Ahmadinejad: Iran doesn't have gay issue

NEW YORK, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- Iran respects women and does not have the "phenomenon" of homosexuality, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Monday at New York's Columbia University.

During a question-and-answer following his provocative remarks to students, teachers and others, Ahmadinejad said, "Freedoms in Iran are genuine, true freedoms. Women in Iran enjoy the highest level of freedom."


He said executions, some of which are carried out in public, are carried out against "people who violate public rights," such as drug traffickers.

People who "cause deterioration" to others "are sentenced to executions in Iran. Some of these punishments ... are carried out in the public eye."

Concerning whether Iran arms terrorists, Ahmadinejad said Iran has been a "victim of terrorists" and said "we need to address the root causes of terrorism and eradicate them."

When asked about hostile treatment against homosexuals, Ahmadinejad said, "In Iran, we don't have homosexuals like in your country.

"We don't have that in our country," he said through an interpreter. "In Iran, we do not have this phenomenon."

In closing, he extended an invitation for Columbia teachers and students to visit universities in Iran. Columbia President Lee Bollinger, in his blistering opening remarks, asked for a visit.


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