Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ahmedinijad On Nuclear Weapons

ABC News announced their transcript of the interview of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by Diane Sawyer with this lede:

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declined to give a yes-or-no answer on whether he could assure the West that Iran would never weaponize its nuclear material and turn it into a bomb.

Exclusive: Iran Prez Won't Say Yes-or-No to Nuclear Bomb

Here's what I believe is the relevant part of the transcript:

SAWYER: May I try a yes or no question?

AHMADINEJAD: To what question?

SAWYER: Many journalists have tried to get a yes or no answer and I'm going to try one more time. Will you say to the American people, tonight, that Iran will never weaponize nuclear material? There will be no nuclear weapon in Iran, ever?

AHMADINEJAD: We have got a saying in Iran which says, "How many times shall I repeat the same thing?" You should say thing only once. We have said once that we don't want nuclear bomb.


AHMADINEJAD: We don't accept it -- finish. You see, the Iranian government and the Iranian people are brave people. And we are frank people, too. Whatever they want to say, they say it with clarity. We said we wanted the fuel production cycle, that was it. And we created it. We said we industrialize it and we did it. Now we announced that we are going to bring in new centrifuges and we will do it. We announced that we were not afraid of resolutions and sanctions and we didn't fear from them. If we had been looking for bombs, we would have had the courage to announce it either. We are not afraid of anyone. We have said it time and again that we don't accept bombs. But now we have got claims and we are saying that America and all those who possess bombs should be disarmed. We will follow this up. They ought to be disarmed. They do not have the right to comment on the nuclear issue until they are disarmed. After they are disarmed, then they will have the right to intervene in the nuclear issue. The reason they are unable to control proliferation in countries in the East of Asia is they have got bombs themselves. If someone has got bombs how can they prevent others from making bombs? But we can, because we don't want bombs and we don't have any. We can disarm [others] and we can also stop proliferation. This is why we have proposed to the agency and to the U.N. to form an independent body for disarmament and proliferation, not those people have got bombs themselves and are sitting there and saying they want to stop proliferation. This is funny. All people of the world are laughing at this.

If the American government is worried about bombs, it should disarm itself first so that the world understands that they are honest. It is very clear this is dishonest.

Diane Sawyer Interviews Iranian President Ahmadinejad (page 3)

Now, I'll grant you that my Persian isn't all that good, but that reads to me like he said that Iran doesn't want nuclear weapons, and has no plans to build them. That could be a lie, it might be a prevarication, but it's as much of a statement as you'll ever get out of an honest politician in that situation. Iran may see the need to develop nuclear weapons someday. Ahmadinejad could answer Sawyer's question no more than President Obama could answer "Will the United States always have nuclear weapons?" In neither case can the leader speak for future generations. He can only speak for his and his contemporaries' own intentions, assuming he really understands the latter.

Yet that lede will be the headline. You know it will. I don't know whether we can trust Ahmadinejad's word or not, but I have little trust in the veracity or the judgment of our own news these days.

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