Reading Between the Lines of the Williams-Ahmadinejad Interview

From the desk of The Rigorist

MSNBC Nightly News : ‘Response … will be a positive one’

Somebody at MSNBC has got to be smart enough to know what actually  got said in this interview. Still, the polit-speak surrounding the meaning was so thick they thought they could tack a headline on it that would make Obama look good. Who’s got boots tall enough to slog  though this? Who would waste their time collecting this rank fruit?

I do. I would.

The interview was ponderous, but hung low and looked ripe for rendering. Here is an example of how to understand Iran’s President when his lips are moving (actual interview questions and answers followed by what was really going on (in bold)!)

Transcript taken from:
NBC News http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25887437/
updated 12:13 p.m. CT, Mon., July. 28, 2008

TEHRAN, Iran – Following is the complete transcription of the  interview Monday between Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and  Brian Williams, anchor of “NBC Nightly News.” Ahmadinejad spoke  through a translator:

WILLIAMS: Mr. President, I know you wanted to begin with a statement.

i0 – I know you wanted to begin with a statement.

AHMADINEJAD: In the name of God, the compassionate, the merciful, a  prayer for the emergence of the 12th imam. Greetings to the people of  the United States and I want to say something. Today it’s very clear  that all nations, all peoples, all thinkers are displeased with the  prevailing conditions around the world. The current conditions around  the world fly in the face of dignity, human dignity and the standing  of human beings. And the specter of — hatred, wars, and poverty is  weighing heavy on our different human societies. Naturally, whoever  feels for the society of man would also like a happy life, a life  full of prosperity. And those of us who have such feelings must make  an effort, must make an effort to change the present situation.

And to do that, we need to understand the root cause which have led  to the present situation. We believe that a materialistic outlook  towards the world and also a materialistic, again, outlook when it  comes to human beings and — egoism and also efforts for hegemony and  control over others are the root causes of these problems. In a  nutshell, distance and — indifference to the teachings of the divine  prophets and our ethical standards are the root causes that beguile  humanity today.

That is why the teachings of divine prophets, in other words, a  belief in the almighty, justice, friendship, and peace and love for  fellow human beings, we should return to those. If these come to  prevail around the world, they will come to see that the world will  be full of peace and friendship, love for one another, and the root  causes of these problems will dry up, so to speak. And this is the  responsibility weighing on the shoulders of those who have love for  their fellow human beings and have — love for different societies  around the world. This was what I needed to share with all nations  and the people in the United States.

AH – Submit to Allah.

WILLIAMS: Thank you Mr. President. This is our third meeting in 3  years. We last spoke on the record in a setting like this 2 years ago  in New York. You’ve accepted our request for an interview, we’ve  traveled a great distance to have this conversation. So I am curious  to hear in more specific sense, is your message to world, is your  message to the United States, one of confrontation or cooperation?

i0 –  We’re here on our nickel. We want some answers.

AHMADINEJAD: Well, this question which I am asking from American  statesmen, when it comes to the Iranian people, what road do they  want to choose? What approach for more than 50 years now the — the  policy of American statesmen has been to confront the Iranian people.  And our people, to a large extent, have become acclimated with this  situation, and we have tried to work around it.

Today, we see new behavior shown by the United States and the  officials of the United States. My question is: Is such behavior  rooted in a new approach; in other words, mutual respect,  cooperation, and justice? Or this approach is a continuation in the  confrontation with the Iranian people but in a new guise?

If this is the continuation of the old — process, well, the Iranian  people need to defend its right, its — its interests as well. But if  the approach changes, we will be facing a new situation. And the  response by the Iranian people will be a positive one.

AH –  If you offer to surrender, we’ll accept. Otherwise, f#*k off.


WILLIAMS: Specifically, what do you think is the reason for this new  behavior on the part of United States? Why do you think, for the  first time since 1991, there is no U.S. aircraft carrier battle group  in the Persian Gulf. Why do you think the United States has come to  the table to sit across from Iran in Geneva?

i0 –  The US has made nice. What do you think?

AHMADINEJAD: We welcomed that gesture, what happened over there. But  the continuation and this expanding to cover other aspects of  cooperation and relations can show a new approach on the part of the  Americans.

AH –  You haven’t surrendered yet.

WILLIAMS: Specifically, there is a group of nations in Geneva. And  they have asked for an answer from you by Saturday. It has to do with  the processing of nuclear materials. I note that you are smiling. I  would like very much to know your answer.

i0 –  Some people in Geneva asked a question and are on hold. What  is the answer going to be?

