May 30, 2006

Der Spiegel Interviews Ahmadinejad

There is an intriguing interview with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Der Spiegel today. I urge everyone to read it for greater insight into the mindset of the Iranian government, as well as for edification against the beating of war drums by those who would prod the US into war against Iran.

I am going to withhold comment on it for the moment; I want to re-read it and also get some java flowing in my veins.

That being said, it appears that Ahmadinejad is trying to put his earlier coments about the Holocaust into a different context (assuming that he was correctly translated when he made statements denying the existence of the Holocaust).

He also has some blistering words about the support that Sadaam Hussein received from the West during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, and the hypocrisy of nuclear states demanding that Iran end its uranium enrichment program.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link, MIke.

historymike said...

Sure. Here is one quote that caught my eye:

We don't want to confirm or deny the Holocaust. We oppose every type of crime against any people. But we want to know whether this crime actually took place or not. If it did, then those who bear the responsibility for it have to be punished, and not the Palestinians. Why isn't research into a deed that occurred 60 years ago permitted? After all, other historical occurrences, some of which lie several thousand years in the past, are open to research, and even the governments support this.

I agree with Ahmadinejad that there is a very powerful lobby against any re-evaluation of the Holocaust, and that anyone who dares to look critically at the "established" history of the Holocaust runs a danger of being branded an anti-Semite or a neo-Nazi.

Take Norman Finkelstein, for example. I had the pleasure of meeting him last year, and I found him to be anything but the "self-hating Jew" that Leon Wieseltier called him.

That being said, perhaps Ahmadinejad is just back-pedaling.

I am looking for the original quote by Ahmadinejad at the moment.

historymike said...

And this quote:

But the other side is that there are a number of countries that possess both nuclear energy and nuclear weapons. They use their atomic weapons to threaten other peoples. And it is these powers who say that they are worried about Iran deviating from the path of peaceful use of atomic energy. We say that these powers are free to monitor us if they are worried. But what these powers say is that the Iranians must not complete the nuclear fuel cycle because deviation from peaceful use might then be possible. What we say is that these countries themselves have long deviated from peaceful usage. These powers have no right to talk to us in this manner. This order is unjust and unsustainable.

Iran, with no nuclear weapons (yet), is within striking distance of nuclear weapons from most of the world's nuclear powers.

One nuclear power in particular - Israel - has between 100 and 200 nuclear warheads. I would suspect that at least a few of those have targeting coordinates somewhere within the borders of Iran.

Pakistan and India are seen these days as US stooges by the Iranian government, and in their eyes they constitute more than a benign nuclear threat to Iran.

My question is this - if nuclear proliferation is such a concern, where is the media outrage over Israel, Pakistan, and India, none of whom have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)?

Iran, by the way, is a signatory to the NPT.

Dariush said...


Wieseltier is probably the least objectionable (next to Spencer Ackerman) of the gang over at TNR. Umm, not that that's saying much. The irony is that he himself has been tarred with the same label that he so effortlessly flings at any and every anti-Zionist (or even merely Zionist-critical) Jew, chiefly due to the withering criticism he levels at "the settlers".

Thanks for posting this link. I haven't yet read the interview, but I did read a Reuters wire story about the interview yesterday.

Wasn't surprised to see that fat, greasy sleazeball, Rabbi Marvin Hier, order Angela Merkel to keep him out of Germany.

Ahmadinejad's latest comments were condemned by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Los Angeles. Rabbi Marvin Hier, a founder and dean, called on Merkel to keep him out of Germany.

"For him to be at the World Cup and sit in a VIP seat would be a desecration of the memory of the Holocaust."

Speaking of desecration and the Weaselsall Center:

Skeletons are being removed from the site of an ancient Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem to make way for a $150m (£86m) "museum of tolerance" being built for the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Centre.

Palestinians have launched a legal battle to stop the work at what was the city's main Muslim cemetery. The work is to prepare for the construction of a museum which seeks the promotion of "unity and respect among Jews and between people of all faiths".

Cost of construction courtesy of your tax dollars (if you're an American citizen), and a generous grant from the Israeli government (i.e., once again, American tax dollars).

