April 26th, 2009
06:31 PM ET
13 years ago

Ahmadinejad: Iran would accept 2 state solution if Palestinians did

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/01/11/iran.israel.nuclear/art.nuclear.gi.jpg caption="The Iranian leader said he would accept a two-state solution if it as the will of the Palestinian people."] (CNN) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in an interview broadcast Sunday, said his government would accept a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians if Palestinians did.

"Whatever decision they take is fine with us," he told ABC's "This Week."

"We are not going to determine anything. Whatever decision they take, we will support that. We think that this is the right of the Palestinian people. However we fully expect other states to do so as well."

Ahmadinejad, who has called for the end of Israel's existence as a Jewish state, also argued that people in the region should be allowed to hold a referendum - and if they vote Israel out of existence, other nations should accept that.

The Iranian leader has discussed the idea of such a vote before. But Ahmadinejad's statement that he would accept Israel's existence if Palestinians sign an agreement to do so came after repeated pressing by host George Stephanopoulos.

Ahmadinejad was also asked about the reaction to his speech attacking Israel at a U.N. racism conference last week. Dozens of Western diplomats walked out and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon condemned it as "the opposite of what this conference seeks to achieve."

"That's fine! That's fine! They are free to have their own points of view," Ahmadinejad told ABC. "Why do they want to deny me my ideas?"

At the conference Monday in Geneva, Ahmadinejad accused the West of making "an entire nation homeless under the pretext of Jewish suffering... in order to establish a totally racist government in occupied Palestine."

Many delegates cheered, but others - mostly from Europe - left the room.

Several nations, including the United States, were not at the conference, having boycotted it. The United States cited a conference document that singled out Israel for criticism. President Barack Obama said a similar conference in 2001 had turned into "a session through which folks expressed antagonism towards Israel in ways that were often times completely hypocritical and counterproductive."

In the ABC interview, which was taped in Tehran, Ahmadinejad said he "was fully expecting Mr. Obama to participate in the Geneva Conference. What issue is more important than racial discrimination?"

He added, "I don't think or believe that Mr. Obama supports racism. However, the gentleman should have been there and should have condemned outright racism and racial discrimination."

Asked whether he would meet with leaders of the United States along with other world powers to discuss Iran's nuclear program, Ahmadinejad said his government is "reconsidering" its package of proposals for talks.

"We are adding new issues to the realm, if you will, of the talks. And we are going to make that public as soon as possible," he noted.

Iran insists its nuclear program is purely for peaceful purposes. But the United States and several other nations accuse Iran of trying to create nuclear weapons under the guise of a nuclear energy program.

"We are always ready to talk with no preconditions," Ahmadinejad said.

During his presidential campaign, Obama had said he would meet with leaders of Iran and other nations without preconditions - a statement his then-rival for the presidency and now Secretary of State Hillary Clinton skewered him for. Clinton argued at the time that preconditions are needed for such meetings at the presidential level in order to make them successful and avoid their use as propaganda.

Ahmadinejad - who has also rejected U.S. assertions that Iran is fomenting violence in Iraq - told ABC his country is "ready to contribute to international security, peace, and global friendship and global disarmament."

He accused Obama of supporting "the massacre of Gazans in support for the criminals who were responsible for that atrocity," a reference to Israel's military action in Gaza.

The future of Iran-U.S. relations is "dependent on the decision taken by the U.S. administration," Ahmadinejad said.

"We welcome change. We are praying to the Almighty for that. And we will help to bring change about."

The Iranian leader faces a re-election race in June.

Filed under: Iran
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. U.S. Common Sense

    There is already a two state solution. It's called "Jordan."

    April 26, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  2. The Broker.

    You do not win points for saying it. Only doing it.

    April 26, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  3. Peter E

    The two-state solution was first adopted unanimously by the UN Security Council as resolution 242 (1967), and later reiterated as resolution 338 (1972). To date, both Israel and its neighbors are in violation of this resolution, a resolution that the US somehow never enforced, nor asked its UN allies to enforce.

    April 26, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  4. Peter E

    Well, this is better than his usual rhetoric. A two-state solution automatically means that he has to recognize Israel. I think we are making progress, little by little.
    And it's all moot since Ahmadinejad will be thrown out of office at the next election anyway. He's not popular even in his own country.

    April 26, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  5. its me

    It is America that has been fueling extremism and weapons and war against the Palestinians. Anyone that stands up for the rights and freedom of the Palestinian people to their own land is speaking the truth. America allowed the savage terrorism and even provided the F16's to commit genocide on the Palestinian people in Dec of 2008. It is time for honesty not religion.

    April 26, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  6. The Broker.

    Scrap the Pennies. Increase the value of the coinage you already use.

    April 26, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  7. Peter E

    I still wonder why a people reporesenting only 2% of the US population get to decide over 50% of our foreign policy. Fight your own wars!

    April 26, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  8. JK

    We need peace, and the only way is a two state resolution, but Israel "govertment" don't want that, the jewish people is not the one to blame but its goverment is do acting in a racist way treating the palestinians as alliens is their own land...

    And I feel bad sayin' that but Ahmandinejad has nothing to do with the problem, the problem is an unflexible israeli goverment

    April 26, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  9. Nestor, Austin, TX

    This is the guy who said Israel needs to be wiped off the face of the Earth and he has called for a second Holocaust, and denies the first one. (doesn't make sense to me either) There is only one solution in his mind. The destruction of Israel is all Ahmadinejad wants. He'll say what the western media wants to hear and the media will be like lap dogs saying: "Look! Look! Iran wants peace!" He wants destruction. Nothing less than that will satisfy him or people like him.

    April 26, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  10. truth

    why the time israel goes to gaza and kills 1500 kids ,woman, no one talks about hitler !!!!

    April 26, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  11. Kill first ask questions later

    Is Ahmadinejad now mediator between the two sides?

    April 26, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
1 2