Just before his arrival in Brazil, which should happen this Sunday, November 22, the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, wrote a piece in which he calls "unfair" the controversy around Teheran's nuclear program reiterating that the Iranian effort has only peaceful goals. "A few arrogant powers," he says", "try to prevent other nations from accessing advanced sciences."Â
For the Iranian leader, who should stay only one day in Brazil, both Brazilians and Iranians play "important and deserved" roles in the world's governance. He says he would like to see more cooperation among the world's governments. And he blamed capitalism for poverty, crime and violence:
"The spread of poverty throughout the world due to economic policies based in the capitalistic thinking of accumulation of weapons of mass destruction and the stockpiling of atomic weapons in countries that defend human rights generates crime and violence."
On the Gaza Strip conflict, Ahmadinejad asked Brazil to condemn attacks in that region, which would represent the mutual desire of two countries for peace and against oppression and injustice.
The Iranian leader sees Brazil and Iran as two very close nations with a large potential in areas like agriculture, cattle breeding, industry and tourism. He proposes that Brazilian and Iranian businessmen establish "safe and reliable" partnerships in a climate of balanced economic relationship.
"All these similarities have roots in a tender spirit and in a very close culture between both peoples. This mutual interest trumps the geographical distance," he stressed.
Ahmadinejad praised cultural sectors like literature and cinema in Brazil and Iran but chastised the work of the press especially the American media. He mentioned what he called a "kind of media monopoly" in the United States and said that this was making it hard for the world to know Iran's reality and potential.
"Iran is a territory in which for thousands of years several races, important religions and several languages live together peacefully and cordially," he stated.
Talking to the TV news show Jornal da Globo, Ahmadinejad commented on his friendship withÂ president Lula and thanked the Brazilian leader for backing him up during the elections when other chiefs of state were skeptical about the election's results after suspicions of fraud were raised against his candidacy.
The Iranian president suggested that Brasília and Teheran should work closer together in the field of atomic energy. Up to now Brazil has refused to join Iran in the area of developing nuclear energy.
According to Globo TV, Ahmadinejad's aides although very careful about formal details on how the interviewer would appear didn't impose any restriction on the questions asked. The president requested however to be allowed to directly address the Brazilian people. He used the opportunity to say:
"I would like to say hi to the lovely Brazilian people. We love Brazilians, we love all the nations around the world, especially nations that look for stability, justice and that were subjected to oppression andÂ injustice in the past. Many of Brazil's values are our values. I pray to the All Powerful for health, prosperity, happiness and well-being for all."
On the holocaust: "The question that we raise is very clear. I made two challenges, I had two clear questions. The first question was: 'If the holocaust happened, where did it happen?' It happened in Europe of course. Everybody knows that. If it happened, it happened in Europe. The second question: 'What does this have to do with the Palestinian people?' Why these people should pay for this? Why should they give away the Palestinians land because of crimes committed in Europe?"
Does he think Brazil should abandon its defense of a two-state arrangement in the Middle East?
"We are not going to interfere in Brazil's decision. Brazil is an independent country. We have our arguments. And we share our arguments with Brazilian friends, but the relationship between both countries will not be affected by this matter."
When asked about homosexuality he smiled before stating:
"I do not expect all people in the world to agree with my opinions. People have different views. But we think homosexuality is against nature. If homosexuality spreads out I think mankind is going to cease. It is the wrong way. It is perverted. All the divine prophecies condemn this way. This is only going to cause a series of physical and social illnesses."
Ahmadinejad was told by William Waack, the interviewer, that his declarations about the Holocaust and Israel were unacceptable to Lula and the vast majority of the Brazilian people.
American Representative Eliot Engel, a Democrat from New York and co-chairman of a caucus interested in improving US-Brazil relations, criticized president Lula for receiving Ahmadinejad.
"This is a gross mistake for a respected president of a respected country," he said, adding:Â "To elevate Ahmadinejad, when he represses his own people, denies the Holocaust, says he'll wipe Israel off the map – it shows Brazil isn't ready to be taken seriously as a world player."