tv Larry King Live CNN September 22, 2010 9:00pm-10:00pm EDT
the intruder allowing security to tackle him and take him into custo custody. that part where i said like mine, erase. okay, it's gone. okay, it's gone. here's larry king. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com >> larry: tonight, one of the most controversial leaders in the world, iranian president mahmoud ahmadinejad. will he set free two american hikers held for more than a year in an iranian prison? >> translator: it is possible. it depends on the judge. >> larry: does he want to sit down with president obama or not? does iran have nuclear weapons? and will his country use them if
they have them? >> translator: we are not seeking the bomb. >> larry: the president of iran next on "larry king live." >> larry: mr. president, thank you for coming back to "larry king live." do you like coming to america? >> translator: in the name of god, the compassionate, the merciful. i'd like to say hello to your audience, to you and your colleagues and ask almighty god to bring health, prosperity and success to all people and nations and countries.
i am interested in traveling to all parts of the world to meet with people. the united nations is an important forum for the exchange of international ideas on how to run international affairs and naturally people like myself should be actively involved in its work. >> larry: let's get to some current issues. a few days ago, you released the american hiker, but there is still two actives in iran. how long will they be detained? >> translator: well, they crossed our borders, violated the borders, and a judge will take care of their case. >> larry: but you did release one. is there any chance in the name of good will that you'll release the others? there were two hikers who made a mistake.
>> translator: that one person was released on bail because of mercy, compassion and as a humanitarian gesture. as for the others, yes, there is a chance, but the judge has to take care of the case. >> larry: do you know when? >> translator: it depends on the judge who will need to handle the case, issue a verdict. there's a process that must go through. >> larry: do you have any influence in that process? >> translator: i have no influence over it. but i have suggested for the lady in her case that it be
regarded with clemency, mercy and more kindness and compassion to allow her to return to her family. >> larry: what about bail for the other two? >> translator: it is possible. it depends on the judge. >> larry: would you -- you're in new york for a few more days. you will address the u.n. tomorrow. would you meet with their families if they asked to meet with you? >> translator: our program is closed right now in terms of the fact that it is a tight schedule. but i'd have to consider it. and having said that, i have
received no requests. >> larry: but if they did request, might you consider it? >> translator: yes, i would positively take it into consideration. >> larry: that is hopeful. we skasked the families, the families of shane bauer and josh fatal, the two prisoners, and their mothers passed this question along to you. this is from the mothers of the two still there. mr. president, the last time you were in new york for the u.n. general assembly 12 months ago, you promised to ask the judiciary to expedite our children's case and show maximum leniency. our hearts are broken that this has not happened. please, will you make this request again when you return to tehran? >> translator: i think that it
did happen. and all countries you have very strict laws and strict punishments for border crossings that are illegal. >> larry: but did you make the request -- they're asking if you would make the request of the judiciary to move it along. they miss their families. >> translator: i think that there are many prisoners in the world. do i have to make a personal request for everyone? now, having said that, i have requested the judiciary to look at the case of these three people's cases carefully but, you know, there are many prisoners in the world. here in the united states, there are 2.5 million. can i request the judiciary here in the united states to show
leniency and i would, in fact, seize this opportunity here and ask the judicial body of the united states, judicial leniency, in the case of the 2.5 million prisoners in this country. they have spouses. they have mouth mothers. children. parents. many are young. >> larry: we'll have more with the president of iran right after this.
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>> larry: we're back with president ahmadinejad. he will address the u.n. general assembly tomorrow, as will the president of the united states. we'll ask about that in a minute. what about robert levenson? this is the former fbi agent. he's been missing in iran for three -- over three years, hasn't been heard from. first, can you tell us, is he alive? is he okay? >> translator: i think we should ask that question from the fbi. >> larry: but he's in your country -- >> translator: how would i know? how am i supposed to know?
