Views From Kennewick

Friday, September 28, 2007

Swedish Welfare State Collapses as Immigrants Wage War

By Fjordman
Created 2006-03-28 22:49

Last year I wrote an article about how Swedish society is disintegrating and is in danger of collapsing, at least in certain areas and regions. The country that gave us Bergman, ABBA and Volvo could become known as the Bosnia of northern Europe. The "Swedish model" would no longer refer to a stable and peaceful state with an advanced economy, but to a Eurabian horror story of utopian multiculturalism, socialist mismanagement and runaway immigration. Some thought I was exaggerating, and that talk of the possibility of a future civil war in Sweden was pure paranoia. Was it?

In a new sociological survey (pdf in Swedish, with brief English introduction) entitled "Vi krigar mot svenskarna" ("We're waging a war against the Swedes"), young immigrants in the troubled city of Malmö have been interviewed about why they are involved in crime. Although it is not stated, most of the immigrant perpetrators are Muslims. In one of the rare instances where the Swedish media actually revealed the truth, the newspaper Aftonbladet reported several years ago that 9 out of 10 of the most criminal ethnic groups in Sweden came from Muslim countries. This must be borne in mind whilst reading the following newspaper article:

Immigrants are "waging war" against Swedes through robbery

The wave of robberies the city of Malmö has witnessed during this past year is part of a "war against the Swedes." This is the explanation given by young robbers from immigrant backgrounds when questioned about why they only rob native Swedes, in interviews with Petra Åkesson for her thesis in sociology. "I read a report about young robbers in Stockholm and Malmö and wanted to know why they rob other youths. It usually does not involve a lot of money," she says. She interviewed boys between 15 and 17 years old, both individually and in groups.

Almost 90% of all robberies reported to the police were committed by gangs, not individuals. "When we are in the city and robbing we are waging a war, waging a war against the Swedes." This argument was repeated several times. "Power for me means that the Swedes shall look at me, lie down on the ground and kiss my feet." The boys explain, laughingly, that "there is a thrilling sensation in your body when you're robbing, you feel satisfied and happy, it feels as if you've succeeded, it simply feels good." "It's so easy to rob Swedes, so easy." "We rob every single day, as often as we want to, whenever we want to." The immigrant youth regard the Swedes as stupid and cowardly: "The Swedes don't do anything, they just give us the stuff. They're so wimpy." The young robbers do not plan their crimes: "No, we just see some Swedes that look rich or have nice mobile phones and then we rob them."

Why do they hate the Swedes so much? "Well, they hate us," Petra Åkesson reports them as answering. "When a Swede goes shopping, the lady behind the counter gives him the money back into his hand, looks into his eyes and laughs. When we go shopping, she puts the money on the counter and looks the other way." Åkesson, who is adopted from Sri Lanka and hence does not look like a native Swede, says it was not difficult to get the boys to talk about their crimes. Rather they were bragging about who had committed the most robberies. Malin Åkerström,a professor in sociology, sees only one solution to the problem: "Jobs for everybody. If this entails a deregulation of the labor market to create more jobs, then we should do so."

It is interesting to note that these Muslim immigrants state quite openly that they are involved in a "war," and see participation in crime and harassment of the native population as such. This is completely in line with what I have posited before. The number of rape charges in Sweden has quadrupled in just above twenty years. Rape cases involving children under the age of 15 are six times as common today as they were a generation ago. Most other kinds of violent crime have rapidly increased, too. Instability is spreading to most urban and suburban areas. Resident aliens from Algeria, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia dominate the group of rape suspects. Lawyer Ann Christine Hjelm found that 85 per cent of the convicted rapists were born on foreign soil or from foreign parents. The phenom enon is not restricted to Sweden. The number of rapes committed by Muslim immigrants in Western nations is so extremely high that it is difficult to view these rapes as merely random acts of individuals. It resembles warfare. This is happening in most Western European countries, as well as in other non muslim countries such as India. European jails are filling up with Muslims imprisoned for robberies and all kinds of violent crimes, and Muslims bomb European civilians. One can see the mainstream media are struggling to make sense of all of this. That is because they cannot, or do not want to, see the obvious: this is exactly how an invading army would behave: rape, pillage and bombing. If many of the Muslim immigrants see themselves as conquerors in a war, it all makes perfect sense.

Malmö in Sweden, set to become the first Scandinavian city with a Muslim majority within a decade or two, has nine times as many reported robberies per capita as Copenhagen, Denmark. Yet the number one priority for the political class in Sweden during this year's national election campaign seems to be demonizing neighboring Denmark for "xenophobia" and a "brutal" debate about Muslim immigration. During last years Jihad riots in France, Sweden's Social Democratic Prime Minister Göran Persson criticised the way the French government handled the unrest in the country. "It feels like a very hard and confrontational approach." Persson also rejected the idea of more local police as a "first step" in Sweden. "I don't believe that's the way we would choose in Sweden. To start sending out signals about strengthening the police is to break with the political line we have chosen to follow," he said. Meanwhile, as their authorities have largely abandoned their third largest city to creeping anarchy, there is open talk among the native Swedes still remaining in Malmö of forming vigilante groups armed with baseball bats out of concern for their children's safety. As I argued in another essay: If Arnold Schwarzenegger fails to get re-elected as Governor of California he may like to do a sequel to "Conan the Barbarian." He could shoot it in Malmö. He will get the extras for free.

What happened to the famous Swedish nanny state, you say? Don't Swedes pay the highest tax rates in the world? Yes, they do. But tens of billions of kroner, some say several hundred billions, are being spent every year on propping up rapidly growing communities of Muslim immigrants. Sweden has become the entire world's welfare office, because the political elites have decided that massive Muslim immigration is "good for the economy." Soon Sweden's "army" may comprise no more than 5,000 men, five thousand troops to defend a nation more than three times the area of England. Moreover, it may take up to a year to assemble all of them, provided they are not on peacekeeping missions abroad. That Sweden might soon need a little peacekeeping at home seems to escape the establishment. In 2006 the celebrated Swedish welfare state has become the world's largest pyramid scheme, an Enron with a national flag.

Although Sweden is an extreme example, similar stories could be told about much of Western Europe. As Mark Steyn points out, the Jihad in the streets of France looked like the early skirmishes of an impending Eurabian civil war, brought on by massive Muslim immigration and Multicultural stupidity. Law and order is slowly breaking down in major and even minor cities across the European continent, and the streets are ruled by aggressive gangs of Muslim youngsters. At the same time, Europeans are paying some of the highest taxes in the world. We should remind our authorities that the most important task of the state - some would even claim it should be the only task of the state - is to uphold the rule of law in exchange for taxation. Since it is becoming pretty obvious that this is no longer the case in Eurabia, we should question whether these taxes are still legitimate, or whether they are simply disguised Jizya paid in the form of welfare to Muslims and our new Eurocrat aristocracy. Although not exactly the Boston Tea Party, perhaps the time has now come for a pan-European tax rebellion: We will no longer pay taxes until our authorities restore law and order and close the borders to Muslim immigration.

This is urgent! When enough people feel that the system is no longer working and that the social contract has been breached, the entire fabric of democratic society could unravel. What happens when the welfare state system breaks down, and there is no longer enough money to "grease" the increasing tensions between immigrants and native Europeans? And what happens when people discover that their own leaders, through the EU networks and the Euro-Arab Dialogue described by Bat Ye'or in her book "Eurabia," have been encouraging all these Muslims to settle here in the first place? There will be massive unemployment, and tens of millions of people will feel angry, scared and humiliated, betrayed by the system, by society and by their own democratic leaders. This is a situation in some ways similar to the Great Depression that led to the rise of the Nazis in the 1930s. Is this where we are heading once again, with fear, rising Fascism and political assassinations? The difference is that the "Jewish threat" in the 1930s was entirely fictional, whereas the "Islamic threat" now is very real. However, it is precisely the trauma caused by the events of 70 years ago that is clouding our judgement this time, since any talk at all about the threat posed by Muslim immigration or about preserving our own culture is being dismissed as "the same rhetoric as the Nazis used against the Jews." Europeans have been taught to be so scared of our own shadows that we are incapable of seeing that darkness can come from the outside, too. Maybe Europe will burn again, in part as a belated reaction to the horrors of Auschwitz.
Hat tip

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Let's See What Kind of Traitor Rosie Is...Will She or Won't She?

Oh, Rosie! Terrorists invite her to Mideast
'We would welcome her to stay among us and know the truth'

Posted: September 26, 2007
10:15 p.m. Eastern

© 2007

Rosie O'Donnell
Muslim jihadist leaders interviewed for a new book were ecstatic about statements from television talk host Rosie O'Donnell about the war in Iraq and the global war on terror, agreeing with her outspoken views.

Some even invited her on a "fact finding mission" to the Middle East.

"I agree with what this O'Donnell says. ...We welcome Rosie O'Donnell to stay among us and to get to know the truth from being here, like many American peace activists are doing," said Ala Senakreh, West Bank chief of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terrorist organization.

Senakreh and other terror leaders were quoted sounding off about O'Donnell in the new book "Schmoozing with Terrorists: From Hollywood to the Holy Land Jihadists Reveal their Global Plans – to a Jew!," by author and WND Jerusalem bureau chief Aaron Klein.

For one of the chapters of the book, Klein assembles a panoply of senior terrorist leaders and asks them to sound off about the views of high-profile liberals and conservatives.

The terrorists interviewed stated they had never heard of O'Donnell, a former host of ABC's "The View," who made regular headlines with her heated political battles against conservative-leaning co-host Elizabeth Hasselbeck. Klein told the terrorists O'Donnell was a high profile television personality and read to them a series of her political statements, with which they mostly agreed.

Klein informed the terrorists leaders about one instance when O'Donnell argued on "The View" that suspected terrorists jailed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are people too and asserted the U.S. "robs them of their humanity."

"They've been treating them like animals … they have hoods over their heads, they torture them on a daily basis," O'Donnell said on air.

On one episode of "The View," O'Donnell urged Americans not to fear so-called terrorists, calling them mothers and fathers.

"Faith or fear, that's your choice," she said. "You can walk through life believing in the goodness of the world, or walk through life afraid of anyone who thinks different than you and trying to convert them to your way of thinking."

"Don't fear the terrorists. They're mothers and fathers," stated O’Donnell.

Klein informed the terrorists of questions raised by O'Donnell in March 2007, when transcripts were released in which captured alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed confessed to the mega-terror attacks and 31 other plots and attacks.

"I was responsible for the 9/11 operation from A to Z," Mohammed said in a statement. He also took credit for personally beheading Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl and for planning multiple other attacks since the early 1990s.

On "The View," O'Donnell suggested the U.S. government elicited a false confession from the alleged terror mastermind.

Pointing out Mohammed was arrested in March 2003, O'Donnell asked, "Why hasn't he admitted it until now?"

"They didn't allow reporters there and he hasn't had a lawyer," O'Donnell stated on air, insinuating Mohammed's confession was coerced with no accountability.

"I think the man has been under custody in secret CIA torture prisons and Guantanamo Bay where torture is accepted and allowed – and he finally is the guy who admits to doing everything," O'Donnell said. "They finally found the guy, it's not that guy bin Laden, it's this guy they've had since March 2003."

Suggesting the U.S. is looking for a scapegoat, O'Donnell said of Mohammed, "for whatever he did or didn't do, he is not the be all, end all of terrorism in America. And our government has not found the answer in this one man."

Agreeing with her statements, Abu Jihad, a leader of the Islamic Jihad terror organization in the northern West Bank town of Jenin, stated, "I am sure the Americans tortured Mohammed and forced him to say these untrue things.

