Iran’s new president claimed in an interview with NBC that the Islamic Republic won’t be “pursuing” nuclear weapons.
Reporter Ann Curry asked Hassan Rouhani about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s assertion that Rouhani’s “strategy is to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing, smile and build a bomb.”
“Can you say now, categorically then, that Iran will not build a nuclear weapon under any circumstances whatsoever?” Curry asked.
“Firstly, an occupier and a usurper government that does injustice to the people of the region and has brought instability to the region with its warmongering policies shouldn’t allow itself to give speeches about a democratically and freely-elected government. We have clearly stated that we are not in pursuit of nuclear weapons and will not be,” Rouhani replied.
When asked about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust denial, his successor said, “I’m not a historian. I’m a politician.”
“What is important for us is that the countries of the region and the people grow closer to each other, and that they are able to prevent aggression and injustice,” Rouhani added.
“President Ahmadinejad had people believing that he wanted to wipe Israel off the map. Do you agree with this?” Curry asked.
“What we wish for in this region is ruled by the will of the people. We believe in the ballot box. We do not seek war with any country. We seek peace and friendship among the nations of the region,” he responded.
She also asked if Iran would stop interfering so much in the lives of its people and allow free access to the Internet. Iran’s filters came off Twitter and Facebook briefly this week, but officials said it was just a technical glitch and now they’re back to censoring as normal.
“In the near future, the government will set up a commission for citizens’ rights. We want the people, in the private lives, to be completely free. And in today’s world, having access to information and the right of free dialogue and the right to think freely is the right of all people’s, including the people of Iran,” Rouhani said.
He gave another indirect answer when asked if that meant free tweeting.
“The viewpoint of the government is that the people must have full access to all information worldwide. Our opinions on this should be based on the protection of our national identity and on our morals,” said the president, who has his own Twitter account.
Picture from @AnnCurry‘s exclusive interview with President Rouhani which concluded a few hours ago. pic.twitter.com/CaOhA7IBxv
— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) September 18, 2013