September 19, 2013
CURRY/ROUHANI: TRANSCRIPT AND VIDEO FROM “NBC NIGHTLY NEWS”
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SEPTEMBER 18, 2013 – Below is a transcript of the portion of Ann Curry’s exclusive interview with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani that aired Wednesday on “NBC Nightly News.” Embeddable video is online here: http://nbcnews.to/14kkLtj.
Much more of Curry’s interview will air Thursday on “TODAY.” Behind-the-scenes photos from Curry’s interview are online here: http://nbcnews.to/18bYGfR.
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MANDATORY CREDIT: NBC NEWS
WILLIAMS LIVE: Good evening. We're going to begin tonight with an NBC News exclusive interview that comes at a critical time for an entire region of the world. NBC's Ann Curry has made her way to Tehran where she has just become the first Western journalist to interview the new President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani. This will be the first time millions of Americans get to see and hear him - and that includes many in the Obama Administration. What you're about to hear is significant because it represents the first reason for optimism, the first sign of any movement from Iran on the issue of nuclear weapons - right when the crisis in nearby Syria has reached its peak. And we begin tonight with NBC's Ann Curry in Tehran.
CURRY LIVE: Brian, good evening. In our interview, Iran’s president was clearly trying to send a message ahead of his first speech to the United Nations that under his administration, there is a different Iran - one that wants to make a deal.
CURRY: The world believes that Iran could build a bomb very quickly. You’ve said this period of time for resolving this nuclear issue will not be unlimited. Just how short is this window? Weeks, months, or years?
ROUHANI: We have never pursued or sought a nuclear bomb and we are not going to do so. We solely are looking for peaceful nuclear technology.
CURRY: Can you say that Iran will not build a nuclear weapon under any circumstances whatsoever?
ROUHANI: The answer to this question is quite obvious. We have time and against said that under no circumstances would we seek any weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, nor will we ever.
CURRY: The Supreme Leader made a very strong statement just recently on diplomatic flexibility. He said, "I believe in what's already been called heroic flexibility. Even a wrestler can show flexibility." What does that mean to you, Mr. President? And what does it allow you in your negotiations on the nuclear issue?
ROUHANI: In its nuclear program, this government enters with full power and has complete authority. I have given the nuclear negotiations portfolio to foreign ministry. The problem won't be from our side. We have sufficient political latitude to solve this problem.
CURRY TRACK: On Syria, President Rouhani said Iran played a major role in crafting the U.S. Russia deal.
CURRY: Can you assure the world that President Assad will give up all of his chemical weapons?
ROUHANI: We are not the government of Syria. We are one of the countries of this region which is asking peace and stability and the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction in the entire region.
CURRY: Do you believe the United States, President Obama looked weak in backing off an air strike on Syria?
ROUHANI: We consider war a weakness. Any government or administration who decides in order to wage a war, we consider a weakness. And any government that decides on peace we look on it with respect to peace.
CURRY LIVE: And President Rouhani confirmed that he exchanged letters with President Obama, calling them “tiny steps for an important future.” That future begins next week at the United Nations where he says he hasn’t ruled out a meeting with President Obama.
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