Iranian Leader Speaks To Mike Wallace

Exclusive Interview Will Air On '60 Minutes' Sunday At 7 P.M. ET/PT


NEW YORK, Aug. 9, 2006
Mike Wallace interviews Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the Presidential Palace in Tehran on Tuesday, August 8.  (CBS)

Quote

"Well, please look at the makeup of the American administration, the behavior of the American administration. See how they talk down to my nation."

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

WHAT DO YOU THINK?




(CBS) Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sat down with Mike Wallace in Tehran on Tuesday in a rare, exclusive interview with a Western reporter.

In the wide-ranging interview, the Iranian leader comments on President Bush's foreign policy, the lack of relations between Iran and the United States, Hezbollah, Lebanon and Iraq.

Speaking about President Bush's failure to answer his 18-page letter that criticized U.S. foreign policy, Ahmadinejad said, "Well, (with the letter) I wanted to open a window towards the light for the president so that he can see that one can look on the world through a different perspective. … We are all free to choose. But please give him this message, sir: Those who refuse to accept an invitation will not have a good ending or fate. You see that his approval rating is dropping every day. Hatred vis-à-vis the president is increasing every day around the world. For a ruler, this is the worst message that he could receive. Rulers and heads of government at the end of their office must leave the office holding their heads high."

On what the "conducive conditions" would be for Iran to establish relations with the U.S., the president said, "Well, please look at the makeup of the American administration, the behavior of the American administration. See how they talk down to my nation. And this recent resolution passed about the nuclear issue, look at the wording. They have given us — presented us with a package which we are studying right now. We even gave them a date for our response. Ignoring that, they passed a resolution. They want to build an empire. And they don't want to live side-by-side in peace with other nations. The American government, sir, it is very clear to me they have to change their behavior and everything will be resolved. (George W. Bush) believes that his power emanates from his nuclear warhead arsenals. The time of the bomb is in the past, it's behind us. Today is the era of thoughts, dialogue and cultural exchanges."

Portions of the interview will appear on the CBS Evening News on Thursday, Aug. 10 at 6:30 p.m. ET/PT. The entire report will be broadcast on 60 Minutes this Sunday at 7 p.m. ET/PT.


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