FEDERAL FOREIGN MINISTER JOSCHKA FISCHER
GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTRY
August 17, 2005
Generalanzeiger: EU appeals to Iran not to restart uranium processing at its nuclear power plant have had no effect. What options remain?
Fischer: Considering the structure of Iran's nuclear programme, it does not appear to be designed for civilian use. The country's only nuclear power plant is Russian-built, and Russia also supplies the fuel rods that are needed to power it. Therefore, it does not make sense for Iran to enrich its own uranium to manufacture fuel rods - especially since there is a sufficient supply on the world market to meet Iran's needs.
Generalanzeiger: So what happens next?
Fischer: Once a state has mastered uranium enrichment, it has a choice: it can produce low-enriched uranium for fuel rods for civilian use, or it can manufacture highly-enriched, weapons-grade uranium. It's merely a matter of policy. And that is what deeply worries us, because we of course also know that Iran is developing delivery vehicles. If Iran were to go nuclear, it would jeopardize stability in the entire region. This is not only Israel's concern, but also that of all of Iran's neighbours.
Generalanzeiger: The US has said that all options are on the table, including the use of force, if Iran does not abandon its plans to enrich uranium.
Fischer: Military intervention could escalate the situation and cause it to become uncontrollable, with unforeseeable consequences. That is why we must fully concentrate on using peaceful means and instruments of diplomacy.
Generalanzeiger: How much leeway do you have?
Fischer: The IAEA Resolution that was unanimously adopted in Vienna on 11 August sent a strong signal to Tehran that we have a unified position. Everything now depends on how Iran reacts. As of yet, it is unclear what policy will be adopted by the new government that is currently being formed. The IAEA Director General will present a report by 3 September. I hope that Tehran will return to a rational policy. By the way: Turkey is becoming increasingly important for the entire region. I believe that especially in the current situation it would be grossly negligent to slam the door shut on Turkey, which aspires to EU membership.