'Iran will honor any two-state decision'

Ahmadinejad urges international community to respect Palestinians' right to determine their fate.

Ahmadinejad UN racism conference 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
Ahmadinejad UN racism conference 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in an interview broadcast Sunday that the Islamic republic would honor any decision made by the Palestinians with regards to a two-state solution in a future peace deal with Israel. "Whatever decision they take, we will support that. We think that this is the right of the Palestinian people," he told ABC's This Week in a rare face-to-face interview with an American news network. He also called on other nations, specifically the US and European governments, to respect the Palestinians' right to determine their fate. Ahmadinejad went on to say that while the Islamic republic believes "in talking, in negotiating, based on sincerity, respect and justice," the country would not hold talks with the Obama administration unless "a clear-cut framework" and "clear agenda" were agreed upon beforehand. In the interview, which took place Wednesday in Teheran, Ahmadinejad said that while Iran welcomed the recent overtures from US President Barack Obama, "an administration which, up until yesterday, was saying that I'm going to kill you, and today says that I'm not going to kill you, is that sufficient?" Ahmadinejad stressed that he had "no reservations when it comes to talking," but that the nuclear program was "a special issue." "We think that the nuclear issue needs to be resolved in the context of the agency and regulations. We are just utilizing our legal rights," the Iranian leader said. The Iranian president went on to say he had "fully expected" Obama to participate in the UN anti-racism follow-up conference held in Geneva last week, noting that while he didn't believe Obama supported racism, he "should have been there and should have condemned outright racism and racial discrimination." Several nations, including the US, boycotted the conference as they feared it would serve as a stage for attacking Israel, which was in fact the focus of Ahmadinejad's speech. However, the Iranian leader said that when he was talking against "the Zionist regime, the first proviso for successful talks would be to give the other party the freedom to speak. Mr. Obama has the right to have his own opinion, obviously." "My point of view is that the Zionist regime is the manifestation of racism," Ahmadinejad stated. He went on to say that Western diplomats who walked out during his speech in Geneva "are free to have their own points of view," but noted that he did not understand "why they want to deny me my ideas." He also criticized Obama's support for the IDF's Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip. "The gentleman's support of the massacre of Gazans in support for the criminals who were responsible for that atrocity was a major mistake on the part of the gentleman," Ahmadinejad said. When asked why he insisted on questioning the Holocaust even when it has established as an historical fact and even though Iranian politicians worry that this kind of talk isolates Iran, Ahmadinejad explained why he believed the issue was not being treated fairly. The two main problems with the way the world regards the Holocaust, the Iranian president said, were that the Palestinians were expected to pay the price for European racism, and that research that questions the Holocaust was not permitted. "If this is a historically documented event, why do Western states show so much sensitivity toward a historical event? They do not want the lid to be taken off. I am asking them to permit studies," he said.