Iranian President Hassan Rouhani blamed Israel for causing "injustice to the people" of the Middle East during an exclusive interview with NBC News in which he also called for peace, saying Iran is not "looking for war."
Unlike his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Rouhani struck a moderate tone on many issues, but he deflected a question from NBC News' Ann Curry about whether he believed that the Holocaust was "a myth."
"I'm not a historian. I'm a politician," he replied. "What is important for us is that the countries of the region and the people grow closer to each other, and that they are able to prevent aggression and injustice."
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Rouhani's comments came in his first interview with a U.S. news outlet since his June election. The interview was broadcast Thursday on TODAY.
David Lom / NBC News
NBC News' Ann Curry speaks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday. It was Rouhani's first interview with a U.S. news outlet since being elected.
When asked by Curry about the fact that Ahmadinejad had people believing that Iran wanted to wipe Israel off the map, Rouhani replied: "What we wish for in this country is rule by the will of the people. We believe in the ballot box."
Curry also asked Rouhani to respond to comments by Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu, who has called him a "wolf in sheep’s clothing."
Rouhani described Israel as "an occupier and usurper government" that "does injustice to the people of the region, and has brought instability to the region, with its warmongering policies."
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