KING: Mr. President, thank you for coming back to LARRY KING LIVE. Do you like coming to America?
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： In the name of God, the compassionate, the merciful, I'd like to say hello to your audience, to you and your colleagues, and ask Almighty God to bring health, prosperity and success to all people and nations and countries。
I am interested in traveling to all parts of the world to meet with people. The United Nations is an important forum for the exchange of international ideas on how to run international affairs and naturally people like myself should be actively involved in its work。
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： That one person was released on bail because of mercy, compassion and as a humanitarian gesture. As for the others, yes, there is a chance, but the judge has to take care of the case。
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： It depends on the judge who will need to handle the case, issue a verdict. There's a process that must go through。
KING: Do you have any influence in that process?
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： I have no influence over it. But I have suggested for the lady, in her case, that it be regarded with clemency, mercy and more kindness and compassion to allow her to return to her family。
We asked the families ·· the families of Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, the two prisoners, and their mothers passed this question along to you. This is from the mothers of the two still there。
Mr. President, the last time you were in New York for the U.N. General Assembly 12 months ago, you promised to ask the judiciary to expedite our children's case and show maximum leniency. Our hearts are broken that this has not happened. Please, will you make this request again when you return to Tehran?
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： I think that there are many prisoners in the world. Do I have to make a personal request for everyone?
Now, having said that, I have requested the judiciary to look at the case of these three people's cases carefully but, you know, there are many prisoners in the world. Here in the United States, there are 2.5 million。
Can I request the judiciary here in the United States to show leniency and I would, in fact, seize this opportunity here and ask the judicial body of the United States, judicial leniency, in the case of the 2.5 million prisoners in this country. They have spouses. They have mothers, children, parents. Many are young。
KING: We'll have more with the president of Iran right after this。
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： We never made that promise. We agreed to have a joint information and intelligence committee with the U.S. government to gather information about his whereabouts, on his whereabouts, and we have expressed hope that this committee will soon be held and we express our preparedness to be part of the committee。
Now if the FBI were to give more information about the purpose of this trip and what information he had and where his other destinations were, we might be able to assist further in the case。
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： Yes, I accept and agree with that. It saddens us when people travel, run into problems, disappear. It's awful。
I think that if all intelligence organizations work more transparently and based on more humanitarian principles, these problems would not arise, but I would recommend that that intelligence committee be held jointly so that the representatives of Iran and the United States can sit together and help trace his whereabouts。
KING: You know, his daughter is getting married Saturday。
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： I congratulate her on her marriage。
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： And I sympathize with her. Definitely, it would have been very good. I wish that it can happen. I think the FBI should be more active in this case and to find their agent。
KING: You know, Mr. President, if it were your children ·· if one of your children crossed the border of another country and were being held, you would be very concerned and you would press the issue, would you not?
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： If my child violates a law, justice must be served. Because law ensures security. And stability. And laws must be observed because if they are to be violated, there shall be no security。
KING: We'll be right back with more. Don't go away。
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： We have announced that we are prepared to freely talk with him at the U.N. General Assembly。
I think it would be very good to sit before members of other states and the media and to discuss our views. To have an exchange at the United Nations. I think that would be very positive so that everyone can hear what we have to say。
KING: Secretary of State Clinton says sanctions are biting your economy. Even the former president, Rafsanjani, said that the sanctions are serious, can't be dismissed. Are you worried about their effect and their continuing effect?
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： It seems to me that you've raised several issues. The question is why does the U.S. government place sanctions that are over above those specified by the U.N.'s Security Council? Is that not an illegal measure?
Is it not indicative of the hostility of the U.S., the American people, towards the Iranian people and the U.S. administration, more importantly, towards the Iranian government?
