Reuters: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gave an interview to U.S. television network CBS in which he criticized U.S. President George W. Bush’s handling of the international response to Iran’s nuclear program. NEW YORK (Reuters) – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gave an interview to U.S. television network CBS in which he criticized U.S. President George W. Bush’s handling of the international response to Iran’s nuclear program.
CBS on Wednesday released two short excerpts from the interview, which comes amid heightened U.S.-Iranian tensions over Iran’s nuclear program and the Israeli-Hizbollah war.
“They want to build an empire,” Ahmadinejad said of the Americans.
The interview, conducted in Tehran on Tuesday, also covered the Israeli-Hizbollah conflict and Iraq. Portions were to be broadcast on Thursday’s CBS Evening News and the whole of it was to air on the show “60 Minutes” on Sunday, CBS said in a statement.
The United States and its allies suspect Iran is developing a nuclear bomb and accuse it of hiding its research, but Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful and poses no threat to international security.
In addition, the war between Israel and the Lebanese-based Hizbollah guerrillas is widely seen as a proxy conflict, with the United States closely allied with Israel and Iran believed to supply missiles to Hizbollah.
Ahmadinejad chided Bush for not responding to an 18-page letter the Iranian leader sent to him in May that Iranian experts interpreted as a call for dialogue with Washington.
The letter was meant to help Bush “look on the world through a different perspective,” the Iranian president said.
“Please give him this message, sir,” Ahmadinejad said. “Those who refuse to accept an invitation will not have a good ending or fate. … Hatred vis-a-vis the president is increasing every day around the world.”
He also said the July 31 resolution passed by the U.N. Security Council demanding that Iran suspend its nuclear activities by August 31 was evidence that the United States wanted to build an empire.
“See how they talk down to my nation. … They want to build an empire. … The American government, sir, it is very clear to me they have to change their behavior and everything will be resolved,” Ahmadinejad said.