Transcript: George Stephanopoulos Interviews Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

The Iranian president says country will "continue its path" in nuclear program.

ByABC News via logo
May 4, 2010, 7:20 PM

May 5, 2010 — -- "Good Morning America" anchor George Stephanopoulos interviewed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a day after Ahmadinejad spoke before the U.N.'s conference on the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty Monday, claiming his country's nuclear program was not a threat to global security, but the United States' is.

Click here to read "Good Morning America's" full report.

The following is a transcript of the interview, which took place on Tuesday, May 4, 2010.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Mr. President, thank you for meeting with us. Yesterday, you called Secretary of State Clinton an enemy of Iran. Do you consider President Obama an enemy of Iran, as well?

AHMADINEJAD: In the name of God, the compassionate, the merciful. I would like to say hello to your audience. I hope that your audience along with nations have a life filled with health, and joy. It wasn't quite clear to me that you said I had said something. What exactly was it that you said?

STEPHANOPOULOS: On Charlie Rose yesterday, you called Secretary of State Clinton an enemy of Iran. And I was wondering if you believed that President Obama is an enemy of Iran, as well.

AHMADINEJAD: No. It's the measure really that we're referring to. That are hostile. Not people. It's not individuals that we're enemies with. If there is an action taken against Iran than it is a hostile action.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But what action has he--

AHMADINEJAD: It's clear that Ms. Clinton is constantly taking measures against Iran.

STEPHANOPOULOS: What actions are you referring to specifically?

AHMADINEJAD: Both the positions and the actions that Mrs. Clinton is taking violates the rights Iran over the nuclear issue. It's quite clear and it doesn't need explanation. Do you think that Mrs. Clinton is a friend of Iran?

STEPHANOPOULOS: I think Ms. Clinton and the President both said that they would like a respectful relationship with Iran. What they say is that there is evidence that Iran continues to enrich uranium, continues to develop nuclear weapons. And it's not only them. The United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, said yesterday that it is up to Iran to clarify the doubts and concerns of its nuclear program.

AHMADINEJAD: Do you mean that both Ms. Clinton and Mr. Obama want to befriend Iran, but that Mr. Ban Ki-moon's statement is preventing them? Is this what you mean?


AHMADINEJAD: Ms. Clinton wants to have good relations with Iran, but, Mr. Bon Kimoon's statements is preventing her from that.

STEPHANOPOULOS: No, it is the actions of Iran, according to the United States, the enriching of uranium, the development of a nuclear program that is not in accord with U.N. regulations, with International Atomic Energy Agency-- which is something the United States feels it has to counter.

AHMADINEJAD: Because we have enrichment, Ms. Clinton cannot be a friend of ours? Is this what you mean? I want to understand you clearly.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, I'm just asking the question, Mr. President. It was you yesterday who called Secretary Clinton an enemy of Iran.

AHMADINEJAD: So, I would like to know what your question precisely is. Are you saying that Ms. Clinton wants to be a friend of Iran, but because Iran has an enrichment process going on, she's unable to do so? Is this what you mean?

STEPHANOPOULOS: I will go back to the initial question, which is based on your statement. Secretary Clinton, you said yesterday that Secretary Clinton is an enemy of Iran. I asked you a very direct question. Do you consider President Obama an enemy of Iran, as well?

AHMADINEJAD: I consider that there is a difference between Mr. Obama and Ms. Clinton. But I'd like to ask, is Ms. Clinton a friend of Iran, in your opinion? As an American? You know your officials. You know your-- your people in government. I'm an Iranian. We're two individuals, ordinary people, having a conversation here. In your mind, do you think she's a friend of Iran?

STEPHANOPOULOS: I believe that Secretary of State Clinton is a friend of the Iranian people. I believe she is opposed to some actions of the Iranian Government, specifically the development of nuclear enrichment, which could lead to a weapons program in the future.

AHMADINEJAD: Very well. We're also friends of the American People. But although the United States has stored several thousand nuclear bombs, threatens others, interferes in others affairs, pressures the agency [I.A.E.A.], is arrogant, we are against these things. Are we considered the enemy of the United States or the wrong attitude of some American authorities? We are against wrong attitudes. Is Ms. Clinton is a friend of the Iranian People? I represent the Iranian People.

STEPHANOPOULOS: How are President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton different?

AHMADINEJAD: In my opinion they are different.


AHMADINEJAD: Mrs Clinton is interested in speedily moving relations with Iran to the point of a clash. Based on the information we possess , Mr. Obama does not have such an opinion. But there's a lot of pressure going around.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I spoke with President Obama in Prague three weeks ago now. He said he would push very hard for another round of U.N. sanctions, a fourth round of U.N. sanctions against Iran unless and until Iran comes into compliance with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

AHMADINEJAD: That's fine. Any measure he takes will be proportionately confronted by a position that Iran will take.


AHMADINEJAD: We don't have a special friendship with Mr. Obama. We will act the same way as we have been doing so far against hostilities. Don't worry about us, we know how to defend ourselves. Because we know how to protect ourselves if these kind of statements are made.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You're not concerned about sanctions, even though it's not just the United States? It's France. It's Great Britain. I spoke with President Medvedev in St. Petersburg. He said now it's time for sanctions against the Iranians as well. Iran is becoming increasingly isolated.

AHMADINEJAD: We will not accept something that's forced upon us. We will not accept an illegal statement. The issue that three or four countries possess a nuclear bomb and want to prevent the others from its peaceful nuclear energy goals. It is in violation of laws and NPT [Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty] and against justice and we will not accept it. Therefore let's put it aside, this is not something that by threatening Iran or putting pressure on Iran, will force Iran to change its positions. This is not something that will work, its time has passed. For them it is better to cooperate with Iran according to the laws. According to the laws, according to justice and on the basis of friendship.