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The View from Tehran and Russia

March 1, 2007 Topic: Security Regions: Persian GulfMiddle East

The View from Tehran and Russia

Mini Teaser: Comments from Javad Zarif, Iranian ambassador to the UN, and Dmitry Peskov, first deputy press secretary to President Putin.

by Author(s): The National Interest

From the interview of UN Ambassador Javad Zarif, the ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations, in National Interest online (www.nationalinterest.org).

Iran is always ready for dialogue. We have to see whether tactics followed by one or another side of this dialogue in fact help the dialogue or creates obstacles. But I can tell you that from the beginning of the negotiations between Iran and Europe, the Security Council was used as a threat, so the dialogue could only have one outcome.

If one party in a discussion is always confident that it can resort to an extremist instrument with the dialogue, then the propensity to do whatever is possible and useful in order to achieve a mutually acceptable solution becomes more distant.

That is why I say the resolution impedes dialogue because it gives an artificial mechanism. The Security Council sanctions will not be able to stop the Iranian program. The sanctions that are requested will not satisfy proliferation concerns. Proliferation concerns-if there are any real, sincere proliferation concerns-can be addressed through mechanisms that would bring about transparency, international monitoring and other possibilities that would provide the assurance that Iran's program will always remain peaceful. The Security Council can impose sanctions, but that does not provide that assurance. . . .

Because Iran has been denied technology over the last 27 years . . . Iran has had to be discreet in its acquisitions of peaceful nuclear technology to the point that today Iran's nuclear program has been localized. Every element of that program is produced locally and our own scientists have developed the scientific know-how in order to be able to sustain the program without any external support.

That was not always the case. Our desire was to have international cooperation in order to have access to technology. But the option that was provided to Iran throughout the past 27 years-and now more officially in this resolution-is to either accept being deprived of this technology-which is assuming greater and greater significance-or to try to develop it based on our own. Between these two options, we certainly choose the latter.

If the option were to be provided to Iran to develop this technology through cooperation, that is what we have suggested, an international consortium: other countries, including Western countries, could own jointly with Iran the facilities, and also jointly operate them. That would give the greatest assurance that these programs are not diverted into any illicit activities.

From the interview of First Deputy Press Secretary to President Putin, Dmitry Peskov, in National Interest online (www.nationalinterest.org).

We are the last country in this world that would want to have a nuclear weapon at its southern border. Let's not forget that the problem of a potentially nuclear Iran is much more vivid for us than for some other remote countries. At the same time, we have to understand that we cannot deprive other states from their right to possess peaceful nuclear energy. . . .

Up to this moment, Iran has refused to perform in a satisfactory way for the IAEA. So the IAEA does not actually have any proof that Iran is working on a military nuclear program, but they just want to be 100 percent sure. They want to have really solid and really, let's say, justified proofs. . . .

We are against sanctions for the sake of sanctions and against sanctions that would punish the Iranian people, but we support sanctions that would be applied in a way that is sensible for IAEA experts. . . .

Of course we take into consideration concerns that are voiced from all over, from the United States, from some other countries. But this is really a sensitive issue. We have to know it for sure; we have to have evidence. And even the one and only responsible body in that field, that is the IAEA, cannot say for sure, cannot present any proof that Iran is performing a military nuclear program. And of course, we take into account all the concerns, but what is important is to possess a concrete proof for that. Otherwise, we all can just get into a very difficult situation. . . .

We all expect Iran to respond to the concerns of IAEA experts, to fulfill the relevant resolutions of the un Security Council and to grant IAEA experts necessary access to all the sites, so they can be sure that the program is of an entirely peaceful nature.

Essay Types: Essay