there are many individuals, many people who come to our country and leave. >> larry: so you have no idea where he is? >> translator: no. >> larry: his family says -- his family that they were promised a full report on his disappearance from your government and they have never heard anything. >> translator: we never made that promise. we agreed to have a joint information and intelligence committee with the u.s. government to gather information about his whereabouts, on his whereabouts, and we have expressed hope that this committee will soon be held and we express our preparedness to be part of the committee. now, if the fbi were to give more information about the purpose of this trip and what information he had and where his other destinations were, we
might be able to assist further in the case. >> larry: you have no idea where he is? >> translator: do you have any information? i'm like you, i have no idea what the fbi programs are. i don't know what the fbi does around the world. >> larry: we talked with -- well, we talked with his wife yesterday, christine, mrs. levenson. she asked that you give her a time and date for officials to meet with the fbi and share information. in other words, she is saying the fbi is willing to sit down with your people. can you give her a time and date? >> translator: yes, i -- i accept and agree with that. it saddens us when people travel, run into problems,
disappear. it's awful. i think that if all intelligence organizations work more transparentally and based on more humanitarian principles, these problems would not arise, but i would recommend that that intelligence committee be held jointly so that the representatives of iran and the united states can sit together and help trace his whereabouts. >> larry: you know, his daughter is getting married saturday. >> translator: i congratulate her on her marriage. >> larry: it will be nice if her father were there -- >> translator: -- sympathize with her. definitely, it would have been very good. i wish that it can happen. i think the fbi should be more active in this case and to find their agent. >> larry: you know, mr. president, if it were your children, if one of your children crossed the border of another country and were being
held, you would be very concerned and you would press the issue, would you not? >> translator: if my child violates a law, justice must be served. because law ensures security. and stability and laws must be observed because if they are to be violated, there shall be no security. >> larry: we'll be right back with more. don't go away.
that we are prepared to freely talk with him at the u.n. general assembly. i think it would be very good to sit behifore members of other states and the media and discuss our views. to have an exchange at the united nations. i think that would be very positive so that everyone can hear what we have to say. >> larry: secretary of state clinton says sanctions are biting your economy. said the sanctions are serious, can't be dismissed. are you worried about their effect and their continuing effect? >> translator: it seems to me
you've raised several issues. the question is why does the u.s. government place sanctions that are over above those specified by the u.n.'s security council? is that not an illegal measure? is it not indicative of the hostility of the u.s., the american people, towards the iranian people and the u.s. administration, more importantly, towards the iranian government? that's one issue. the second issue is that sanctions really are unimportant to us because we have been under sanctions for over 30 years. furthermore, our economy is not based on the economy of the united states. it is self-contained economy. indigenous-based economy because we are able to provide for our own needs. interestingly, in the years of sanctions that have been imposed on us, we have also had more
incentive to engage in activities that jump start and trigger our economy and we've been quite successful. we know here in the united states, many are very concerned -- many have made a lot of noise over the sanctions and have even identified people in iran, sympathize with views here that sanctions harm iran. really, that's no concern to us. on the ground sanctions have, in fact, encouraged us to be firmer in the pursuit of our economic goals. the united states government has had no relations with us. has had known for over 30 years. so what is it they are sanctioning? we have lived without the united states for over 30 years. and we have advanced when iran was under the yoke of the united states, it was a backward country. since we started living without
the united states, we have become an advanced country. is that bad for us? i think it's quite a positive measure -- step to take. >> larry: do you not understand the fears about nuclear weaponry in your country? with all the hostility in the region, don't you understand the fears over your having nuclear weapons? that could trigger something that you might not even start. >> translator: who is concerned? >> larry: the world is concerned. >> translator: who is the world? who represents the world? the united states? its friends? no, the world is a very big place. and what u.s. officials are wrong about is that they see themselves as the world but they are not. >> larry: all right. israeli prime minister netanyahu was a guest recently on our program and he said, quote, the greatest threat facing humanity,
