Hours before addressing the United Nations on Wednesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gave an exclusive interview to CBS’s Katie Couric. During the course of the interview, the CBS anchorwoman accused the Iranian leader of denying the Holocaust, and showing him photographs of dead bodies of Jews killed by the Nazis during World War II.
“You have called [the Holocaust] a lie,” Katie confronted Ahmadinejad. “And I’m just curious, I have some photos - dead bodies from a German concentration camp taken by the Associated Press. Mr. President, is this photo fabricated? Is this photo a lie?” she asked.
Ahmadinejad was quick to reply “there are many historical events, similar historical events. Why is this one in particular so important to you?”
“Because you’re denying it happened,” Couric retorted.
Ahmadinejad replied that “in World War II, 60 million people were killed. Why are we just focusing on this special group alone?”
“We’re sorry for all the 60 million people that lost their lives, equally. All of them were human beings. And it doesn’t matter whether they were Christians or Jews or Buddhists or Muslims. They were killed. So, we’re sorry for everyone,” Ahmadinejad said.
Couric also questioned Iran’s president over his country’s nuclear program, asking him why he continued to refute claims that Iran has the know-how required to build a nuclear bomb. Ahmadinejad referred Couric’s curiosity toward the countries “that have 10,000 nuclear warheads. Don’t you believe that those are the ones that need to be inspected, instead of the countries that don’t have them?”
The interview went on to touch on Ahmadinejad’s controversial presidential victory in June, which sparked protests by supporters of his rival, reformist Mir Hossein Mousavi, who argued that the elections were fraudulent. Couric asked the Iranian leader about a woman, Neda, whose death during the violent protests was recorded on a cell phone camera and spread around the world.
Ahmadinejad said that he regretted the deaths of citizens, but again diverted the discussion by showing Couric a picture of an Egyptian woman who was brutally murdered inside a German courtroom while participating in a trial over her right to wear a hijab (head covering). He then argued that the western media focused on Neda and ignored the Egyptian woman.
Watch a segment from the interview here: