Ahmadinejad Says Comments About Gays Were Misunderstood.

Ahmadinejad Says Comments About Gays Were Misunderstood

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

By Adelle Nazarian

Are there gays in Iran?

Maybe. Maybe not.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, asked about the issue of homosexuality in his country during his controversial appearance at Columbia University two weeks ago, said there aren’t any.

Or maybe he said there are. It’s hard to tell.

The Iranian leader, through a spokesman, sought Wednesday to clarify his remarks, which generated both anger and laughter during his visit to New York.

Two weeks ago, when asked if there were gay people in his country, Ahmadinejad said, through an interpreter:

“In Iran, we don’t have homosexuals like in your country. We don’t have that in our country. In Iran, we do not have this phenomenon. I don’t know who’s told you that we have it.”

On Wednesday, Ahmadinejad’s media adviser, Mohammad Kalhor, told Reuters what the president really meant to say was that the United States had a larger gay population than Iran does. He said Ahmadinejad was simply misunderstood by Western media.

“What Ahmadinejad said was not a political answer,” Kalhor told Reuters. “He said that, compared to American society, we don’t have many homosexuals.”

So, as they say in New York … Let’s go to the videotape.

FOXNews.com has reviewed a video copy of his speech through a Farsi interpreter.

When asked about gays in the Islamic Republic, Ahmadinejad replied:

“In Iran, firstly, we do not have homosexuals like you have here [in this country]. In our country, such a thing does not exist.”

Kalhor told Reuters that Ahmadinejad did not intend to imply that there are no homosexuals in Iran. Rather, he said, the president wanted to say that homosexuality is not as common as it is in the West because of cultural and religious differences.

Homosexuality is punishable by death in the Islamic Republic.

Human rights groups have posted pictures of homosexuals purportedly being hanged in Iran.

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Young Iranians Express Hope, Fear in Aftermath of Elections

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As Iran has been gripped by protest, violence and allegations of vote fraud in the wake of a contentious national elections, people around the world are watching — but perhaps none more closely than the young Iranians who helped push voter turnout to record levels.

Some of those young Iranians, in interviews with FOXNews.com, spoke openly about their hopes and fears in the wake of the President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s contested victory over reformist challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi.

“My fellow (Iranian) classmates in Turkey were crying when they found out the news,” said Amir Arman, who is a 33-year-old doctoral candidate studying social psychology in Turkey.

He said he wanted Mousavi to win badly.

“Mousavi is not necessarily the best candidate. But he is the least-worst of all four candidates,” Arman said, adding that one of his reasons for backing Mousavi was his fear that the world’s oil reserves are running out. “If Mousavi comes to the stage, he will bring nuclear power to the scene.”

Arman also is concerned about the lack of civil freedoms in Iran and poor management of the government.

Other Iranians gave different reasons for voting for Mousavi.

“If there was a 1 percent, just a 1 percent chance that I could keep Ahmadinejad’s vote from coming up, that’s the chance I took,” said a 27-year-old woman who asked to be indentified only by her first name, Samereh, for fear of retribution.

Samereh, who moved to Shomal from Tehran for work a few months ago, compared the Iranian government to the Taliban. She said people are fed up and willing to die for their country.

Mid-conversation, the Yahoo chat function on her computer started faltering. Minutes later, her connection was lost.

“The government is taking satellites down from peoples’ homes,” she said. “They’re everywhere.”

Masoud, a 27-year-old computer engineer who is fluent in both English and Farsi, also spoke on condition that his last name not be revealed.

He currently is unemployed, which is common among today’s young people in Iran, a sign of less-than-hopeful economic times. Masoud blames Ahmadinejad for this and said that while Ahmadinejad is in office Iran’s “freedom, economic situation and our relation with other countries are getting worse.”

Samereh and Masoud both expressed frustration with Ahmadinejad’s “superstitious” mentality and how he used warnings of foreign threats as a tool to boost himself to the presidency.

“A lot of people voted for him because … they were afraid of Ahmadinejad’s curse,” Samereh said. “They play with peoples’ senses.”

All three Iranians said they are tired of the Islamic republic’s current regime, in particular its mismanagement of the government and the economy.

But in an unprecedented move, Iran’s 12-member Guardian Council announced it will review ballots in a partial recount after what is believed to be the largest voter turnout in Iranian history.

Not all Iranians are optimistic that the outcome will be fair.

“In these times, you can’t trust anyone,” Samereh said.

Click here to read Adelle’s article on FOX News.com

Tainted Dialogue?

open_hand_3202Could we be witnessing an unclenching of fists in the Mideast?

In his speech on Wednesday, April 15, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stated his intention to pave the path for a new relationship with the West. His offer of a fresh start for dialogue with the United States was apparent throughout his delivery: “The Iranian nation is a generous nation. It may forget the past and start a new era.”

This came just hours after the Obama administration expressed its interest to get Iran back on the negotiating table. A senior official for the Obama administration pointed out this would involve allowing Iran to continue enriching uranium at its current level; a stark departure from the former Bush administration’s long-standing demand that Iran halt uranium enrichment as a condition for any talks to take place between the two adversaries. So it appears Obama’s talk of no preconditions stands.

But are Ahmadinejad’s statements really a step forward for U.S-Iran relations? Or do ACTIONS speak louder than words?

His words at the United Nations anti-racism conference in Geneva, Switzerland yesterday seemed all but encouraging. Yom HaShoah (יום הזיכרון לשואה ולגבורה) is Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day — a day when the world recalls the heinous massacring of millions of Jews and other minorities throughout European concentration camps. Yet Ahmadinejad chose to use his time on the platform at yesterday’s conference to condemn Israel — a staunch U.S. ally –, citing the country as having the most cruel and racist regime”.

Not only was he publicly humiliated when a man dressed in a rainbow coloured clown wig chucked his red clown nose at Ahmadinejad after he insulted Israel, but a good number of European nation states got up and walked out mid-speech.

This criticism of Israel comes from the same man who denounced gays in his September 2007 appearance at Columbia University — “In Iran, we don’t have homosexuals like in your country” — and whose country’s devolving government has killed innocent civilians for practicing Christianity and other ‘minority’ religions; this is not to mention the countless transgressions against humanity Iran’s backwards Islamic regime has committed.

  • Why doesn’t Iran have gays? Maybe because they are either in hiding or are executed (such was the fate of Mahmoud Asgari, 14, and Ayaz Marhoni,16).
  • Why does Iran shed the blood of individuals whose religious beliefs differ from those outlined in Islam? Perhaps it has something to do with the possibility that the extreme Islamists running Iran truly believe they are the supreme race after which Hitler fashioned his systematic slaughter of ‘lesser beings’. Superiority complex anyone?

So has recent dialogue from the Iranian president really been a show of efforts toward the advancement of U.S.-Iran relations? Or is this just a sneaky guise with which Ahmadinejad is attempting to better his own public image as he runs for a second term in office? After all, his poll numbers have been a long time slipping…