humanity, that's the world, is that iran would acquire nuclear weapons. if israel feels that strongly and you don't directly assure them, don't you fear that they might do a first strike? >> translator: so you think that we are concerned -- we should be concerned about allaying mr. netanyahu's fears and concerns? >> larry: yeah -- >> translator: why should we be doing that for him? who is he? >> larry: he's the head of a country -- >> translator: who is he in the first place to begin with? he is a skilled killer. all dictators in the world have condemned others, and he's one of many of them. >> larry: maybe -- >> translator: -- put on trial for killing palestinians, for
placing gaza under seeriege, wh is against the law and against the spirit of the charter of the united nations. he should be put on trial for killing women and children and you want to allay his fears and concerns -- >> larry: i want to allah yours -- >> translator: allow me to ask a question from you. why does u.s. media feel so responsible for allaying mr. netanyahu's concerns and fears? >> larry: because -- >> translator: why? >> larry: -- what if he took his concerns to the next step and threatened you? so shouldn't you be concerned about him? you, iran? >> translator: so you are afraid that he might start a war? these are people who will want to start a war, are looking for an excuse so you're concerned about that. i think the way to control
peoples like mr. netanyahu -- design this regime is to cease supporting him. the u.s. government should stop using u.s. taxpayers money to assist him. there are 30 million, 40 million poor people in this country. 4 million homeless people in this country. why should this money go to him to acquire weapons, to attack lebanon under different pretext and threaten iran? this is terrible. very terrible. >> larry: let me take a break. we'll be right back. yep, even the rental. what if i'm stuck at the office? if you can't come to us, we'll come to you in one of our immediate response vehicles! what if mother won't let me drive? then you probably wouldn't have had an accident in the first place. and we're walkin'! and we're walkin'... making it all a bit easier -- now that's progressive! call or click today.
>> larry: all of these problems, mr. president, seem to center around -- we quibble, he's a dictator, you're a dictator who started -- if you have a nuclear weapon and they fear a nuclear weapon, you could have a problem that creates a problem for the world. would you say here now you do not and will not have nuclear weapons? be simple. >> translator: our first question is who is the world again that you speak of? you mean mr. netanyahu? who's the world? >> larry: if anybody drops a nuclear bomb on anybody, the whole world is involved. you know that. >>. >> translator: allow me, allow me here. you are aware that in polls, 88%
of the people in the region support iran's nuclear activities. so who's concerned? >> larry: what -- >> translator: this is the first question. it's iran's nuclear activities. no one expresses fear about iran's nuclear activities in the region except the zionist regime and the fear of some american authorities. we are not seeking the bomb. we have no interest in it. and we do not think it is useful. we are standing firm over the issue that both the zionist regime and the united states government should be disarmed. the threat to the world are the bombs that the u.s. government and the zionist regime have. if they think that by propagating against iran that they can basically change their opinion, they are wrong.
we will pursue it in all international organizations. we will discuss in the review process. the zionist regime was required. the document ratified by the ntp review conference to address its nuclear arsenal. so the u.s. government too must pursue this idea to ensure that the zionist regime's nuclear arsenal is eliminated because this regime is an illegitimate war-waging country. it has also proved that it does not have sufficient control over its nerves. its banker, the united states. that gets into wars in iraq and afghanistan just over nothing. and this government and the united states still does not have the ability to hold nuclear arsenals. in the same argument holds true for all who possess nuclear bombs. they must all disarm. because the nuclear bomb is the worst and ugliest form of weapon that there is.
and those who have it must disarm. and nobody has the right from now on to build nuclear bombs. >> larry: including -- >> translator: so our position's very clear on this. you must understand that this propaganda is useless. we don't have the nuclear bomb. those who have it have to be disarmed, rather than accuse others of having it or wanting it. both the u.s. government knows very well, as does the security council, that iran does not have a nuclear bomb and it is not seeking one. but we will stand firm, stand firm. they must all disarm. >> larry: we're in a world of fear apparently. conscien conscience. you talked about human rights and mr. netanyahu. how about conscience in your zmunt student, human rights defenders? don't you have to improve in that area? are there full human rights in iran? does everyone in iran have the right to speak out, to protest?
>> translator: everywhere in the world you see challenges of that nature. in the united states too there is need for more on this front. isn't there? so we have to have a comparative skill in our hands. i don't think, for example in iran, an employee would be fired after 50 years of serving in an office for expressing his opinion or her opinion. but this happened in your country. a reporter with a rich background was forced out of her work simply because she expressed an opinion. this never happened, would never happen in iran. >> larry: never happen? >> translator: now, everywhere in the world we have problems but this would never happen in iran. having said that, i understand all over the world there are problem, including in the united
states, and we are prepared to sit in a forum at a table, place all our troubles on the table and discuss it and resolve it together. i asked you, you have over 2.5 million prisoners here. not all of them are killer, murderers are thieves. who are the rest? >> larry: are you saying we have political prisoners -- >> translator: no, that's not what i'm suggesting. you can tell me that. why are they in prison? why? >> larry: i haven't investigated every -- drugs -- >> translator: are they all they'ves? are they all thieves and robbers? >> larry: big drug problem -- >> translator: you have so many drug-related problem, 2.5 million people, 1% out of 100 people in the united states, 1 person is in prison. why? >> larry: let me get a break and we'll come right back. >> translator: have they all killed, have they all robbed, have they all trafficked drugs?
>> larry: i don't know what that has to do with it. all right, we'll be right back. easy-to-swallow petes. tr in 2008 i quit venture capital to follow my passion for food. i saw a gap in the market for a fresh culinary brand and launched behindtheburner.com. we create and broadcast content and then distribute it across tv, the web, and via mobile. i even use the web to get paid. with acceptpay from american express open, we now invoice advertisers and receive payments digitally. and i get paid on average three weeks faster. booming is never looking for a check in the mail. because it's already in my email.
opened -- open conscience to human right, is open for human rights to all. you can't say that. >> translator: you can say these things even if i'm not here, right? so why would you need to mention it while i am here? >> larry: because you're the head of the country and -- >> translator: it seems you are judging. you are judging. i asked the question. there are 2.5 million prisoners here and why -- >> larry: they're not in prison for speaking out on the streets -- >> larry: -- comparative study of this issue -- >> larry: they're not in prison for holding up a sign. >> translator: allow me -- in iran, nobody is in prison because of participating in protests. nobody went to prison because of participating in protests. protests are free. but say if you had protests here and somebody attacked the police and killed the police, would you
reward them? >> larry: of course not. >> translator: would you reward them? why would you expect iran to reward them? if anyone violates the law, case has to go before a judge and it has to be examined and taken care of? why is it only in the united states that prisoners are in prison for legal issues, legally, whereas in iran they're in prison illegally? in iran, too, there's a legal process. there's been incidents where there have been protests and people attack the police, the police file complaints and the judge takes care of the issue. now, in the united states, you're telling me those in the police reason criminals but in iran those in police reason freedom cirques. that's awful. why is it that u.s. authorities are always trying to support and back people who violate the law in iran?
>> larry: we're not going to resolve that. one other thing on that area. do you still permit stoning? iran? we've had a lot of attention paid about that lady. do you permit stoning lawful in iran? >> translator: i think that i have explained this in the past couple of days to a number of reporters. this lady's case has not been completely examined yet. no verdict has been issued yet. she is accused of being -- murdering her husband. and i don't think in the world if someone is accused of murdering their husband, people would pour on streets and rally in support of her. she has been accused of the murder of her husband. there is no verdict issued.
