President Ahmadinejad Delivers Remarks to the National Press Club

MODERATOR: We have many, many questions, starting with this, which directly relates to your speech: How important do you think that the worldwide spread of Islam is to creating the sublime and beautiful world that you envision? And is there room for other religions?

AHMADINEJAD (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): We think that all religions and all divine religions have the same message. They all come from the same place.

They have several clear messages: to invite man to worship God, which is the root of all goodness; to invite man to justice, which guarantees love, friendship and viable security; to invite man to dignity and to respect of mankind; to invite man to love the rest of mankind.

These messages are bedded in the religion of Christ -- of Moses and Christ, as well as the holy prophet of Islam.

AHMADINEJAD (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): These prophets have all given the same messages. They never had differences in that respect. There was never a conflict there. Because their root goes back to the same reality and their message was the same as well.

MODERATOR: Does that mean that there is room for Christianity in...

AHMADINEJAD (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): They all believe in beauty and goodness.

MODERATOR: ... that you're describing?

AHMADINEJAD (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): They are all brothers. They all want the same thing: justice and friendship. And this is the common ground for all religions.

MODERATOR: Yes, but do those religions have a place in the world you describe?

AHMADINEJAD (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): True pious people have no difference with other -- they are all human beings and followers of different religions, and all of their views should be respected.

We should all build a prosperous community together. And we must all move hand in hand. This is a responsibility for all.

MODERATOR: We have many questions regarding the Baha'i religious minority in Iran. Many of our questioners say that the Baha'i minority has been deprived of their human rights. What would your response be to that?

AHMADINEJAD (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): In our constitution, Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Zoroastrianism are recognized as the official religions.

AHMADINEJAD (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): When we speak of religion, we refer to divine religions. In our country, we follow that law; a law that is based on the majority vote of the people.


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