On September 22nd 2010, Larry king sat down once again with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to discuss issues from the American hikers who were taken captive and await trial in Iran to Nuclear weapons, Israel, and the opportunity for peace in the Middle East. This interview was an opportunity to let Ahmadinejad answer the many questions surrounding Iranian politics and the middle east, and Larry King wasted no time. The questions were fired off, and the President answered just as sharply, careful not to profess any leniency on the issues brought up. By the end it seemed that both King and Ahmadinejad were frustrated, and it began to look more like a debate than an interview, as both representatives from completely different worlds and viewpoints clashed. Accusations flew back and forth, and by the end, little had seemed to be resolved. As host Fareed Zakaria noted in the post interview conversation with King, “I thought he (Ahmadinejad) was tough. He did not seem to want to give satisfaction on any issue”.
Right out of the gate, Larry King questioned the Iranian president about the two remaining captive hitchhikers who were detained in Iran for an illegal border crossing. Ahmadinejad was insistent on the fact that he had no say in the matter, and that it was up to the judge. He also stressed the fact that it was up to the judge and the legal process when asked if the trials could not be sped up that legal so that the families could be reunited. The case of the missing FBI agent in Iran was also brought up, and the President made clear he did not know the agent’s whereabouts, and that he would like to work with the FBI and the US to locate said agent. He also remarked that the FBI should be more willing to share information and be more active in the case.
Larry king then began to bring up the worldwide fear of nuclear weapons and the tension heightened. Ahmadinejad was quick to express that the US did not represent the world as a whole. When it was pointed out that Israel was very concerned about nuclear activity in Iran, and that if not assured they might make a “first strike”, the president calmly waved it off, saying “Who is he (Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu) 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”. He then attacked the US support of Netanyahu, remarking “I think that the way to control people like Mr. Netanyahu and design this regime is to cease supporting him. The U.S. government should stop using U.S. taxpayers’ money to assist him…Why should this money go to him to acquire weapons, to attack Lebanon under different pretext and threaten Iran?” Ahmadinejad then goes on to affirm that “We (Iran) are not seeking the bomb. We have no interest in it” and voices the opinion that the Zionist regime and the US should disarm. The interview continues, and turns hectic as King poses questions about human rights, continually trying to get the Iranian president to admit Iran needs work in this area, mentioning the students who held a protest in Iran and were incarcerated. Ahmadinejad continually counters these statements by mentioning the immense amount of the US population in prison, the highest in the world. The president was also decidedly inconclusive about the issue of stoning as a legal punishment.
The interview peters out, leaving enough time for one last stubborn bicker about the recognition of the holocaust and anti-semitism. Ahmadinejad again leaves much to be desired on this issue, supporting peace in the middle east, but backing Palestine primarily. When reminded that Castro had urged the president to be more aware of anti-Semitism, he diverted away from the central question by comparing it to a hypothetical case in which all the Iraqis occupy the US because of the million people who have died in their country. The interview spirals downward as more accusations are thrown by both parties, and King eventually runs out of time, abruptly ending the segment. Little can be taken in the way of progress from this interview, it merely confirms that President Ahmadinejad is unwavering in his policy and beliefs, and will continue to be so henceforth. I have included a link to the interview from youtube. It is split into four parts, three of which are with Ahmadinejad, and the fourth is the post interview discussion.
By: Jake Linne, IB12