Ahmadinejad on Diplomacy
16 Oct 2009 06:54
Ahmadinejad talks about his UN performance
In a recent interview with state television, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad discusses diplomacy and his trip to New York to address a mostly empty General Assembly.
Interviewer: Dr. Ahmadinejad, you've attended the annual UN General Assembly five times now. You articulated the Islamic Republic's perspectives and positions [there], and even raised the issue of [Iran's stake in] global management. Some maintain that your presence there has borne positive outcomes. But critics hold that your presence there has not only failed to win favor, but has actually been damaging [for Iran], as every time [your speeches] prompted one or several countries to walk out of the session. What is your response to this critical view? And secondly, given the responses to your behavior at the General Assembly so far, how determined are you in continuing in this manner?
Ahmadinejad: Public diplomacy is currently the best form of diplomacy. A country can take its views forth only by securing global public opinion. Diplomacy means using every opportunity to connect with the masses. Which tribune is best suited to do so than that of the United Nations? It is a global tribune; when you speak there, you are speaking to the world -- not just a couple delegations sitting there. If four or five people walk out, that's not important. It's natural that people should walk in and out of a chamber seating hundreds of people. What's important is that you say something at an official global tribune and the world listens, and your words are recorded there as a document for everyone.
Interviewer: But these delegations [that walked out] represent the world powers [whose opinions] hold much sway.
Ahmadinejad: So what? The people of their countries are listening -- and the delegates themselves listen [outside the chamber] as well. So [the walkouts] do not matter. I, however, have no problem hearing others out. I sat through Mr. Bush's speeches, and Mr. Obama's too, even though I could have listened to them from outside the chamber or read the texts. But I wanted to get a sense of their persons. When you hear a speech in person, you get a better understanding of the speaker's intention. Also, I wanted to show that I have no problem whatsoever in listening to others.
As far as the effects [of my addresses], they are plainly visible. Look at Mr. Obama's speech this year -- I think a large part of it was inspired by the stance of the Iranian nation. He admitted to the wrongs that previous US administrations had committed -- well, that's just what we've been saying for thirty years! So for [the US] to own up to their wrong ways is a success for Iran.
Also take a look at global media during the General Assembly. Perhaps 80 percent of the headlines concerned the stance of the Iranian nation. Many commentators are writing and analyzing Iran's positions on issues. This is because our positions are clear. We address the roots of inadequacies in the world, and we show a path that is harmonious with human nature. Therefore, Iran's presence is very influential, and if it's not as effective as we'd like it to be, that means we need to increase our presence at global forums and present our views and debate and connect with others.