"Isn't it strange it took three years since his arrest for the supposed confession? Intelligence agencies are known to make people say they are guilty even though they know it's not the case," Abu Jihad said.

Another time, in March 2007, when Iran seized fifteen British sailors accused of violating Iranian waters, O'Donnell implied the Iranian seizure was a hoax to provide President Bush with an excuse to go to war with Tehran.

"Yes, but it's very interesting too that, you know, these guys, they went into the water by mistake right at a time when British and American, you know, they're two, they're pretty much our biggest ally and we're considering whether or not we should go into war with Iran," charged O'Donnell.

In "Schmoozing," multiple terrorist leaders applauded O'Donnell's insinuation.

One O'Donnell gem Klein writes the assembled terrorists liked the most was when they were informed O'Donnell raised questions on her online blog about the 9/11 attacks, implying the buildings were brought down in part to destroy documents incriminating oil giant Enron and other major corporations.

After pointing out conspiracy "factoids" regarding the World Trade Center's Building No. 7, which collapsed after the two larger "twin towers" fell, O'Donnell writes Building 7 "contained offices of the FBI, Department of Defense, IRS (which contained prodigious amounts of corporate tax fraud, including Enron's), U.S. Secret Service, Securities & Exchange Commission (with more stock fraud records), and Citibank's Salomon Smith Barney, the Mayor's Office of Emergency Management and many other financial institutions consists of a listing of various records supposedly destroyed in the collapse of WTC7."

"I agree with everything O'Donnell said," boasted Ramadan Adassi, chief of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in the West Bank's Anskar refugee camp. "Regarding September 11, there is no way the American intelligence and administration was not aware of what was going to happen that day. How come the Jews and Israelis disappeared from the buildings? Was it by miracle? They knew that an attack would take place. This meant that Zionist elements and the leading elements of the administration who are aligned with economic companies and interests, like Bush and Cheney's companies of oil, were very interested that the attack would succeed in order to start their campaign for the oil of Iran and Afghanistan," stated Adassi.

West Bank Brigades chieftain Senakreh commented, "Many people have been saying this since the first moment it happened. Of course when it comes from persons like O'Donnell, who you say is respected, it takes a more serious significance. I guess she knows what she is saying."
Senakreh, who was not aware when he made the statements O'Donnell was an open lesbian, went on to invite O'Donnell to visit the Palestinian territories.

"[She can report to Americans that] we are not in love with killing, we like peace, we are human beings, it is the occupation that obliges us to do what we do," Senakreh said.
To interview Aaron Klein, contact M. Sliwa Public Relations by e-mail, or call 973-272-2861 or 212-202-4453.

Hat Tip World Net Daily Sept. 26, 2007

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Law enforcement under attack by Islamic groups

Submitted by admin on Mon, 2007-09-24 17:15.

Douglas J. Hagmann, Director

Is that a Qu’ran in your pants or are you just happy to see me?

24 September 2007: Men and women in law enforcement have one of the toughest jobs in America, if not the toughest. It’s bad enough that they face the possibility of not returning home from their shift, but now they face the increased possibility of being sued by individuals and special interest groups largely representing the interests of enemies of America. Consider it another form of warfare by terrorists or terrorist sympathizers in this asymmetrical war in which we find ourselves.

For example, consider the case of 49 year-old Jeffrey SHIELDS, a Muslim convert from Ocala, Florida. SHIELDS, no stranger to the process of being arrested as indicated by his Florida rap sheet (below), is filing a civil rights complaint against four Ocala police officers for firing a Taser gun at him for not complying with their orders to him to show his hands, making sure that he was unarmed.


The incident took place after police received an anonymous call that a Black man matching the description of SHIELDS was in the area of Northwest 12th Avenue and Northwest Second Street, in possession of a large amount of drugs and a Glock handgun. SHIELDS just happened to be in the area and was stopped by police who noticed something protruding from the waistband of his pants. According to reports, SHEILDS had his hand over the object, under his shirt, and refused to raise his hand when ordered to do so by the police.

According to the complaint filed by SHIELDS, police approached him with their weapons drawn and ordered him to remove his hand from under his jersey. SHIELDS allegedly told police officers that all he had under his shirt was "my holy Quran." Police then advised him to “drop it,” and show both hands to police. In a media interview, SHIELDS said that he was determined “not to desecrate [the Qu’ran] in any way” and kept his hand in his waistband under his jersey.

In the tense moments during this exchange, police officers approached the non-compliant SHIELDS and force him to his knees, then stretched his arms above his head in a prone position.. As one of the officers attempted to handcuff him, SHIELDS put his right hand back onto the object in his waistband. When he again refused orders to remove his hand from his waist, police stunned him twice with a Taser, and handcuffed him.

Police found no guns or drugs on SHIELDS - only a Qu’ran wrapped in a cloth tucked in the waistband of his pants. According to SHIELDS, he was holding the Qu’ran in place so it would not be desecrating by it falling to the ground, which he says explains his refusal to raise both of his hands when ordered to do so. For his failure to take his hand from the object protruding from his waistband – an object that could have been a gun – SHIELDS was “tasered” by police. For their actions to avoid being shot in the event the object was a weapon, four reputable police officers find themselves fighting for their jobs.

Equally insidious is the response by various Islamic groups to this incident. The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), for example, appears to be in agreement with the civil action filed by SHIELDS, based solely on their mass e-mailing outlining the incident. CAIR, an organization routinely used to provide Islamic “sensitivity training” to law enforcement agencies is publicizing the complaint of Jeffrey SHIELDS in their mass mailings, suggesting at least their tacit approval of the civil liberties lawsuit.

More outrageous, however, is the position of Dr. Zafer SABAWI, an Iman of the Islamic Association of Central Florida, who is suggesting by his statements that law enforcement across the U.S. must subjugate itself to Islamic culture by recognizing the holy nature of the Qu'ran, whether it’s tucked in someone’s waistband or elsewhere.

When asked if SHIELDS could have dropped the Qu’ran as ordered by police, SABAWI replied:

"In extreme circumstances, you probably could do it," but with a qualification. "In that circumstance, it's up to how he feels in his heart but, in normal circumstances, if I see someone drop the Qu’ran, I would jump immediately behind him and pick it up, kiss it and put it up."

Look for more situations like this to develop to strain our law enforcement – and look for special interest groups to lobby for special considerations for those opting to carry Qu’rans in their waistbands.


Ahmadinejad In His Own Words
Simon Barrett
+44 7968116439
The following quotes by The Islamic Republic of Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may be of interest. For further information about Iran's well documented human rights abuses, its role as a major state sponsor of terrorism and its defiant stance on the international community's insistence that the nation suspends its uranium enrichment program go to
For expert sources on Iran and terrorism, click here.
Religious extremism and martyrdom:
"We don't shy away from declaring that Islam is ready to rule the world." 1
"The wave of the Islamist revolution will soon reach the entire world." 2
"Our revolution's main mission is to pave the way for the reappearance of the Twelfth Imam, the Mahdi." 3
"Soon Islam will become the dominating force in the world, occupying first place in the number of followers amongst all other religions."4
"Is there a craft more beautiful, more sublime, more divine, than the craft of giving yourself to martyrdom and becoming holy? Do not doubt, Allah will prevail, and Islam will conquer mountain tops of the entire world." 5
"What is important is that they have shown the way to martyrdom which we must follow.'' 6 [President Ahmadinejad's comments on an aircraft crash in Tehran that killed 108 people in December 2005].
Ahmadinejad praises Iran for being able to recruit thousands of suicide bombers a day. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad praised his country's ability to recruit "hundreds of suicide bombers a day," saying "suicide is an invincible weapon. Suicide bombers in this land showed us the way, and they enlighten our future.â?o Amadinejad said the will to commit suicide was "one of the best ways of life." 7
"This regime (Israel) will one day disappear."8
"The Zionist regime is a rotten, dried tree that will be eliminated by one storm.9
Israel is "a disgraceful stain on the Islamic world" 10
Israel is doomed to be "wiped from the map" in "a war of destiny." 11
Ahmadinejad said that "the countdown for the destruction of Israel" has begun. 12
Zionists are "the personification of Satan."13
"In the case of any unwise move by the fake regime of Israel, Iran's response will be so destructive and quick that this regime will regret its move for ever." 14
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared that the Holocaust is a "myth."15
"Them (the West) invented the myth of the massacre of the Jews and placed it above Allah, religions and prophets."16
Iran, its nuclear ambitions and sanctions:
"By the grace of Allah, we (will be) a nuclear power."17
Ahmadinejad fired off a fresh barrage of warnings to the United Nations, saying Iran did "not give a damn" about demands to freeze sensitive nuclear work. 18
"Iran does not give a damn about resolutions." 19
"The Islamic republic of Iran has the capacity to quickly become a world superpower. If we believe in ourselves... no other power can be compared to us." 20
"Iran's enemies know your courage, faith and commitment to Islam and the land of Iran has created a powerful army that can powerfully defend the political borders and the integrity of the Iranian nation and cut off the hand of any aggressor and place the sign of disgrace on their forehead." 21
"Our enemies should know that they are unable to even slightly hurt our nation and they cannot create the tiniest obstacle on its glorious and progressive way." 22
"In parallel to the official political war there is a hidden war going on and the Islamic states should benefit from their economic potential to cut off the hands of the enemies." 23
For more information, please see the following:
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Iran's Top Government Ministers
What Foreign Leaders are Saying About Iran
Iran's President Attempts to Crush Pro-Democracy Student Movement
Iran's 2006 Holocaust Denial Conference: A Gathering of Nazi Sympathizers & Racists
Human Rights Violations and Torture under Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Regime
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: A Short Biography
Ahmadinejad's Holocaust Denial and Anti-Israel Rhetoric

1 Naïm, Mouna, â?oDamas et Téhéran entendent "résister" ensemble,â? Le Monde, January 21st, 2006
2 Pryce-Jones, David, â?oA Particular Madnessâ?"Understanding Iranâ?Ts Ahmadinejad,â? National Review, May 8, 2006
3 Agence France Presse, April 28th, 2006
4 March 5th, 2006
5 MEMRI, July 29th, 2005
6 La Guardia, Anton, â?oâ?TDivine missionâ?T driving Iranâ?Ts new leader Ahmadinejadâ?Ts confidence,â? The Daily Telegraph, January 14th, 2006
7 Cohen, Dudi, â?oIranian President lauds suicide bombers invincible,â? YnetNews, April 1st, 2007
8 â?oIran: Ahmadinejad annonce la «disparition» d'Israël,â? Libération, May 11th, 2006
9 Baldwin, Tom, â?oThe state of Israel will soon be history, says Iranâ?Ts President,â? The Times, April 15th, 2006
10 Agence France Presse, April 28th, 2006
11 Agence France Presse, April 28th, 2006
12 â?oAhmadinejad: Countdown to Israelâ?Ts destruction has begun,â? YnetNews, June 3rd, 2007
13 â?oSatan in Person," Süddeutsche Zeitung Online, March 1st, 2007
14 Williams, Stuart, â?oAhmadinejad says Iran ready for 'final nuclear step,â? Agence France Presse, November 16th, 2006
15 Naïm, Mouna, â?oDamas et Téhéran entendent "résister" ensemble,â? Le Monde, January 21st, 2006
16 Ghazi, Siavosh. â?oAhmadinejad qualifie de "mythe" l'Holocauste, ne cède pas sur le nucléaire,â? Agence France Presse, 14 December, 2005
17 â?oLes prix du pétrole reculent avec la dissipation des craintes sur l'essence,â? Agence France Presse, April 27th, 2006.
18 Agence France Presse, April 28th, 2006
29 Agence France Presse, April 28th, 2006
20 Agence France Presse, April 28th, 2006
21 Agence France Presse, April 28th, 2006
22 Agence France Presse, April 28th, 2006
23 â?oAhmadinejad threatens the Western worldâ?, Süddeutsche Zeitung, January 22nd 2006 LINKS




(Coral Springs, FL) (Coral Springs, FL) On Monday, September 24th, Zahra Billoo, a former governmental relations intern for the California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-California), posted on a blog that she is affiliated with her thoughts about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speech at Columbia University. In her post, she questioned Israel's existence and stated that President Bush has "blood on his hands."

