I asked: "When someone walks into a restaurant, to a Passover Seder, and slaughters innocent families, is that a freedom fighter?"
Rohani's answer: "What should they do? What is the Palestinians' alternative? The Palestinians, whose children are being killed."
I pressed him: "So they should kill Israeli children?"
And he replied: "What is their alternative? If these people are blowing themselves to pieces before anything else, this means there remains no alternative."
A New Mood
I hope you'll read the full transcript of the Rohani interview and watch our broadcast report on Primetime Thursday. Having traveled the world for the last 30 years, I found Iran to be one of the most vital, complex, and yes, difficult places to report on that I have ever encountered.
From everything U.S. intelligence officials told us — and everything we found out ourselves here — Iran does aggressively pursue its policies in the Middle East, especially toward Israel. However, I was far less convinced that Iran has much interest in promoting terrorism around the world.
Most of all, if you spend time here, you are likely to come away with the strong sense that things will change. The hardliners are still in charge. But there is a mood in the street — a determination to lead a freer, less isolated life — that in the long run, seems irreversible.