no verdict, no sentence has been passed. >> larry: all i asked was -- >> translator: and it is not about a stoning case at all. there's no stoning sentence here. at all. a person in germany made this claim which was untrue. our judiciary also said it was a false statement. but i mean to ask a question to you, mr. larry king, if i may. last year, we were here the same time. in pittsburgh. there was a session. the group 20. over 100,000 people protested against the economic policies of the g-20. the police attacked them violently. many were beaten up. with -- or hot water was thrown on their bodies and many were
arrested. and you're telling me that protests are free in the united states? so here in the united states, do you think people can pour on the streets and protest against the zionist regime 100,000 people -- >> larry: i've got a time -- i've got to take a break. check♪ ♪ check the news online ♪ check the wife, check the kids ♪ ♪ check your email messages ♪ check the money in the bank ♪ check the gas in the tank ♪ check the flava from your shirt ♪ ♪ make sure your pits don't stank ♪ ♪ check the new hairdo, check the mic one two ♪ ♪ 'cause i'm about to drop some knowledge right on top of you ♪ ♪ you check a lot of things already why not add one more ♪ ♪ that can help your situation for sure ♪ ♪ check your credit score ♪ free-credit-score-dot-com ♪ free-credit-score ♪ you won't regret it at all! ♪ check the legal y'all. >>offer applies with enrollment in triple advantage.®
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>> larry: we're back with the president of iran. do you have an opinion about the controversy in the united states over the building of that islamic mosque near where the events of 9/11 took place? >> translator: i have no opinion on it. if a building is to be built, the municipal authorities or the authorities for the city have to examine it and then tell people what they think and what the decision is so the decision is for the people of this city and its authorities to make. >> larry: do you -- >> translator: what decision can i make over it? >> larry: you might have an opinion. >> translator: i don't have any opinion on it. i think that everybody should respect as a general rule places of worship. the sanctionties that human
beings have. to respect divine books. that i understand. >> larry: talks are about to take place again in the mideast, about the mideast. do you have any optimism that we will see peace in that region ever? >> translator: yes. i am very optimistic. without hope we cannot try harder to build a better life. i think if people's rights are given to them, peace will come. if the right to national sovereignty of the people of palestine is recognized, the problems there will be resolved. >> larry: how about the guarantee of the safety of israel and the recognition that israel is a country? does that have to be solved?
i mean, is -- this is both sides, isn't it, it's not just one side has to give in to create peace. it's a two-sided issue. >> translator: do you mean that here instead we should sit and decide for the palestinian people what they should want? i think the palestinian people should decide about that -- >> larry: -- recognize another state? all right. we only have a little time left. we'll be right back with our remaining moments. like chicken teriyaki with water chestnuts. it steams to perfection in minutes, giving the fresh flavors and textures of a homemade meal. marie's new steamed meals. it's time to savor. you could switch for great gas mileage or seats that flip and fold with one hand. you could switch for up to 600 highway miles on a single tank of gas.
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>> larry: we have only a few moments left. fidel castro who is not a capitalist, yesterday you said capitalism is the major problem in the world. fidel castro was critical of you for denying the holocaust. he said that iran should try to understand the unique history of anti-semitism. how do you' respond to castro? certainly not a friend of israel. >> translator: related to the zionist regime issue this news, mr. castro sent a message to me yesterday and said it was untrue, this statement, that his statements were interpreted differently, that he had said something different. so i have no opinion here on
this statement. but i'd like to ask why is there so much insistence in the united states to absolutely defend the zionist regime? relationship ben the u.s. government, 10,000 kilometer as cross the ocean from the zionist regime and the the need to support it? >> larry: because a massive group of people were annihilated just for being what they were. 7 million were killed, 8 million. so as a humanitarian country, we care about this and many jews came here to live and many jews created a country in israel and want to live in peace. don't you -- now, castro did say you should recognize anti-semitism exists in the world, and we all should be concerned about it. >> translator: is that the real issue, that the u.s. government wants to defend human rights? >> larry: of course. >> translator: where were these people killed? were they killed in palestine?
by the hands of palestinians? >> larry: it doesn't matter where they were killed, it's the fact that they were killed. >> translator: oh. then it's all right for 1 million iraqi people to be killed and then, would it be okay if they decided to come and occupy the united states? they were killed in iraq. would you allow them to come occupy the united states? >> larry: you're not saying the united states committed genocide, you're saying the united states committed genocide? >> translator: that's a separate discussion and, yes, it did happen in both iraq and afghanistan. but that's a separate issue. i like to ask you, if in a country someone's rights are violated, they're oppressed, assuming your assumption, your statement is correct, does that imply that they can go and occupy another land? is there any logic in that if we
were to follow that logic, will there be in security left in the world? in world war ii, if they were to occupy 20 countries around the world that would be terrible. >> larry: israel is a legal state. >> translator: the question is -- come on. the question -- you just said yourself it's over the holocaust. why are you changing your statement? >> larry: you were saying -- >> translator: my question is what are the interests of the united states to -- absolutely defending them. there are many parts of the world where human rights are violated. you know how many american indians were killed? do you know or not? >> larry: i know. we're out of time. >> translator: you're a reporter, you should have the answers to these. >> larry: we'll pick this up next year with the president of iran. i'm larry king. don't go away. ♪
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>> larry: we thought it best to follow the interview with the president of iran with our own freed zakaria, the host of "gps" airs sunday, a show i never miss, he's also newly with "time" magazine. it's great to welcome you. i wish we had more time, but what struck you most about him today? >> i thought he was tough. he did not seem to want to give satisfaction on any issue. in the past he has said iran has
no intention of building nuclear weapons, this say peaceful program, and instead of saying that, he was playing games with you. who are you to ask me that, who is the united states to ask me, so you got a sense of a man feeling comfortable about his position, feeling somewhat defiant. not really extending much of an olive branch at all. >> larry: why? why not? why this, you know the region better than anyone, why did it have to stay hardcore? >> i think this regime at its core has an element of anti-americanism that is in its dna. it came to power overthrowing a proamerican dictator, it still has as part of its kind of founding rituals, the death to america chants, and i think being revolutionaries, they believe, if they weaken, if they show themselves to be moderate, all of a sudden they'll be outflanked by the green revolution. so it's a very much a kind of hardcore revolutionary regime that feels as though they need
to, you know, strengthen the ranks, not show weakness. >> is it a good point that he makes that you have nuclear weapons, israel has nuclear weapons, we're not going to have any, but why are you yelling at us? >> he's very clever. people who think he's mad -- >> larry: he's not crazy. >> you've had him many times, he's an academic and he's very smart. he finds the weaknesses or the inconvenient facts and he pushes them relentlessly. let's be honest. we're trying to make the case that iran would be in violation of sort of universal rules of nuclear nonproliferation, and he keeps pointing out that israel has nuclear weapons and nobody seems to worry about that. it is an inconvenient problem. you know? because you have -- you have the reality of trying to create universal rules, and there is this exception. he similarly pushes back on human rights. >> larry: i wanted to ask you about that. >> it's sort of sof estri.
it's not real, but he has pointed to -- >> larry: pittsburgh, you know. >> and a weakness, which is the united states has 2.5 million people in prison, the highest incarceration rate in the world. we have more people per capita in prison than anyone else. so he's figured that out and he pushes and he pushes. >> larry: how bad is the human rights situation in iran? >> oh, it's pretty bad. >> larry: so he's lying? >> yeah. the reality is that after the green revolution, they put, as far as we can tell, thousands, maybe tens of thousands of people in prison. they released some of them, they certainly tortured some of them. when i was at news week international they arrested one of my reporters, a guy who was falsely accused of having been involved in inciting the revolutions. they tortured him, put him in solitary confinement. this man had done absolutely nothing wrong. so i know firsthand he's lying
about that. >> larry: why do you think, fareed, i've interviewed him many times, i've never heard him as harsh as he was tonight on netanyahu. calling him a killer. he hasn't been that harsh, it's getting worse. >> i think ahmadinejad is always playing a game to the arab street. is he trying to be the, the most anti-israeli leader in the middle east. >> larry: he's winning. >> the most pro-palestinian leader. what it does is, you notice he said something to you, he said the people of the arab world are not anti-iranian. you look at the polls. >> larry: 88%. >> right. and as far as we can tell, some of those polls are real. these are polls done by often western news agencies. and what he's figured out is if he comes out, up out ahead of everybody else supporting the palestinian cause, it complicates the life of the egyptian regime. >> larry: fareed zak