September 25th, 2007
09:38 PM ET
7 years ago

Richardson: Ahmadinejad ‘a demagogue and a despot’

Bill Richardson said Tuesday that the U.S. should "turn down the fiery rhetoric and turn up the smart pressure" when it comes to Iran.

(CNN) – New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson joined his fellow candidates for the White House in criticizing Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who has been visiting New York City and the United Nations on Monday and Tuesday. Ahmadinejad “is a demoagogue and a despot,” Richardson said in a statement released by his presidential campaign on Tuesday.

“While I would not have invited him to speak at Columbia, I do support academic freedom on American campuses,” Richardson said also weighing in on Ahmadinejad’s controversial speech at Columbia University on Monday. “We need to start talking with other nations again – both our friends and our enemies,” the statement also said.

Richardson, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, also criticized legislation currently pending in Congress regarding Iran. “With sanctions for bad behavior and economic benefits and security guarantees as rewards for good behavior, we can strengthen Iranian moderates and pragmatists and integrate Iran into the community of peaceful nations,” explained Richardson.

Richardson’s statement also said that stability in the Middle East would not be achieved if the U.S. maintained its current course in Iraq and kept troops in the war-torn country.

Related: Richardson attacks rivals on Iraq in new ad

Related: Candidates question university's invitation to Iran president

- CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart

Filed under: Bill Richardson • Iran • Iraq
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    Bill Richardson for secretary of state!Obama for AG!Cabinet shaping up here.

    September 25, 2007 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  2. laurinda,ny

    Integrate Iran into the community of peaceful nations? That's like Bush trying to make Iraq a democracy. Didn't he put on his listening ears? They want us gone just like Israel, plain and simple.

    September 25, 2007 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  3. Tom Hanna, Linthicum, Maryland

    Why are we seeing so many opinions from Donald Trump? With regard to his opinion on Dan Rather, I don't consider Trump's opinion of Rather to be newsworthy at all. The same is true for anything else he has to say. This is just one viewer's opinion of your "news" coverage.

    September 25, 2007 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  4. John Spritt, NM.

    I wonder how Bill Richardson can comment on Iraq while he has no involvement. Dear Bill, nobody is listening to you. Shut up and show your patriotism to our military who is on the ground there.

    September 25, 2007 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    demagogue $ despot.........must be dubya's twin

    September 25, 2007 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  6. r.james

    Idiots, all of them..........

    September 26, 2007 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  7. Dame Laughs-a-lot in Iowa

    Richardson's living in a total pipe-dream to think Iran will become a model of moderacy.

    September 26, 2007 04:15 am at 4:15 am |
  8. Bob from Pittsburgh


    Not been an American I have a different outlook on the Iranian question.. Where were Americans when the Shah Reza Shah Pahlavi was in power, why did Americans did not back the moderates during the first two years of the Ayatollah? Who was the president then? Of course head in the sand Republicans.

    So if today you deem the path of Iran a problem you only have blamed your past governments for it.

    September 26, 2007 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  9. Pat, huntington, ny

    Ok, has anyone noticed that Richardson looks like the American Indian that saves the family in Poltergeist II? Just an observation. On a serious note, let Iran run its own country to the ground. Eventually, the moderate scholars and students will stage another revolution as they did back in the late 1970s, and their country will moderate, albeit, don't expect a full blown western style democracy. Probably something in between Turkey and Egypt. However, we cannot permit a nucearlized Iran, and should bomb any area building a nuke bomb.

    September 26, 2007 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  10. James, Phoenix AZ

    Bill – there are times when you just don't get it and I think "poor soul". And then there are times when I think WOW, I appreciate this guy's taking a stand (denouncing Moveon.Org & ahmadinejad).

    When you speak with a clear mind and not pandering to the far left – I like your candidacy. And I'm a conservative.

    September 26, 2007 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  11. ronnie - knoxville, tn.

    Pat in Huntington makes the first sensible comment. And I add, let's bomb Iran NOW because you KNOW that little smiling man is making a bomb for us.

    September 26, 2007 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  12. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Richardson is correct, stability in Iraq is not going to be obtained by keeping American troops there. Those Middle Eastern countries want to handle their own affairs without interference. Ask our "good friends", the Saudi's who want no involvement.

    September 27, 2007 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  13. Matt T, Kansas City, MO

    Harry met Sally director sides with Clinton... are you kidding me? Who cares?!? This is why the media has become such a joke in our society today. Absolutely no one cares what most Hollywood actors think politically and, honestly, when I do hear about their viewpoints? It immediately makes me consider the other side more logical. Quit reporting idiotic information, it isn't helping America make up it's mind. Report issues for a change.

    September 27, 2007 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |