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Ahmadinejad: Why so sensitive about Israel?

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NEW YORK (CNN) -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Wednesday he is surprised American politicians "are so sensitive and biased with regards to Israel," and he again expressed doubt that the Holocaust is a historically established fact.

Though Israel bombed Lebanon, "it doesn't seem to have created concern among American politicians. But when somebody questions or criticizes the Zionist regime, there is so much reaction," Ahmadinejad said in an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper.

"Given the massacres committed by Israel ... should they not be subject to criticism? Should nobody complain?"

Asked if he believes Israelis have no right to exist -- something Ahmadinejad has said in the past -- the Iranian leader responded, "I say that it is an occupying regime."

The Palestinian "nation" as a whole -- including Jews, Christians and Muslims living there and 5 million displaced refugees -- should be able to vote to decide "what its fate should be."

Pressed on his previous assertions that the Holocaust did not happen, Ahmadinejad declined to address the issue, saying, "Since I've talked a lot about this subject, I don't want to repeat myself."

But he did address whether the Holocaust should be used as a "pretext for occupying Palestinian land" when the Palestinians had nothing to do with the genocide in Europe.

"If this event happened, where did it happen?" he asked. "The 'where' is the main question, and it was not in Palestine."

A staunch critic of U.S. policy and President Bush, Ahmadinejad also took issue with comments Bush made to the Iranian people during his speech at the United Nations on Tuesday. (Watch a comparison of Bush and Ahmadinejad's speeches -- 2:24)

Bush told Iranians their rulers "have chosen to deny you liberty and to use your nation's resources to fund terrorism and fuel extremism and pursue nuclear weapons."

Ahmadinejad responded by saying he didn't know what the president "is actually thinking when he makes remarks like that."

"This is not the kind of language you speak talking with a great nation. It is an insult to a great nation," Ahmadinejad said.

He also insisted that Iran's nuclear program was peaceful and that his government had complied with its international obligations, despite reports from the International Atomic Energy Agency questioning whether Iran has been forthcoming about its nuclear activities.

"They have to tell us exactly what provisions of the (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) they are speaking of, which they believe we have not abided by," Ahmadinejad said. "They are interested in getting more information, and we are ready to cooperate with them."


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says the Holocaust is being used as a "pretext" for occupying Palestinian land.



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