That's one issue. The second issue is that sanctions really are unimportant to us because we have been under sanctions for over 30 years. Furthermore, our economy is not based on the economy of the United States. It is a self·contained economy, an indigenous·based economy because we are able to provide for our own needs。
And interestingly, in the years of sanctions that have been imposed on us, we have also had more incentive to engage in activities that jumpstart and trigger our economy and we've been quite successful。
Now we know here in the United States, many are very concerned ·· many have made a lot of noise over the sanctions and have even identified people in Iran who seem to sympathize with views here that sanctions harm Iran。
But really, that's of no concern to us because in ·· on the ground sanctions have, in fact, encouraged us to be firmer in the pursuit of our economic goals。
The United States government has no relations with us. Has had none for over 30 years. So what is it that they are sanctioning? We have lived without the United States for over 30 years. And we have advanced。
When Iran was under the yoke of the United States, it was a backward country. Since we started living without the United States, we have become an advanced country. Is that bad for us? I think it's quite a positive ·· step to take。
KING: Do you not understand the fears about nuclear ·· nuclear weaponry in your country? With all the hostility in the region, don't you understand the fears over your having nuclear weapons? That could trigger something that you might not even start。
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： Who is concerned?
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： Who is the world? Who represents the world? The United States? Its friends? No, the world is a very big place. And what U.S. officials are wrong about is that they see themselves as the world but they are not。
KING: All right. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu was a guest recently on our program and he said, quote, "The greatest threat facing humanity." Humanity. That's the world. "Is that Iran would acquire nuclear weapons."
If Israel feels that strongly and you don't directly assure them, don't you fear that they might do a first strike?
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： So you think that we are concerned ·· we should be concerned about allaying Mr. Netanyahu's fears and concerns?
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： Why should we be doing that for him? Who is he?
KING: He's the head of a country ··
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： Who is he in the first place, to begin with? He is a skilled killer. All dictators in the world have condemned others, and he's one of many of them。
KING: Maybe ··
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： He should be put on trial for killing Palestinians, for placing Gaza under siege, which is against the law and against the spirit of the charter of the United Nations。
He should be put on trial for killing women and children, and you want to allay his fears and concerns here?
KING: I want to allay yours。
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： Allow me to ask a question from you. Why does U.S. media feel so responsible for allaying Mr. Netanyahu's concerns and fears?
KING: Because ··
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： Why?
KING: What if he took his concerns to the next step and threatened you? So shouldn't you be concerned about him? You, Iran?
KING: All of these problems, Mr. President, seem to center around ·· we quibble, he's a dictator, you're a dictator who started ·· if you have a nuclear weapon and they fear a nuclear weapon, you could have a problem that creates a problem for the world。
Would you say here now you do not and will not have nuclear weapons? Be simple。
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： Our first question is who is the world again that you speak of? You mean Mr. Netanyahu?
KING: No. If anybody ··
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： Who's the world?
KING: If anybody drops a nuclear bomb on anybody, the whole world is involved. You know that。
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： This is the first question. It's Iran's nuclear activities. No one expresses fear about Iran's nuclear activities in the region except the Zionist regime and the fear of some American authorities。
We are not seeking the bomb. We have no interest in it. And we do not think that it is useful. We are standing firm over the issue that both the Zionist regime and the United States government should be disarmed。
The threat to the world are the bombs that the U.S. government and the Zionist regime have. If they think that by propagating against Iran that they can basically change their public opinion, they are wrong。
We will stand firm on this issue. We will pursue it in all international organizations. We will discuss in the NPT review process. The Zionist regime was required. And the document ratified by the NPT review conference to address its nuclear arsenal。
And so the U.S. government, too, must pursue this idea to ensure that the Zionist regime's nuclear arsenal is eliminated because this regime is an illegitimate war·waging country. It has also proved that it does not have sufficient control over its nerves. And not only that nor does its backer, the United States that gets into wars in Iraq and Afghanistan just over nothing。
And this government and the United States still does not have the ability to hold nuclear arsenals. And the same argument holds true for all who possess nuclear bombs. They must all disarm. Because the nuclear bomb is the worst and ugliest form of weapon that there is. And those who have it must disarm. And nobody has the right from now on to build nuclear bombs。
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： So our position's very clear on this. You must understand that this propaganda is useless. We don't have the nuclear bomb. Those who have it have to be disarmed, rather than accuse others of having it or wanting it。
KING: We are in ·· we are ··
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： All the U.S. government knows very well as does the Security Council that ··
KING: We're in a world of fear apparently. Conscience ·· you talked about human rights and Mr. Netanyahu. How about conscience in your country? Students, human rights defenders? Don't you have to improve in the area? Aren't there ·· are there full human rights in Iran? Does everyone in Iran have the right to speak out, to protest?
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： Everywhere in the world, you see challenges of that nature. In the United States, too, there is need for more on this front. Isn't there? So we have to have a comparative skill in our hands. I don't think, for example, in Iran, an employee would be fired after 50 years of serving in an office for expressing his opinion or her opinion. But this happened in your country. A reporter with a rich background was forced out of her work simply because she expressed an opinion. This never happened ·· would never happen in Iran。
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： Now, everywhere in the world, we have problems. But this would never have happened in Iran. Having said that, I understand all over the world there are problem, including in the United States. And we are prepared to sit in a forum at a table, place all our troubles on the table and discuss it and resolve it together。
I asked you, you have over 2.5 million prisoners here. Not all of them are killers, murderers or thieves. Who are the rest?
KING: Are you saying we have political prisoners?
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： No, that's not what I'm suggesting. You can tell me that. Why are they in prison? Why?
KING: I haven't investigated every ·· drugs ··
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： Are they all thieves? Are they all thieves and robbers?
KING: Big drug problem。
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： You have so many drug·related problem, 2.5 million people, one percent ·· out of 100 people in the United States, one person is in prison. Why?
KING: Let me get a break and we'll come right back。
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： Have they all killed? Have they all robbed? Have they all trafficked drugs?
KING: I don't know what that has to do with it. All right, we'll be right back。
KING: All right. On the human rights issue, though, you must admit that you have students, defenders of free speech that you have taken strong actions against, people in jail for just speaking their minds, protesting in the streets and arrested. You can't say that Iran has opened ·· open conscience to human right ·· is open for human rights to all. You can't say that。
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： You can say these things even if I'm not here, right? So why would you need to mention it while I am here?
KING: Because you're the head of the country and ··
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： It seems you are judging. You are judging. I asked the question. There are 2.5 million prisoners here and why ··
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： Allow me ·· in Iran, nobody is in prison because of participating in protests. Nobody went to prison because of participating in protests. Protests are free. But say if you had protests here and somebody attacked the police and killed the police, would you reward them?
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： Would you reward them? Why would you expect Iran to reward them? If anyone violates the law, the case has to go before a judge and it has to be examined and taken care of? Why is it only in the United States that prisoners are in prison for legal issues, legally; whereas in Iran, they're in prison illegally? In Iran, too, there's a legal process. There's been incidents where there have been protests and people attack the police. The police file complaints and the judge takes care of the issue。
Now, in the United States, you're telling me those in the prison are criminals, but in Iran those who are in prison are freedom seekers? That's awful. Why is it that U.S. authorities are always trying to support and back people who violate the law in Iran? This doesn't help the image of the United States. It just worsens it。
KING: We're not going to resolve that. One other thing on that area; do you still permit stoning in Iran? We've had a lot of attention paid to that lady ·· about that lady. Do you permit stoning lawful in Iran?
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： I think that I have explained this in the past couple of days to a number of reporters. This lady's case has not been completely examined yet. No verdict has been issued yet. She is accused of being ·· of murdering her husband. And I don't think in the world if someone is accused of murdering their husband, people would pour on the streets and rally in support of her。
KING: If they were going to stone her, they would。
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： She has been accused of the murder of her husband. There is no verdict issued. No verdict, no sentence has been passed。
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： And it is not about a stoning case at all. There's no stoning sentence here at all. A person in Germany made this claim, which was untrue. Our judiciary also said it was a false statement。
But I would like to ask a question to you, Mr. Larry King, if I may. Last year, we were here the same time. In Pittsburgh, there was a session. The Group 20; over 100,000 people protested against the economic policies of the G·20. The police attacked them violently. Many were beaten up with ·· or hot water was thrown on their bodies and many were arrested. And you're telling me that protests are free in the United States?
