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NBC Goes ‘Behind the Scenes’ With Iranian ‘President’ Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

"...one of the world's most controversial and secretive leaders."

Considering the volatile and closed nature of Iranian governance, until now there has been no definitive way to know exactly what goes on in the daily happenings of the nation's top officials.

But NBC's "Today Show" has changed this dynamic, as news journalist Ann Curry is currently in Tehran, Iran, traveling around with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In describing the unprecedented media access, she explains:

"We were granted the first ever behind the scenes access to the daily schedule of Iran's President Ahmadinejad, drawing back a curtain on one of the world's most controversial and secretive leaders."

The intriguing footage (though it's likely that the situations depicted were carefully crafted by the Iranian government) explains how the controversial leader starts each morning: Jogging with his security team, praying, weight lifting and the like.

Ahmadinejad's staff claim that he only gets three hours of sleep per night, painting him as a fierce work-a-holic of sorts. According to accounts, Curry reports that, "Even Iran's Supreme Leader has advised him to sleep more."

Curry makes it a special point to mention the fact that Ahmadinejad monitors various newspapers each day. This, of course, includes Western media coverage.

At one point during the first part of the "Today Show" coverage, Ahmadinejad visits a bizarre in an impoverished area of Iran. Curry asks, "Mr. President, why have you made this point to come to one of the poorest parts of Iran to highlight the arts and the crafts?"

Ahmadinejad gives a very positive response that focuses upon multiculturalism and the value of human beings, adding, "The main point is to integrate all the nations together."

Curry boldly responds, "Including the United States?"

Ahmadinejad says, "Everywhere that there's a human."

Later on in the report, he can be seen showing compassion to a man who claims he lost three sons in the nation's war with Iraq. After viewers see Ahmadinejad hug the man, Curry explains that this scenario may be an effort "...to remake his image at home and abroad."

When it comes to the future of Iran, he explains:

"I want the same future as I want for every nation in the world. Peace, friendship, happiness and unity."

But past comments about Israel and the United States, among other opponents, make this statement seem contradictory to say the least. After all, is it truly possible to mesh peace and friendship with the vocal call to wipe nations, like Israel, off of the map? Below, watch his past thoughts on the Holocaust:

His controversial statements are likely far from over, though. On Sunday, he reiterated his position that 9/11 was a complicated plan designed by the U.S. as a pre-text to Middle Eastern military invasions.

Below, watch Curry's first report on her time with Ahmadinejad (another segment will follow on Tuesday's edition of "Today":

(h/t TVNewser)

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