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Special Report: U.S. Continues Striking Taliban Targets; Battle Over 2000 Election Ends; Khatami Discusses Conflict in Afghanistan

Aired November 11, 2001 - 22:00   ET


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: High-altitude U.S. bombers streak across the skies of Afghanistan, continuing to hit Taliban targets.

The battle over hanging chads and butterfly ballots split the nation a year ago. Now, a long-awaited study is released on the Florida vote.

And as the war on terrorism goes on across the border from his nation, the president of Iran gives his views on the conflict.

Hello, I'm Judy Woodruff in Washington. Welcome to a special report on "America's New War."

We begin with the latest developments. There is heavy artillery fire and troop movement near the Afghan capital of Kabul. Northern Alliance tanks moved toward the front lines, following allied air strikes in the same area. The anti-Taliban forces are claiming that they've taken control of several strategic sites in central and northern Afghanistan.

Back in the United States, more anthrax has been found on Capitol Hill. Trace amounts of the bacterium were discovered in the offices of several more senators in the Hart Senate Office Building. Officials believe that mail delivered to these offices was cross- contaminated by an anthrax-laced letter sent to Senate majority leader Tom Daschle.

President Bush marked the two-month anniversary of the September 11 attacks by attending a memorial at ground zero in New York. The president listened to prayers by Muslim, Jewish and Catholic clergy, and toured the still-burning rubble of the World Trade Center.

And Veterans Day is taking on new significance this year with the U.S.-led war on terrorism. Vice President Dick Cheney placed a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery to honor those who gave their lives for the country.

The events of September the 11th may make last year's hotly disputed presidential election seem more like a distant memory, but tonight there is an important footnote to that story and to the contentious way it ended. An unprecedented study of some 175,000 disputed Florida ballots tells us some things we knew about the election, and some things we didn't. CNN's senior political correspondent Candy Crowley has the details.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Try to remember the kind of December we had a year ago.

The Florida Supreme Court orders a statewide recount of disputed ballots.

DAVID BOIES, GORE ATTORNEY: If this count continues to go forward, it looks like right now, although nobody can be absolutely certain, that Vice President Gore and Senator Lieberman would win the popular vote in Florida.

CROWLEY: But the recount was halted by the U.S. Supreme Court. And the rest, as you know, is history.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I, George Walker Bush, do solemnly swear.

CROWLEY: Suppose the U.S. Supreme Court had stayed out of it? Suppose the recount of disputed undervotes had gone forward? Would history have changed? Not likely.

A new six-month study suggests had the recount been carried out, George W. Bush would still win. Another scenario -- suppose no court had been involved, that Al Gore got what he wanted, a hand recount in heavily Democratic Broward, Palm Beach, Miami-Dade and Volusia counties.

WARREN CHRISTOPHER, GORE ADVISER: The only four counties in which hand counts were requested were counties where there was real anomalies that showed up.

CROWLEY: If Al Gore had gotten what he asked for, the election would have been settled a lot quicker, and Al Gore, our study suggests, still would have lost.

The study, conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, was commissioned by CNN and seven other news organizations. Trained coders, often operating in teams, viewed but did not touch disputed ballots and wrote down what they saw.

While their findings point to a Bush victory under all options in play at the time, there are theoretical scenarios in which Gore might have won.

(on camera): The study found that Gore camp's best showing would have come in a state-wide recount of disputed undervotes and overvotes, with individual counties using standards they told us they would have used.

(voice-over): Under those circumstances, Gore would have gained to a plus 171, largely because of ballots where people voted for the same candidate twice, once in the proper spot, once as a write-in. At no point does Gore do as well as Bush's best scenario, and every scenario echoes what we knew that night: This was a incredibly close race.

Now the asterisks. Those who viewed the ballots were people, not machines, thus the study is subject to both human judgment and human error. And for the study, some Florida counties produced fewer disputed ballots than they said they had election night. Others came up with more. The overall discrepancy comes close to 2,300 ballots.

Now finally, there is this blast from the past.

PHIL BECK, BUSH ATTORNEY: The butterfly ballot, which is a typical ballot used throughout the country, was designed by a Democratic election official in Palm Beach County.

CROWLEY: The study showed thousands of Floridians voted for two different presidential candidates, using either the butterfly or the caterpillar ballots. Thousands more chose Gore and someone else than chose Bush and someone else. No one can know for sure what they meant, but regardless the votes were not valid under any reading of Florida law.

Now, try to remember the kind of September we just had. What consumed us last December is a paragraph for history now. A recent poll shows that if the election were held today, George Bush would beat Al Gore by 21 points.

But the election cannot be held today, and we cannot, would not hold last year's election again.

AL GORE, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: George W. Bush is my commander-in-chief!

CROWLEY: Maybe the best thing of all is that the messy failings at the Florida ballot box have really only proven the strength of democracy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Speaker, the president of the United States!

CROWLEY: Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.


WOODRUFF: Candy mentioned bad ballot design, and you throw in voter error, it is a recipe for disaster. Just what happened in Florida? CNN's Brooks Jackson now looks deeper at the Florida study, and the many ways a voter can mess up a ballot.


BROOKS JACKSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Those hanging, dangling, pimpled, dimpled chads from punch card ballots weren't the half of it. Look here, this Bush supporter in Polk County, Florida filled in the oval on this optically scanned ballot correctly. Then, where it says "write in," the voter dutifully wrote in, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and filled in that oval too, creating what's called a double-bubble ballot, which the machine read as an overvote, a spoiled ballot that didn't count.

And statewide, we counted 1,244 would-be voters for Bush or Gore who spoiled their double-bubble ballots in just this way. This Bush voter in Washington County made a mark in the wrong place. The machine didn't count it either, an undervote.

(on camera): And this Gore backer made a similar mistake. On this kind of ballot, you're supposed to fill in the blank part of the arrow completely, like this.

(voice-over): Here's another Gore supporter whose vote didn't count because he or she made a check mark instead of filling in the oval as required. Another undervote.

And a Bush supporter, same thing. This Bush ballot was spoiled by circling rather than filling in the oval. And this confused Bush supporter filled in, but in the wrong place.

We counted 1,516 paper ballots with marks for just one presidential candidate but not counted on election night. And all these are optically scanned ballots, supposedly less trouble-prone than the older punch card ballots, where most attention was focused during last year's recounts.

KEATING HOLLAND, CNN POLLING DIRECTOR: There's only one way that you can really mess up a punch card ballot. There are dozens if not hundreds of ways that you can mess up a paper ballot.

JACKSON (on camera): This study is the most intensive, detailed, meticulous examination ever attempted of such ballot problems. And it shows thousands and thousands of Americans who wanted to vote and got themselves to the polls were in many different ways confused and frustrated by what they found there.

Ultimately, their votes didn't count.

(voice-over): Example, the infamous Palm Beach butterfly ballot, where a poorly designed ballot misled thousands of voters about which line to punch to record a vote for their candidate. Just look: 5,277 voted for Al Gore and, improbably, conservative Pat Buchanan as well. We counted almost 17,000 ballots spoiled by marking Gore or Bush on one line and a second presidential candidate on another.

HOLLAND: Butterfly ballots caused far more vote spoilage than any other single problem in the state of Florida last year.

JACKSON (on camera): And the butterfly wasn't the only ballot that confused voters. Caterpillar ballots, with presidential candidates lined up in two columns, like this, also baffled thousands.

(voice-over): Here, this Charlotte County voter marked a vote for Gore, but over here also marked a vote for a Constitution Party candidate Howard Phillips, apparently under the impression this was another race. The column isn't even marked for president.

And here, a Bush supporter in Hendry County also spoiled their vote by marking Phillips in the second column. In all, we found 15,598 caterpillar ballots like this where marks for Bush or Gore were not counted.

We did find many who threw away their presidential votes intentionally. This one wrote in "Barney." This one wrote in "Jesus." This one wrote in "none." And this one not only left all lines completely blank, but wrote in "abstain," no vote, don't like any of them.

But on thousands of other ballots, voters clearly tried to express a preference. Look here, this person wrote large, "I forgot my glasses and cannot see this. Please put Bush down for my vote." You can't get more clear than that, but that vote wasn't counted.

How many would-be voters were not counted? This many and more. Miami's pro player baseball stadium seats 36,331. And we found 58,000 Florida ballots with visible evidence that a voter had tried to make a mark for either Bush or Gore -- ballots not counted on election night.

(on camera): There are lessons to be learned here, and not just in Florida. Five other states had even higher rates of undervotes and overvotes than Florida in the last election. This is a national problem.

For starters, election officials need to avoid confusing ballot designs like these. Also needed is to make sure each voter knows how to avoid this sort of thing and punch through or fill out their ballot so that it is counted. Until these Florida lessons are heeded, in future national elections, hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens who want to vote won't be counted.

Brooks Jackson, CNN, Washington.


WOODRUFF: Care about democracy and you see all those mistakes, it's enough to make you cry.

We'll hear from one of the people who wrote the Republican script in the Florida recount drama, as the story that would not go away may finally. Coming up next.


WOODRUFF: The White House has commented on the results of the recount study of election 2000 in Florida. The statement reads in part: "The election was settled last year, and the American people have moved on. The date is inconclusive, and the people around here, the White House, have felt for a long time that the country has moved on."

Former Montana Governor Marc Racicot advised President Bush's team dealing with the recount in Florida. I spoke with him earlier today, and I began by asking whether the Republicans made the mistake in appealing the Florida count to the U.S. Supreme Court, if Mr. Bush had a win in the state under the standards then in place anyway.


MARC RACICOT (R), FORMER MONTANA GOVERNOR: Well, I don't think so, because there were principles involved here that are very sacred and very old and had to be vindicated. And quite frankly, we always believed factually that we would end up at this point in time. But there was also a great sense of urgency about making sure the election came to a conclusion, because there was a necessity to form a government and get on under constitutional system we have with making certain that the president was in a position to be able to govern and to participate in this process.

WOODRUFF: But by having the result determined by the United States Supreme Court rather than by this recount that had been ordered by the state supreme court, is there any less legitimacy to the result in having it done the way that it was?

RACICOT: I don't believe so. Of course, you have to remember that the way it was done was the way that the Gore-backed campaign chose for it to be done. They chose to select their recounts just in those four individual counties. And what the Supreme Court was saying in their ruling was, in keeping with their precedent, that you had to play by the rules that were in place during the day of the election; you couldn't reinvent them at some point in time. That's a very, very important principle of fair play that's embedded in our constitution.

So, there was a very real necessity to vindicate principle as we went through this process.

WOODRUFF: The study also indicates that if intent alone had been counted, in other words, you had looked at the ballots, the number of overvotes where people voted for Gore or Bush and someone else, then Gore would have won. In other words, if it had been intent. Now, this couldn't have happened legally. It's purely hypothetical. Does that say anything to us? Should it say anything to us about the election?

RACICOT: I don't think so, because whose intent? When I was part of the process and I sat there for days and days and days and watched these ballots being examined, whose intent ultimately is the one that has to be discerned? And this is really what the United States Supreme Court ultimately asked, when they said, "which test ought to be employed here to count a ballot?"

And the response was, if there is a definite and certain indication that a voter intended to vote in this way, then it should be counted, and the Bush campaign conceded that all long. But as I watched the different judges trying to discern intent, they all did on a different basis for different reasons at different times. There's just no way that I think that that's an acceptable way to elect the president of the United States.

WOODRUFF: Do you think the consortium, the methodology the consortium used was legitimate?

RACICOT: I think it's the best that human beings can try to undertake when they're trying to discern in very difficult circumstances something that's almost impossible to discern. But it's a good effort, I think, to try and figure out what went wrong, so maybe we'll learn some lesson from it in the future.

WOODRUFF: Does something like this serve a purpose? I know many Republicans, and perhaps you were among them, originally argued there is no need for this, the election is behind us, why do a study like this? Looking back on it now, does it serve a purpose?

RACICOT: I think there is a purpose to be served. As long as we recognize that there was nothing more that could have been done to verify results other than what was done through the process as it ended last December 12. But I do think that we need to learn lessons. I mean, it's a very important thing that we do in this country when we elect a president -- or anyone, a constable in the United States of America.

So for to us to make certain that we can verify all the way through that process and have authentic, genuine results that people can have confidence in, and improve everything from our machinery to our methods is an important thing for us to learn about.

WOODRUFF: All right. Former Governor of Montana Marc Racicot, very active in the Bush campaign a year ago. Thanks very much.

RACICOT: It's my pleasure.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate it. Good to see you again.

RACICOT: It's good to see you too.


WOODRUFF: Meanwhile, the head of the Democratic National Committee says mistakes were made both by Florida election officials and by the Gore campaign. We'll have Terry McAuliffe coming up next.


WOODRUFF: Like President Bush, Al Gore has reacted to the Florida recount study in the spirit of moving on. Gore's statement reads: "As I said on December 13 of last year, we are a nation of laws, and the presidential election of 2000 is over. And of course, right now, our country faces a great challenge as we seek to successfully combat terrorism." Continuing: "I fully support President Bush's efforts to achieve that goal."

He goes on to say: "Tipper and I are grateful to all those who supported Joe Lieberman and me in the election one year ago this week. I am proud of the values and ideals for which we fought. We will always appreciate the dedication and hard work of the many people around the country who worked so hard in support of the vision we shared for America's future." I talked with Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe just a few hours ago. I asked him if the study shows once and for all that George W. Bush was legitimately elected last year.


TERRY MCAULIFFE, CHAIRMAN, DNC: He clearly has been sworn in. He is the president. So we should not go back and relook at that. A lot of issues came up through this count. If you counted all the overvotes, they say that Vice President Gore would have won. CNN today announced that the intent of the voter, Al Gore would have won.

But we have got to get beyond that. The issue is, as we go forward, Judy, is we need to have electoral reform in this country. Clearly, there were problems in the last election. Clearly, people were disenfranchised. So, as we go forward, we got to make sure that everybody has the right to vote, that vote is counted, and we just -- that's what we're working very hard at right now.

WOODRUFF: You said on a number of occasions earlier this year -- you haven't said it recently, but what you said earlier this year was -- and this was after the inauguration -- that Al Gore would have been elected president if Katherine Harris, Jeb Bush, Jim Baker and the United States Supreme Court hadn't tempered with the results. Do you still believe that?

MCAULIFFE: Sure I do. In the sense that there were overvotes -- your study today as well as the others say that if all the overvotes had been counted, Al Gore would have been sworn in. So, the results out today -- clearly, it's muddled, no one is quite sure, the intent of the voter was to vote for Al Gore.

But I really try to move off of it. And the reason I talked about it, Judy, in the past was so that it never occurred again. I can't change the last election, but I can make sure that it never occurs in the next election.

We just had a massive operation in New Jersey, Virginia governor's race. We had hundreds of lawyers trained, thousands of volunteers in our voting rights institute working. We caught Republicans in Atlantic County counts absentee ballots without the Democrats present. We caught them redhanded. We had hundreds of incidents where people were denied their right to vote because they didn't have their driver's license, which you don't need. And so, we handled a lot of issues.

So, the good news is, we are now alert to this to make sure everybody's vote gets counted.

WOODRUFF: But when you make the point that people -- more people went to the polls intending to vote for Al Gore, does that change anything in terms of the legitimacy of the outcome of this election?

MCAULIFFE: Listen, I have consistently said George Bush has been sworn in, we all support him, we support him now more than ever. There were issues around the last presidential election. It clearly was not easily defined, you know, who won the election, and it isn't clear today. I make the point that Al Gore, the people who went to the polls wanted to vote for him, but I'm trying to get off of that and go forward for electoral reform.

Judy, this is why we need Don Conyers' electoral reform in the United States Congress. I think your prior guest would admit that we do need electoral reform. We need some uniformed standards. We need provisional balloting in this country. So let's move on in a positive way.

After September 11, clearly we're the greatest democracy in the world, and we need to make sure as part of that democracy that everybody in this country who is entitled to vote does get that right to vote, and it should be a good experience for them.

WOODRUFF: One little thing -- or it wasn't so little at the time -- but as you know, the Gore campaign pushing for a recount in four counties. The study shows that if that purely, if only that had been done, Bush would have won. Was that a mistake to push for that?

MCAULIFFE: Well, it's always hard to second-guess, but all the reports have said that. If I were advising, if I were the legal counsel to the vice president, which I wasn't, I maybe would have asked for the whole state to be recounted. You know, we just wanted to make sure that everybody who has the right to vote that their vote is counted. So, you know, it's easy to go back and look at that today, but if you look at the whole state, I think you would had it different than those several counties.

WOODRUFF: Lasting significance of this study, what would you say it is?

MCAULIFFE: The lasting significance, there were tremendous problems in the 2000 presidential election. People were clearly disenfranchised. There were problems with the butterfly ballots. We are the biggest, greatest democracy, oldest democracy. We need to make sure that everybody who has the right to vote can go into that polling booth, can read the ballot and that ballot will be counted.

This is not a Democratic issue, this is not a Republican issue. This is an American issue, and we need to all work very hard to get electoral reform in this country. That's why I have continued to talk about it. George Bush is the president, and I support my commander- in-chief, but let's make sure that when we go ahead and vote in the future that all votes are counted.


WOODRUFF: Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the Democratic Party.

The latest developments on "America's New War" just ahead. Also, the president of Iran speaks to CNN on matters of war, religion and reform.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WOODRUFF: Here now at 10:30 Eastern time, the latest developments in the war on terrorism. Artillery fire and troop movements are heavy on the front lines north of Afghanistan's capital, Kabul. A ground movement by the Northern Alliance against the Taliban followed light allied airstrikes in the area.

In Washington, Capitol police say the new discovers of anthrax in the offices of five more senators in the Hart Office Building today were not unexpected. Investigators say they believe the anthrax-laced letter sent to Tom Daschle's office cross-contaminated mail that went to the other locations.

One of those senators, Dianne Feinstein, said today that the FBI tells here that there are 22,000 labs in the U.S. which could make anthrax. She says she's concerned that many of those labs are not certified, and that some workers in those labs might not have had background checks.

The Red Cross is denying a report that it collected too much blood after the September 11 terror attacks, and must now discard 20 percent of that blood. The Red Cross says the "Washington Post" article is simply inaccurate.

The war a terrorism being wanted across the border from Iran. Now Iran's leader, President Mohammad Khatami, is sharing his thoughts on the U.S.-led campaign and the September 11 attacks that triggered it.

He sat down a few hours ago with CNN's Christiane Amanpour in a rare interview.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: With every statement, with every new videotape, Osama bin Laden comes closer to admitting responsibility for September the 11th. Are you are comfortable that, with the evidence so far, the United States, under international law, has the right to defend itself against al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden?

MOHAMMAD KHATAMI, PRESIDENT OF IRAN (through translator): In the name of God, the compassionate, the merciful, first of all, I would like to again express my deepest condolences to the nation of America, and express my sorrow for the tragic event of September 11. What occurred was a disaster.

Terror and terrorization is not a new phenomenon. But regretfully, what that has saddened us more is that the machine of war and terror did not stop in the year 2001, which was designated as the year for the dialogue among civilizations. The September 11 attack was the ugliest form of terrorism ever seen.

I expressed my deepest sorrow to the people of America right after the tragedy, and I'd like to say how sorry I am, and express my sorrow. I would also like to say that the Americans were not only ones who suffered. Just today we had a ceremony where the flags of all nationalities present in that -- who were victims of the terrorist attack were raised. As you know, there were Iranians among them as well. Therefore, that was a tragedy, and a terrible one. And terrorism in general is.

What matters is that we must confront this phenomenon. We have to do it in a determined manner. We have address to the root causes of terrorism. We have to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice. And we must fight terrorist bases wherever they are. But again, we have to address the roots as well.

We have expressed that we are unhappy with what has happened in Afghanistan, both in the past and present. We have condemned extremism in any form, and we believe that terrorism in any form is also unacceptable. The question of who was behind the attack, I'm sure must be supported by evidence; and there probably is some evidence out there, although we haven't received it ourselves, or seen it ourselves. But it seems, from various developments, that the groups and individuals named may have perhaps been involved in it.

What matters is that we must identify matters very clearly. We must not act too quickly. And we must also fight terrorist bases and hopefully we must move in a direction so that in the future no nationality, no country will face such tragic events again.

AMANPOUR: International officials, U.S. officials, have said that the Iranian delegation is being very constructive in the current Six-Plus-Two talks on the future of Afghanistan. What do you see for the future of Afghanistan? Would Zahir Shah have any interim role? Would any Taliban defectors have any role in a future government of Afghanistan?

KHATAMI (through translator): As has been indicate, we are very active in this area, because we cannot sit silent when there is a country that is unstable in our neighborhood.

Rather than talking about groups and people, I prefer that we talk about mechanisms that are available to us that can lead to peace and stability and a moderate government in Afghanistan. What we have in mind is that we must consider two processes for Afghanistan. One is a final one, in which all the people of Afghanistan, Afghan men and women, regardless of their religious or ethnic background, may be able to go to the polls and determine what the future of their country should be.

However, it is clear that under the present crisis, this is not possible to attain at this very moment, and therefore we need a transitional period. In a transitional period, naturally, we need an interim government comprising all Afghan groups. Afghan groups that are acceptable to the international community, and the people of Afghanistan as well. And it must be supervised by the United Nations, this transitional period, so that Afghanistan can reach a normal stage where people can determine their own fate.

Clearly, the Pashtuns are a large number in Afghanistan, although one must not say that Pashtuns are equal to Taliban or equal to the processes in Rome. We know that Mohammad Zahir is the one representing the Rome process. What matters to us is that the Pashtuns, too, must be there, must be present, as well as Tajiks, Hazaras, and Uzbeks, and other ethnic groups.

AMANPOUR: Mr. President, Iran was one of the first countries to send condolences to the United States after September 11. You, yourself, and other member of the ruling establishment; the people expressed their sympathy. There is food distribution going to Afghanistan that will come through Iran's port on the Persian Gulf. Iran has said that it will meet its international obligations to assist U.S. pilots, should they find themselves in trouble during this situation.

This is quite incredible for so-called sworn enemies. In previously interviews this week you have spoken of what you called some positive steps that were taken by the Clinton administration in talking about its past policy towards Iran. U.S. officials are still not able to understand why Iran won't accept unconditional dialogue. I don't mean relations, I don't mean negotiations, I mean dialogue. What is wrong with unconditional dialogue, where you all put your issues on the table?

KHATAMI (through translator): We do understand the feeling of the people of America and the government of America in responding to the tragic attack that occurred on September 11. And it is their right to want to bring the perpetrators to justice, and to confront them. And the world also endorses that.

But the question is: How do you confront terror and terrorism? Terror and terrorism is a process. When we talk about al Qaeda, for example, this is a group that is not just based in Afghanistan. It exists in other places, as well as do our terrorist groups. If we act quickly, or in a one-sided manner, we might be able to the fight terrorism in one case or two, but we might end up activating other terrorist processes.

As far as relations are concerned, I have said that there is a great deal of mistrust. In practice, regretfully, we haven't seen any serious steps taken to improve the situation, although in the last administration some positive things were done. Officially, the U.S. administration said that it had made some mistakes towards Iran. It did not apologize officially, but it did at least clearly state that it had made mistakes.

And if that had been followed by some practical steps, it would have had some positive results. But unfortunately, accusations still continue, threats still continue, un-based allegations are -- continue. And I want to say that we are -- although we are victims of terrorism ourselves, we are said -- allegedly said -- we're said to be alleged terrorists, or at least we're on the list of terrorist groups. And I want to say that there are many terrorist groups present in the West and other countries that are actually being supported. So there is a double standard.

We have, as you know, a history of pessimism when it comes to our relations with the United Nations -- with the United States. So although there have been some positive developments, we need practical steps, so in addition to rhetoric, we need to get rid of the unacceptable behavior that still continues, in my opinion, towards Iran.


WOODRUFF: And we'll have more of Christiane's interview with the president of Iran when this CNN SPECIAL REPORT continues.


WOODRUFF: Welcome back.

CNN's Christiane Amanpour continues her interview with Iran's President Mohammad Khatami.


AMANPOUR: You are the proponent of the dialogue of civilizations. You always talk about an Islam of peace and tolerance. But the hateful message, the violent message of Islam is being heard very loudly around the world. The message of Osama bin Laden does resonate with many Muslims.

What kind of a responsibly do you believe that you have -- people such as yourself, moderates who talk about a peaceful Islam, to stand up and over and over again tell the Islamic people that suicide is not allowed in the Koran, that it will to the get heavenly rewards, that jihad is very carefully prescribed, only in self-defense, not against innocent civilians.

What sort of responsibility do you believe you have to convince Muslims of that?

KHATAMI (through translator): When the dialogue among civilizations was raised, the idea was to change the paradigm in world affairs and human relations. The paradigm in international affairs in the past century, as well as the first part of the current century, led to mass killings, war, oppression and discrimination.

That paradigm has its own political, cultural, social and economic factors; and it's not easy to change all that. Changing a paradigm that has been in place for centuries requires time. In order to change this paradigm so that dialogue can replace violence and clashes, we have to set ourselves free from our historical differences. Regretfully, the differences we've had between the East and West and between Islam and Christianity. It goes back to the Crusade wars.

The fact remains that in the political realm we haven't been able to set ourselves free from the same historical mentality that I mentioned. Therefore, in my very speeches I have said that we need to embark an educational and cultural efforts to educate in order to listen and have dialogue in order to educate and learn.

AMANPOUR: You have spoken, in your condolences and sympathies after September the 11, of the great nation of America. Again, you speak about Islam being a religion of logic and tolerance. And yet every Friday in Iran, at Friday prayers, we still hear "death to America, death to America." How can you justify that, every Friday coming from Iran; particularly in this climate, where it could only be interpreted as an incitement to hatred, if not killing?

KHATAMI (through translator): Every day we hear a lot of politicians say that Iran is a base for terrorists, that Iran lacks democracy and freedom. And that we -- it is necessary to confront that. Well, these opinions do exist, and the reactions made here in Iran are somewhat similar, therefore. What people say in Iran, those slogans that are chanted, are not aimed at the people of America, not the nation of America, it is aimed at the wrong policies that we feel exist against our people, our nation.

AMANPOUR: But Mr. President, don't you think that although you say that it is not aimed against the people of America, in this climate, we've seen what hate can do; it can kill civilians. Do you think that it's still justifiable to have "death to America" as a matter of religious policy being chanted in Iran?

KHATAMI (through translator): Wherever we create hatred, we are creating problems for all humanity. So rest assured that this kind of hatred expressed is not toward the people of America. I also sympathize with the people and nation of America and elsewhere, in other situations. You've seen that in our country people have expressed similar sympathies with the people of America.

Again, it's a feeling that there are negative and wrong policies towards our country. And the way that is expressed does not mean that it expressed in a way that would want to confront a nation and a people. The people and nation of America are a great one, and no one can deny that; science, technology, industry, progress and development come from the United States, to a large extent.

So I think it's necessary for the people of America to ask a more serious question. And that is that: What was the price that they paid when September 11 attack happened? What is the price, and why was this such a high price to pay? What kind of anger was created that must have been expressed in that way? So no doubt there must have been some wrong policies that created a kind of hatred that became extreme.

So the people of America should demand, seriously, from their government to moderate its policies; to improve and change some of it. And if that happened, the situation in the world will also improve.

So I'm against the expression of any form of hatred against any nation. And I want to say that the nation of Iran has no problem with the people and nation of America. That there have been policies in the last couple of years against Iran that people of Iran have suffered from.

AMANPOUR: There have been thousands of people in the streets of Iran recently, during what was called the soccer demonstrations. They were also expressing political frustration. After gambling everything and voting for you in two landslide elections, do you think the people of Iran have a reason, do you think they're justified to feel disappointed at the slow pace of reform, the slow pace of democracy coming to Iran?

KHATAMI (through translator): I'm not sure that where you bring this judgment from, based on the demonstrations that happened in Iran. Why don't you look at demonstrations in France, in England, in Europe, elsewhere, the kind of demonstrations that happen as a result of soccer games? How come you don't interpret that kind of demonstration as an expression of being hopeless, but you interpret -- hope that in Iran is being the hopeless thing, that people feel hopeless and pour into the streets?

What happened in Iran was a natural event. It had a history. We have a young population. They are getting excited. They want to express it. Among them, there might be people that have certain issues that might resort to some acts that create some problems. And if there an offense occurs, no doubt the law will deal with that.

But in various public opinions taken from young people in -- public opinion polls taken from young people in Iran, where it appeared in my last tenure and this one, the vast majority want the changes that are happening, want reform. And this -- these young people say they want these changes to happen within the framework of the revolution, so we need to bring about the kind of change that is in conformity with our society. We must improve ourselves continuously, we must have this kind of exchanges.

It is not suitable to forget what the young people in your country want and demand, because that would create problems for the government itself. What is happening in Iran is a natural process, although it may have some problems and lead to some problems, there may be some shortcomings, but no doubt we are trying to improve the situation.

AMANPOUR: On that note, thank you very much indeed for joining us, Mr. President.

KHATAMI (through translator): I thank you as well and hope that you will be able to be successful in bringing about the facts to people. And if we are to have another interview again, I would like to hear about the successes of the world.


WOODRUFF: Christiane Amanpour's interview just a few hours ago with the president of Iran, Mohammad Khatami.

A check of the latest developments is up next, then "CNN PRESENTS": Airport Insecurity.




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