So here in the United States, do you think people can pour on the streets and protest against the Zionist regime, 100,000 people?
KING: I've got a time ·· I've got to take a break. We'll be right back。
KING: We're back with the president of Iran. Do you have an opinion about the controversy in the United States over the building of that Islamic Mosque near where the events of 9/11 took place?
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： I have no opinion on it. If a building is to be built, the municipal authorities or the authorities for the city have to examine it and then tell people what they think and what the decision is. So the decision is for the people of this city and its authorities to make。
KING: Do you ··
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： What decision can I make over it?
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： I don't have any opinion on it. I think that everybody should respect, as a general rule, places of worship, the sanctities that human beings have, and to respect divine books. That I understand。
KING: Talks are about to take place again in the Mideast, about the Mideast. Do you have any optimism that we will see peace in that region ever?
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： Yes. I am very optimistic. Without hope, we cannot try harder to build a better life. I think if people's rights are given to them, peace will come. If the right to national sovereignty of the people of Palestine is recognized, the problems there will be resolved。
KING: How about the guarantee of the safety of Israel and the recognition that Israel is a country? Does that have to be solved? I mean, is ·· this is both sides, isn't it? It's not just one side has to give in to create peace. It's a two·sided issue。
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： Do you mean that here instead we should sit and decide for the Palestinian people what they should want? I think the Palestinian people should decide about that ··
KING: ·· recognize another state? All right. We only have a little time left. We'll be right back with our remaining moments。
(NEWS BREAK) KING: We have only a few moments left. Fidel Castro, who is not a capitalist ·· yesterday you said capitalism is the major problem in the world. Fidel Castro was critical of you for denying the Holocaust. He said that Iran should try to understand the unique history of anti·Semitism. How do you' respond to Castro? Certainly not a friend of Israel。
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： Aside related to the Zionist regime issue this news ·· Mr. Castro sent a message to me yesterday and said it was untrue, this statement, that his statements were interpreted differently, that he had said something different. So I have no opinion here on this statement。
But I'd like to ask why is there so much insistence in the United States to absolutely defend the Zionist regime? What is the relationship between the U.S. government, 10,000 kilometer across the ocean from the Zionist regime, and the need to support it?
KING: Because a massive group of people were annihilated just for being what they were. Seven Million were killed, eight million. So as a humanitarian country, we care about this. And many Jews came here to live. And many Jews created a country in Israel and wanted to live in peace。
Don't you ·· now, Castro did say you should recognize anti· Semitism exists in the world, and we all should be concerned about it。
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： Is that the real issue, that the U.S. government wants to defend human rights?
KING: Of course。
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： Where were these people killed? Were they killed in Palestine? By the hands of Palestinians?
KING: It doesn't matter where they were killed, it's the fact that they were killed。
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： Oh. Then it's all right for a million Iraqi people to be killed and then, would it be OK if they decided to come and occupy the United States? They were killed in Iraq. Would you allow them to come occupy the United States?
KING: You're not saying the United States committed genocide? You're saying the United States committed genocide?
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： That's a separate discussion. And, yes, it did happen in both Iraq and Afghanistan. But that's a separate issue. I like to ask you, if in a country someone's rights are violated, they're oppressed, assuming that your assumption, your statement is correct, does that imply that they can go and occupy another land? Is there any logic in that? If we were to follow that logic, will there be any security left in the world?
In World War II, 100 million ·· or 80 million people were killed. If they were to go occupy 20 countries around the world, that would have been terrible。
KING: Israel is a legal state。
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： The question is ·· come on. The question ·· you just said yourself it's over the Holocaust. Why are you changing your statement?
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： My question is what are the interests of the United States to ·· in absolutely defending them. There are many parts of the world where human rights are violated. Do you know how many American Indians were killed? Do you know or not?
KING: I know. We're out of time。
AHMADINEJAD (through translator)： You're a reporter. You should have the answers to these。
KING: We're out of time. We'll pick this up next year with the president of Iran. I'm Larry King. Don't go away。