AMANPOUR: Mr. President, I understand that the Iranians, many of them, have been convicted of various sanctions-busting and arms-busting. Are you saying you'll holding the two Americans as hostages for the release of the Iranians here?
AHMADINEJAD: No. But how would you know that those Iranians are criminals? Are you a judge?
AMANPOUR: May I show you something?
(Laura Fattal, mother of Josh Fattal) We thank you for bringing Sarah home, but now it is time for bringing Josh and Shane home. And we urge you, again, with your humanitarianism of the Islamic Republic of Iran to show the same compassion you had for Sarah to bring Josh and Shane home (Cindy hickey, mother of Shane Bauer) Last May when you were here, you talked about being a friend to the American people. Shane and Josh are American people. Their families are American people. Please release both of them back to their families.
AHMADINEJAD: We are saddened that there are individuals in prison and it makes us unhappy when people are in prison anywhere in the world, whether in Iran or in the United States or elsewhere. We want people to be free and not to suffer. But at the end of the day, there's a law that determines who stays in prison and who does not.
AMANPOUR: And do you think they'll be released any time soon? Would you intervene like you did for Sarah?
AHMADINEJAD: I would give a recommendation, but the cases have to be examined. They violated the law.
AMANPOUR: Let's move on to the nuclear issue. The United States, Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton told me that they would like to have a discussion with Iran in P5 plus One over the nuclear issue. Before Ramadan Iran said it was looking to have another meeting. But there's been no further word on it. Are you going to have a meeting with the United States in the P 5 plus one on the nuclear issue?
AHMADINEJAD: On this trip?
AMANPOUR: Anytime soon.
AHMADINEJAD: Yes. we will have a plan to discuss things, to discuss issues. We've always been ready to discuss issues as long as there within the legal framework and based on principles of justice and respect. but having said that all our nuclear reactor activities are being controlled by cameras, the material that is moved is weighed and it's examined and controlled so as far as the IAEA supervision is concerned there's no blockage of that supervision.
Now some of these individuals have released our nuclear information. Information that we have provided which is illegal. The IAEA is required by its statute to protect that information not to release it. And plus the IAEA is aware of several other violations that they have permitted.
Now we believe that here in the United States is pressing the IAEA to take a political position on the issue. Once the IAEA does that it's work becomes worthless and ineffective.
AMANPOUR: Sanctions? The United Nations, the United States, the European Union, Japan, South Korea, Russia, China, everybody's put sanctions on Iran. Are you surprised that they were so uniform?
AHMADINEJAD: It is meaningless to us.
AMANPOUR: Well, it is interesting that you say this.
AMANPOUR: The former president of Iran, Rafsanjani, has given a speech in which he urged you not to take the sanctions as a joke, to take them seriously. And he says that they are the most tough sanctions that Iran has ever experienced. Do you consider them a joke or do you take them seriously?