(Editor’s note: It is difficult to remember an interview of an international leader matching the high level of truth, wisdom and spiritual power as that of former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad recently on the program Going Underground RT. We strongly recommend and encourage people to share widely this timely, profound, outstanding discussion on the world’s most pressing and urgent issues. JA)
(Transcript of Ahmadinejad interview, followed by video)
…That’s all while the EU, Britain and the USA continue economic warfare against another fossil fuel power, Venezuela. Welcome President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. One of the world’s greatest revolutionaries, Hugo Chavez, remembered by supporters and enemies alike today, died six years ago this week. You knew him. Was he, as NATO, mainstream media has it, a dictator?
In the name of God the most merciful … Americans and the British can label people however they want. We have to see what their standards and criteria are for labeling people in such a way. Do you know of a dictator who loves his people; who could walk freely among the people on the streets; listen to their demands, and fulfill them?
Of course Mr. Chavez was against the domination of foreigners over his country and other countries. He was a strong supporter of freedom. He became president with a high percentage of the people’s votes. I believe you should ask the people who make such labels why they are trying to fan the atmosphere of vengeance among the public.
Those who knew Mr. Chavez closely know that he was a very kind man, a really lovely person. And on various occasions I saw him in many parts of Venezuela. He went to the people, moved freely without any security or bodyguards, he listened to the people for hours. He loved his people and that is how he lived.
I think if you want to have a better world you need to have certain standards that are acceptable by all the nations of the world. The standard as defined by those with hundreds of years of colonial history who waged wars, even today they set their sights on the wealth of other nations, and they cannot run their own economy independent of other nations. Those standards have failed to bring security to the world, and this does not bring friendship among nations.
Well, the US and European Union want to overthrow his successor Maduro of the Bolivarian revolution, just like the US wants to overthrow the government of Iran.
Before speaking about changes, we have to ask: do Americans have the right to overthrow Maduro in Venezuela? If we accept that others have the right to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, then no space would be left to talk about human rights, international laws, freedoms and humanity. The Venezuelans are independent, brave, well-informed people. They seek freedom and they love Liberty.
Let us allow other people to decide on their own. The destiny of the Venezuelan people should be decided by themselves, not the president of the USA.
After Donald Trump violated the UN nuclear deal with sanctions, are things basically the same between Washington and Tehran as they were when you were president?
That was expecting too much. We had accepted the regulations and the provisions of the IAEA. Can we think of a sustainable peace if a government is to enjoy more rights than others do? Can we entertain the ideas of brotherhood and friendship? This is dictatorship, but at the international level. The US administrations should allow people to participate in running the affairs in a democratic atmosphere. They should not seek more rights than others, nor meddle in the affairs of other countries. The path they have been on in the past decades has destructed the world security, and created concerns for the future among all the people of the world.
Americans are respectable people. The USA, however, has many problems at home; the US president and his administration need to spend their time fixing people’s problems in their own country. If they imagine that the resolution is to create trouble and put other nations into chaos, then that would mean they are sowing deep vengeance and animosity among the nations. I believe that this is not the right way.
Do you think these kinds of violations of UN resolutions are symptomatic of capitalism itself?
Yes, capitalism by its nature is based on cruelty and injustice. Actually, we don’t have capitalism in the world anymore. It’s the system of capitalists who are dominating the resources of the world. They deprive other people of many opportunities. The nature of a capitalist system is unjust distribution of opportunities, natural wealth and riches. In this situation there is no chance for others, so the freedoms of other humans will be restricted, and that is the greatest war against justice.
While all chances for growth, improvement, development will be hindered, – this is injustice by definition. It’s unacceptable to see one side amass colossal wealth in astronomical figures while on the other side they remain in poverty. There are many prisoners in the United States; we also have detainees in Iran. I oppose any form of prison in principle, and I think many prisoners are held captive for two main reasons: firstly discrimination – social gaps cause extreme deprivation and poverty, and secondly, a number of people regard themselves superior than others. They keep their rights for themselves to trump on the rights of society and other people.
If we try to put in place the joint management of the world, then all human beings will partake in society’s interests and effectively participate in shaping that society. Then hopefully detention centers would be scrapped, and in future we will not see anybody behind bars anymore.
Also, some thinkers look at the phenomenon of prison from a different angle. In any geographic location where some people or a nation are under pressure their freedoms are confined, their rights are ignored, and they are not allowed to develop themselves and reach a proper status. Then that geographic location then becomes a prison. Wherever superpowers pressure people, confine them and infringe their rights, that place becomes a jail.
I hope through universal unity and joint efforts by all humans we will not witness anyone making prisons, nor anyone committing such a crime that would make them deserve to be thrown behind bars. If natural sources of wealth and opportunities are distributed evenly we would never see four million people sleeping on park benches in the United States. Humans, every single one of them, are important. Is there a lack of wealth in the United States? If resources and opportunities were divided equally, nobody homeless would remain on the streets.
