(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.