Iranian Leader Opens Up

Ahmadinejad Speaks Candidly With <b>Mike Wallace</b> About Israel, Nukes, Bush

When Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks out candidly - as is his habit - he scares a lot of people. He has said more than once that Israel should be wiped off the map, and that the Holocaust is an overblown fairytale.

When correspondent Mike Wallace interviewed him in Tehran last week, it became apparent that he sees the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah - a militia Iran has long supported - as part of a larger battle between the U.S. and a militant Islam for control of the Middle East.



"Very clearly, I will tell you that I fully oppose the behavior of the British and the Americans," Ahmadinejad tells Wallace. "They are providing state-of-the-art military hardware to the Zionists. And they are throwing their full support behind Israel. We believe that this threatens the future of all peoples, including the American and European peoples. So we are asking why the American government is blindly supporting this murderous regime."

Wallace tried to ask him about Hezbollah's use of missiles, rockets furnished by Iran, but he wanted to talk about Israel's attacks with American bombs.

"The laser-guided bombs that have been given to the Zionists and they're targeting the shelter of defenseless children and women," the president said.

"Who supports Hezbollah?" Wallace asked. "Who has given Hezbollah hundreds of millions of dollars for years? Who has given Hezbollah Iranian-made missiles and rockets that is making - that are making all kinds …" he continued as he was interrupted.

"Are you the representative of the Zionist regime? Or a journalist?" Ahmadinejad asked Wallace.

"I'm a journalist. I am a journalist," Wallace replied.

"This is not journalism, sir. Hezbollah is a popular organization in Lebanon, and they are defending their land," the president said. "They are defending their own houses. And, according to the charter of the United Nations, every person has the right to defend his house.

"What I'm saying is that the killing of innocents is reprehensible. And making this - the displacement of people and making them refugees, again, is reprehensible,"

"Well, what has Hezbollah, though - wait a minute," Wallace asked. "Hezbollah is displacing and damaging and making bleed all kinds of people. You know that."

"Please tell me, are the Lebanese inside the occupied lands right now or is it the other way around, that the Zionist troops are in Lebanese territory?" Ahmadinejad replied. "Lebanon is defending its independence. We are not at all happy with war. That is why on the first day we condemned these recent - conflict. And we asked for an immediate cease fire."
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