On Sept. 20, 2007, 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley interviewed Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran, Iran. In the interview, transcribed below, President Ahmadinejad spoke through his own translator.of the transcript.
SCOTT PELLEY: You have said in the past that you have 3,000 centrifuges in a line producing highly-enriched uranium. Do you have more now?
MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD: No. Our plan and program is very transparent. We are under the supervision of the agency. Everything is on the table. We have nothing to hide.
PELLEY: Transparent? Sir, it's been hidden for more than 15 years. You've been operating a secret nuclear program. It's nothing if it's not secret.
AHMADINEJAD: Who is saying that?
PELLEY: Well, the IAEA. You've, in fact, agreed with the IAEA to confess what you've done in secret over the past years. It is not transparent, sir.
AHMADINEJAD: Very good. I think that you are not familiar with the structure and the laws and the regulations of the agency. The agency is supposed to do two things. One, supervision. The other, support for the member states. The agency is supposed to supervise and ask questions and we respond. Interestingly enough, in all agency reports, you will read that there are no signs of diversion on the part of the Iranian people. In no reports. But naturally, the agency has questions to ask. And when it comes to that, interestingly enough, compared to European countries and other countries, the questions they ask us are far fewer. They have scores of questions to ask other countries. But the U.S. and a number of other countries are politicizing matters. They don't want us to progress, to develop. So maybe it would be best if you ask the agency how many questions they have asked the U.S. and European countries for that matter. Scores of questions. Because they are producing bombs, new generations of nuclear bombs, they are fabricating those. And our activities are very peaceful under the supervision of the agency. We have provided the largest amount of cooperation to the agency. And what we are doing is very transparent.
PELLEY: For the sake of clarity, because there is so much concern in the world about this next question, please give me the most direct answer you can. Is it your goal to build a nuclear bomb?
AHMADINEJAD: What are you driving at?
PELLEY: Simply that, sir. Is it the goal of your government, the goal of this nation to build a nuclear weapon?
AHMADINEJAD: Do you think that the nuclear technology is only limited in a bomb? You can only build a bomb with that?
PELLEY: No, I appreciate the differences, sir, but the question is limited to the bomb.
AHMADINEJAD: It has different uses. Well, you have to appreciate we don't need a nuclear bomb. We don't need that. What needs do we have for a bomb?
PELLEY: May I take that as a "no," sir?
AHMADINEJAD: Please, let me finish my thought. It is a firm "no." I'm going to be much firmer now. I want to address all politicians around the world, statesmen. 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. 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 U.S. has tested new generations of bombs, many thousands of warheads you have in your arsenals. It's of no use. And also the Zionist entity, they have hundreds of warheads. It's not going to help them. The time of the bomb is past. The parties who think that by using the bomb you can control others, they are wrong. Today we are living in the era of intellectual pursuits. You should spend your money on your people. We don't need the bomb. For 28 years we have defended ourselves in the face of enemy onslaught. Every day we are becoming more powerful. And, again, we don't need such weapons. In fact, we think that this is inhuman. 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? So our belief, sir, tell us and also our culture, because of these, we are very much opposed to the killing of people. This is very clear.
PELLEY: At the moment, our two countries may very well be walking down the road to war. How do you convince President Bush, how do you convince other nations in the West . . . .
AHMADINEJAD: What two parties are walking towards war?
PELLEY: Iran, the United States, Western countries. France this week . . . .
AHMADINEJAD: Who says that?
PELLEY: France this week said that war might be indicated. How do you convince these Western powers that you are not pursuing a bomb?