Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran, Iran told CBS in an interview, ahead of his visit to the United Nations in New York, that Iran does not need a nuclear bomb.
“Any party who uses national revenues to make a bomb, a nuclear bomb, will make a mistake. Because in political relations right now, the nuclear bomb is of no use,” Ahmadinejad said talking to 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley, through an interpreter in Teheran. “If it was useful, it would have prevented the downfall of the Soviet Union. If it was useful, it would have resolved the problems the Americans have in Iraq,” the Iranian President added.
The US and its allies have maintained that Iran is planning a nuclear bomb, and have even hinted at a pre-emptive strike at the country’s nuclear facilities.
Evidently trying to make a case for US hypocrisy in its position on Iran’s nuclear bombs, Ahmadinejad said, “So can you please tell me why the U.S. government is fabricating these bombs? Do you want to provide a more welfare, happiness to the people through the bomb? Are you going to deal with global poverty? Or do you want to kill people?”.
Neither confirming nor denying that Iran is supplying arms to insurgents in Iraq, a claim made by the US, Ahmadinejad said Iran is worried about “insecurity” inside Iraq, as that could pose a threat to Iran. “We are not interfering in Iraq. The Iraqi people are our friends. And the president, the prime minister, the speaker of the parliament are our friends. We don’t need to interfere in Iraq,” the Iranian President said.
Ahmadinejad said the US should pull troops out of Iraq because the people there were opposed to the occupation. “First, they said that they want to topple the dictator and find WMDs [weapons of mass destruction]. They didn’t find WMDs and there’s no dictator there anymore. So the question is: What are American troops doing right now in Iraq?,” he asked.
The Los Angeles Times meanwhile reports that Ahmadinejad has emerged as a hero for Arabs, and has won admiration even among Sunni nations, for making it a point to defy the US and Israel. Iran is predominantly Shia, and is often accused of undercutting Sunnis in Iraq.
On Israel, Ahmadinejad told CBS that the decision for a two-state solution rests with the Palestinians. “We are saying that you should allow the Palestinian people to participate in a fair and free election and determine their own fate. Whatever decision they take, everyone should go with that,” he added.
The President did not however clarify on the contentious issue of whether Palestinian refugees, that were pushed out when Israel was formed, should also be allowed to vote in the election. The Iranian President has called for “wiping out” Israel, and described the Holocaust – the genocide of Jews during World War II – as a myth.