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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Aziz Speaks in Iraq

Aired March 19, 2003 - 12:27   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to break away briefly from Ari Fleischer, the White House press secretary, to go to Baghdad. Iraqi television now airing this. This is live coverage of Tariq Aziz, the deputy prime minister of Iraq. He is speaking. This is significant not only because of who he is, because of the rumors that were swirling around the world earlier today just in the past few hours that either he was dead or he had defected. Clearly neither of those rumors turns out to be true. Let's listen in briefly to Tariq Aziz, the deputy prime minister of Iraq.
TARIQ AZIZ, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER OF IRAQ (through translator): ... this is one of the easiest rumors to -- to deny. But we will expect a lot of rumors in the future, and in the future days, in the coming days and months, and I would like to warn you against such psychological warfare, cheap psychological warfare. Don't believe them when they propagate news like this about anybody in the Iraqi leadership, about Iraq in general, simply don't believe them. We will be ready and present. Mr. Sahhaf and his colleagues in the Ministry of Information and the Iraqi officials will be amongst you to clarify the position.

QUESTION (through translator): How do you clarify the political situation?

AZIZ: I don't think there is any chance for a political solution. That's very abundantly clear. But it is clear that the international -- the majority of international community and the Security Council confirmed -- they confirmed that what America is doing is a breach of the international law and a breach of the charter of the United Nations, and in fact it is an aggression, a colonization aggression, imperialistic and unjust aggression, and it is not an act of peace.

Now the excuses are many to attack Iraq. Bush declared that we will go into Iraq even if Iraq succumbed to the threat of (UNINTELLIGIBLE). That is the objective. If you listen or read the text of the speech of Bush, he said that he requested from the great leader, Saddam Hussein, to leave his country. That's impossible, of course. And he asks the Iraqi people and the armed forces to allow the American forces to come it. Then he wants to occupy Iraq for free, without shooting one bullet. This is unjust. This gives you an example of the mentality of such a person, of such administration. They are people -- they, of course, have power. We all admit that they have power. But they have power, but no brains, a force that knows nothing about historical facts. Nothing serious, they know nothing serious about the nature of people, and people's determination to their right to exist, their right to be independent in sovereignty, in dignity.

And of course, they ignore and don't know the history of Iraq. Who is Iraq? What is Iraq? In 1920, Britain, the current ally of the United States, was then the, by far, greatest imperial -- imperial power at that time, and they occupied Iraq. Iraq had been occupied by the Turks. There were no institutions that were ready to fight, but within four years, the Iraqi people organized themselves in a way that revolted against the British colonization, and forced the British occupation to rethink about their presence in Iraq. That was in 1920.

In Iraq, states was started. It was called the Kingdom of Iraq at that time. At the same time, three-quarters of all of the colonies were ruled directly by the British occupier and other occupiers. That is Iraq. In 1941, the national forces of Iraq went into war against Britain.

BLITZER: Tariq Aziz, the deputy prime minister of Iraq, speaking through an interpreter, railing against the United States, insisting that the U.S.-led war, if, in fact, it does begin, would be illegal, making comparisons to the British colonization of much of the Arab world in the past century. Railing against President Bush, saying it's totally unjustified what, in fact, he is doing.

His comments significant because rumors have been swirling over the past several hours, rumors that he was either dead or had defected. Clearly neither of those rumors true. The Iraqi deputy prime minister speaking on the Al-Arabiyya (ph) Arabic-language television network in Iraq, making it clear that he is still firmly, firmly aligned with President Saddam Hussein.

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