AHMADINEJAD: To what?

AH –  F#*k off.

WILLIAMS: What you will respond to the group of nations in Geneva.  They have given you a deadline of Saturday.

i0 –  OK. Are you telling them to f#*k off too?

AHMADINEJAD: Well, I didn’t get that impression from the Geneva  meeting. They submitted a package and we responded by submitting our  own package. They, again, submitted a work plan, and we submitted our  own work plan. It’s very natural in the first steps we are going to  negotiate over the common ground as they exist inside the two  packages.

If the two parties succeed in agreeing over the common ground, that  will help us to work on our differences as well to reach an  agreement. The main question here is whether this approach is the  continuation of the old approach or it — is it a totally new  approach? If they are going to threaten the Iranian people and impose  their will on us, the answer is very clear.

But if they want to cooperate, well, we need to sit down around a  table to talk and to determine the areas for cooperation. We prefer  this approach to be one of cooperation. But they are free to decide,  decide as you please. Having said that, we prefer for us to proceed  towards cooperation. You know full well that nobody can threaten the  Iranian people and pose deadlines which they expect us to meet.

This is not helpful in resolving anything. But Mr. Jalili and Mr.  Solana, both those gentlemen have expressed their pleasure with — how  pleased they are, in other words, with the outcome of the meeting. We  feel that the continuation of the negotiations have to concentrate on  common ground. And that can help different countries to come  together.

AH –  Yeah, them too.

WILLIAMS: Perhaps I should be more specific. They are asking for your  response by Saturday, to the question, “are you willing to suspend  uranium enrichment?” And if doing that, would welcome you into wider  world. Is that something Iran is willing to do?

i0 –  I can’t believe you said that.

AHMADINEJAD: Well, the world — the doors rather of the larger world  are not closed to us. This is a great and mighty country, a great  nation with a great economy, a rich culture, thousands of years of  history and civilization. And we have very good economic and cultural  relations with countries around the world. It would be very good for  you to walk on the streets here in Tehran, in other cities for that  matter, and gain a better appreciation of life in this part of the  world.

For the continuation our lives and for progress, we do not need the  services, if I can use the word, of a few countries. I believe that  for agreements, for cooperation, for dialogue, if you pose  pre-conditions, that would be an effort to continue with disagreement  or lack of cooperation. We believe that if we accentuate common  ground, we can reach an agreement in a much easier way.

Today, you cannot even issue ultimatums to a country which has a few  million people living in it, much less for Iran. And also every  action needs a sound legal basis. And in that meeting, having said  that, what you’re saying here was not put on the table. Some people  are saying that the subject of the meeting was not that at all. This  is not my impression from the Geneva meeting. I believe that a step  forward was taken. And such steps must continue, again, new steps  need to be taken. The presence of the American representative in that  meeting was good, I have to say. And, of course, in a sound, logical  environment, we need to continue with these efforts.

AH –  Oh yes. We’re #1 and they’re nobody. They can f#*k off.

WILLIAMS: Respectfully, to your point about the robust Iranian  economy. Estimates are of 20-percent inflation, workers strikes for  back-wages. And a lot of people have argued it is because of the  isolation, because of the sanctions you mentioned earlier.

i0 –  But, you’re not #1. You suck.

AHMADINEJAD: You shouldn’t worry needlessly about the Iranian people.  The Iranian people are very able to resolve their issues themselves.

AH –  The mullahs say we’re #1 and nobody else in Iran has an  opinion that counts.


WILLIAMS: I’m curious than Sir, in this nation, known for its  petroleum reserves, beneath our feet, why are there two hour lines  for gasoline? Why is there gasoline rationing? What is that a result  of?

i0 –  OK, but everybody else on the planet knows you suck.

AHMADINEJAD: Well, these are certain issues that are domestic  matters. And if there is need, we can sit down in another venue and  talk about these. It would be similar to saying to — to asking rather  why 1.2 percent of the American population are inside prisons. More  than three million people. Again, it would be like asking why Katrina  survivors in the U.S. still are homeless or 40 million people living  on the streets homeless without health cover. These are domestic  issues that pertain to Americans obviously.

And the people of Iran are as you see around you. If a person or  party sincerely based on law takes a step forward, the Iranian nation  will welcome that. But if a party uses the language of threats or  impose his will or try to impose his will on us, the response by the  Iranian people will be historic.

