At Columbia University, on September 25, 2007, Ahmadinejad stated,
Making nuclear, chemical and biological bombs and weapons of mass destruction is yet another result of the misuse of science and research by the big powers. Without cooperation of certain scientists and scholars, we would not have witnessed production of different nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Are these weapons to protect global security? What can a perpetual nuclear umbrella threat achieve for the sake of humanity? If nuclear war wages between nuclear powers, what human catastrophe will take place? Today we can see the nuclear effects in even new generations of Nagasaki and Hiroshima residents which might be witness in even the next generations to come. Presently, effects of the depleted uranium used in weapons since the beginning of the war in Iraq can be examined and investigated.
In a response to a question from an audience member at Columbia, he reiterated, “We do not believe in nuclear weapons, period. It goes against the whole grain of humanity…I think the politicians who are after atomic bombs or are testing them, making them—politically they are backward, retarded.”
Speaking to Charlie Rose in Tehran on August 22, 2008, Ahmadinejad stressed, “We want nuclear disarmament [for all countries]…and we consider it to be against humanity to manufacture nuclear weapons…we oppose that strongly,” continuing, “Our position is very clear. You can not solve the problem of a nuclear bomb with another nuclear bomb. The solution should be humanitarian and political and cultural…We believe that a nuclear weapon has no use, obsolete. Anyone who has a nuclear weapons does not create any political advantage for themselves.”
The following month, on September 23, 2008, Ahmadinejad told Larry King, “We believe, as a matter of religious teaching, that we must be against any form of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons. The production and the usage of nuclear weapons is one of the most abhorrent acts to our eyes.” He also said, “In addition, we also believe that the atomic bomb has lost its use in political affairs, in fact. The time for a nuclear bomb has ended. Whoever who invests in it is going the wrong way.”
The same day, during an interview with NPR‘s Steve Inskeep, Ahmadinejad insisted that Iran was “a country that is simply seeking peaceful nuclear energy” and not nuclear weapons.
When MSNBC‘s Ann Curry interviewed Ahmadinejad the next year, in September 2009, he again said, “We don’t have such a need for nuclear weapons. We don’t need nuclear weapons. Without such weapons, we are very much able to defend ourselves…It’s not a part of our any—of our programs and plans.” (After the interview, Curry published a report entitled, “Ahmadinejad refuses to rule out weapons.”)
Speaking at the United Nations NPT Review Conference in May 2010, he stated, “The nuclear bomb is a fire against humanity rather than a weapon for defense,” continuing, “The possession of nuclear bombs is not a source of pride; it is rather disgusting and shameful. And even more shameful is the threat to use or to use such weapons, which is not even comparable to any crime committed throughout the history.”
The same day, during an interview with Charlie Rose, Ahmadinejad said,
Let me just set your mind—I want to give your mind some rest here. We are opposed to the bomb, the nuclear bomb, and we will not build it. If we want to build it, we have the guts to say it. We’re courageous enough to say it, because we’re not afraid of anyone. If we want to have the bomb, we’ll come and tell everyone he want to build it. We’re not afraid of anyone if we want to make it. Who’s there to be afraid of? So when we say we don’t want it, we don’t want it.
Addressing the U.N. General Assembly in September 2010, he repeated, “The nuclear bomb is the worst inhumane weapon and which must totally be eliminated” and proposed “that the year 2011 be proclaimed the year of nuclear disarmament,” reaffirming Iran’s commitment to establishing a Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone in the Middle East.
During the same visit, Ahmadinejad told Larry King, “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.”
These are the facts, inconvenient as they may be for warmongering Beltway think tankers.
Perhaps most shocking about the statement made in New York Times op-ed is that, in 2008, co-author Suzanne Maloney herself noted that “the Iranian government is on the record across the board as saying it does not want a nuclear weapon.” While she added that “there’s plenty of room for skepticism about these assertions,” she stressed the importance of not exaggerating or making false claims.
Whether Ms. Maloney has, in the past three years, reevaluated her previous assessment on this matter or has obtained evidence that Ahmadinejad himself has since made a declaration about a newly-acquired impulse to build nuclear weapons remains unclear.
What is clear, unfortunately, is that neither Maloney nor her consistently propagandistic writing partner Ray Takeyh seem to be too concerned with presenting the truth in their own analysis.
Where have all The Grey Lady’s fact-checkers gone?