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NAM Moves in Support of Nuclear Iran

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Saman Kojouri’s Interview with Ali Asghar Soltanieh

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Iran's envoy to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltaniyeh

The US, Israel, Britain, Germany and France accuse Iran of making efforts to develop nuclear arms. Tehran, however, insists that its enrichment activities are aimed at electricity generation and further peaceful applications of nuclear technology.

As the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) recognizes the rights of all signatory states in uranium enrichment for peaceful purposes, Iran has vowed not to give in to Western pressure by ending its nuclear activities.

Among its efforts to build international confidence in its enrichment activities were its participation in international talks, its acceptance of the UN nuclear watchdog running inspection of its nuclear facilities and its previous suspension of uranium enrichment.

In a July 19 meeting in Geneva with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (G5+1), Tehran discussed the common aspects of two packages, one of which was a package of incentives presented to Iran by the G5+1. The other package was a set of Iranian proposals presented to world powers.

After the meeting, the US said Iran had 'two weeks' to determine whether it would accept the incentives by bringing its nuclear activities to a halt.

On July, 30, a ministerial conference of the 118-member Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) was held in Tehran. The following is an exclusive Press TV interview conducted after the summit with Iran's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Ali Asghar Soltanieh:

Q. What are the latest developments on the G5+1 talks on Iran's nuclear issue? We heard that during the Geneva talks, a 2-week deadline was set for Iran to stop its uranium enrichment activities. The US State Department announced today that Iran's two-week deadline is over and that there would be diplomatic consequences if Iran does not respond to the package of incentives. What's your take on this?

A. As we have said on many occasions, we are continuously cooperating with the IAEA and all our nuclear activities are carried out under IAEA supervision. By entering negotiations and presenting a package of proposals, we have sent a crystal clear message and have affirmed our political will to discuss regional, global and nuclear issues as well as other issues of concern. We have already proven our good will.

There have been discussions in Geneva. They have been discussing how to go forward. These sorts of statements, therefore, are not only unjustified but could also damage the constructive environment that has been created during the talks. We assume that instead of such statements, it is better to pave the way for the commencement of a real constructive negotiation on the common points of both packages for the peaceful settlement of all issues which are reflected in the Iranian package.

Q. What is Iran exactly working on? Is it working on the 'freeze-for-freeze' offer or on promoting the commonalties of the two packages?

A. I think (Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali) Larijani has already informed you about the negotiations and what has been discussed in Geneva. I have nothing to add to it.

What I am going to emphasize at this stage is the agreement reached by the ministerial conference on disarmament that successfully ended minutes ago. This was another important historical event held in Tehran. The NAM issued a declaration about Iran's nuclear issue and the peaceful activities of Iran. I think this statement was issued by the whole world or most of the world because over 100 countries have participated in this conference. They reiterated that this is the inalienable right of Iran and that no country has the right to deprive Iran or any country from their nuclear activities.

Another important political message is that this (negotiating on the issue) is the right course of action. Therefore, any statements, any measures which create difficulties or jeopardize this (constructive) environment should be prevented, and we advise not to do so.

Q. Could you please tell us more about the declaration issued in regard to Iran's nuclear program? What were the most important provisions?

A. The statement consists of many important elements. The principle of peaceful uses of nuclear energy is considered as an inalienable right for our country. No discriminations should be applied, no restrictions, in fact. The IAEA is considered as the only pertinent organization to deal with this issue. There should not be any pressure or any interference in the work of the IAEA, which we have noticed the USA has sometimes caused.

Therefore, this is a strong message to those who mistakenly consider the IAEA as a body working under the UN or perhaps the United Nations Security Council. In fact, the IAEA is an independent technical organization. Therefore, there should not be any political pressure and the IAEA should do its own independent impartial work.

There have been other paragraphs insisting and reflecting the fact that there have been positive developments for Iran since the last statement in Havana regarding the peaceful activities and positive developments in the implementation of safeguards.

A new parameter in the NAM statement is that the ministers have welcomed Iran's willingness to enter negotiation with all countries of the Non-Aligned Movement and also the countries in the region. This sends a strong and positive signal to those who are saying that Iran is isolated. Iran is not isolated. Almost all world countries have sent their ministers and representatives to this country to say that they support Iran's peaceful nuclear activities.

Source: http://www.presstv.com/Detail.aspx?id=65267&sectionid=3510302

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