You tweeted a picture from the UK-backed war on Yemen, and said the starving child was because of the capitalist system. How does capitalism kill?
Yes, any system that stands against the interests of the people would fall into decay, even if they develop and grow for a short period. You should look at the names of the weapons manufacturers who are taking the lives of people in Yemen, and you’ll notice that the nature of capitalism is war and destruction. We want a world without weapons, because weapons are designed to kill. Warfare cannot serve justice.
Do they send weapons to produce food for the people in Yemen, Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf, or do they do it for slaughter? When arms sales are a lucrative business, then this is entwined with conflicts and war. Everybody knows part of the US governing body are the owners of weapons factories. Without tension, without wars, those weapon factories will shut down. You could find a pretext and start a war among people and nations.
The question is: what are the United States and Britain doing in the Persian Gulf region? Who allowed them to come into our region? Many problems in many parts of the world would be solved when the US and the UK and their like leave that region. They must allow people to decide for themselves. Yemeni people should be allowed to take their decision on their own. Those who sell weapons to kill people will have a terrible fate and God almighty is just; he will defend the rights of the oppressed.
Let us close down weapons factories. Can we expect to stop wars when some economies have arms production as a major pillar of their economic growth and employment? Can we assume no war will happen when some country’s economic growth relies to a large extent on the production of bombs – atomic bombs, rockets and warplanes, and a bulk of employment is dependent on arms industry?
We hope one day we will see that arms industries turn into an industry that produces equipment to improve the quality of life. So, let me give you some statistics. The world military spending is one thousand five hundred billion dollars, while 1.2 billion people live in absolute poverty, and can’t afford even a meal a day.
If we make a global consensus to issue this military spending within a five-year period and allocate it to the poor or improve economic growth of other nations, would there be insecurity anymore? Is this option better, or is war the solution? Is it better to earn revenue by serving humanity, or earn money by killing people? These are possible and feasible options, if we had a humane approach and we think of humankind.
We should care about every single person who loses his or her life in wars. People have feelings, emotions and families. In our culture, killing an innocent person amounts to killing all humankind. I hope that the day will come when all of us would act humanely, and when others look at us they would see humanity in friendship. What’s the difference between man and other creatures when you don’t love others? The extent of the love in your heart determines what kind of a human you are.
When your heart is full of love you can’t produce means for taking the life of another person. I cannot imagine this, and hope the conditions of the world will soon change in favor of justice, humanity, liberty and friendship. We believe that the basis of social life is justice, mutual respect and cooperation, so, anybody anywhere in the world who makes an attempt to spread justice deserves our respect and support. Everyone, everywhere should support them.
We believe religions came to bring further unity and solidarity among human beings. If they are dividing people in the name of religion, then be sure that this has nothing to do with the truth of religion. Humans are all the same. These governments must stand by the people, promote peace instead of wars, friendship instead of animosity. Then life will become beautiful for everyone.
I’ll stop you there. More from the former President of Iran after the break.
Some British and American officials speak in a way that gives you the impression that they are living on another planet, while they themselves are behind all these Israeli aggressions…
That’s coming up in part 2 of this special edition of Going Underground.
Welcome back. We’re still with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, former President of Iran. In part one we spoke of UK involvement in the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. UK Prime Minister Theresa May says that Britain must sell weapons to Saudi Arabia to bomb civilians, to keep Britain safe from perhaps Saudi-linked terrorists…
Well, you should ask the British government officials how vast Britain is. This is a form of greed. I said there are two reasons for wars. The second one was that some people find themselves superior to others. Does the UK recognize the independence of the people of Yemen or not, and the independence of other regional nations? If other countries had interests in the UK, then would the British allow them to behave the same as they do in Yemen?
The world is changing, new powers are emerging, and would the UK allow Africans, for example, if they became powerful, to seek compensation for the UK’s colonial era or the slave trade? Well, it’s in their interests, but what if the UK refuses to pay that compensation? Then are those African countries supposed to start a war? If we accept the UK’s mindset vis-à-vis protecting its interests in Yemen, then the world will turn into a hell. So, we believe we are in this world to make it into a heaven, not a hell.
The era of unilateralism has come to its end and I hope those mistakes would not repeat itself. The world is changing rapidly; people are becoming powerful, and they may feel that they have the right to adapt the current approach of the USA and the UK. We don’t want to see that happen. It is clear that the UK, based on a pre-planned scheme, wage wars, sell weapons, undermine nations, destroy their infrastructures to prevent them in the first place a certain nation from assuming power.
Then they return to the war-torn country for reconstruction. On one hand they tackle unemployment, create jobs and sell their weapons. Then, on the other hand they destroy the civil infrastructure of the war-torn countries, and again they create jobs and boost their own firms and corporations. This is like a person who is feeding on slaughtering other human beings.
God almighty does not like such humans. There definitely will be a severe punishment for them in the hereafter. They should not assume that other people do not know what they are doing. By using this very childish, absurd reasoning, every government can interfere anywhere in the world, and eventually nothing will remain in its place.
