taking the time to sit with RT again. You are here to address the international body at the United Nations. Every year that you have come so far, you have advocated on behalf of the Palestinians, in support of their sovereignty and in support of the Palestinians having their own state. This year, the issue of Palestinian statehood is gaining a lot of new momentum in the Arab world amid the so-called Arab Spring – uprisings that have taken place in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Does the Palestinian bid for statehood come at the right time at this moment? What is your take on that?
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: In the name of the Almighty, the most gracious and the most merciful, first I would like to greet you and all of your viewers and wish the Almighty’s blessing for everyone. You asked a very important question. The people of Palestine existed even prior to the Second World War, prior to the First World War. And all people, all nations have the right to self-determination, but that right was taken away as a result of a previously-planned hostile takeover and dishonest takeover. That right should be restored. The sooner the better – it is their right. What is important is that it comes back in its entirety and they don’t once again fall prеy to the political games that are often played.
RT: It’s interesting when you say “complete state”, “in its entirety” actually, because US President Barack Obama addressed the General Assembly saying that Palestinian UN membership and statehood can’t come from statements or UN resolutions. The only way there could be a peaceful plan in a two-state solution in the Middle East is through negotiations. Just last year, the US president said he hoped when he returned to the UN, there would be a Palestinian UN membership. So he clearly is backpedaling on his position. At the same time he has supported the Tunisians, the Egyptians, the Libyans, saying that it’s the will of the people to determine their future. Do you feel that the Palestinians have a reason to feel betrayed by the US president?
MA: I say that perhaps if we don’t use the word betray it is better. I think what has taken place is on a higher plateau than betrayal. This is the continuation of the suppression of the rights of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian nation. You see if they don’t realize their dream of self-determination and legitimacy this year, this will occur next year. If not the next year, then the following year. This will happen and no-one can prevent that. Now can we logically and fairly ask of anyone to establish a dialogue and negotiate with occupiers in order to get the right of self-determination? Imagine a gang of thieves come and take over your home. Once they are asked to return the property to its rightful owner or owners they give predetermined sets of rules and conditions in order to leave what they took through theft. So this is the policy that has failed. It has been proven and it will be wiped away very soon, this principal of doing things. And the same goes for the Arab nations. Who did they rise up against? Against the United States’ influence in the region. It is clear the world over, dictators have been and are protected and supported by the United States. People rose up against the dictatorship, against Western influence, against US influence. Now how can the United States see itself as the rightful owner of such a popular movement? I think this is a trick. The fundamental point behind the popular uprising – not in the Arab world, but across the world – is against the influence of the extreme capitalist system which is inhuman at its core. And it is not just pertaining to the Arab World; it is the world over – in Europe, in Great Britain, in France, in Spain, in Greece – the world over – wherever we look today. If people are given permission and a chance to express themselves and express their opinions they will certainly rise up against the influence of the United States.
RT: You were referring to all of the uprisings that have taken place in the Arab World and some continue to take place now. Who is benefiting? Is anyone benefiting from the instability?
MA: You see, at the end of the day justice, freedom, and the right of self-determination is the right of all people, of all nations. All nations have the right to be free under fair conditions to live their lives and also have the freedom of choice. Everyone should recognize it as a God-given right and legitimate right. But there are of course always those who take advantage of such situations. Some will want to put their own copyrights, so to speak, on such events to be able to influence the atmosphere following these events. We believe that no one must interfere. Nations are fully capable of determining their own destiny.
RT: US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that the revolutions that have taken place in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya – I know you are familiar with this – he said that a similar revolution will happen in Iran in a matter of time. Your reaction, Mr. President?
MA: It is an opinion, of course. I think that Mr. Panetta was more than likely expressing the plans set in motion by the United States or entertained by the United States and the wishes of the US government. There are perhaps plans in the works against Iran. The movements that take place today across the globe are against the expansion of US influence. The people of Iran have been against that for the last 32 years. It is clear that during this time, because of the choice of the people of Iran, the United States government has been against such choice.
RT: The uprising that has taken place, and continues to take place in Libya, that was against the hegemony of the United States that was taking place in Libya?
MA: Yes. The wish of the nations is to rise up against the influence of the United States. Today they can very quickly hold free referendums in Libya and see whether people are against the influence of the United States or not, but NATO has not and will not allow such a thing to take place. NATO occupies nations by the force of its missiles, by the force of aerial bombardment and with vast media campaigns. They will not allow the legitimization of the will and the wish of the people. This is very simple. We can hold referenda. We can hold referenda in every single one of these countries in order to determine the will of the people vis-à-vis the influence of the United States. I think, the higher-ups in the United States government and the capitalist owners know this, and they are always financing such moves.
RT: Iran has enjoyed very good relations with Turkey. However, Turkey has just allowed the United States to place a NATO anti-missile radar on its territory, which is obviously directed at Iran. Turkey is taking a harsh stand on Syrian authorities that Iran, according to reports, has been supportive of. Do you believe that Iran is losing its relationship with Turkey in any way, given those two points that I just laid out?
MA: Our ongoing relationship with Turkey is a very good one. It doesn’t mean that we don’t have differences. The establishment of those radar bases and radar systems, I think, has been imposed on the nation of Turkey. Today the United States of America is a bully. It has force and it imposes its will. Just as you see that it’s able to impose its will on many bigger, more powerful governments and nations. But this, in the long run, won’t benefit the United States of America. Today relationships between the various nations of the world are not determined by the force of missile or weapon systems. They are determined by the people of those nations. Today we can hold a referendum in Turkey and determine the honest opinion of the Turkish people about the influence of the United States and at the end of the day the will of the people will prevail. In Syria, in fact, Mr. Bashar al-Assad and Mr. Erdogan have a very good relationship and they were good friends.
RT: It is interesting, Mr. President, that you say that your message is usually the same, because US President Barack Obama, when he spoke to the international community, his criticism of Iran was pretty much the same as it was the year before and pretty much similar to the criticism that George W. Bush made against Iran, which continues to be the same. If Iran and the US are always saying the same thing year after year, how could there ever be a reconciliation?
MA: Today what is taking place in North Africa and the Middle Eastern nations, in Arab nations, the Western countries are given credit for the popular accomplishments. There was a promise of change, of less military expansion, of no military expansion, of decreasing pressure on populations, of no discrimination. The people of the US should not have been pressured as they are today. Has any of this happened?
Today as we speak all of these games that result in hyper-wealth only, only serve to transfer the bulk of the wealth from the have-nots to the pockets of the rich, who will only get richer. The previous US president would come to the UN General Assembly and command other member nations: “such and such country must do this”. Did you not feel after today’s speech such commands, if you will, are continuing and ongoing? We really need fundamental changes, which must take place. This is a human need.
RT: Mr. President, thank you very much for your time. We appreciate it.
MA: Thank you.