Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: An Interview with Iran's Agitator

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AHMADINEJAD We want to resolve the problem. We do not want to waste time. We do not want a political game. What we want is for the rights of the Iraqi people to be returned to them. If the government of the United States changes its behavior, the conditions will be changed. Then a dialogue could take place.

TIME You've just held a conference questioning the Holocaust. Why not hold a peace conference instead? You could invite the Israelis and Palestinians to talk about peace instead of what happened 60 years ago.

AHMADINEJAD As a matter of fact, this conference was in line with peace. Because for the past 60 years, the Palestinian people have been suppressed, using the Holocaust as the pretext. If the issue of the Holocaust became clear, the issue would be solved.

TIME How?

AHMADINEJAD When it is understood that the Holocaust does not have any relationship with the Palestinian people, we will have two proposals for the Western and European countries. The first solution is that in the same way that you created this regime in the past, you can remove it yourself. You know well that the Holocaust has nothing to do with the Palestinian people. That was just a pretext to create this regime. And it was not a good excuse. Just cease to support it. Don't use your people's money to assist this violent regime. This is the best solution. If they do not accept the first solution, then they should allow the nation of Palestine to make their decision about its own fate. Anyone who is a Palestinian citizen, whether Christian, Jewish or Muslim, should decide together in a very free referendum. There is no need for war. There is no need for threats or an atom bomb either.

TIME Israel isn't going to accept any of this.

AHMADINEJAD If the American and British governments do not support and help them, and they stop using their power and influence, they will accept.

TIME Without a war?

AHMADINEJAD Yes. Why not? Everyone knows that the Zionist regime is a tool in the hands of the United States and British governments.

TIME Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert seemed to acknowledge this week that Israel has nuclear weapons. Does that affect Iran's determination to have nuclear weapons?

AHMADINEJAD The era for bombs and atoms and weapons has come to an end. People should be talked to with reason. Where are the ones who used nuclear bombs in Hiroshima? Their era is over. Now it's the time for dialogue, logic as well as law and justice.

TIME If sanctions are imposed on Iran for continuing with its nuclear program, will you retaliate?

AHMADINEJAD Friendship with the Iranian people is better than confronting us. Experience has shown that we have the capability to defend ourselves and take advantage of any circumstance. The Iranian people are an extremely intelligent people. They know how to make the best opportunities from the harshest of threats. And make ill-wishers regret themselves.

TIME So what will Iran do?

AHMADINEJAD Don't be in a hurry. We believe that the American government cannot do anything against us.

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