In her piece, entitled, 'Ahmadinejad Visits Columbia,' speaking about the President of Iran's call for the destruction of Israel, she wrote, "Wiping other countries off the map? Apartheid Israel is not a country, it was created by wiping Palestine off the map - isn't all fair in love and war?" She then remarked, "Do we really have the right to be upset at Ahmadinejad for talking about wiping an apartheid 'state' off the map?"

Later, Billoo took umbrage with a City Councilman who said that Ahmadinejad had American blood on his hands. She wrote, "Iran has the blood of [sic] Ameircan soldiers on his hands? Way to pass the buck! The blood of those soldiers is squarely on the hands of Bush and Co.! Excuse the Iraqis for attempting to defend themselves in the midst of an illegal war!"

This is not the first time Billoo has made outrageous remarks on the internet. In January of this year, Billoo said on her personal blog that, after seeing what she called "Zionist propaganda" on a San Francisco train, she had thoughts about committing suicide.

Billoo's belligerent statements regarding the state of Israel and President Bush follow similar inflammatory actions taken by others affiliated with CAIR-California, also known as CAIR-Los Angeles. The organization's Executive Director, Hussam Ayloush, on August 27th, posted a threat against President Bush on his personal blog, which stated, "Bush, beware." And CAIR-California's Civil Rights Coordinator, Affad Shaikh, on September 4th, on his personal blog, referred to Americans in Iraq as "Crusaders."

Americans Against Hate (AAH) calls on the California media to question why this CAIR office attracts so many radicals to its organization. As of now, the California media has given CAIR a pass.

As well, concerning the previous statements, AAH calls on law enforcement to investigate the California office of CAIR for possible ties to extremist activity and to take action with regard to the threat against President Bush made on Hussam Ayloush's blog. Under U.S. Code, making or distributing threats against the President of the United States carries a fine and/or imprisonment.

For more information on Zahra Billoo, see her CAIR Watch profile.

Joe Kaufman is available for interview. E-mail:

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Monday, September 24, 2007



1:50 P.M. EDT, MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2007


(Note: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's comments are through interpreter.)

MR. BOLLINGER: I would like to begin by thanking Dean John Coatsworth and Professor Richard Bulliet for their work in organizing this event and for their commitment to the School of International and Public Affairs and its role -- (interrupted by cheers, applause) -- and for its role in training future leaders in world affairs. If today proves anything, it will be that there is an enormous amount of work ahead of us. This is just one of many events on Iran that will run throughout the academic year, all to help us better understand this critical and complex nation in today's geopolitics.

Before speaking directly to the current president of Iran, I have a few critically important points to emphasize. First, in 2003 the World Leaders Forum has advanced Columbia's long-standing tradition of serving as a major forum for robust debate, especially on global issues. It should never be thought that merely to listen to ideas we deplore in any way implies our endorsement of those ideas or our weakness of our resolve to resist those ideas or our naivety about the very real dangers inherent in such ideas. It is a critical premise of freedom of speech that we do not honor the dishonorable when we open our public forum to their voices; to hold otherwise would make vigorous debate impossible.

Second, to those who believe that this event should never have happened, that it is inappropriate for the university to conduct such an event, I want to say that I understand your perspective and respect it as reasonable. The scope of free speech in academic freedom should itself always be open to further debate. As one of the more famous quotations about free speech goes, it is an experiment as all life is an experiment. I want to say, however, as forcefully as I can that this is the right thing to do, and indeed it is required by the existing norms of free speech, the American university and Columbia itself.

Third, to those among us who experience hurt and pain as a result of this day, I say on behalf of all of us that we are sorry and wish to do what we can to alleviate it.

Fourth, to be clear on another matter, this event has nothing whatsoever to do with any rights of the speaker, but only with our rights to listen and speak. We do it for ourselves. We do it in the great tradition of openness that has defined this nation for many decades now. We need to understand the world we live in, neither neglecting its glories nor shrinking from its threats and dangers. It is inconsistent with the idea that one should know thine enemy -- I'm sorry -- it is consistent with the idea that one should know thine enemies, to have the intellectual and emotional courage to confront the mind of evil, and to prepare ourselves to act with the right temperament. In the moment, the arguments for free speech will never seem to match the power of the arguments against, but what we must remember is that this is precisely because free speech asks us to exercise extraordinary self-restraint against the very natural but often counterproductive impulses that lead us to retreat from engagement with ideas we dislike and fear. In this lies the genius of the American idea of free speech.

Lastly, in universities we have a deep and almost single-minded commitment to pursue the truth. We do not have access to the levers of power, we cannot make war or peace, we can only make minds, and to do this, we must have the most fulsome freedom of inquiry.

Let me now turn to Mr. Ahmadinejad.

First, on the brutal crackdown on scholars, journalists and human rights advocates. Over the past two weeks, your government has released Dr. Haleh Esfandiari and Parnaz Azima and just two days ago, Kian Tajbakhsh, a graduate of Columbia with a PhD in Urban Planning. While our community is relieved to learn of his release on bail, Dr. Tajbakhsh remains in Tehran under house arrest, and he still does not know whether he will be charged with a crime or allowed to leave the country.

Let me say this for the record, I call on the president today to ensure that Kian will be free to travel out of Iran as he wishes. (Applause.) Let me also report today that we are extending an offer to Kian to join our faculty as a visiting professor in Urban Planning here at his alma mater in our Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, and we hope he will be able to join us next semester. (Applause.)

The arrest and imprisonment of these Iranian Americans for no good reason is not only unjustified, it runs completely counter to the very values that allow today's speaker to even appear on this campus, but at least they are alive.

According to Amnesty International, 210 people have been executing In Iran so far this year, 21 of them on the morning of September 5th alone. This annual total includes at two children, further proof, as Human Rights Watch puts it, that Iran leads the world in executing minors.

There is more. Iran hanged up 30 people this past July and August during a widely reported suppression of efforts to establish a more democratic society. Many of these executions were carried out in public view, a violation of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a party. These executions and others have coincided with a wider crackdown on student activists and academics accused of trying to foment a so-called "soft revolution." This has included jailing and forced retirement of scholars. As Dr. Esfandiari said in a broadcast interview since her release, she was held in solitary confinement for 105 days because the government believes that the United States is planning a velvet revolution in Iran.

In this very room, last year we learned something about velvet revolutions from Vaclav Havel, and we will likely hear the same from our World Leaders Forum speaker this evening, President Michelle Bachelet of Chile. Both of their extraordinary stories remind us that there are not enough prisons to prevent an entire society that wants its freedom from achieving it.

We at this university have not been shy to protest the challenge -- and challenge the failures of our own government to live by our values, and we won't be shy about criticizing yours. Let's then be clear at the beginning. Mr. President, you exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator. And so I ask you -- (applause) -- and so I ask you, why have women, members of the Baha'i faith, homosexuals and so many of our academic colleagues become targets of persecution in your country? Why, in a letter last week to the secretary-general of the U.N., did Akbar Ganji, Iran's leading political dissident, and over 300 public intellectuals, writers and Noble Laureates express such grave concern that your inflamed dispute with the West is distracting the world's attention from the intolerable conditions in your regime within Iran, in particular the use of the press law to ban writers for criticizing the ruling system? Why are you so afraid of Iranian citizens expressing their opinions for change?

In our country, you are interviewed by our press and asked to speak here today. And while my colleagues at the law school -- Michael Dorf, one of my colleagues, spoke to Radio Free Europe, viewers in Iran a short while ago on the tenants of freedom of speech in this country -- I propose further that you let me lead a delegation of students and faculty from Columbia to address your universities about free speech with the same freedom we afford you today. (Applause.)

Secondly, the denial of the Holocaust. In a December 2005 state television broadcast, you described the Holocaust as "a fabricated legend." One year later, you held a two-day conference of Holocaust deniers. For the illiterate and ignorant, this is dangerous propaganda.

When you have come to a place like this, this makes you, quite simply, ridiculous. You are either brazenly provocative or astonishingly uneducated. You should know -- (applause) -- please -- you should know that Columbia is the world center of Jewish studies -- us a world center, and now in partnership with the -- Institute of Holocaust Studies.

Since the 1930s, we provided an intellectual home for countless Holocaust refugees and survivors and their children and grandchildren. The truth is that the Holocaust is the most documented event in human history. Because of this, and for many other reasons, your absurd comments about the debate over the Holocaust both defy historical truth and make all of us who continue to fear humanity's capacity for evil shudder at this closure of memory, which is always virtue's first line of defense. Will you cease this outrage?

The destruction of Israel. Twelve days ago you said that the state of Israel cannot continue its life. This echoed a number of inflammatory statements you have delivered in the past two years, including in October 2005, when you said that Israel "should be wiped off the map", quote-unquote. Columbia has over 800 alumni currently living in Israel. As an institution, we have deep ties with our colleagues there. I have personally spoken -- personally, I have spoken out in most forceful terms against proposals to boycott Israeli scholars (in/and ?) universities, saying that such boycotts might as well include Columbia. (Applause.)

More than 400 -- more than 400 -- more than 400 college and university presidents in this country have joined in that statement.

My question then is, do you plan on wiping us off the map too? (Applause.)

Funding terrorism: According to reports of the Council on Foreign Relations, it's well-documented that Iran is a state sponsor of terror that funds such violent groups as Lebanese Hezbollah, which Iran helped organize in the 1980s, Palestinian Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. While your predecessor government was instrumental in providing the U.S. with intelligence and base support in the 2001 campaign against the Taliban in Afghanistan, your government is now undermining American troops in Iraq by funding, arming and providing safe transit to insurgent leaders like Muqtada al-Sadr and his forces. There are a number of reports that you also link your government with Syria's efforts to destabilize the fledgling Lebanese government through violence and political assassination.

My question is this: Why do you support well-documented terrorist organizations that continue to strike at peace and democracy in the Middle East, destroying lives and the civil society of the region?

The proxy war against the United States troops in Iraq -- in a briefing before the National Press Club earlier this month, General David Petraeus reported that arms supplies from Iran, including 240- millimeter rockets and explosively formed projectiles, are contributing to, quote, "a sophistication of attacks that would by no means be possible without Iranian support." A number of Columbia graduates and current students are among the brave members of our military who are serving or have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. They, like other Americans with sons, daughters, fathers, husbands and wives serving in combat, rightly see your government as the enemy.

Can you tell them and us why Iran is fighting a proxy war in Iraq by arming Shi'a militia targeting and killing U.S. troops?

And finally Iran's nuclear program and international sanctions: This week, the United Nations Security Council is contemplating expanding sanctions for a third time, because of your government's refusal to suspend its uranium enrichment program. You continue to defy this world body by claiming a right to develop a peaceful nuclear power, but this hardly withstands scrutiny when you continue to issue military threats to neighbors. Last week, French President Sarkozy made clear his lost patience with your stall tactics, and even Russia and China have shown concern.

Why does your country continue to refuse to adhere to international standards for nuclear weapons verification, in defiance of agreements that you have made with the U.N. nuclear agency? And why have you chosen to make the people of your country vulnerable to the effects of international economic sanctions, and threaten to engulf the world in nuclear annihilation? (Applause.)