More from Meron Benvenisti:

"If Israel surrenders to the Muslims' demands in Mamila, it might start a snowball effect and they would demand their graveyards in Dir Yassin, Lifta, Malha and Ein Kerem - all in the jurisdiction of Jerusalem's municipality. These sites have also been turned into garbage dumps, parking lots, roads and construction sites.

"Throughout Israel there are hundreds of sites that were once Muslim graveyards, whose remains are still evident at a few dozen of them. The rest have vanished, whether because the tombstones crumbled or because the sites were used for roads, farming or building institutions and residential buildings. The Muslim cemeteries' condition is so outrageous that if it existed in another civilized state it would raise a public storm.

"...Open burial sites are scattered throughout the country, human bones are strewed about, and tombstones are shattered, covered with garbage. The most famous site is the Balad a-Sheikh graveyard, located near Haifa in the town of Nesher - where Sheikh Azz a-Din a-Qassam is buried. This cemetery is the site of repeated clashes between vandals wishing to desecrate it and Muslim groups fighting to preserve it."


"In Europe there are two opinions on it. One group of researchers who are by and large politically motivated say the Holocaust happened. There is another group of researchers who have the opposite view and are by and large in prison for that." --Ahmadinejad

M A F said...

Mike, with regards to the holocaust, I found Ahamdinejad's responses most "artful." He appears interested in tying together the West's denials of Israel's treatment of the Palestinians with those that would deny the holocaust. (See what you resposted.)

It is most interesting to see how Ahmadinejad views the diminshing role of Europeans in the Middle East. With regards to the propaganda to the contrary, he is definately not some deranged madman.

To use the language of press secretary Tony Snow, Ahmadinejad "artfully" crafts his answers.

historymike said...

Here is the earliest article I have found with the "Holocaust myth" statement attributed to Ahmadinejad.

He at least seems to be consistent in his message that the Palestinians got a raw deal in 1948:

"They have invented a myth that Jews were massacred and place this above God, religions and the prophets...The West has given more significance to the myth of the genocide of the Jews, even more significant than God, religion, and the prophets," he said. "(It) deals very severely with those who deny this myth but does not do anything to those who deny God, religion, and the prophet... If you have burned the Jews, why don't you give a piece of Europe, the United States, Canada or Alaska to Israel... Our question is, if you have committed this huge crime, why should the innocent nation of Palestine pay for this crime?"

Brian said...

I can't take the guy seriously as anything but a terrorist. Denying the Holocaust destroys his credibility.

It happened. He is right. It happened in Europe and Europe chose to ignore it for a long time. The U.S. did the same thing and history will not judge us kindly for it.

That is why I supported Bill Clinton when he sent troops into Bosnia. The U.S. should never stand by idly whilst innocents are slaughtered.

Dariush said...

After having read the interview, I can honestly say that what stands out is the eminently reasonable and rationale replies given by Ahmadinejad to the hostile queries of the interviewers.

What stands out is the degree of self-loathing present in the interviewers and how readily and completely they have resigned themselves to an eternity of collective guilt and servitude.

The people of Eastern Europe should thank their lucky stars for the one gift bestowed on them, however unintentionally, by their isolation under Stalinism. Namely, that they were never subjected to the decades of social engineering and indoctrination that the West was.

What Ahmadinejad said should not be a big deal. The fact that it is, even to the point of it being a casus belli in the minds of many, speaks volumes about the state of the world today.

Lukashenko, Putin, Ahmadinejad = men in a world of mice.

-Sepp said...

"The people of Eastern Europe should thank their lucky stars for the one gift bestowed on them, however unintentionally, by their isolation under Stalinism. Namely, that they were never subjected to the decades of social engineering and indoctrination that the West was."

Dariush, normally I think you're pretty articulate in your postings and think about what you write. The above statement forces me to ask if you've lost your f*ckin' mind?
Yes thank God they only had to worry about becomming "non persons" and thoughtlessly murdered on the whim of one man or, sent to a Siberian gulag rather than face some kind of "social engineering". WTF do you think life under communism was if not a social engineering experiment? Strange enough that those "lucky people" have no desire to ever be so lucky again.
As for the wholesale murder of jews in Europe during WWII, I believe it DID happen. I have lived there and met men who were actually involved in it and have visited some former Kz camps.

