Ahmadinejad. A message to the Germans
Photo: AFP

Ahmadinejad: Shoah not Germany's concern

Iranian president tells Der Spiegel weekly, 'The controversy over the Holocaust is not an issue for the German people.' He also suggests holding referendum which will reveal 'that the German people hate the Zionist regime'

Ahmadinejad trying to rewrite history once again? The Iranian president told German weekly magazine Der Spiegel in an interview published Saturday that "the controversy over the Holocaust is not an issue for the German people."


Addressing the Palestinians' situation, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, "We are defending more than the basic rights of oppressed Palestinians. Our proposal for resolving the Middle East conflict is that the Palestinians should be allowed to decide their own future in a free referendum.


"Do you think it right that some European countries and the United States support the occupying regime and the unnatural Zionist state, but condemn Iran, merely because we are defending the rights of the Palestinian people?"


The Iranian president, who has already denied Israel's right to exist in the past, was asked how he would act if the Palestinians were to decide on a solution of two states for two people. "If that were what they decided, everyone would have to accept this decision," he replied.


"And you too would have to recognize Israel," the interviewer said.


Refraining for a direct answer, Ahmadinejad responded, "Let me put it this way, facetiously: Why did the Germans cause so much trouble back then, allowing these problems to arise in the first place? The Zionist regime is the result of World War II. What does any of this have to do with the Palestinian people? Or with the Middle East region? I believe that we must get to the root of the problem. If one doesn't consider the causes, there can be no solution."


Ahmadinejad visits Iranian nuclear reactor, this week (Photo: AP)


At this stage the interviewer asked whether by "getting to the root of the problem" the Iranian leader was referring to wiping out Israel.


"It means claiming the rights of the Palestinian people. I believe that this is to everyone's benefit, to that of America, Europe and Germany," Ahmadinejad said.


"Do you believe that the German people support the Zionist regime?" he asked. "Do you believe that a referendum could be held in Germany on this question? If you did allow such a referendum to take place, you would discover that the German people hate the Zionist regime."


He went on to express his surprise over the Western world's support for Israel. "I do not believe that the European countries would have been as indulgent if only one-hundredth of the crimes that the Zionist regime has committed in Gaza had happened somewhere in Europe.


"Why on earth do the European governments support this regime?" Ahmadinejad asked.


The Iranian leader, who denied the existence of the Holocaust more than once, was next asked whether he had watched a film about the extermination of the Jews in the Thurd Reich sent to him by Spiegel TV three years ago.


Once again, he refrained from giving a clear answer: "I did receive the DVD. But I did not want to respond to you on this question. I believe that the controversy over the Holocaust is not an issue for the German people. The problem is more deep-seated than that."


As global concern grows over the Iranian declaration on the installment of centrifuges in the country's first nuclear fuel plant, the Iranian president appears to be trying to calm everyone down. ""We have no interest in building a nuclear weapon," he said in the interview.


'We are the victims of terror'

Another issue raised in the interview was Iran's relations with the United States under new President Barack Obama.


According to Ahmadinejad, "Great things are happening in the United States. I believe that the Americans are in the process of initiating important developments."


He went on to praise the American president for his video address to the Iranian nation three weeks ago, during the Iranian New Year festival: "I thought it striking that Obama attached such high value to the Iranian civilization, our history and culture. It is also positive that he stresses mutual respect and honest interactions with one another as the basis of cooperation.


"In one segment of his speech, he says that a nation's standing in the world does not depend solely on weapons and military strength, which is precisely what we told the previous American administration. George W. Bush's big mistake was that he wanted to solve all problems militarily. The days are gone when a country can issue orders to other peoples. Today, mankind needs culture, ideas and logic."


As for a dialogue with the US on the nuclear plan, Ahmadinejad said, "We support talks on the basis of fairness and respect. That has always been our position. We are waiting for Obama to announce his plans, so that we can analyze them.


"I sent a message to the new US president. It was a big step, a huge step. I congratulated him on his election victory, and I said a few things to him in my letter. This was done with care. We have been and continue to be interested in significant changes taking place.


"If we intend to resolve the problem between our two countries, it is important to recognize that Iran did not play a role in the development of this problem. The behavior of American administrations was the cause. If the behavior of the United States changes, we can expect to see important progress."


Asked about global terror associated with Iran, Ahmadinejad replied, "First of all: We do not commit terror, but we are victims of terror. After the revolution, our president and prime minister were killed in a bombing attack in the building adjacent to my office. Our faith forbids us from engaging in terrorism. And when it comes to the constructive contributions we are being asked to make, we have contributed to stabilization in both Afghanistan and Iraq in recent years.


"While we were making these contributions, the Bush administration accused us of doing the opposite. Do you believe that problems can be solved with military force and invasion? Wasn't the strategy employed by America and NATO wrong from the start? We have always said that this is not the way to fight terrorists. They are stronger than ever today."


פרסום ראשון: 04.11.09, 10:25
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