Let me close with a comment. Frankly -- I close with this comment frankly and in all candor, Mr. President. I doubt that you will have the intellectual courage to answer these questions. But your avoiding them will in itself be meaningful to us. I do expect you to exhibit the fanatical mindset that characterizes so much of what you say and do. Fortunately I am told by experts on your country that this only further undermines your position in Iran, with all the many good-hearted, intelligent citizens there.

A year ago, I am reliably told, your preposterous and belligerent statements in this country, as at one of the meetings at the Council on Foreign Relations, so embarrassed sensible Iranian citizens that this led to your party's defeat in the December mayoral elections. May this do that and more. (Applause.)

I am only a professor, who is also a university president.

And today I feel all the weight of the modern civilized world yearning to express the revulsion at what you stand for. I only wish I could do better. Thank you. (Cheers, extended applause.)

MR. COATSWORTH: Thank you, Lee.

Our principal speaker today is His Excellency the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Mr. President. (Applause.)

INTERPRETER: The president is reciting verses from the Holy Koran in Arabic. (Not translated.)

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: Oh, God, hasten the arrival of Imam al- Mahdi and grant him good health and victory, and make us his followers and those who attest to his (rightfulness ?).

Distinguished Dean, dear professors and students, ladies and gentlemen. At the outset, I would like to extend my greetings to all of you. I am grateful to the Almighty God for providing me with the opportunity to be in an academic environment, those seeking truth and striving for the promotion of science and knowledge.

At the outset, I want to complain a bit on the person who read this political statement against me. In Iran, tradition requires that when we demand a person to invite us as a -- to be a speaker, we actually respect our students and the professors by allowing them to make their own judgment, and we don't think it's necessary before the speech is even given to come in -- (applause) -- with a series of claims and to attempt in a so-called manner to provide vaccination of some sort to our students and our faculty.

I think the text read by the (dear ?) gentleman here, more than addressing me, was an insult to information and the knowledge of the audience here, present here. In a university environment, we must allow people to speak their mind, to allow everyone to talk so that the truth is eventually revealed by all. Most certainly he took more than all the time I was allocated to speak. And that's fine with me. We'll just leave that to add up with the claims of respect for freedom and the freedom of speech that is given to us in this country.

In many parts of his speech, there were many insults and claims that were incorrect, regretfully. Of course, I think that he was affected by the press, the media and the political sort of mainstream line that you read here, that goes against the very grain of the need for peace and stability in the world around us.

Nonetheless, I should not begin by being affected by this unfriendly treatment.

I will tell you what I have to say, and then the questions he can raise and I'll be happy to provide answers. But for one of the issues that he did raise, I most certainly would need to elaborate further so that we for ourselves can see how things fundamentally work.

It was my decision in this valuable forum and meeting to speak with you about the importance of knowledge, of information, of education. Academics and religious scholars are shining torches who shed light in order to remove darkness and the ambiguities around us in guiding humanity out of ignorance and perplexity. The key to the understanding of the realities around us rests in the hands of the researchers, those who seek to undiscover (sic) areas that are hidden, the unknown sciences. The windows of realities that they can open is done only through efforts of the scholars and the learned people in this world. With every effort, there is a window that is opened and one reality is discovered.

Whenever the high stature of science and wisdom is preserved and the dignity of scholars and researchers are respected, humans have taken great strides towards their material and spiritual promotion. In contrast, whenever learned people and knowledge have been neglected, humans have become stranded in the darkness of ignorance and negligence. If it were not for human instinct, which tends towards continual discovery of the truth, humans would have always remained stranded in ignorance and no way would have discovered how to improve the lives that we are given. The nature of man is, in fact, a gift granted by the Almighty to all. The Almighty led mankind into this world and granted him wisdom and knowledge as his (kind ?) gift, enabling him to know his God.

In the story of Adam, a conversation occurs between the Almighty and his angels. The angels called human beings an ambitious and merciless creature and protested against his creation, but the Almighty responded, quote, "I have knowledge of what you are ignorant of," unquote. Then the Almighty told Adam the truth, and on the order of the Almighty, Adam revealed it to the angels.

The angels could not understand the truth as revealed by the human beings.

The Almighty said to them, quote, "Did not I say that I am aware of what is hidden in heaven and in the universe?" unquote. In this way, the angels prostrated themselves before Adam.

In the mission of all divine prophets, the first sermons were of the words of God, and those words "piety," "faith" and "wisdom" have been spread to all mankind. Guiding the holy prophet Moses -- may peace be upon him -- God says, quote, "And he was taught wisdom, the divine book, the Old Testament and the New Testament. He is the prophet appointed for the sake of the children of Israel, and I rightfully brought a sign from the Almighty. Holy Koran -- (inaudible word) -- sura," unquote.

The first words which were revealed to the holy prophet of Islam call the prophet to read, quote, "Read, read in the name of your God, who supersedes everything," unquote. The Almighty, quote again, "who taught the human being with the pen," unquote; quote, "the Almighty taught human beings what they were ignorant of," unquote.

You see in the first verses revealed to the holy prophet of Islam words of reading, teaching and the pen are mentioned. These verses in fact introduce the Almighty as the teacher of human beings, the teacher who taught humans what they were ignorant of. And another part of the -- (inaudible word) -- on the mission on the holy prophet of Islam -- it is mentioned that the Almighty appointed someone from amongst the common people as their prophet in order to, quote, "Read for them the divine verses," unquote; and, quote again, "and purify them from ideological and ethical contaminations," unquote; and, quote again, "to teach them the divine book and wisdom," unquote.

My dear friends, all the words and messages of the divine prophets, from Abraham and Isaac and Jacob to David and Soliman and Moses to Jesus and Mohammed, delivered humans from ignorance, negligence, superstitions, unethical behavior and corrupted ways of thinking with respect to knowledge and a path to knowledge, light and rightful ethics.

In our culture, the word "science" has been defined as "illumination." In fact, the "science" means "brightness" and the real science is a science which rescues the human being from ignorance to his own benefit. In one of the widely accepted definitions of science, it is stated that it is the light which sheds to the hearts of those who have been selected by the Almighty; therefore, according to this definition, science is a divine gift, and the heart is where it resides.

If we accept that "science" means "illumination," then its scope supersedes the experimental sciences, and it includes every hidden and disclosed reality. One of the main harms inflicted against science is to limit it to experimental and physical sciences; this harm occurs even though it extends far beyond this scope.

Realities of the world are not limited to physical realities. And the material is just a shadow of supreme realities, and physical creation is just one of the stories of the creation of the world. Human being is just an example of the creation that is a combination of the material and the spirit.

And another important point is the relationship of science and purity of spirit, life, behavior and ethics of the human being. In the teachings of the divine prophet, one reality shall always be attached to science. The reality of purity of spirit and good behavior, knowledge and wisdom is pure and clear reality. It is -- science is a light. It is a discovery of reality, and only a pure scholar and researcher, free from wrong ideologies, superstitions, selfishness and material trappings, can discover the reality.

My dear friends and scholars, distinguished participants, science and wisdom can also be misused, a misuse caused by selfishness, corruption, material desires and material interests, as well as individual and group interests. Material desires place humans against the realities of the world. Corrupted independent human beings resist acceptance of reality and even if they do accept it, they do not obey it.

There are many scholars who are aware of the realities but do not accept them. Their selfishness does not allow them to accept those realities. Did those who in the course of human history wage wars not understand the reality that lives, properties, dignity, territories and the rights of all human beings should be respected? Or did they understand it but neither have faith in nor abide by it?

My dear friends, as long as the human heart is not free from hatred, envy and selfishness, it does not abide by the truth, by the illumination of science and science itself. Science is the light and scientists must be pure and pious. If humanity achieves the highest level of physical and spiritual knowledge, but its scholars and scientists are not pure, then this knowledge cannot serve the interest of humanity, and several events can ensue.

First, the wrongdoers reveal only a part of the reality which is to their own benefit and conceal the rest, as we have witnessed with respect to the scholars of the divine religions in the past too. Unfortunately today we see that certain researchers and scientists are still hiding the truth from the people.

Second, scientists and scholars are misused for personal, group or party interests. So in today's world, ruling powers are misusing many scholars and scientists in different fields, with the purpose of stripping nations of their wealth.

And they use all opportunities only for their own benefit.

For example, they deceive people by using scientific methods and tools. They, in fact, wish to justify their own wrongdoings, though, by creating nonexistent enemies, for example, and have insecure atmosphere. They try to control all in the name of combatting insecurity and terrorism. They even violate individual and social freedoms in their own nations under that pretext. They do not respect the privacy of their own people. They tap telephone calls and try to control their people. They create an insecure psychological atmosphere in order to justify their warmongering acts in different parts of the world.

As another example, by using precise scientific methods and planning, they begin their onslaught on the domestic cultures of nations, the cultures which are the result of thousands of years of interaction, creativity and artistic activities. They try to eliminate these cultures in order to separate the people from their identity and cut their bonds with their own history and values. They prepare the ground for stripping people from their spiritual and material wealth by instilling in them feelings of intimidation, desire for imitation and mere consumption, submission to oppressive powers, and disability.

Making nuclear, chemical and biological bombs and weapons of mass destruction is yet another result of the misuse of science and research by the big powers. Without cooperation of certain scientists and scholars, we would not have witnessed production of different nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Are these weapons to protect global security? What can a perpetual nuclear umbrella threat achieve for the sake of humanity? If nuclear war wages between nuclear powers, what human catastrophe will take place? Today we can see the nuclear effects in even new generations of Nagasaki and Hiroshima residents which might be witness in even the next generations to come. Presently, effects of the depleted uranium used in weapons since the beginning of the war in Iraq can be examined and investigated accordingly. These catastrophes take place only when scientists and scholars are misused by oppressors.

Another point of sorrow, some big powers create a monopoly over science and prevent other nations in achieving scientific development as well.

This, too, is one of the surprises of our time. Some big powers do not want to see the progress of other societies and nations. They turn to thousands of reasons, make allegations, place economic sanctions to prevent other nations from developing and advancing, all resulting from their distance from human values, moral values and the teachings of the divine prophet. Regretfully, they have not been trained to serve mankind.

Dear academics, dear faculty and scholars, students, I believe that the biggest God-given gift to man is science and knowledge. Man's search for knowledge and the truth through science is what it guarantees to do in getting close to God, but science has to combine with the purity of the spirit and of the purity of man's spirit so that scholars can unveil the truth and then use that truth for advancing humanity's cause.

These scholars would be not only people who would guide humanity, but also guide humanity towards the future, better future. And it is necessary that big powers should not allow mankind to engage in monopolistic activities and to prevent other nations from achieving that science. Science is a divine gift by God to everyone, and therefore it must remain pure. God is aware of all reality. All researchers and scholars are loved by God.

So I hope there will be a day where these scholars and scientists will rule the world and God himself will arrive with Moses and Christ and Mohammed to rule the world and to take us towards justice.

I'd like to thank you now, but refer to two points made in the introduction given about me, and then I will be open for any questions.

Last year, I would say two years ago, I raised two questions. You know that my main job is a university instructor. Right now as president of Iran I still continue teaching graduate and Ph.D.-level courses on a weekly basis. My students are working with me in scientific fields. I believe that I am an academic myself, so I speak with you from an academic point of view.

And I raised two questions. But instead of a response, I got a wave of insults and allegations against me, and regretfully, they came mostly from groups who claimed most to believe in the freedom of speech and the freedom of information. You know quite well that Palestine is an old wound, as old as 60 years.

