For the US, Iranian nuclear issue is just an excuse - Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council

Iran Materials 10 August 2006 12:45 (UTC +04:00)

(IRNA) - Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Larijani said in Tehran that for the US, Iranian nuclear issue is just an excuse.

In an interview with New Delhi-based 'The Hindu' to be published on Saturday, he said, "Iran is a member of the NPT [Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty] and all our nuclear energy activities are within its framework. The International Atomic Energy Agency inspects our facilities and has installed surveillance cameras in atomic centers where we have our activities, reports Trend.

"What we are seeking is nothing more than our legitimate rights within the framework of the NPT. Just as we have some obligations within the framework of the NPT, we also have some rights.

"Therefore, the UNSC resolution does not have any legal basis.

When the 'five plus one' [Britain, France, United States, Russia and China plus Germany] offered us a package [last June], they said they respected our rights. But this resolution means they don't want Iran to exercise its rights! This is illogical and unjust.

"The United Nations Security Council resolution means they have a different intention from the one [they said they were pursuing] when they gave the package to us.

"Maybe they imagine that by adopting this resolution, they will change Iran's mind. But there is no change in our stance. We [will] continue our activities...

"What was the stated intention behind the package?

"When Javier Solana, [the European Union's negotiator] brought the package to Tehran, it was proposed that we were going to carry forward this process. Accordingly, we established different committees to work on the proposals in the package. And it was proposed that we would express our point of view and also raise any points of ambiguity with Mr. Solana [at subsequent meetings]. But before these meetings could take place, [the 5+1] met in a hurry and then issued this resolution! Within the framework of this package, it was proposed that we would meet each other and discuss and come to a conclusion together. This resolution shows that the package was only a smoke-screen." The reporter pointed out, "But you met Mr. Solana in Brussels on July 11, and it was after that, on July 12, that the 5+1 met and decided to go to the Security Council."

Responding, Larijani said, "Mr. Solana and I had only one round of discussions but we need more than one round for the package's ambiguities to be removed.

"Unless we remove these and come to a mutual understanding, we cannot have a solution. Maybe the 5+1 thought that by these means, they could hold this stick over our heads. They want to put pressure on us but it won't have any effect. If anything, it may lead to a very harsh reaction by us. We are always ready for just negotiations.

"But we don't understand negotiation under pressure!"

The reporter asked, "Some European diplomats we spoke to said that in your last meeting with Mr. Solana, he expected you to seek clarifications about the package but this did not happen and this convinced him that Iran was not serious. What actually happened?" Larijani said, "In that meeting, we said that over some issues we were in agreement with them. First, that negotiation is the basis for solving the problem. Secondly, we agreed that this package would be considered a base for starting our logical cooperation. But its capacity should be completed and its ambiguities removed so that we can have a common judgment over it."

The reporter wanted to know, "What kind of ambiguities are you referring to?"

Larijani responded, The package has many ambiguities. For instance, it says that they are for long-term cooperation with Iran.

We want to find out what they mean by long-term cooperation. Does long-term cooperation mean a relationship in all fields with Iran or only in nuclear activities?

"Depending on the answer, our interpretation of the package will be different. For instance, one of the provisions of this package mentions talking to Iran about regional security arrangements.

"Now this doesn't relate to the nuclear issue. This provision means they want to have very comprehensive negotiations with Iran.

This will need its own instruments. So we raised these issues. The detailed questions needed to be taken up in another round of negotiations.

Asked by the reporter, "Iran had said earlier that it would give its response to the 5+1 package on August 22. Are you still going to do that?"
arijani replied, "In fact, by this action of the Security Council they have kicked out the package! So this package does not have any use. We are not in charge of this. Those who have done this act are the ones who should give their response. We have always announced that we are ready for just and constructive negotiations.

"But we don't accept negotiation under pressure. In many cases, they approach us for collaboration, particularly with regard to Lebanon. Their language is [full of] double standards. In one place, they are talking with force and in another place they are seeking our cooperation! If you see the attitude of the US towards Israel, you can see the double standards.

"We can also compare the attitude of the US towards the nuclear energy programs of Iran and India. India does not accept the NPT and has nuclear weapons. But America has no problem with this and is also concluding a long-term nuclear energy agreement with India. But we are a member of the NPT and we don't have the bomb. There is no place for it in our national security doctrine. We consider the atomic bomb a very heavy poison for us in our region. If we go for that, it will create a very dangerous competition in the region. But the point is that we don't have the atomic bomb and this is admitted even by the Americans. [John] Negroponte, who is in charge of intelligence assessment in the US, said that Iran does not have nuclear weapons and will not reach there for the next 10 years. But why do they have this type of attitude towards Iran? For us, India is a friendly country and we don't have any problem that you have concluded a nuclear energy agreement with the US. But what we want to clarify is the double s andard policy of the US.

Asked by the reporter, "Were you expecting this line-up in the Security Council, where only Qatar stood up to oppose the resolution?" Larijani replied, "When they announced they would like to solve this problem through negotiations, we thought they were sincere. And we worked very seriously over this project. The work of the different specialized committees has also been clarified. But this action taken by them in the UNSC places a question mark over their intentions.

"In 2003, three European foreign ministers came to Tehran. They said that if you suspend enrichment for several weeks we can resolve the problem. These several weeks of suspension got converted to more than two years! In the past two years and some months, they inspected our installations more than 26 times but did not find anything. But they used this pressure to impose their intentions.

"In Tehran, they suspended the activities of our centrifuges, in Brussels they said all spare-part manufacturing should be suspended and in Paris they said all kinds of activities should be stopped! Even though we asked for 10 centrifuge machines for research, they did not allow us. They said that in a few months we will reach an 'objective guarantee' by which you can have enrichment so we would be sure that there is no diversion."