1-on-1 interview with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

David Muir discusses with Rouhani whether Iran was behind the Saudi oil attack and are the U.S. and Iran heading toward a major conflict?
6:29 | 09/26/19

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Transcript for 1-on-1 interview with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani
moments ago, my one-on-one interview with Iran's president 24 hours after president trump spoke of Iran's, quote, blood lust here at the U.N. Tonight, the president of Iran in front of the world at the U.N. And right after, the interview with us. We press him here tonight. Was Iran behind the Saudi oil attacks? And is the U.S. And Iran headed toward a major conflict? I also asked the president moments ago, is he willing to sit down with president trump? President rouhani, we heard you speak here at the U.N. Today, and you said that Iran will not negotiate a nuclear deal as long as Iran remains under sanctions. We know that the U.S. Has doubled down and just today the trump administration announced new sanctions on the Chinese doing business to Iran. What is your reaction to president trump? Translator: Well, the Americans must think in the past one and a half years in which they have put up extreme sanctions against Iran, what they have accomplished? What they are doing against Iran is to the detriment of America and to the detriment of countries that seek to enter into economic active tips with Iran. In addition to the fact that the type of sanctions that were executed by the United States against the people of Iran is an economic form of terrorism. Particularly because women, children, the ill, those in need of medication, are most severely hit, and I am here to say today that this cannot continue. We heard, Mr. President, from secretary of state Mike Pompeo, who pointed to the downing of the U.S. Drone, to the attack on Saudi oil facilities. The world has watched this escalation. Are we closer to a major conflict? Translator: I do believe that we are approaching a worse point. We do believe that the main solution is to dry up the root that causes the tension, the Yemeni issue, that has been going onfor five years, that has subjected the Yemeni people to the daily bombardment and bloodshed of an aggressor. President trump here at the U.N. Called Iran the world's number one state sponsor of trichl. He pointed to Iran's recent attack on Saudi Arabia oil facilities. Was Iran behind those attacks? Translator: For the united States government, it has been embarrassing to have so many radars and so many systems purchased with Iraqi, Kuwaiti, Saudi Arabian money, set up these systems all over the region, all kinds of patriot defensive and interception systems and they haven't been able to intercept the incoming projectiles, the missiles, to shoot down those missiles. So, it is an unfounded allegation. But Mr. President, you know that even France, Britain, Germany, who still supported the nuclear deal, they were on your side when it came to the nuclear deal, even though countries now say there is no plausible explanation that Iran bears responsibility for this attack. Was it a miscalculation? Has it backfired? Translator: I asked all of the European leaders of the three European countries you mentioned and I asked them personally, why do you say that Iran has aided in carrying out this attack? They did not have a single legitimate reason to offer. They only said one thing, they said, the programming and coordination needed to carry out these attacks is above and beyond the Yemeni capabilities. In response, I said, that may very well be, but how much do you really know of the Yemeni capabilities on the ground and then why is it that you cannot prove, show evidence where this attack originated from? You asked them for proof, I ask you, Mr. President, for proof that you did not do this. Where is that proof? Translator: We requested for them to furnish us the proof, evidencery proof, but they don't. And I told you, they say we have conducted investigations and reached a conclusion that the needed capabilities are just not in Yemeni hands to carry out such attacks. As you know, the French president macron has been trying to mediate talks between the U.S. And Iran and president trump has said, we don't need a mediator. He said Iran wants to do something, they know who to call. Will you call president trump? Reporter: Mr. Trump would be wiser to go back to the commitments given by the united States of America in 2015 and live up to that fully. Once that happens, if there is a need for telephone contact, we will certainly establish that contact and talk to one another. So, Mr. President, given the current situation, are you interested in sitting down with president trump? Translator: What is important for us is for everyone to assist and aid in resolving today's intertwined and complicated regional and world problems. Seeing one another, speaking on the phone, does not go to the root cause and resolve the issues. So, the answer is no, you're not interested? Translator: Under the current conditions, I do not see it as productive or positive. Not for the United States or Iran. What is positive for us to sincerely show our efforts, sincerely tell one another that in the benefit of our people and to the benefit of the world community, we seek to strive. If America takes a positive step towards its own commitments, then, of course, the atmosphere and circumstances will change. But we also learned of a flurry of activity here overnight. Iranian diplomats and European diplomats trying to set up a last-minute meeting between president rouhani and president trump. Obviously, it did not happen, and tonight, we have also learned that the trump administration was not interested in lifting any sanctions and the Iranians then said they would not meet.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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