For 60 years, these people are displaced; for 60 years, these people are being killed; for 60 years, on a daily basis, there's conflict and terror; for 60 years, innocent women and children are destroyed and killed by helicopters and airplanes that break the house over their heads; for 60 years, children in kindergartens in schools, in high schools are in prison being tortured; for 60 years, security in the Middle East has been in danger; for 60 years, the slogan of expansionism from the Nile to the Euphrates has been chanted by certain groups in that part of the world.

And as an academic, I ask two questions, the same two questions that I will ask here again. And you judge for yourselves whether the response to these questions should be the insults, the allegations and all the words and the negative propaganda, or should we really try and face these two questions and respond to them? Like you, like any academic, I, too, will keep -- not get -- become silent until I get the answers, so I am awaiting logical answers instead of insults.

My first question was, if, given that the Holocaust is a present reality of our time, a history that occurred, why is there not sufficient research that can approach the topic from different perspectives? Our friends refer to 1930 as the point of the departure for this development; however, I believe the Holocaust, from what we read, happened during World War II after 1930 in the 1940s. So, you know, we have to really be able to trace the event.

My question was simple. There are researchers who want to push the topic from a different perspective. Why are they put into prison? Right now there are a number of European academics who have been sent to prison because they attempted to write about the Holocaust, so researchers from a different perspective, questioning certain aspects of it -- my question is, why isn't it open to all forms of research? I have been told that there's been enough research on the topic. And I ask, well, when it comes to topics such as freedom, topics such as democracy, concepts and norms such as God, religion, physics even or chemistry, there's been a lot of research, but we still continue more research on those topics. We encourage it. But then why don't we encourage more research on a historical event that has become the root, the cause of many heavy catastrophes in the region in this time and age? Why shouldn't there be more research about the root causes? That was my first question.

And my second question -- well, given this historical event, if it is a reality, we need to still question whether the Palestinian people should be paying for it or not. After all, it happened in Europe. The Palestinian people had no role to play in it. So why is it that the Palestinian people are paying the price of an event they had nothing to do with?

The Palestinian people didn't commit any crime. They had no role to play in World War II. They were living with the Jewish communities and the Christian communities in peace at the time. They didn't have any problems. And today, too, Jews, Christians and Muslims live in brotherhood all over the world, in many parts of the world. They don't have any serious problems.

But why is it that the Palestinians should pay a price, innocent Palestinians? For 5 million people to remain displaced or refugees of war for 60 years are -- is this not a crime? Is asking about these crimes a crime by itself? Why should an academic, myself, face insults when asking questions like this? Is this what you call freedom and upholding the freedom of thought?

And as for the second topic, Iran's nuclear issue -- I know there's time limits, but I need time. I mean, a lot of time was taken from me.

We are a country. We are a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency. For over 33 years we were a member state of the agency. The bylaw of the agency explicitly states that all member states have the right to the peaceful nuclear fuel technology. This is an explicit statement made in the bylaw. And the bylaw says that there is no pretext or excuse, even the inspections carried by the IAEA itself -- that can prevent member states' right to have that right.

Of course, the IAEA is responsible to carry out inspections. We are one of the countries that's carried out the most amount of -- level of cooperation with the IAEA. They've had hours and weeks and days of inspections in our country. And over and over again, the agency's reports indicate that Iran's activities are peaceful, that they have not detected a deviation, and that Iran has -- they've received positive cooperation from Iran. But regretfully, two or three monopolistic powers, selfish powers, want to force their word on the Iranian people and deny them their right. They keep saying -- one minute. (Laughter, applause.)

They tell us you don't let them -- they won't let them inspect. Why not? Of course we do. How come is it anyway that you have that right and we can't have it? We want to have the right to peaceful nuclear energy. They tell us, "Don't make it yourself. We'll give it to you."

Well, in the past, I tell you, we had contracts with the U.S. government, with the British government, the French government, the German government and the Canadian government on nuclear development for peaceful purposes. But unilaterally, each and every one of them canceled their contracts with us, as a result of which the Iranian people had to pay the heavy cost in billions of dollars.

Why do we need the fuel from you? You've not even given us spare aircraft parts that we need for civilian aircraft for 28 years, under the name of the embargo and sanctions, because we are against, for example, human rights or freedom? Under that pretext you deny us that technology?

We want to have the right to self-determination towards our future. We want to be independent. Don't interfere in us. If you don't give us spare parts for civilian aircraft, what is the expectation that you'd give us fuel for nuclear development for peaceful purposes?

For 30 years we've faced these problems; for over $5 billion to the Germans and then to the Russians, but we haven't gotten anything, and the worst have not been completed. It is our right, we want our right, and we don't want anything beyond the law, nothing less than what international law. We are a peaceful-loving nation. We love all nations. (Applause, cheers, booing.)

MR. COATSWORTH: Mr. President, your statements here today and in the past have provoked many questions which I would like to pose to you on behalf of the students and faculty who have submitted them to me.

Let me begin with the question to which you just --

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: (In English.) It is one by one, one by one.

MR. COATSWORTH: One by one, it is, yes. (Applause.)

The first question is: Do you or your government seek the destruction of the state of Israel as a Jewish state?

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: We love all nations. We are friends with the Jewish people. There are many Jews in Iran living peacefully with security. You must understand that in our constitution, in our laws, in the parliamentary elections, for every 150,000 people we get one representative in the parliament. For the Jewish community, one-fifth of this number they still get one independent representative in the parliament. So our proposal to the Palestinian plight is a humanitarian and democratic proposal.

What we say is that to solve the 60-year problem we must allow the Palestinian people to decide about its future for itself. This is compatible with the spirit of the Charter of the United Nations and the fundamental principles enshrined in it. We must allow Jewish Palestinians, Muslim Palestinians and Christian Palestinians to determine their own fate themselves through a free referendum. Whatever they choose as a nation everybody should accept and respect. Nobody should interfere in the affairs of the Palestinian nation. Nobody should sow the seeds of discord. Nobody should spend tens of billions of dollars equipping and arming one group there.

We say allow the Palestinian nation to decide its own future, to have the right to self-determination for itself. This is what we are saying as the Iranian nation. (Applause.)

MR. COATSWORTH: Mr. President, I think many members of our audience would be -- would like to hear a clearer answer to that question, that is -- (interrupted by cheers, applause).

The question is: Do you or your government seek the destruction of the state of Israel as a Jewish state? And I think you could answer that question with a single word, either yes or no. (Cheers, applause.)

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: And then you want the answer the way you want to hear it. Well, this isn't really a free flow of information. I'm just telling you where I -- what my position is. (Applause.)

I'm asking you, is the Palestinian issue not an international issue of prominence or not? Please tell me, yes or no. (Laughter, applause.)

There's a plight of a people.

MR. COATSWORTH: The answer to your question is yes. (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: Well, thank you for your cooperation.

It is -- we recognize there is a problem there that's been going on for 60 years. Everybody provides a solution, and our solution is a free referendum. Let this referendum happen, and then you'll see what the results are. Let the people of Palestine freely choose what they want for their future. And then what you want in your mind to happen, it will happen and will be realized. (Applause.)

MR. COATSWORTH: Which was posed by President Bollinger earlier and comes from a number of other students. Why is your government providing aid to terrorists? Will you stop doing so and permit international monitoring to certify that you have stopped?

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: Well, I want to pose a question here to you. If someone comes and explodes bombs around you, threatens your president, members of the administration, kills the members of the Senate or Congress, how would you treat them? Would you award them or would you name them a terrorist group? Well, it's clear. You would call them a terrorist.

My dear friends, the Iranian nation is a victim of terrorism. For -- 26 years ago, where I work, close to where I work, in a terrorist operation, the elected president of the Iranian nation and the elected prime minister of Iran lost their lives in a bomb explosion. They turned into ashes.

A month later, in another terrorist operation, 72 members of our parliament and highest ranking officials, including four ministers and eight deputy ministers, bodies were shattered into pieces as a result of terrorist attacks. Within six months, over 4,000 Iranians lost their lives, assassinated by terrorist groups, all this carried out by the hand of one single terrorist group. Regretfully that same terrorist group, now, today, in your country, is being -- operating under the support of the U.S. administration, working freely, distributing declarations freely. And their camps in Iraq are supported by the U.S. government. They're secured by the U.S. government.

Our nation has been harmed by terrorist activities. We were the first nation that objected to terrorism and the first to uphold the need to fight terrorism. (Applause.)

MR. COATSWORTH: A number of questioners, sorry, a number of people have asked.

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: We need to address the root causes of terrorism and eradicate those root causes.

We live in the Middle East. For us, it's quite clear which powers sort of incite terrorists, support them, fund them. We know that. Our nation, the Iranian nation, through history has always extended a hand of friendship to other nations. We're a cultured nation. We don't need to resort to terrorism.

We've been victims of terrorism ourselves, and it's regrettable that people who argue they're fighting terrorism, instead of supporting the Iranian people and nation, instead of fighting the terrorists that are attacking them, they're supporting the terrorists and then turn the fingers to us. This is most regrettable.

MR. COATSWORTH: A further set of questions challenge your view of the Holocaust. Since the evidence that this occurred in Europe in the 1940s as a result of the actions of the German Nazi government, since that -- those facts are well-documented, why are you calling for additional research? There seems to be no purpose in doing so, other than to question whether the Holocaust actually occurred as an historical fact. Can you explain why you believe more research is needed into the facts of what are -- what is incontrovertible?

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: Thank you very much for your question. I am an academic, and you are as well. Can you argue that researching a phenomenon is finished forever, done? Can we close the books for good on a historical event? There are different perspectives that come to light after every research is done. Why should we stop research at all? Why should we stop the progress of science and knowledge? You shouldn't ask me why I'm asking questions. You should ask yourselves why you think that it's questionable.

Why do you want to stop the progress of science and research? Do you ever take what's known as absolute in physics? We had principles in mathematics that were granted to be absolute in mathematics for over 800 years, but new science has gotten rid of those absolutism, gotten -- forward other different logics of looking at mathematics, and sort of turned the way we look at it as a science altogether after 800 years. So we must allow researchers, scholars to investigate into everything, every phenomenon -- God, universe, human beings, history, and civilization. Why should we stop that?

I'm not saying that it didn't happen at all. This is not (the ?) judgment that I'm passing here. I said in my second question, granted this happened, what does it have to do with the Palestinian people? This is a serious question. They're two dimension. In the first question, I --

MR. COATSWORTH: Let me just -- let me pursue this a bit further. It is difficult to have a scientific discussion if there isn't at least some basis -- some empirical basis, some agreement about what the facts are. So, calling for research into the facts when the facts are so well-established represents for many a challenging of the facts themselves and a denial that something terrible occurred in Europe in those years. (Applause.)

Let me move on to -- (pause).

Mr. President, another student asks, Iranian women are now denied basic human rights, and your government has imposed draconian punishments, including execution on Iranian citizens who are homosexuals. Why are you doing those things?

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: Those in Iran are genuine true freedoms. The Iranian people are free. Women in Iran enjoy the highest levels of freedoms. We have two deputy vice -- well, two vice presidents that are female at the highest levels of speciality; specialized (roles ?) in our parliament and our government and our universities, they are present in our biotechnological fields and our technological fields. There are hundreds of women scientists that are active in the political realm as well.

It's not -- it's wrong for some governments, when they disagree with another government, to sort of -- try to spread lies that distort the full truth. Our nation is free. It has the highest level of participation in elections. In Iran, 80 percent -- 90 percent of the people turn out for votes during the elections, half of which -- over half of which are women, so how can we say that women are not free? Is that the entire truth?

But as for the executions, I'd like to raise two questions. If someone comes and establishes a network for illicit drug trafficking that affects the (use ?) in Iran, Turkey, Europe, the United States by introducing these illicit drugs and destroys them, would you ever reward them? People who lead the lives -- cause the deterioration of the lives of hundreds of millions of youth around the world, including in Iran, can we have any sympathy to them? Don't you have capital punishment in the United States? You do, too. (Applause.)

In Iran, too, there's capital punishment for illicit drug traffickers, for people who violate the rights of people.

If somebody takes up a gun, goes into a house, kills a group of people there, and then tries to take ransom, how would you confront them in Iran with -- in the United States? Would you reward them? Can a physician allow microbes, symbolically speaking, to spread across a nation? We have laws. People who violate the public rights of the people by using guns, killing people, creating insecurity, sell drugs, distribute drugs at a high level are sentenced to execution in Iran, and some of these punishments -- very few are carried in the public eye, before the public eye. It's a law based on democratic principles. You use injections and microbes to kill these people, and they are executed or they're hung, but the end result is killing.

MR. COATSWORTH: (Off mike) -- and drug smugglers. The question was about sexual preference and women. (Applause.)

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: In Iran, we don't have homosexuals like in your country. (Laughter.) We don't have that in our country. (Booing.) In Iran, we do not have this phenomenon. I don't know who's told you that we have it. (Laughter.)

But as for women, maybe you think that being a woman is a crime. It's not a crime to be a woman. Women are the best creatures created by God. They represent the kindness, the beauty that God instills in them. Women are respected in Iran. In Iran, every family who's given a girl is given -- in every Iranian family who has a girl, they're 10 times happier than having a son. Women are respected more than men are. They are exempt from many responsibilities. Many of the legal responsibilities rest on the shoulders of men in our society because of the respect culturally given to women, to the future mothers. In Iranian culture, men and sons and girls constantly kiss the hands of their mothers as a sign of respect, a respect for women, and we are proud of this culture.

MR. COATSWORTH: (Off mike) -- one is, what did you hope to accomplish by speaking at Columbia today?

And the second is, what would you have said if you were permitted to visit the site of the September 11th tragedy?

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: Well, here I'm your guest. I've been invited by Columbia, an official invitation given for me to come here, but I do want to say something here.

In Iran, when you invite a guest you respect them. This is our tradition required by our culture, and I know that American people have that culture as well.

Last year, I wanted to go to the site of the September 11th tragedy to show respect to the victims of the tragedy, show my sympathy with their families, but our plans got overextended. We were involved in negotiations and meetings `till midnight, and they said it would be very difficult to go visit the site at that late hour of the night. So I told my friends then that we need to plan this for the following year, so that I can go and visit the site and to show my respects. Regretfully, some groups had very strong reactions, very bad reactions. It's bad for someone -- to prevent someone to show sympathy to the families of the victims of the September 11 event -- tragic event.

This is a respect from my side. Somebody told me this is an insult. I said: What are you saying? This is my way of showing my respect. Why would you think that? Thinking like that, how do you expect to manage the world and world affairs? Don't you think that a lot of problems in the world come from the way you look at issues because of this kind of way of thinking, because of this sort of pessimistic approach towards a lot of people because of certain level of selfishness, self-absorption that needs to be put aside so that we can show respect to everyone, to allow an environment for friendship to grow, to allow all nations to talk with one another and move towards peace?

I wanted to speak with the press. There is 11 September -- September 11 tragic event was a huge event. It led to a lot of many other events afterwards. After 9/11, Afghanistan was occupied and then Iraq was occupied, and for six years in our region there is insecurity, terror and fear. If the root causes of 9/11 are examined properly -- why it happened, what caused it, what were the conditions that led to it, who truly was involved, who was really involved -- and put it all together to understand how to prevent the crisis in Iraq, fix the problem in Afghanistan and Iraq combined.

MR. COATSWORTH: A number of questions have asked about your nuclear program. Why is your government seeking to acquire enriched uranium suitable for nuclear weapons? Will you stop doing so?

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: Our nuclear program, first and foremost, operates within the framework of law, and second, under the inspections of the IAEA, and thirdly, they are completely peaceful. The technology we have is for enrichment below the level of 5 percent level, and any level below 5 percent is solely for providing fuel to power plants. Repeated reports by the IAEA explicitly say that there is no indication that Iran has deviated from the peaceful path of its nuclear program. We're all well aware that Iran's nuclear issue is a political issue; it's not a legal issue.

The International Atomic Energy Organization -- Agency has verified that our activities are for peaceful purposes. But there are two or three powers that think that they have the right to monopolize all science and knowledge. And they expect the Iranian people, the Iranian nation, to turn to others to get fuel, to get science, to get knowledge that's indigenous to itself -- to humble itself. And then they would of course refrain from giving it to us too.

So we're quite clear on what we need. If you have created the fifth generation of atomic bombs and are testing them already, what position are you in to question the peaceful purposes of other people who want nuclear power? (Applause.) We do not believe in nuclear weapons, period. It goes against the whole grain of humanity.

So let me just tell a joke here. I think the politicians who are after atomic bombs or are testing them, making them -- politically they are backward, retarded. (Applause.)

MR. COATSWORTH: I know your time is short and that you need to move on.

Is Iran prepared to open broad discussions with the government of the United States? What would Iran hope to achieve in such discussions? How do you see, in the future, a resolution of the points of conflict between the government of the United States and the government of Iran?

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: From the start, we announced that we are ready to negotiate with all countries. Since 28 years ago, when our revolution succeeded and we established -- we took freedom and democracy that was held at bay by a pro-Western dictatorship, we announced our readiness that besides two countries, we are ready to have friendly relations and talks with all countries of the world. One of those two was the apartheid regime of South Africa, which has been eliminated, and the second is the Zionist regime. For everybody else around the world, we announced that we want to have friendly, brotherly ties.

The Iranian nation is a cultured nation. It is a civilized nature. It seeks, it wants, new talks and negotiations. It's for it. We believe that in negotiations and talks, everything can be resolved very easily. We don't need threats; we don't need to point bombs or guns; we don't need to get into conflict if we talk. We have a clear logical about that.

We question the way the world is being run and managed today. We believe that it will not lead to viable peace and security for the world, the way it's run today. We have solutions based on humane values and for relations among states. With the U.S. government, too, we will negotiate. We don't have any issues about that, under fair, just circumstances with mutual respect on both sides.

You saw that in order to help the security of Iraq, we had three rounds of talks with the United States. And last year, before coming to New York, I announced that I am ready, in the United Nations, to engage in a debate with Mr. Bush, the president of the United States, about critical international issues. So that shows that we want to talk, having a debate before the world public -- before all the audience, so that truth is revealed, so that misunderstandings and misperceptions are removed, so that we can find a clear path for brotherly and friendly relations. I think that if the U.S. administration -- if the U.S. government puts aside some of its old behaviors, it can actually be a good friend for the Iranian people, for the Iranian nation.

For 28 years they've consistently threatened us, insulted us, prevented our scientific development, every day under one pretext or another. You all know Saddam the dictator was supported by the government of the United States and some Europeans countries in attacking Iran. And in -- he carried out an eight-year war, a criminal war. Over 200,000 Iranians were -- lost their lives. Over 600,000 Iranians were hurt as a result of a war. He used chemical weapons; thousands of Iranians were victims of chemical weapons that he used against us. Today, Mr. Nobal Vinh (ph), who is a reporter, an official reporter, international reporter, who was covering U.N. reports in U.N. for many years, he is one of the victims of the chemical weapons used by Iraq against us.

And since then, we've been under different propaganda sort of embargoes, economic sanctions, political sanctions. Why? Because we got rid of a dictator? Because we wanted the freedom and democracy that we got for ourselves? But we can't always tell. We think that if the U.S. government recognizes the rights of the Iranian people, respects all nations, and extends a hand of friendship with all Iranians, they too will see that Iranians will be one of its best friends.

Will you allow me to thank the audience a moment?

I -- well, there are many things that I would have liked to cover, but I don't want to take your time any further. I was asked, would I allow the faculty and Columbia students here to come to Iran? From this platform, I invite Columbia faculty members and students to come and visit Iran, to speak with our university students. You are officially invited. (Applause).

University faculty and the students that the university decides are the student association's chosen select are welcome to come. You're welcome to visit any university that you choose inside Iran. We'll provide you with a list of the universities. There are over 400 universities in our country, and you can choose whichever you want to go and visit.

We'll give you the true platform. You can -- we'll respect you 100 percent. We will have our students sit there and listen to you, speak with you, hear what you have to say.

Right now in our universities on a daily basis, there are hundreds of meetings like this. They hear, they talk, they ask questions, they welcome it.

In the end, I'd like to thank Columbia University. I had heard that many politicians in the United States are trained in Columbia University, and there are many people here who believe in the freedom of speech, in clear, frank conversations; I do like to extend my gratitude to the managers here in the United States -- at Columbia University -- I apologize -- the people who so well-organized this meeting today. I'd like to extend my deepest gratitude to the faculty members and the dear students here. I ask Almighty God to assist all of us to move hand in hand to establish peace and future filled with friendship and justice and brotherhood. Best of luck to all of you. (Applause.)

MR. BOLLINGER: I'm sorry that President Ahmadinejad's schedule makes it necessary for him to leave before he's been able to answer many of the questions that we have or even answer some of the ones that we posed to him. (Laughter, applause.) But I think we can all be pleased that his appearance here demonstrates Columbia's deep commitment to free expression and debate. I want to thank you all for coming to participate. (Applause.)

Thank you.



12:12 P.M. EDT, MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2007


(Note: The president's remarks are provided through interpreter.)

MR. ZREMSKI: Good afternoon, and welcome to the National Press Club for our luncheon today with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

My name is Jerry Zremski, and I'm president of the National Press Club and Washington bureau chief for the Buffalo News.

I'd like to welcome our club members and their guests who are joining us here today, along with the working press and the audience that's watching us on C-SPAN.

We're looking forward to today's speech and afterwards I will ask as many questions from the audience as time permits.

I'd now like to introduce our head table guests and ask them to stand briefly when their names are called. From your right, Ron Baygents, Washington correspondent for the Kuwait News Agency; Lucie Morillon, Washington representative for Reporters without Borders; Ken Mellgren, manager of affiliate relations at Associated Press Broadcast; Hiroki Sugita, Washington bureau chief of Kyodo News Agency of Japan; Donna Leinwand, correspondent for USA Today and treasurer of the National Press Club; Clarence Page, columnist and member of the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune; Dr. Kaveh Afrasiabi, professor of international relations at Bentley College, author of books on Iran's foreign and nuclear policies, and a guest of the speaker.

Skipping over the podium, Angela Greiling Keane of Bloomberg News, the chair of the National Press Club Speakers Committee; Myron Belkind, a member of the Speakers Committee and the member of the committee who organized today's luncheon; Greta Van Susteren, anchor of Fox News's "On the Record"; Jon Allen, correspondent for Congressional Quarterly; Eleanor Clift, contributing editor to Newsweek and a regular panelist on "The McLaughlin Group"; and Tom Baldwin, Washington bureau chief for the Times of London. (Applause.)

For nearly a century now, the National Press Club has brought the world's leading newsmakers to this stage. Yasser Arafat, Golda Meir, Nelson Mandela and Nikita Khrushchev are just a few of the notables who have all addressed the world from the National Press Club. And today we are hosting one of the most newsworthy heads of state in the world, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Here at the National Press Club, it's our job to facilitate the news, to help bring newsmakers and journalists together. That's exactly what we're doing here today. We're not endorsing anything the president has said or will say, just as we didn't endorse what Fidel Castro said when he spoke at the National Press Club. We simply arranged for this opportunity for President Ahmadinejad to share his thoughts with us.

