In an exclusive interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad refused to address accusations that his country was supplying weapons to insurgents in Iraq, saying instead that Iran asked for peace and was against conflict of any kind.
Ahmadinejad skirted questions about weapons smuggling and stressed instead that the key to establishing peace in Iraq was for Americans, and all other foreigners, to leave.
Sawyer: I can begin. They say 170 troops and some 600 have been injured by Iranian weapons. Are you sending weapons into Iraq to kill Americans?
Watch "Good Morning America" on Tuesday for more of Diane Sawyer's interview with Iranian President Ahmadinejad.
Ahmadinejad: Let me first say good morning to the viewers all over the states and let me tell them we have spring weather in Iran. I hope it will be spring all over the world.
We shy away from any kind of conflict and any kind of bloodshed, and we will be sad by such. We are opposed to any kind of conflict and as we have said repeatedly we think the world problem can be solved through dialogue, the use of logic and a sense of friendship. There is no need for the use of force.
When it come to Iraq, we have made it clear that kind of lack of security, insecurity in Iraq is also to our disadvantage and also disadvantage to the nations of the region. Iraq only for a period when Saddam [Hussein] was in power had a good relationship. We have a very good relationship with Iraq. We are historical friends. We have intermarriages between the two nations, and millions of Iranians and Iraqis travel to each other's countries.
And our position for Iraq is very clear: We are asking for peace, we are asking for security, and we will be sad to see people get killed, no matter who they are. It could be Iraqis. We will be sad if we hear they are killed or anyone who is brought there by force and is put in the middle of the conflict.
Sawyer: But how is it possible to believe this? The Americans have been given evidence. They say they have rocket-propelled grenade launcher. … It speaks for itself.
Ahmadinejad: Well it's very easy to make a judgment when you don't have good defense or making a one-sided judgment. I think that Americans have made a mistake in Iraq and unfortunately are losing, and this is a shame for Americans of course and that's why they are trying to point their fingers to other people and pointing fingers to others will not solve the problem. I think that we should be honest and face the reality.
Sawyer: But they say they have serial numbers from Iran?
Ahmadinejad: But we don't need such things. I can give you figures and number, which are known: More than 160,000 American troops are in Iraq, 100 more … aircraft, helicopters, what are they doing in Iraq? I think the reason for insecurity of Iraq are these things, and these are some excuses to prolong their stay in Iraq, if they prolong their stay in the first place there would be no insecurity.
Sawyer: Are you saying there are no Iranian weapons in Iraq? Will you close down border? Will you punish anyone found to be taking weapons in?