AH –  Nobody is perfect. The answer is still f#*k off.

WILLIAMS: So, one more attempt. While you may not recognize the  coming Saturday deadline for your answer — would you be willing to  suspend nuclear enrichment if it meant a more prosperous Iran, and a  more peaceful world going forward?

i0 –  OK, f#*k ’em. Would you take money for your nuke program?

AHMADINEJAD: Today, Iran is prosperous. It’s happy. And every day we  become more prosperous compared to the previous day. Why do certain  people think that their lifestyles are the best lifestyles in the  world? People, nations have their own lifestyles. I think that you  should look at the situation through the interests of the U.S. The  question is whether American statesmen want to continue with their  policies of the past 50 years. Have they at all benefited from such  policies?

I think that the most pessimistic analysts inside the U.S. would say  that they have lost out. And, of course, optimists would say that we  have — the — these policies on the part of the U.S. have been very  detrimental. I believe that in the life of man, there are things that  are more important than material welfare and prosperity. In other  words, we are talking about the dignity of human beings.

AH –  Kim Jong Il is a poser. We’re the original. Hell no.

WILLIAMS: So you don’t deny there has been a substantial shift in  U.S. position toward Iran. And one more time Sir, the question, would  you be willing to meet that with a substantial shift of your own in  attitudes, policies, toward the United States?

i0 –  Come on. We made nice. Stop being an Assh*le.

AHMADINEJAD: We have shown this. We participated in the meeting. We  welcomed the initiative. I think that if this process is continued by  the American government in the not-so-distant future, the situation  will change. This means for the Americans to recognize the rights of  the Iranian nation, recognize the rule of law, and also recognize a  fair and just situation which needs to prevail. These are not  difficult demands. I believe that American politicians, statesmen,  should not be very much — affected by the prevailing media  environment.

If they want to change their policy towards Iran, well, they have to  announce that and take actual steps towards that. I think that this  benefits the American government, and it serves the interests of all  of us. We — we’ll welcome such an effort.

AH –  We’re winning by ignoring you. We’ll wait until you surrender.

WILLIAMS: Mr. President, what do you think is a fair price for a  barrel of oil?


i0 –  What do you think is a fair price for a barrel of oil?

AHMADINEJAD: Well, a fair price — this has to be determined inside  the environs, if I can use the word, of economy. We think that the  market should be free and — these commodities should compete in a  free setting or conditions. At the moment, the situation is not  realistic. It is rather manufactured and the prices are not realistic  as a result.

AH –  Whatever we can get.

WILLIAMS: Can you specify how much, by percentage, it is overvalued  right now, unrealistically?

i0 –  I’m a socialist. I don’t get it.

AHMADINEJAD: Well, I can’t give you an exact figure right now because  the market is not a real market. Some powers are manipulating the  prices inside the market. Do you really think that the price of oil  is the end result of a healthy competition inside the market? It’s not.

AH –  You’re an i0. Not my problem.

WILLIAMS: Where do you see future of Iraq, near term, the next few  years?

i0 –  You really think you can get away with this?

AHMADINEJAD: Well, in a long-term approach, I believe that the Iraqi  people will overcome, prevail over, in other words, their present  problems. But in the immediate future, everything depends on the  behavior as shown by the American government. If the American  government and officials take up a rational, a humanitarian approach,  the conditions inside Iraq will improve very quickly.

But if not, if they want to impose their will on the nation of Iraq,  historical precedence tells them that they will not abide by this.  And they will resist. Under such conditions, obviously the Iraqi  people will incur some damages. But by the end of the day, they will  prevail. They will succeed. But the main damages will be incurred by  those parties which decided to disrespect the Iraqi nation.

AH –  Oh yeah. You’re going to surrender someday. Allah said so.

WILLIAMS: Because you follow the news media in the United States and  elsewhere, I know you’re aware that analysts who study Iran believe  that you want is a list of items. You would like a discussion of all  kinds of items and issues — the full spectrum — what has been called  the grand bargain. True or false?

i0 –  We think you’ll cut a deal.

AHMADINEJAD: Well, you have to appreciate. I don’t even like the word  a — a — a contract, if you will, or a deal would be a better  translation. What is there for us to bargain over? Over our own  right? The rights of other peoples? Our own independence? No. In an  environment — we can cooperate in an environment which benefits all.  All will benefit from such a environment.