I hope they would hear the words of one out of seven point five billion people of the Earth who favor peace, loves other people and hates wars, seeks justice and respects all human beings. These are not my words alone; these are what a majority of people express. The superpowers must abide by the demands of the nations – otherwise they will not have a good future. Throughout history we have seen enough wars and bloodshed, that is enough. Now I ask you, how come a man can order the killing of others and then sleep easily? Can we call such a person a human? It’s a significant question.
Why do you think that NATO nation politicians and media call you an anti-Semite, or in other words ‘anti’ one of the three Abrahamic religions?
The dominant hegemonic system of the world likes to introduce those who think differently in a way it wishes, and not the way they really are. I have said time and again that we oppose occupation, aggression, tyranny, and the killing of people, hostility and antagonism. We don’t oppose any faithful religion but we oppose inhumane treatments and behavior. I have said this on many occasions, but the Western media have a double standard.
If you say something that isn’t in line with their policies they will stigmatize you as a horrible person. I love all human beings, even my own enemies, but I stand strongly against their inhumane approaches and resist them, though I still love them. When you try to prevent the collapse of even a tyrant you are actually acting as a friend. People have the right to have different ideas and beliefs. They are free to choose their own faith, but they have no right to violate the rights of others.
No religion should be used as a pretext for occupation, aggression and slaughter, otherwise it’s not a true religion. Throughout history, many dictators hid behind the guise of religion. Many atrocities were committed in the name of religion. This is the greatest abuse of faith. Jews are an Abrahamic tribe; Moses is a great prophet. Anyone who really follows in the footsteps of the prophet Moses would be against occupation and atrocities.
No one can claim that he follows a Messenger of God and occupy other people’s land, kill them and infringe on their rights. These are my arguments. Whatever they label me, that doesn’t matter, but if you are being fair you should publish what I say – not what they label me as. Even if they don’t give me a voice, they are the real losers, because human relations go beyond media, and people will finally know the true reality.
USA congresswoman Ilhan Omar and in the UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn have been called anti-Semites. Why do you think there’s this confusion between de facto racism and alleged Israeli crimes against humanity?
Being a nationalist has nothing to do with the religion of prophet Moses. Some Jews follow prophet Moses and they are great people living in harmony with other people. The relation between the Zionist regime, the followers of prophet Moses and Jews should be redefined. We are against occupation and slaughter, even if a Muslim a Christian a Buddhist a Hindu or even an atheist commits these crimes. They are free to have their own beliefs, but no one has the right to violate the rights of others in the name of a certain religion.
We oppose aggression against the rights of other people no matter who they are. Some US officials claim to be Christians, however we are against their aggression. Also, in the UK, some officials claim to be the followers of Jesus Christ. We argue that Jesus never sought to kill or wage war. So, they can decide for themselves, but we wouldn’t meddle in their affairs.
We know the reason the Zionist regime was created; everybody knows it; why should we ignore it? Some British and American officials speak in a way that gives you the impression that they are living on another planet, while they themselves are behind all these Israeli aggression(s). Maybe these officials assume the rest of us are from another planet and are unfamiliar with their schemes, however everything is clear.
Human rights must be recognized. There should be no wars of aggression or wars that are waged for oil in the Middle East, or wars that advance their interests in the Middle East. They have to try and work in their own country, and let others improve their own country. Then we could trade in a friendly manner and eventually everybody will enjoy tranquility and prosperity.
But now you are in power and you are dominating the world and want to impose your interests on others. That’s not a good thing – it will not have a good future. This is what we stand against.
…Unsurprising that NATO nation mainstream media not really headlining the UN report, alleging possible crimes against humanity committed by Israel, against more than 6,000 unarmed civilians dead or wounded in the Great Return march in Gaza?
But we do not have independent media in Europe and North America. Media are mostly dependent on the capitalists. Even if there is an independent media, it does not have the power and capability to spread its message to the entire world. The Western media covers the news of the capitalists who dominate the resources of the world. That’s not a good thing. Anyone who is powerful should use the media to serve people, humanity, justice and peace, – not to serve their personal or political interests.
The United Nations have on many occasions stressed the rights of the Palestinian people, and that the Zionist regime is the occupying force. Let the people of Palestine decide their own fate, regardless of their religion. Jews and Muslims and Christians should freely decide their political destiny. I’m sure by doing so we will have a better world.
Well, finally I’ve got to ask you: will you run to be the next president of Iran?
Well, we have to wait on people’s demands, and then we will see.
I would like to make a statement regarding the Jewish people. They are an Abrahamic tribe, many of whom are followers of prophet Moses. Some of them I personally know, and they are true believers and pure people. But the Zionist movement has nothing to do with prophet Moses, his faith and the Abrahamic religions.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad … Thank you.
(Thank you to GoingUndergroundRT at YouTube)