Monday, September 24, 2007
Over and Done With
Coatsworth presses A. on the facts of the Holocaust, which C. points out are documented. Why is A. calling for more research?
A.: "I am an academic and you are as well. Can you argue that researching a phenomenon is over, done? There are different perspectives that come to light. Why should we stop the progress of science and knowledge. Do you ever take what's absolute in physics. Math, physics were proved wrong.”
Coatsworth points out that the facts of the Holocaust are well established. So questioning them sounds like denial
A.: "I tried to uphold the rights of European scholars. There has been more research on physics than there is on the Holocaust. There’s nothing wrong with doing it [research.] Women in Iran enjoy the highest levels of freedom. 90% of Iranians turn up for votes.”
Now he’s talking about executions. Says there is capital punishment in US too. People clap
A.: "In Iran, we don’t have homosexuals like in your country."
Boos from the crowd -- also laughs.
A.: "I don't know who told you that we have it. It's not a crime to be a woman. Women are the best creatures created by God."
Coatsworth asks what A. hoped to achieve by coming to Columbia.
"I've been invited by Columbia, an official invitation given. In Iran, when you invite a guest, you respect them. I wanted to go to the site of the September 11th tragedy to show my sympathy.”
C.: Why is your country seeking enriched uranium?
A. says program is within confines of law. The technology they have is for enrichment below 5% level, so it’s just for power plants.
A. asks how can US criticize Iran when it has nukes of its own.
A lot of applause.
A. tells a joke: “I think the politicians who are after atomic bombs...politically they’re backward, retarded.”
Coatsworth asks, “Is Iran ready to negotiate with the US?
A.: "Other than with two countries, we are ready to have friendly relations and talks. One of those two contries is the apartheid movement of South Africa, and the second is the Zionist regime. The US could actually be a good friend for the Iranian nation. Iranians could be some of the US’ best friends.”