And there is no need for any party to lose out. In a fair setting,  everyone will benefit. And durable peace and security will prevail,  will come to exist. I believe that all issues must be approached in a  holistic manner. They are interrelated, these issues. All issues  around the world are interrelated for that matter. Economy, politics,  security are very closely linked, also culture.


AH –  Yeah, the deal is you surrender.

WILLIAMS: How closely have you been following the presidential  campaign in the United States?


i0 –  Been watching the circus?

AHMADINEJAD: Well, in a normal manner, if I can use the words, just  the stories that the newspapers, the media are carrying.


AH –  You’ve got boring clowns.

WILLIAMS: Do you welcome the idea of an American Interests Section in  Iran and how would you feel about the establishment of a full and  complete United States embassy?

i0 –  We’ve got extra hostages. Want some?

AHMADINEJAD: Well, at the moment, an interests section is — open.  It’s running right now. An American interests section is, again,  operating in Tehran. The Swiss Embassy is doing that. But any measure  which leads to the development of relations between the two peoples,  we will welcome that.

AH –  Sure! If I like them, I’ll keep them, again.

WILLIAMS: Mr. President, again respectfully, when Americans say they  want to talk to the real power in Iran, is that person you or the  religious leader of this country Ayatollah Khamenei? And as a part of  that question, will you be victorious in next year’s election?

i0 –  We know you’re a tool. Are they going to use you again next  year?

AHMADINEJAD: Inside the U.S., who makes the decisions? Really? Who  makes the decisions? Do you know that, sir? Does the President make  the decisions or others? Do you not know that?


AH –  I don’t wanna talk about it.

WILLIAMS: Today, my role is not to answer questions, is to ask them.  But I am curious to see where this is going, Mr. President.

i0 –  It’s my nickel, remember?

AHMADINEJAD: Well, the process of decision making inside Iran is very  clear. We have a very transparent set of laws. And the — and the  decisions are very clear and the powers are very clear as well. And  different officials take decisions within the realms of their  responsibility.

AH –  Hell if I know. Really.

WILLIAMS: What about your likelihood of success next year?

i0 –  Are you going to get another birthday?

AHMADINEJAD: I think that we need to wait for one year.

AH –  We don’t celebrate birthdays. It sucks to be me.

WILLIAMS: That is all you will say?

i0 –  That is all you will say?

AHMADINEJAD: What do you mean exactly by that?

AH –  Leave me alone.

WILLIAMS: You’re willing to comment no further on your own election?

i0 –  Come on! We kinda like you. Tell us something.

AHMADINEJAD: Do you have any specific questions? I will be happy to  take them.

AH –  The boss is watching, F#*k off.

WILLIAMS: I have one for you. An American, a former FBI agent named  Bob Levinson, moved and disappeared in Iran. How much do you know  about his case and the status, the search for him?

i0 –  Hey, there is this guy we know that went to Iran …

AHMADINEJAD: There was a claim made some time ago, some people came  over, the gentleman’s family came over. They talked and met with our  officials and were given our responses. I see no reason for a person  who was given an Iranian visa and — came into Iran, arrived in Iran  through official channels, to have problems here. Our security  officials and agents have expressed their willingness to assess the  FBI if the FBI has any information about his travels around the  world.

We have said that we are ready to help, to assist with that matter.  There are certain information that only FBI at the moment have. I am  not an expert in that field, as you might appreciate, so I’m not  going to make a judgment here whether that information, as they say,  it is true and only held by the FBI or other parties for that matter.

AH –  Prove it. HA!

WILLIAMS: Recently, Mr. President, Iran conducted a missile test. The  photograph released by your own news agency to the wider world was  found by analysts in the United States, using very sophisticated  sophisticated computers, to have been doctored. The image was  repeated to make it look like a larger launch that it was. Have you  looked into this yourself? And do you have a reaction: true or false?

i0 –  Little Green Footballs nailed your fauxtography. We hate those guys. Have you got a cover story?

AHMADINEJAD: You need to know what some media have done is  fabricated. It’s not authentic. We don’t need to do these things. Our  missile defense might is very clear and it is very mighty. I ask them  not be hasty. We will repeat these exercises down the line. Whenever  there is a need, we will repeat those exercises


AH –  We’re going to ignore it and hope it goes away.

