Larry King has a well-earned reputation for launching soft balls to his interview subjects, but not so when it comes to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was in town addressing the United Nations.
While some mainstream media types avoid getting into gay speak, King grilled Ahmadinejad about his country’s homophobic human rights record.
[Gay action starts at about the 1:43 mark.]
Iran has strict laws against homosexuality and, the government has repeatedly – and publicly – executed those suspected to be gay, although the government would never admit it. Just last year, Ahmadinejad dismissed the very idea that gay people reside in his country.
KING: By the way, you mentioned human rights in Israel. Don’t you have some human rights problems of your own in Iran?
AHMADINEJAD (through translator): What do you mean by human rights problems?
KING: People protesting that they don’t have the same rights as other people? Homosexuals — you said last year, you denied there were homosexuals. There’s homosexuals everywhere.
AHMADINEJAD (through translator): I said it is not the way it is here. In Iran this is considered a very — obviously most people dislike it. And we have actually a law regarding it and the law is enforced. It is a law that was passed. It was legislated. And it is an act that is against human principles. A lot of things can happen. It can cause psychological problems, social problems that affect the whole society. Remember that God rules are to improve human life. In our religion, this act is forbidden and the Parliament has legislated about it.
King went on to press the matter, to which Ahmadinejad snapped:
Are you concerned for 70 million Iranian people or a few homosexuals? Let’s assume in Iran — let’s assume in the United States that 200 million people drive cars and a million violators are rounded up and they just basically violate driving laws. Should we be worried for the 199 million people whose safety you must be concerned about or the one million violators? The law is the law. It’s law. And it must be enforced, of course.
The President went on to insist his government doesn’t meddle in people’s private lives. Except when they hang sixteen year olds suspected of being gay. Then they’re just doing their so-called duty.