September 22, 2008
Contact:
Anna Christopher, NPR


   

NPR NEWS INTERVIEW WITH
IRANIAN PRESIDENT MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD

INTERVIEW AIRING ON MORNING EDITION
TOMORROW, TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23

EXCERPTS BELOW; FULL TRANSCRIPT AT www.NPR.org




September 22, 2008; Washington, D.C. – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in an exclusive broadcast interview with NPR News’ Morning Edition, offered host Steve Inskeep an explanation for his infamous comment that Israel should be “wiped off the face of the earth." Ahmadinejad outlined to Morning Edition his proposal to offer Palestinians a referendum to “decide the future and the nature of its government,” which he suggested would mean that Israel would “disappear.” He said: “Let me create an analogy here, where exactly is the Soviet Union today? It did disappear. Exactly how? It was through the vote of its own people."

A complete transcript of the interview, airing tomorrow on Morning Edition, is available at www.NPR.org The audio will be posted at approximately 10:00AM (ET).

In the interview, Inskeep pressed Ahmadinejad to offer a concrete proposal to reassure the world about its nuclear intentions. Ahmadinejad answered that Iran believes: "the IAEA itself offers the best guarantee,” and that "the American administration should cease putting pressure on people who work at the IAEA." This answer came the same day that the International Atomic Energy Agency complained about Iran's failure to provide access to its nuclear program and called on Iran to cooperate with the nuclear watchdog group.

President Ahmadinejad was sharply questioned about the openness of Iran's own political system. Inskeep noted that many candidates are not permitted to run for office in Iran, asking Ahmadinejad: "Why do you not trust Iran's people to make that choice, instead of the government making it for them?” He responded: "There's at least 100 times more freedom in Iran than there is in the United States."

Ahmadinejad was also questioned on Iran's confrontational stance with the U.S., whether he has lost touch with the Iranian people and the reach of western music and movies inside Iran.

All excerpts must be credited to NPR News Morning Edition. Television usage must include on-screen NPR News credit with NPR logo. A complete transcript will be made available tomorrow at 9:00AM (ET) via contact below.

Morning Edition, the two-hour newsmagazine airing weekdays and hosted by Steve Inskeep in Washington, D.C. and Renée Montagne from NPR West in Culver City, Calif., is public radio’s most listened-to program with nearly 13 million weekly listeners. For local stations and broadcast times, visit www.NPR.org/stations