Larry King – September 2009
Ahmadinejad’s Interview with Larry King – CNN
September 26, 2009
KING: Your country has, you’ve said, rather, that 40 million people participated in the June elections. Iran uses paper ballots. They’re hand counted. Yet the Interior Ministry announced the official results less than 24 hours after the poll closed. How could you count votes so quickly?
AHMADINEJAD: It’s quite simple. If you’re familiar with Iran’s electoral process, you’ll have the answer quite clearly. Forty million votes in 46,000 polling stations so, on average, there are less than a thousand votes cast in every polling box and there were only four candidates. So you can count all of that within half an hour. It’s a very simple task. And there were 500,000 people involved in the counting. So it’s the counting is done very easily. It’s not a difficult task.
KING: Now how do you explain, though, Mr. President, logically, thousands and thousands of your own countrymen take to the streets to protest the election, denounce it as a fraud? How did you feel about that? I mean, here all these people, thousands of people, complaining about their vote. As a president of an Islamic Republic, did you not feel some pain over that?
AH: Sure. But what am I supposed to do? Some people did not get votes and they have complaints. In any election, there’s always a winner and someone loses. And that’s precisely why you hold elections. Elections are meant for — to, basically, people to see who wins and vote for the people they like. Now, say their party loses. What are they supposed to do, go on the streets all the time? That doesn’t seem like the right thing to do either. There is a legal structure that defines how things are run, including the election process. Now, anyone who has a complaint can basically refer to the law and the law will take care of it.
KING: Didn’t it concern you that these people were complaining that this was fraud?
AH: Some people — a few people said that. And they were angered. And that’s fine. It doesn’t really matter, because, in the end of the day, our nation is unified. You should really rest assured of that. We’ve had over 30 fully free elections in the past 30 years. So people in our country, you know, interact in a friendly way. And if you wait, there will be future elections as well.
KING: Why did you crack — why violence against women and children and the elderly? You unleashed against the protesters. Protesters can protest. They protest all the time. Why treat them violently? Why take action?
AH: Do you have the news from Pittsburgh today? There were thousands and thousands of people there. What were they protesting? Why did the police use tear gas? Why did they beat people up? Why did they arrest people? Could you tell me that?
KING: I don’t justify it. But why did you do it? I’m asking about you. You’re the guest. Why did you treat women, children, hitting women and children — why?
AH: Very well. And I’m asking you. I mean, at some point, the police is forced to get engaged. It doesn’t make us happy when it happens. But so you know, most of the people who actually were harmed as a result of the protests and the chaos that followed the elections in Tehran were pro-government individuals, not people who were opposed to this government. The majority of them were actually out there defending the government. So in principle, what happened was not a good thing. But again, if someone’s voted into office, there’s no need to have chaos in the country afterwards — or agitations. However, having said that, I believe that some British and U.S. officials made a mistake…
KING: Did you make the decision to crack down? You — you had mass trials after this. No lawyers. People were imprisoned without charges. That’s — that’s not done in — that’s not done in an Islamic Republic, is it? That’s not done.
AH: Most of it — I mean, all of the people who went on trial had actually been trained (ph). Both the attorneys said that they acted freely and the — basically, the plaintiffs also said that they had enough time to review what they had done and they admitted the mistakes they had done. And actually, the courts were open enough to basically take care of due process of law and allow for the trials to happen. And all this was done within a legal framework. Now I ask you, do you know exactly the number of prisoners here in the United States? 3.6 million people.
KING: I don’t think there are any political…
AH: Oh, you probably don’t know.
KING: I don’t know if there are any.
AH: Do you know, on a daily basis, how many people are killed in prisons here in the United States of America?
KING: Killed in prison? No, I don’t think but I don’t think many protesters of elections…
KING: Back to the elections, Mr. President, we know that people were beaten, raped, murdered. The Ayatollah even criticized what was going on. Surely, you must, in retrospect, say I did something wrong. Surely you must say that.
AH: I had no involvement in those accidents and what happened.
KING: Accidents? You had no involvement?
AH: No, not at all. I did not have any involvement. In fact, in our country, you must understand that our judicial system works independently, and judicial responsibilities are carried out, and enforced as an independent body of enforcement. And whoever violates the law has to be taken care of in accordance with the legal structure. There are punishments there, and I do not have control over the judicial system. In your own country, does the president have the ability to order a judge what to do? Can he?
AH: And then what happens to justice here? It’s the same in our country.
KING: Did you make any decisions with regard to the protesters? Did you instruct police?
AH: It was not necessary. It was not necessary. The law decides what everyone should — how everyone should be dealt with. Whoever violates the law has to appear before the judicial system of the country. And the judicial system of the country takes care of it. This is a quite clear logic out there. Nobody cracks down on the it was a violation of the law that had to be dealt with by the law.
KING: Let’s discuss the violent death of a young woman Neda. During the June protests, she was captured on video and shown around the world. Everybody saw it, and you have said that her killing is being treated as a suspicious death. What does that mean? Is there an investigation? What have you learned? What happened to Neda?
AH: Now, let’s see what happened. First of all, it’s indeed regrettable. I’m very sorry that one of our fellow citizens was killed, especially a person who wasn’t, I mean she was not a person who was not in a protest, and she was walking on a side street where no demonstrations were happening. According to basically the report issued by, she was killed by a small rifle. It was a closed shot, in other words. And that leaves a serious question in our mind unanswered. Now, when she was proceeding from the main street, there was a camera recording her movements for about 100 meters while she was walking. The same camera that then publicized the scenes of her death.
AHMADINEJAD EXPLAINS THAT BECAUSE OF THERE BEING ONE CAMERA, THE US AND EUROPE ARE TO BLAME FOR NEDA’S DEATH
Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DXAe3cXAAA
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLtppfyxjdE
Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cx8zV1_qA94
Part 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_XQy8VbWgE
Part 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0f6_6JNQGuc