Exclusive: Iran Prez Won't Say Yes-or-No to Nuclear Bomb

Ahmadinejad tells ABC's Diane Sawyer Obama didn't deserve Nobel Peace Prize.

ByABC News
December 21, 2009, 2:59 PM

Dec. 21, 2009— -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declined to give a yes-or-no answer on whether he could assure the West that Iran would never weaponize its nuclear material and turn it into a bomb.

In an exclusive interview with ABC "World News" anchor Diane Sawyer, the Iranian president also scolded the U.S. and other nations that have threatened sanctions against Iran unless it reins in its nuclear ambitions and submits to international inspections of its nuclear facilities.

"They tell us. 'Let's negotiate.' Then from the other hand, they are saying 'sanctions are coming.' They show the stick.

"Respectable lady," Ahmadinejad said, "this approach has failed... raising the stick of sanctions and then saying let's negotiate. It has failed. It's over. It's not repeatable."

Ahmadinejad rejected evidence that Iran is working on a neutron initiator, a device which has no civilian uses but is the trigger for a nuclear weapon. It was first reported in the Times of London which cited an internal Iranian document. The plans for a neutron initiator has been described as the "smoking gun" that allegedly proves Iran's nuclear program is intent on building a bomb.

When Sawyer asked the Iranian president if he wanted to see the document, he waved it away.

"No, I don't want to see them at all. I don't," he said. "They are all fabricated bunch of papers continuously being forged and disseminated by the American government." White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod told ABC News the accusation that the U.S. fabricated documents was "nonsense."

Ahmadinejad called the reports that it is working on a bomb trigger "fundamentally not true," and said the continuing accusations that the Iranian regime is working to build a nuclear arsenal has "turned into a repetitive and tasteless joke."

Sawyer pressed Ahmadinejad, however, for a yes-or-no answer about his country's nuclear plans.

"Will you say to the American people, tonight, that Iran will never weaponize nuclear material? There will be no nuclear weapon in Iran, ever?" she asked.

Ahmadinejad declined to give a yes or no and did not positively rule out the possibility of an Iranian nuclear weapon.

Instead, he shook his head and said, "We have got a saying Iran which says 'how many times shall I repeat the same thing?' You should say something only once. We have said once that we don't want nuclear bomb. We don't accept it."

Sawyer interviewed Ahmadinejad in Copenhagen, Denmark, after he attended the United Nations conference on climate change. During the interview, the Iranian president asked nearly as many questions as he answered, and was at times combative, at other times almost playful.

Moments after Sawyer sought her "yes or no" answer on whether Iran would ever weaponize its nuclear fuel, Ahmadinejad interrupted Sawyer and asked with a smile, "Do you think it was right to give the Nobel Peace Prize to Mr. Obama? Now you can give me a yes or no answer."

"It's up to you," she replied, prompting Ahmadinejad to add, "What has he done for peace in the world?"