Anonymous said...

For Holocaust information go here: Nizkor

I'm assuming some of you may be smart enough to read and comprehend. Based on the posts of Brooks and Dariush, that may be a big assumption.

Dariush said...


I don't mean to diminish any of the horrors of the Soviet Gulag, the deliberate mass starvation in the Ukraine, further depredations inflicted on Romanians, Czechs, Slovaks and others (all amply documented by Robert Conquest, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Anne Applebaum, D. Bacu and others).

I tried to qualify my statement by saying "however unintentionally" but clearly this wasn't enough.

I'm just saying that there's something really foul about what's going on. Nothing Ahmadinejad said was unreasonable... much less "murderous" or "mad". The questions and reaction of the German interviewers said a great deal more than Ahmadinejad's replies.

That "re-education" thing they went through post-war clearly did a number on them.

The point I was trying to make was that the peoples of Eastern Europe emerged from their trials with their sense of identity, their collective self-worth, and even their religious faith more strong and alive then ever.

They may be poor materially, but they are far richer than us in many ways.

What concerns me about the Holocaust is the infinite political mileage that it has generated in the West, in the service of one ignoble cause after another, not whether or not it happened.

Kate said...

wow, a stark awakening if anyone had any questions about this man's intent.

And to see one of the respondents here is also a stark awakening. A real live Nazi posting on a local talk board.


historymike said...


Thanks for proving my point, anonymous. All I did was provide an example - Finkelstein - of someone who has been unfairly criticized for daring to disagree with the Holocaust industry.

1. For the record, I have no doubts that Holocaust occurred. Don't patronize me with a "reminder" about Nizkor.

2. When someone like Finkelstein accepts a figure of 5.1 million victims, instead of the 6-12 million insisted upon by the "defenders" of the Holocaust, out come the charges of being an anti-Semite or neo-Nazi.

3. I fully support intellectual freedom, even when a few fringe scholars engage in Holocaust denial. If they want to believe the Holocaust never occurred, or that the Tooth Fairy runs the federal government, more power to them. The market of ideas will demonstrate them to be buffoons.

historymike said...

BTW - those who engage in the stifling of intellectual freedom are practicing the same sort of academic fascism used by the Nazis they supposedly abhor.

Anonymous said...

If America "suffered a de facto defeat" in Iraq, Saddam wouldn't have been hiding in a hole in the ground.

Eat it, Moonbats.

Brian said...

Liberal Dem,

I'm happy you're not in jail for wishing death upon the President.

I don't need polls for a sense of validation.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I think wishing death upon anyone is pretty disgusting.

But hey, you're a liberal, which makes you pretty disgusting.

-Sepp said...

Dariush, indeed I was left with the impression that you were more or less praising the Soviet system of oppression. Thanks for clearing that up.

Bill Baar said...

re: Chicago's own Norm Finkelstein, this from Marathon Pundit and Irshad Manji:

In response to the uproar over the Danish Muhammad cartoons, a petition was drawn up, the Manifesto Against a New Totalitarianism, and Ms. Manji was one of the original signatories, as was Salman Rushdie, and Muslim Dutch Member of Parliament, Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Of course, the group of 12 has received at least one collective death threat because of the petition.
On Manji's homepage, however, there is this note:

Only one person emailed a disconcerting message. A gentleman named Norman Finkelstein wrote to say, "Is there a petition supporting the death threats?" Maybe he's just a researcher

Researcher indeed....

Anonymous said...

You are the only person who can be HistoryKike in one thread and a Nazi in the next, Mike!

Dariush said...

Re: Ayaan Hirsi Ali see here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Re: Irshad Manji see here, here, here, here, here and here.

Kate said...

Wow this got nasty :-) I wanted to reread b/c there seems to be alot of support to Iran having nuclear weapons and of course that made me want to go back and reread some of what he has said.

You know it could just be positioning but he did call for the destruction of the state of Israel - and everybody got a raw deal from the Nazi's. What a bad time for humanity at large.