Monday, August 14, 2006

President of Iran interview with Mike Wallace 60 Minutes

I just watched on CSPAN 2 versions of the interview presented to the public last night, by 88 year old veteran reporter Mike Wallace, of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

I must say that both versions were of interest, but the uncut version which was run exclusively on CSPAN tonight was the best. I am of the understanding that the Iranian President requested that CSPAN run the uncut version tonight, and I am glad they did.

It is very obvious that the Iranian President is not Israel's biggest fan calling Israel and everyone he does not like zionists. He never once said the word Israel to what I could hear and he still seems to be confused about the holocaust. He thinks that there needs to be more research on the subject and thinks that there is governments or people out there not allowing further research into the gruesome subject. He wonders why if the Nazi's caused the holocaust why it is that the Jewish people claim in his words Palestine as their new homeland, and not somewhere else.

He stated the Iran is a peaceful country having not initiated an invasion or caused a war with any country for over 200 years. He was quick to quote that since the US has been in place he is of the opinion that the US has started 105 wars or invasions....

He was very cagey and evaded the direct questions with a smile and another question. Some people are commenting that Mike Wallace was condescending to the Iranian President, but I couldn't see that. I am sure if he was interviewing George Bush or Tony Blair, or Helen Clark for that matter that he would have been just as direct with them.

It seemed very clear to me that in the interview the Iranian President was trying to reach out to the west by saying that he believed in peace and that his interests in nuclear technology is for generating power for the future of his country. He feels that the west wants to control the generation of power so as they can push their ideas upon the rest of the world, and he does not like oppression that he says US is putting upon his friends in Iraq.

The question was put to him of what he thought of US President George Bush. He managed not to say anything derogatory per SE, but inferred that his letter (all 18 pages of it) to the US President he was trying to I guess give him advice and ask questions as why a man who believes in Jesus would be invading other countries and supposably causing oppression... He did bluff over the question that Iran is supplying ammunition to hezbollah by saying that USA is supplying ammunition and technology to Israel. He quoted UN resolutions a few times by stating that anyone is allowed to defend their home.... Seems that he has prepared for the interview.

He stated that it has been 26-27 years since high level correspondence has been between the USA and Iran. He says that it was not Iran that cut ties, and is seems rather obvious to me that by writing his letter, creating a new blog, and doing this interview that he is interested in talks with the USA, or at least sympathy from the general US public.

Having said that I still think he is a dangerous man who cunningly accepted this interview with Mike Wallace so as the UN (who he may well think of zionist's too) will not be as harsh on Iran when it is time for sanctions and anything else that may come Iran's way.

He shot down that comment that his letter to President Bush was a publicity stunt and I can see some folk over here wondering why George Bush didn't reply....

I think that what his plan was.....

The interview was interesting.... If you get the opportunity to see it do so.

After watching the interview, I guess I have some questions.....

Do you think that the President of Iran should have been given the interview, and do you think that George Bush in good faith should have replied to the President of Iran's 18 page letter?


Rymann said...

Things are grim when Rob's blog is set to "Auto-Beg" for a comment. Just kidding Rob, its late and I'm posting under the influence, but here goes...

Well, I'll take him over Khomeini any day.

Look, if Clinton could get Yasser Arafat and Ehud Barak to hold hands on the white house lawn, surely Bush can at least invite Ahmadinejad and his mates over for a beer and a game of cricket.

On a more serious note, we need to look at history. Anyone here remember the Iran Iraq war? Anyone? Yes Timmy, the one started by Saddam Hussein that was backed in secret by the Carter administration. The same one that went on for eight years under Reagan and cost a million lives. The one where Trillions of dollars in arms and cash were funneled into Iraq by the US. Yes Timmy, Trillions is a lot of money.

A few years later, Kuwait gets invaded by Hussein, the US then goes in guns blazing to protect its energy interests er I mean the friendly nation of Kuwait, forcing Iraqi troops out of Kuwait. I don't know how to say Dude, WTF? in Arabic, but I'm sure that's what was being said in Iran.

Rob Good said...

I am sure that most govt's will take him over Khomeini anyday. The thing is should the US govt after 27 years creat high level dialogue with the President of Iran.. Is he full of deceit or is he genuine?

