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UPDATED Iran Follow-Up: Ahmadinejad "Bin Laden Lives in Washington DC!"

UPDATE, 6 MAY: State Department Looks Around, Doesn't Find Bin Laden, Does Find Sense of Humour. I feel better now about my fellow Americans.

P.J. Crowley must have thought about his po'-faced, huffy comment on Twitter, as he decided that light-hearted was a better approach in a Washington press conference: "We've done an intensive search here at the Department of State -- every nook and cranny, every rock -- and we can safely report that Osama bin Laden is not here."

Iran: Bin Laden Lives in Tehran Shocker!

UPDATE 1900 GMT: Oh, dear, I think the US State Department has had a satire failure. Spokesman P.J. Crowley has just sniffed on Twitter, "Ahmadinejad says bin Laden is in DC. We don’t have him; what we do have is another wild Iranian accusation and no accountability."

P.J., you do know that Iranians have been known to pull the leg and tweak the nose of an obtuse interviewer, right?


From the ridiculous to the even more ridiculous....

Yesterday we had a bit of fun with Fox News' puffed-up, straight-faced "report" that Osama Bin Laden might be living the high life in Tehran. We thought this might be a one-day diversion, since this is not a real news story, but little did we know that George Stephanopoulos, former aide to Bill Clinton and host of ABC Television's Good Morning America, would take it to new levels of absurdity.

Closing his two-dimensional interview with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Stephanopoulos decided to spring an interrogator's surprise (since, presumably, Mahmoud does not watch Fox News):

STEPHANOPOULOS: One final question. There's a new documentary out that says that Osama Bin Laden is living in Tehran. And the subject of the documentary, a man named Alan Parrot, one of the world's foremost falconers living in Iran, says he's spoken to Osama bin Laden several times since 2003. Is Osama bin Laden in Tehran?

AHMADINEJAD: Your question is laughable.


AHMADINEJAD: The U.S. government has invaded Afghanistan in order to arrest Bin Laden. They probably know where Bin Laden is. If they don't know he is, why did they invade? Could we know the intelligence?

STEPHANOPOULOS: I think if they knew, they would find him. They would get him.

AHMADINEJAD: First they should have tried to find his location, then invade, those who did not know about his location first they invaded and then they tried to find out where he is, is that logical? Do you think this is logical?

STEPHANOPOULOS: What I think is that you didn't answer my question. Is he in Tehran or not?

AHMADINEJAD: Our position is quite clear. Some journalists have said Bin Laden is in Iran. These words don't have legal value. Our position towards Afghanistan and against terrorism is quite clear.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Is it true or not?

AHMADINEJAD: Maybe you know, but I don't know.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I'm asking you. You're the President of Iran.

AHMADINEJAD: I don't know such a thing, you are giving news which is very strange.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, let me ask it a different way. If you did know that Osama bin Laden was in Tehran, would you show him hospitality? Would you expel him? Would you arrest him?

AHMADINEJAD: I heard that Osama bin Laden is in the Washington, D.C.

STEPHANOPOULOS: No, you didn't.

AHMADINEJAD: Yes, I did. He's there. Because he was a previous partner of Mr. Bush. They were colleagues in fact in the old days. You know that. They were in the oil business together. They worked together. Mr. Bin Laden never cooperated with Iran but he cooperated with Mr. Bush--

STEPHANOPOULOS: I'll ask one more time and then I'll let you go. If you knew that Osama bin Laden was in Tehran, which you say you don't. If you knew, would you expel him? Would you arrest him? Would you show him hospitality?

AHMADINEJAD: Our borders, our borders are closed to the illegal entry of anyone. Anyone who that may be. Whether it's the three American mountaineers, Mr. Bin Laden or anyone else. The borders are closed. Our position is clear.

I'm quite surprised, to see that you adjust your daily lives based on the news that is being broadcast. I'm concerned that the government of the United States takes positions based on such news. If it is so, it is too bad. The news must be accurate and accountable, otherwise it will disrupt the relations between the nations. Just like this, did the government of the United States knew about the location of Mr. Bin Laden? And you said, "No, they went to find out." Well, first you locate--

STEPHANOPOULOS: They lost the trail.

AHMADINEJAD: --to find out they have invaded Afghanistan. First they have to find out his location and then invade. It's like for a judge to arrest someone and then go after the evidence.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you deny categorically that he's in Tehran today? He is not-- Osama bin Laden is not in Tehran today?

AHMADINEJAD: Rest assured that he's in Washington. I think there's a high chance he's there.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I don't agree.

Thank you for your time, Mr. President.

Reader Comments (9)

Unbelievable. And this is the media so many rely on for their "facts". AN is laughing at him during the interview....

May 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBijan77

What Ahmadinejad said is very thought provoking

May 6, 2010 | Unregistered Commentertrueblues

Ahmedinijad's interviews are also pretty much smart. However, this time, the end was amusing. I like how the reporter was asking asinine questions and pressing him, as if he's going to trap him and score journalism gold, and the President is telling him, "He's in washington!"

May 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterM.Ali

Ahmadi is a joke. Interviewers ask stupid questions when the interviewee is the laughing stock, the world clown. Interviewers treat Ahmadi as a crasy clown and they interview him accordingly.

What part of this you do not get, M.Ali?

May 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

Bin Laden, his wife and family have been in the Islamic republic of iran since 2003

May 6, 2010 | Unregistered Commentertehranweekly

Mr. Bin Laden never cooperated with Iran but he cooperated with Mr. Bush– LOOOOOOOOOOL! funny guy! ahmadinegad is

May 6, 2010 | Unregistered Commentertehranweekly

Haha. My hat goes off to Mr Ahmadinejad. What better way to deflect a very silly question than to give the lefty Seth Macfarlane-esque answer. And what a smile too! Brilliant.

Why is it a silly question? Because somehow, despite the Americans being capable of demonstrating their bravado by invading a country on flimsy accusations, they're unable to put 9/11 on Mr Bin Laden's own FBI résumé:" rel="nofollow">

May 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJames

Yes - the western journalists who interview Ahmadinejad are fools. They are fools because they do not / can not? see that he holds them and their (mostly liberal/democratic) values in contempt. They (and the current US administration) think that if they can only sit down and talk to him, then he will see the error of his ways and convert to their way of thinking and their values. They remind me of Christian fundamentalists who are so sure of themselves - and just wish to help others to see the light as they do.



May 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarry

Update: Associated Press investigated the complicated relation between Iran and Al Qaeda - Iran Eases Grip On El-Qaeda. Although there's no firm conclusion to the article, one can positively conclude that Bin Laden is not in Washington..." rel="nofollow">

May 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWitteKr

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