IRANIAN PRESIDENT SPEAKS TO MIKE WALLACE
IN AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
Subjects Include the Bush Foreign Policy, Lack of Iranian-American Relations, Hezbollah, Lebanon and Iraq
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sat down with Mike Wallace in Tehran yesterday (8) in a rare exclusive interview with a Western reporter. In the wide-ranging interview, the Iranian leader comments on President Bush�s foreign policy, lack of relations between Iran and the U.S., Hezbollah, Lebanon and Iraq. Portions of the interview will appear on the CBS EVENING NEWS, Thursday, Aug. 10 (6:30-7:00 P.M., ET/PT). Wallace�s entire report will be broadcast on 60 MINUTES Sunday, Aug. 13 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
Excerpts from the Ahmadinejad interview follow.
On Bush�s failure to answer Ahmadinejad�s 18-page letter that criticized U.S. foreign policy:
� Well, [with the letter] I wanted to open a window towards the light for the president so that he can see that one can look on the world through a different perspective�.We are all free to choose. But please give him this message, sir: Those who refuse to accept an invitation will not have a good ending or fate. You see that his approval rating is dropping every day. Hatred vis-a-vis the president is increasing every day around the world. For a ruler, this is the worst message that he could receive. Rulers and heads of government at the end of their office must leave the office holding their heads high.
On what the �conducive conditions� would be for Iran to establish relations with the U.S.:
� Well, please look at the makeup of the American administration, the behavior of the American administration. See how they talk down to my nation. And this recent resolution passed about the nuclear issue, look at the wording. They have given us --presented us with a package which we are studying right now. We even gave them a date for our response. Ignoring that, they passed a resolution. They want to build an empire. And they don't want to live side-by-side in peace with other nations. The American government, sir, it is very clear to me they have to change their behavior and everything will be resolved. [George W. Bush] believes that his power emanates from his nuclear warhead arsenals. The time of the bomb is in the past, it's behind us. Today is the era of thoughts, dialogue and cultural exchanges.