Exclusive Interview with Iranian Adviser

Rohani: We have no information about these actions you are talking about. Anyway, you have to bring the evidence for us to see who has really done these things. But we basically condemn airplane hijacking, whoever has done it.

Wallace: Without getting into who was responsible, do you condemn those actions?

Rohani: Generally speaking, we condemn hijacking airplanes, whoever does it. In general, we condemn any terrorist act that kills innocent people.

Are the Palestinians Terrorists or Freedom Fighters?

Wallace: Some of the leaders of your government try to distinguish between terrorists and freedom fighters. What's the difference?

Rohani: Everybody does that. It's not specifically us. In general, any nation that fights against occupation is proud of its action. And under international law, it is very clear that fighting for the freedom of occupied land is different from a terrorist act.

Wallace: What are the limits? Where does it go over the line, from freedom fighting to terrorism?

Rohani: When a country is occupied, in order to kick out the occupier from its own land and its own home, this fight is a freedom fight. When a country — its land or its government — is being occupied by another power, and when that nation fights to kick the occupier out, this kind of action is the action of a freedom fighter, and it is considered a legitimate defense.

Wallace: Are the Palestinian suicide bombers freedom fighters or terrorists?

Rohani: Palestine is a land that has been occupied by Israel. And Palestinians can use any means to kick out the occupier. The Palestinian intifada was supported at the Islamic summit, which consisted of some 50 Islamic countries. They supported Palestinian action and the Intifada. The Arab countries approved the Palestinian struggle, the Palestinians, who have been subjected to all kinds of violence. And a military power is attacking them that does not respect any international law, not even the U.N. resolutions. And doesn't even allow a fact-finding group to enter Jenin and report on the realities of what happened in Jenin.

Wallace: Dr. Rohani, you said that the Palestinians can use any action to fight Israeli occupation, yes?

Rohani: We believe that the Palestinians, to regain their country and their freedom and to kick out their occupier have the right to fight with Israel.

Wallace: Any right?

Rohani: Palestinians have to try, if it is possible, not to hurt non-combatants.

Wallace: But let me ask you directly, when someone walks into a restaurant, to a Passover Seder, and slaughters innocent families, is that a freedom fighter?

Rohani: What should they do? What is the Palestinians' alternative? The Palestinians, whose children are being killed?

Wallace: So they should kill Israeli children?

Rohani: What is their alternative? You tell me what should these people do? If these people are blowing themselves to pieces before anything else, this means there remains no alternative. What the Palestinians are doing is to show the world how the powerful nations have not done their job. Why has the United States repeatedly vetoed the U.N. Resolutions against Israel? In reality, what has forced the Palestinians to commit these acts is the superpowers, that with no logic, no reason, have supported the occupier for the last 55 years.

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