The President’s Senior Adviser, David Axelrod, told me “there will be consequences” for Iran if they continue to buck the international community on their alleged nuclear weapons program.
In my This Week interview Axelrod added, “nobody has any illusions about what the intent of the Iranian government is.”
Diane Sawyer’s exclusive interview with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will air Monday evening on World News, and This Week got a first look.
The Times of London reported earlier this week that week that intelligence documents they had obtained showed Iran had been working on a nuclear trigger. Ahmadinejad said the documents were, “fabricated papers issued by the American Government”. Axelrod called Ahmadinejad’s allegation “nonsense”.
STEPHANOPOULOS: One final question on Iran. The Times of London reported earlier this week that they had obtained intelligence documents showing that Iran had been working on a nuclear trigger. This has been looked at by western intelligence agencies as well, and if authentic, the most significant evidence yet that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. Diane Sawyer interviewed President Ahmadinejad about this, and here was the exchange.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAWYER: Critics of Iran saying this is the smoking gun. Have you been testing a neutron initiator?
PRES. MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, IRAN (through translator): I think that some of the claims about the nuclear issue have turned into repetitive and tasteless jokes.
SAWYER: Would you like to see this document, is a joke?
AHMADINEJAD: No, I don't want to see this kind of document. These are some fabricated papers issued by the American government.
SAWYER: Will you return to talks on nuclear issues?
AHMADINEJAD: We have not closed the dialogue window. (inaudible) ready, and also there is a continuing dialogue and discussion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Fabricated papers issued by the American government?
AXELROD: Well, of course that's nonsense. Listen, nobody has any illusions about what the intent of the Iranian government is. And we've given them an opportunity to prove otherwise by allowing them to ship their nuclear material out to be reprocessed for peaceful use. And they have passed on that deal so far. And the international community is going to have to deal with that if they don't change their minds.
AXELROD: ... we'll see about that, because there seems to be division within their government. Understand, George, what's happened. When we came to office, Iran was united and the world was divided in an approach to deal with Iran. Today, Iran is bitterly divided, and the world community has come together, and the president has been a big force in bringing them together. And I think that the world is united and is willing to take additional steps if the Iranians don't turn around.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But bottom line is, if they don't turn it around by December 31st, sanctions will come?
AXELROD: Well, we're talking -- plainly, there are going to be consequences if they don't turn around.