One thing is different and historic about this National Press Club luncheon. This is the first videoconference luncheon in the 100- year history of the National Press Club. We invited President Ahmadinejad to join us via video from New York where he is attending the U.N. General Assembly.

President Ahmadinejad, welcome to the National Press Club.

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: In the name of God, the compassionate, the merciful --

INTERPRETER: The president is reciting verses from the holy Koran in Arabic.

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: -- I am very glad to sit down and meet with members of the press and congratulate a 100th year of your activities.

At the outset, I would like to raise a fundamental question on a key issue. I'd like to invite all to look at world events. When we take a look around us, we're not happy with what we see. Indeed it is the most unsatisfactory state of affairs; insecurity, discrimination and threats of war and security concerns have affected everyone. Continuous wars have, in fact, hurt the human spirit. I believe if we look at the root cause of some of these problems, we will be able to think of how to build a better future, a more prosperous future based on peace and security for all humanity. I believe we all believe strongly that it is possible to create a better world for humanity, and to realize this sublime and beautiful goal, we need to take a look and revise how we view the world around us.

In looking for the root causes of the world problems today, we first look -- confront (deviations ?) on how mankind is viewed and how the world is viewed through the prism and point of view, in fact, of some politicians and statesmen. I would say we believe in the sublime value of humanity.

The Almighty God has replaced man on -- has replaced his position with man's position on Earth. As his representative, He gave dignity to him and respect and called on mankind to make every effort to move towards a prosperous life and to walk on the sublime path that will help achieve it. God placed man on Earth has His representative, and to guide him, He sent His prophets. God placed the world in man's hand and helped man control it, gave man talents with the ability to grow those talents, and placed no limits on man's progress in that respect.

God created man above material being and placed that material being into man's hands for his possession. What this means is that God placed man on a high status and respected him, so to God, man is a unified truth, beyond geographical borders, colors or ethnicity. God and all his prophets have addressed all human beings from all segments of life. The greatest harm to mankind is to prevent him from pursuing education, to prevent him from moving on the sublime, divine path.

The nature of mankind is imbued with God's spirit. God's spirit helps man pursue science and wisdom and love and beauty and kindness and to render service to other mankind. That's what it invites man to do, so no one should prevent the pursuit of science and knowledge by man; no one should prevent love and kindness from flourishing in mankind and turn that into hostility, enmity and all forms of grudges that we now hold against each other. No one should distort the beauty of thought and the beauty of feeling in emotion from man. Family is the center of love and beauty; fathers, mothers and children is our center for giving love.

Peace and tranquility is based in the family. No one has the right to take away the divine gift from humanity.

The result of love and kindness is the (ability to ?) render service, to sacrifice oneself for other people. That should not be prevented. Kindness and love also gives the result of forgetting about oneself for others. This is a realization of the sublime beauty of mankind that must not be denied to him. The security of thought and of being is a right and is a necessity.

Security can happen within the realm of God and the belief in God. Those who believe in God seek His assistance and depend on Him, the God who is the absolute power, who is the absolute knowledge, the absolute knowledge, and who loves his beings, the God who upholds the rights of those defenseless people. And those who believe in this God will believe in peace and will achieve peace. Those whose seek the approval of this God will never have fear or concerns.

Most certainly, to seek God's approval, one must follow him. Following God means to respect the rights of others, to render respect and kindness to others, to engage in pious acts and behaviors, to remember God. Following God means wanting the best for all others, to invite them to good and to tell them to refrain from bad.

Insecurity happens when remembrance of God and following Him is weakened. When a group are not satisfied about their rights, they will become aggressors. And when the rights of another group of people and another land and other people's resources are usurped, insecurity arises.

When the boundaries of people is broken and security is robbed from them, that's when the threat of arms and nuclear arms overshadows the tranquility that mankind had before; insecurity prevails. And when security is taken away, the talents are no longer flourished, the happiness and joy of life is replaced by fear, insecurity prevents man's progressive development, and it distorts man's vision from achieving its sublime path -- goal.

My friends, man is a divine creature. It has the talent to move towards the indefiniteness of beauty, of joy and greatness. The human path is a movement from darkness to light. The truth of the world, of this universe, is pure, and the creator of the world is -- has no -- is free of all forms of lies and deceits and oppression.

The right path is the path to piety. Lies are incompatible with the truth of mankind and with the adjectives that the divine Lord has given us for humanity. Lies are an incorrect reflection of the reality and reflection of those behaviors of the liars and the way they think. Lies have nothing to do with the divine spirit of mankind. Lies deviate thoughts and lead to judgments that weaken the truth and deviate man's path.

Therefore, lies and deceits are in fact a form of oppressing mankind, and we are all against that form of oppression, of oppression of all sorts. Powers or human beings who create insecurity and impose it on the world, who threaten this divine creature and disable him from flourishing his talents, commit the highest forms of oppression by disallowing that man -- not allowing man to move from this material world up to the divine, to the heavens.

So from a divine perspective as well as from a humane perspective, insecurity, violence, terror are not all simple challenges or perhaps one of oppression or deviation from the collective rights of individuals and people, so that that is not just simply the case; rather, it goes broader. That level of insecurity is oppressing mankind in its totality.

Tribal violence and ethnic violence is imposed by the powerful groups, by the oppressors is in fact a form of oppressing mankind altogether. Of course insecurity does not arise only through security activities or through police activities or through indirect means but -- principally, the mind should not be marred by things that prevent it from thinking clearly and finding the true path, the correct path. Materialism, hedonism, engaging in immoral behavior mars the heart, spirit and thought of mankind and prevents it from thinking about pureness and piety and prevents man's joyous movement towards progress. This, too, is insecurity of the mind.

In the teachings of the divine prophet, these are what prevent man from growing. In this logic, there are no principles; rather, there is a propensity to engage in corruption and all that it represents, and that all hurts man's movement towards the sublime path and the final branch of insecurity of the mind and of the thoughts. We disagree with that. We do not like to see that prevail. And I think that to have a better world, our vision of how we look at mankind must change. We have to look at the rights of man, the needs of mankind and the dignity of mankind.

I believe in setting up a prosperous future, the role of the press is very important. The press plays a connecting role, and it provides information and promotes -- can serve as a channel for promoting correct thinking. The role of the press is to disseminate moral behavior, to disseminate goodness, purity, honesty, peace, security and all positive messages that arise from that. And this role is extremely significant; God forbid -- they must prevent the dissemination of hatred and impurity and insecurity, for in that sense, too, they play a very sensitive role.

The press can be the voices of the divine prophets or, God forbid, the voice of those who seek the worst and those who oppress humanity. Time will pass and join history, so it is best for all of us to seek peace, security and purity and let that remain for posterity.

There are some powerful groups that do not allow that. Their interest rests in belittling mankind. Their interest rests in the unawareness of mankind. Their interest rests in controlling the free flow of information. Their interest rests on attacking and aggressing other nations and the rights of other people. Their interest rests on producing weapons and to sell those weapons and arms. But our human responsibility requires us to reflect on the reality and truth as it is, and bring the message of peace and friendship for all humanity. I hope that we will all succeed in our efforts.

I'm very glad to meet with all of you again today. I look forward to receiving your comments and views.

MR. ZREMSKI: Thank you very much, President Ahmadinejad. Can you hear me?


MR. ZREMSKI: Yes. Okay, great.

We have many, many questions, starting with this, which directly relates to your speech. How important do you think that the worldwide spread of Islam is to creating the sublime and beautiful world that you envision? And is there room for other religions?

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: We think that all religions and all divine religions have the same message. They all come from the same place. They have several clear messages: to invite man to worship God, which is the root of all goodness; to invite man to justice, which guarantees love, friendship and viable security; to invite man to dignity and to respect of mankind; to invite man to love the rest of mankind.

These messages are set in the religion of Christ -- of Moses and Christ as well as the holy passage of Islam. These prophets have all given the same messages. They never had differences in that respect. There was never a conflict there because their root goes back to the same -- (word inaudible) -- and their message was the same as well.

MR. ZREMSKI: Does that mean there is room for Christianity --

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: They all believe in beauty and goodness --

MR. ZREMSKI: -- (off mike) -- that you're describing?

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: They're all brothers. They all want the same thing, justice and friendship, and this is the common ground for all religions. True pious people have no differences with other --

MR. ZREMSKI: Yes, but do those religions have a place in the world you described?

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: They're all human beings and followers of different religions, and all of their views should be respected. We should all build a prosperous community together, and we must all move hand in hand. This is a responsibility for all.

MR. ZREMSKI: We have many questions regarding the Baha'i religious minority in Iran. Many of our questioners say that the Baha'i minority has been deprived of their human rights. What would your response be to that?

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: In our constitution, Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Zoroastrianism are recognized as the official religions. When we speak of religion, we refer to divine religions. In our country we follow that law, a law that is based on the majority vote of the people.

MR. ZREMSKI: The 2007 Amnesty International Report on Iran said the following:

"Freedom of expression and association were increasingly curtailed. Internet access was increasingly restricted and monitored. Journalists and bloggers were detained and sentenced to prison or flogging, and at least 11 newspapers were closed."


PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: I think people who prepared the report are unaware of the situation in Iran. In our country law prevails. Freedom is flowing at its highest level.

You know that the newspaper that also -- you know that a government newspaper was actually shut down because it was engaging in illegal acts, a newspaper that was reflecting the views of the head of the state, but because it insulted a figure and disrespected the rights of the people by insulting -- (inaudible) -- it was shut down. You know that on a daily basis we have many, many newspapers or the presence of newspapers in our country, and the number of those newspapers that are against the government in place right now are perhaps 10 times larger than the newspapers that are pro-government.

In our country, there are tens of millions of people who are connected to the Internet, they have access to it. So if you're talking about immoral, like acts of perhaps immoral sites, well, you would agree with me that the sites are harmful for society. Nobody can really allow access to those. But our people are the freest people in the world, the most aware people in the world, the most enlightened, so to say.

So the person who prepared this report, I would say, had he had the chance to walk in Iran -- in Tehran and other cities and visit them in Iran, and to really sit down with people and speak with them would have understood that people in Iran are very joyous, happy people and very free and very much aware of all world developments on -- as it continues every minute, every second. And they're very free in expressing what they think.

Last year in the university, a minority group of a hundred people stood against over 2,000 people, students who were -- who supported the president, and they were screaming and they tried to disrupt a session. There were lots involved, and the president sat down for two hours and listened to all of them. And right now they're free, they're walking freely.

I think the people who give this information should seek what is the truth and sort of disseminate what's correct.

So I invite everyone present in this meeting to come and visit Iran for themselves, to come freely and visit the country all over, to speak with the people there. Then their point of view will change.

MR. ZREMSKI: Two of the journalists that have been arrested in Iran have been sentenced to death simply for doing their jobs. Mr. President, can you give us your word that you will do everything in your power to keep this sentence from being carried out?

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: The news is fundamentally wrong. This is incorrect. This is not correct at all about Iran, what's happening.

Which journalist has been sentenced to death? I'm sorry that some press here disseminates what's untrue. Why should we insist on propagating what's untrue?

MR. ZREMSKI: This report comes from Reporters without Borders.

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: (Off mike.) Well, this is incorrect. Who are these people? Can you let me know who they are, so at least I can be aware of who they are too?

MR. ZREMSKI: I will certainly do that.

Moving on, Iranian women are --

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: I would be certainly grateful. That would be very helpful to me.

MR. ZREMSKI: Okay, I've just been handed a report from Reporters without Borders, and it names the names Adnan Hassanpour and -- forgive me, this is a little difficult -- Abdolvahed Hiva Botimar.

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: Where were they involved in as a journalist and where were they arrested? I don't know people by that name. I think that what you received was incorrect information.

You have to sort of rectify the information channel you have. On a daily basis, over 30 newspapers currently are filled with pages and pages of basically criticizing the president and the administration in Iran and even sometimes insulting our policies and what we do. All the journalists and newspapers also receive loans from the -- actually not loans but grants from the government.

MR. ZREMSKI: Okay, I think we should move on from that question to the following.

Iranian women are campaigning for an end to discrimination. You have charged them with acting against national security. Some women leaders have been beaten and tortured. How do you justify such violations of human rights?

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: Can you again tell me where you get this report from?

(Laughter.) The freest women in the world are women in Iran. You should look at our women. They're active in every level of society, as researchers, in social groups, in university, in parties, in the press, in the arts, in politics, in political associations. They're one of the most active women in the world, and they're free. On the anniversary of the victory of the revolution, 22nd of Bahman, Iranian calendar year, over 20 million women come to rally in support of the revolution.

And many of them hold key positions. There are two female vice presidents in our country; in very high specialized fields they're involved as well. Over 60 percent of university students are female, and especially in the, you know, very specialized fields, as I said. Women have won medals in international sort of athletic championships.

So who said that Iranian women are being tortured in Iran? I think again that we --

(Cross talk.)

MR. ZREMSKI: (Inaudible) -- been making those points for years.

But again, let's move on to another series of questions. We've got so many topics that we would like to cover. I'm going to try to move quickly.

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: Well, human rights groups say what they want -- they say, and we tell them that they're wrong. They have to keep their independence.

MR. ZREMSKI: Okay, moving on to the topic of Iraq. You recently said that Iran was, quote, "prepared to fill the gap", unquote, as American influence wanes in Iraq. How, precisely, would you fill this gap?

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: Well, again, this too is one of those distortions by the press. I said our region will soon face a power vacuum, and Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia and regional countries are able to fill in that vacuum.

And I also analyzed what I meant. I said that nations -- countries in the region are able to establish security themselves and they do not need the presence of others in the region in order to arrive at security. This is what I said very clearly and will say again. I am surprised by the words are distorted and what is said is sort of a distortion from what was initially said.

MR. ZREMSKI: What role, then, do you see Iran playing in the future of Iraq?

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: For hundreds of years we've lived in friendship and brotherhood with the people of Iraq. We want an independent powerful Iraq, a developed Iraq which will benefit the entire region. That's what we believe in. We are the ones harmed most by insecurity in Iraq. We would like to see peace, tranquility and progress in Iraq because people in Iraq have historical ties with us. Annually, millions of people from the two countries travel to the other country. There are a lot of intermarriages. There are many Iranians who are born in Iraq and many Iraqis who are born in Iran. We are two nations interconnected. We are brothers and friends. We want nothing but goodness and progress for the Iraqi nation, but we think that regional countries themselves can know how to run the affairs of the region best. They don't need a guardian from outside to tell them how to do it.

MR. ZREMSKI: The U.S. military yesterday accused Iran of smuggling surface-to-air missiles and other advanced weapons into Iran -- or into Iraq for use against American troops. Is that true or will you categorically deny this allegation?

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: We will allow the U.S. military there to basically take what it confiscates, whatever these missiles or whatever these weapons it claims it has or sees in Iraq. We think, in fact, the military should seek an answer to defeat in Iraq elsewhere, in the misguided policies that it has led and the wrong perspective that it has had towards Iraq and its people. Regretfully, they are standing against the Iraqi people.

MR. ZREMSKI: Are those Iranian weapons going into Iraq?

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: Because Iraq's security means our security. We want --

MR. ZREMSKI: So is that confirming that those weapons are going in?

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: No, this does not exist. Are you telling me that the U.S. military is defeated as a result of two or three weapons here and there? There are two problems here looking at it like this.

MR. ZREMSKI: No, I'm simply --

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: First of all, it undermines the power of the U.S. military by making statements like this -- (inaudible). And second of all, U.S. politicians will not be able to make the right decision on matters about Iraq.

The problem of the U.S. military lies elsewhere. They need to change their methods.

MR. ZREMSKI: Why will Iran not agree to a civilian nuclear partnership with other countries? Why must Iran enrich its own uranium when doing so raises suspicions that it intends to develop nuclear weapons?

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: First of all, that's not right. We are a member of the IAEA, and the powers of the IAEA explicitly grant us that right. Secondly two years ago, I made the same proposal you just referred to in the United Nations. But those selfish groups that didn't want to listen to it did not embrace it.

And secondly why should a nation tie its future to another group, another nation? Is the U.S. government willing to engage in partnership with us and advance its nuclear activities in partnership with us? If they're willing to do that, we're willing to do it, too. Are they willing to divide their rights with us?

Why do you think the U.S. administration, the government, which is a member of the IAEA, should have more rights over Iran, which is also a member of the IAEA? If there is law, international law, it's equal for everyone. Why is it that some people want more rights for themself?

MR. ZREMSKI: Bernard Kouchner, the new French foreign minister, recently said that the world should prepare for war with Iran if negotiations fail. Is Iran willing to go to war with the West to protect the Iranian nuclear program?

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: First of all, he took back what he said and revised it. And secondly the United States and France are not the world, don't speak for the world. And fundamentally I think this way of talking and looking at things is wrong. It's really bad whenever a man fails logic, when logic fails, basically, to engage in military threats.

We're working under the inspection of the IAEA system, and our activities are legal and for peaceful purposes. We have -- we don't want anything --

MR. ZREMSKI: Would you be willing to go to war to defend your program?

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: We think that the talk of war is basically a propaganda tool. Why is there a need for war?

People who talk about it have to bring a legal reason for going to war. Why should they threaten another country? Why should they create more insecurity? I think officials who talk this kind of talk should really be pressured and warned to know what to say and when not to say something. They cannot endanger world security. And if they haven't learned the lesson, then the international community has to tell them how to learn that lesson.

Of course, the foreign minister of France revised what he said, and I don't think that the French nation is the kind of nation who would want that kind of war. They're a very cultured society, a very cultured group of people, people who have good relations with the Iranian people.

I think, of course, give the foreign minister to gain more experience in his new position, too, and then I'm sure he'll talk from a level with more higher maturity.

MR. ZREMSKI: Very well. Is there any circumstance in which the Islamic Republic of Iran and the state of Israel can coexist in peace?


MR. ZREMSKI: Excuse me. We're not getting your translation, Mr. President.

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: We do not recognize that regime because it is based on discrimination; ethnic discrimination, occupation, usurpation. And it consistently threatens its neighbors. Last week or so, it attacked Syria. And last year it attacked Lebanon. And when they talk about their goals, they speak about taking over the area between -- (inaudible) -- the Euphrates. This is occupation and expansionism in the true sense of those words.

And they discriminate between people. They kill people. They displace people. They kill young people in their own homes. How is it possible to recognize this? I am surprised why members of the press don't raise voices of objection to the policies there.

MR. ZREMSKI: Would you be willing to meet with Holocaust survivors who wanted to discuss their experiences with you? And why or why not?

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: What do you want to happen from this?

MR. ZREMSKI: I don't -- I'm just asking the question that was handed to me.

MR. ZREMSKI: I raise two questions about the Holocaust. I said if the Holocaust happened and is a reality -- well, granted that the Holocaust is a reality, then why don't we allow more research to be done on it?

Why are European researchers sent to prison when they question some major aspect of it?

Assuming that it -- the Holocaust, well the reality of the Holocaust is here, it saddens us when any human being is killed; Jews, Christians, Muslims, no difference. But let us remember, then, where did the Holocaust happen to begin with? It happened in Europe. And given that, why is it that the Palestinian people should be displaced? Why is it affecting them? Why are they paying the damage by giving up their land? Why?

That's what our question is based on. It's a very right question to ask. It's very transparent. It doesn't need me to sit down and meet with anybody, although, of course, I would welcome any meeting. But my questions remain the same. They're very clear. And I want answers that are as clear.

MR. ZREMSKI: Okay, we have about five minutes left before the president will have to leave, so we have time for just a couple of last questions.

I just wanted to ask you, Mr. President, about your thoughts and your feelings about the reaction to your visit -- your proposed visit to Ground Zero and your visit later this afternoon at Columbia University. Why do you think both of those proposed visits have caused such controversy in New York City?

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: Last year I wanted to go to Ground Zero as well. I was interested in expressing my sympathy to the victims of that tragedy. And I think that it is the responsibility of all of us to also understand the root causes of events like 9/11. And that was on my plan and agenda this year, as well.

Columbia University has invited me to be there. It is an official invitation. And there are some pro-government members of the press that were -- that objected to it very severely. They've provoked the people, so to say. And this is sad to watch.

I think we should all have the capacity to listen to everything. I announce explicitly and clearly here, we oppose the way the U.S. government tries to manage the world. We believe it's wrong. We believe it leads to war, discrimination and bloodshed. And that we propose more humane methods of establishing peace.

We think that the world can be led in more humane ways than it is now, through peace, brotherhood and friendship and through justice.

We say this very clearly. Why is it that some people don't want to hear anything -- people to hear another point of view? It goes against the grain of freedom of speech and freedom of information here. All voices should be heard.

Last year, a reporter asked me about what the president of the United States had said to the Iranian people about addressing them. And I welcomed it. I said, we want him to talk to our people every day. Whatever comes to his mind, he should tell our people. I will encourage people to hear what he has to say, as well. I'm surprised, in a place where they claim that they have freedom of information, they are trying to prevent people from talking. That's not good.

MR. ZREMSKI: Okay. In 1979, during the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Iranian students captured more than 50 American hostages and held them captive for 444 days. Do you believe this was morally justified? And if so, why? Or was it wrong?

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: I propose we don't return to the past, because then we'd have to talk about records of 25 years of measures taken by the U.S. administration inside Iran and that history as well, from the coup in 1953 to its support of a dictatorship and the humiliation of the Iranian people and efforts to divide Iran and to insult Iranian people, robbing Iran of its resources and defending Saddam during an eight-year war against Iran.

I think everything should be examined within its own time period (and frame ?). And instead of the past, we must now begin to think of the future. Let the future be a bright future.

MR. ZREMSKI: Last question is about the future and kind of reflects upon the fact that here in the United States, we have very long presidential campaigns. And it would prompt an American reporter to ask, do you plan on running for reelection in two years?


MR. ZREMSKI: (Laughs.) I think I'll listen to what you have to say. That smile would seem to indicate --

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: Well, I want to see what you have to say for once, too.

MR. ZREMSKI: (Laughs, laughter.) I have no opinions on Iranian politics.

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: (The press if I ran ?) and became as candidate again.

MR. ZREMSKI: (Laughs.)

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: Because every day, you will be -- you will have news about peace, good news coming.

MR. ZREMSKI: Great. Thank you very much, President Ahmadinejad, for joining us here today. I'd also like to thank National Press Club staff members Howard Rothman, Tina Creek (sp), Melinda Cooke, Pat Nelson and Jo Anne Booze for organizing today's event. Also, I'd like to especially thank NPC General Manager Bill McCarren and our former General Manager John Bloom for all that they've done to make today's event happen, and thanks to the NPC Library for its research.

In addition, I would like to thank Mohammad Mir Ali Mohammadi of the Iranian mission to the United Nations and Javad Zarif, Iran's former ambassador to the U.N., for their extraordinary efforts to make this event happen today.

Thank you. We're adjourned. (Strikes gavel.)


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