Andrew said...

I know a few Iranians and they have all been very good people - intelligent, educated and with a lot of integrity. I don't think they're all the raving lunatics that we are lead to believe.

Will watch the show and comment after...

Rymann said...

Of course they should be talking. Iran has a large population of young, moderate, smart people. It would be a shame to turn these moderates into hardline radicals through poorly thought out foreign policy decisions.

The key thing in all of this is that there are two very distinct schools of thought in Iran. When the Shah was overthrown in the revolution, a great number of educated Iranians left the country. They have kept ties with family still there, and in doing so have exposed many people to western ideas and culture. On the other hand you also have the hardcore Muslim fundamentalists in Iran who favor strict adherence to Sharia law. If the US plays it the right way, it could bring about a strong shift toward moderate, democratic governance at a fraction of the cost of going to war. Or it could totally fuck it up by calling for sanctions at the UN without offering an alternative to nuclear reactors.

The flipside to all this is the funding of Hizbollah by Iran. Thats a very big pill for the US to swallow.

But bottom line, its time for these two to start talking.

TonyC said...

I remember seeing '50s pictures of downtown Teheran, it looked like Milwaukee. I've flatted with two Iranians, and we've had them go to Philippine universities in the '70s before the Shah was deposed. I harbour no deeply suspicious feelings towards those I have met; I never found them "weird" at all. Until the Islamists really took over, Iran was actually quite Western, with women walking down the streets in Chanel outfits. There are now radicals around, but modern Iran isn't really made up of people who only learned to read a few decades ago. Western influence in Iran is quite strong, if veiled. I'm no expert in Middle Eastern politics, so I don't really know what to say about this. Ideally, if you get rid of the mullahs you're heading in the right direction, but that doesn't seem likely.

David said...

Like many of you, I too have met a bunch of Iranians. I have studied with them, hung out with them, got pissed with them and dated a few of them (Muslim, Bahai and Jewish). Most were fun, educated, decent people, a few were bigoted, racist, prejeduced, intolerant assholes. The latter all being "fresh off the boat" and exclusively Muslim. They all had one thing in common, they didn't live in Iran although the latter group spoke of present day Iran in glowing terms. It seems religious bigotry is the defining characteristic.
I know the population of Iran is not homogenous in it's support for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad but are too afraid to speak up or act.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad himself has all the makings of a fine psychopath and is way too dangerous to ignore or wish away. He is genuinely full of deceit.
He controls a country on it's way to being a nuclear power, has enormous wealth due to it's oil and seems hell bent on spreading Islamo-facism of the radical variety that threatens to have "the streets run deep with the blood of the unbelievers".
A nice turn of phrase, directly from that peace advocating book , The Koran. To say that he is a liar, a dangerous madman or a cunning villian are all understatements and the sooner he is out of the picture the better it will be for all freedom loving, open minded people.
Maybe then the moderate Muslims we have all heard so much about but not so much from will finally open their mouths and speak up against this crazy evil

TonyC said...

The problem with radicalism in most forms, is its intolerance of those whose views differ from their own. One has "no right" to think differently from them, seeing as they are correct in their view. Even with Hitler -- the first thing he did when he came to power legally at first was eliminate journalists, publishers, and even judges and cops who spoke up and gave healthy opposition or contested him.

I grew up under martial law in the Philippines, and from childhood I have been strictly instructed by my parents never, ever to say anything bad about Marcos, because you can't tell what might happen to me or my family. You cannot tell who your enemies are, and you can't tell if anyone can come to your aid fearing for their own lives. And with a dictator controlling the press, your "disappearance" will not be known at any rate, thus you may die in vain.

It is not as simple as Westerners think, it isn't even cowardice, as even with the silent majority, there is blood that simmers but cannot be allowed to boil over at the wrong time; there is a difference between running away, and having your hands tied and your mouth gagged.

I mention of the mullahs because it is they who rally the radicals.

Rob Good said...

Therefore if ther was high level contact with Iran, then maybe USA can manipulate somewhat like they did in Libya? Either that or a smart bomb...?