Iranian President Says He's Ready to Cooperate on Nukes, Calls Holocaust an 'Excuse'

ByABC News via GMA logo
February 12, 2007, 2:19 PM

Feb. 13, 2007 — -- In an exclusive interview with ABC News' Diane Sawyer, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad discussed topics that have made him one of the world's most controversial figures: his desire for nuclear capabilities, his skepticism of the Holocaust, and his distrust of Israel.

Iran has refused to halt its uranium enrichment program, despite repeated calls from the U.N. and much of the world to do so.

On Monday, the European Union agreed to sanctions against Iran.

Sawyer also talked about the death of Saddam Hussein with Ahmadinejad.

Watch Diane Sawyer's Full Interview with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on ABC News Now at 3:35 p.m. ET and 10:00 p.m. ET.

Sawyer: What did you think when you saw the hanging of Hussein? He was your enemy?

Ahmadinejad: Yes, but who equipped this enemy? Who made him fight with us for eight years? Who supported him? The U.S. administration. The U.S. administration could support us.

Sawyer: Did you feel sympathy?

Ahmadinejad: What about you? Did you have any kind of sympathy?

Sawyer: I'm a journalist, I get to ask you.

Ahmadinejad: But you've come here in the disguise of politician, I guess.

Sawyer: No, I am a journalist, solely a journalist.

Ahmadinejad: Well, naturally when a criminal is eliminated, all the people will be happy, but we think that if the U.S. administration had not supported Saddam he would never have attacked Iran or Kuwait.

Sawyer: If you could have a nuclear weapon today, tomorrow, would you want one?

Ahmadinejad: Well, our position is clear: We are opposed to any proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and nuclear weapons. We believe that the time is now over for nuke weapons. It is a time for logic, for rationality and for civilization. Instead of thinking of finding new weapons, we are trying to find new ways to love people. And if talking about the "Death to America" slogans, I think you know it yourself, it is not related in any way to American public. Our people have no problem with American public, and we have a very friendly relationship.

Sawyer: Quick question about the nuclear issue if I may. A negotiator seems to be saying there will be settlement, that Iran is ready to settle the outstanding issues before or at least soon. Is Iran ready to settle issues?

Ahmadinejad: When it comes to within framework of regulations, we're always ready to cooperate. We've always cooperated, and we'll continue to cooperate. We want to have dialogue, but within the framework of regulations and on a fair basis. If regulations are used as a tool of inquisition though.

Sawyer: So this should be solved within 10 days before sanctions imposed? Additional sanctions?

Ahmadinejad: I think my answer was clear. We are always ready to talk in the framework of regulation. As long as rights of human nationals are safeguarded. You see tens of millions took to the streets yesterday and insisted to have what belongs to them. We are a member of the agency, and we intend to have what we are entitled to. Within this framework we are ready to negotiate.

Sawyer: Are you still heading toward the 3,000 centrifuges? Is that what you will announce April 9?

Ahmadinejad: The ninth of April? Am I supposed to give any piece of news?