WILLIAMS: I’ve seen associates of yours approaching which means we’ve  reached our last question. I will give this one last try, Mr.  President. And the question is this: Is Iran’s goal to have nuclear  power or to be a nuclear power in the sense of possessing weapons.  It’s obviously the great fear of Israel and others in this region and  it seems to stop the prospect of talks and better relations again and  again. A group in Geneva seems to be asking you, coming this  Saturday, whether or not you are willing to suspend activity. And one  more time, I want to allow you the opportunity to answer.

i0 –  Your tender is here. I want to make sure you mean to tell those guys in Geneva to f#*k off.

AHMADINEJAD: It’s very interesting. Before this meeting that is going  to take place, you are aware of what other people are going to do,  apparently. This tells me that you are a very able reporter and very  active. Congratulations are in order. Before something happens,  apparently you know what’s going to happen. This is interesting.  Having said that, we are not working to manufacture a bomb. We don’t  believe in a nuclear bomb. We also think it will not effect political  relations. The Zionist regime which you refer to earlier has an  arsenal of hundreds of nuclear warheads. Has this arsenal helped the  Zionists to prevail inside the conflict inside Lebanon? No.

Again, did nuclear arms help the Soviet Union from falling and  disintegrating. For that matter, did a nuclear bomb help the U.S. to  prevail inside Iraq or Afghanistan, for that matter. Nuclear bombs  belong to the 20th century. We are living in a new century. We think  that when it cam to the nuclear issue to nuclear issue, an  inappropriate measure or action was taken. Nuclear energy must not be  equaled to a nuclear bomb. This is a disservice to the society of man

Nuclear energy is very beneficial and very clean, by the way. All  nations must use it. A bomb, obviously, is a very bad thing. Nobody  should have such a bomb. If there are parties that claim a bomb is a  bad thing, it’s only appropriate for them, as a first step, to  destroy their stockpiles. Destroy their bombs and allow clean energy  to be utilized by all.

I ask you if today, 1,000 nuclear power plants were up and running,  would we have seen an increase in the price of oil? I am sure we  wouldn’t have had such high prices which is affecting the economies  of all countries. It has created problems for their economies.  Nuclear energy is a renewable energy. It’s clean. It’s  environmentally friendly and all nations must possess it.

And there should be a very concrete, if I can use the word, set of  regulations, a fair set of regulations which will control the  activities of all nations to supervise things, without  discrimination. To supervise without discrimination. Allow nations to  have access to such clean energy. [UNINTELLIGIBLE] which I talked  about earlier will show itself, will manifest itself here as well.

There are parties, which have bombs themselves, and they have nuclear  energy as well and unfair basis and on a discriminatory basis, they  are preventing other people — other parties, from utilizing clean  nuclear energy.

On many occasion, the IAEA has officially announced that there has  been no diversion when it comes to nuclear activities on the part of  Iran. I would like to repeat again: if parties want to cooperate with  the Iranian nation, the way to go about that would not be ultimatums  or threats or to ask the Iranian people, for that matter, to give up  its rights. That option leads to nowhere and it has been experimented  with time and again.

If there are parties which want to experience what has been  experienced in the past, I’d advise them not to do that. But having  said that, I cannot prevent them from doing that.

AH –  You pig. Yeah, we mean it. F#*k off.

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4 thoughts on “Reading Between the Lines of the Williams-Ahmadinejad Interview

  1. From Bush’s prior behavior, it is clear that he was getting the same translation that you got here. Fortunately, Bush is coming around to Obama’s way of thinking and throwing his boy McCain under the bus in the process.

    By the way, what the heck is an iO? (My guess was something to do with infidel, but I’m probably over thinking it.) If I’m not mistaken, your AH abbreviation was either politely Ahmadinejad or impolitely a**h*le.

  2. i0 and AH were … ambiguous elements to be revealed in context for humorous effect.

    AH would have been taken for Ahmadinejad at the beginning, rather than ‘a person difficult to deal with’ as later.

    I thought of i0 as ‘idiot’ ( i for ‘intelligence’ and 0 for ‘none’ ), but ‘infidel’ works great too!

    It’s *supposed* to be funny, a light beginning. Telling too obscure a joke is a consistent flaw in my humor, and you’re not laughing. Oh well. I have something more expected coming.

  3. ahh ,,, I misinterpreted the zero for a upper case O. Actually, my wife found a definition of io that you might quite like here since it is the kind of thing Ahmadinejad might have called Williams:

    From the Urban Dictionary

    io = irrelevant one

  4. Oh … by the way, I did get the joke despite the obscure abbreviations. I think our neocon readers will laugh harder at it than I did. 🙂

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