Discussing global threats and whether it's wise to directly engage Iran in talks on matters such as its nuclear program, Sen. Hillary Clinton during the April 16 Democratic debate ruled out meeting with Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
As she criticized the Bush administration for failing to deter Iran from pursuing its nuclear program, Clinton said Ahmadinejad's most recent inflammatory remarks would make it impossible for her to speak with him directly.
"I certainly would not meet with Ahmadinejad because even again today he made light of 9/11, and said that he's not even sure it happened and that people actually died," Clinton said.
Ahmadinejad, who has a history of provocative statements on such things, including saying the Holocaust was a fake, did indeed, question the U.S. version of the events of 9/11 on three occasions in just over a week. He said U.S. claims about being attacked were a pretext for military action against Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Four or five years ago a suspect event took place in New York," Ahmadinejad said in an April 16 speech in the holy city of Qom that was broadcast live on state television, according to Agence France Presse. "A building collapsed and they said that 3,000 people had been killed, whose names were never published. Under this pretext they (the United States) attacked Afghanistan and Iraq and since then a million people have been killed."
Ahmadinejad first expressed his doubts about the attacks on April 8 at a ceremony in the holy city of Qom celebrating Iran's nuclear program, which U.S. officials worry could be used to make weapons. He questioned how aircraft could have evaded radar and intelligence and crashed into the twin towers undetected.
Ahmadinejad repeated his doubts the next day at a speech at a Shiite holy shrine in the city of Mashhad, according to press accounts.
Iran condemned the attacks soon after they occurred. The government at the time was headed by moderate President Mohammad Khatami.
Ahmadeinejad has been given to bellicose pronouncement in the past and provoked a global outcry when he described the Holocaust as a myth. During his controversial visit to the United States in September 2007, Ahmadinejad, when asked about the death penalty Iran imposed on homosexuals, denied there were homosexuals in Iran.
He has repeatedly called for Israel's destruction.
On Wednesday, he reaffirmed his intention to change the international order, Agence France Presse reported.
"We have two missions," Ahmadinejad proclaimed. "To construct Iran and change the global situation. It is impossible to reach the summits of progress without changing the corrupt and unjust order of the world."
Tehran insists its nuclear program is peaceful and intended to expand energy supplies for a growing population.
The statement may be startling, but it's true. Clinton accurately summarized Ahmadeinejad's recent comments about 9/11. We judge her statement to be True.