Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a major reversal of Islamic Republic’s long-standing policy on Palestine said he will accept a two-state solution as part of a future Palestinian-Israeli peace deal.
If the Palestinians reach a two-state peace deal with Israel, it will be “fine with us,” Ahmadinejad said during an interview with ABC, taped on Wednesday in Tehran, and broadcast on Sunday [ABC, 26 April].
“Whatever decision they take is fine with us. We are not going to determine anything. Whatever decision they take, we will support that,” Admadinejad said. “We think that this is the right of the Palestinian people.”
Ahmadinejad, more than any other leaders in Iran, has questioned Israel’s legitimacy and has forcefully put forward his analysis that Israel will and probably must disappear as a country. Acceptance of a Palestinian state next to Israel by Ahmadinejad does indeed represent a major Iranian retreat from the hardline anti-Israeli positions of the past.
UPDATE: Following are the transcript of the Q&A relevant to the two-state solution between ABC's Stephanopoulos and President Ahmadinejad:
STEPHANOPOULOS: If the Palestinian people negotiate an agreement with Israel and the Palestinian people vote and support that agreement, a two state solution, will Iran support it?
AHMADINEJAD: Nobody should interfere, allow the Palestinian people to decide for themselves. Whatever they decide.
STEPHANOPOULOS: If the Palestinians sign an agreement with Israel, will Iran support it?
AHMADINEJAD: Whatever decision they take is fine with us. We are not going to determine anything. Whatever decision they take, we will support that. We think that this is the right of the Palestinian people, however we fully expect other states to do so as well. The U.S. administration, European governments. The right to determine their fate by the Palestinians should be respected by all of them.