WEEKLY PRESS BRIEFING BY HAMID-REZA ASEFI,
FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN
IRANIAN MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
June 25, 2006
Iran will strive to remove West`s concerns with the response it will give to the Group 5+1 package of incentives, said a senior Iranian official here Sunday.
Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hamid-Reza Asefi made the remark while speaking to domestic and foreign reporters at his weekly press conference. A package of incentives was offered to Tehran early this month by the 5+1 Group composed of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain) plus Germany to convince it to give up all its uranium enrichment-related activities and resume talks to settle the dispute over its nuclear program.
"In a response we will give to the West with respect to their proposed package, we will try to remove concerns of the West," Asefi said. He recommended the opposite side not to lose patience with receiving Iran`s response.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi said here Sunday Iran`s top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani will hold talks with EU Foreign Policy chief Javier Solana on Iran`s peaceful nuclear program but declined to say the date and venue of the dialogue.
"An agreement has been reached in principle for the dialogue and the talks will be held sometime and somewhere," said Asefi when asked by reporters on the exact date and venue of the Iran-EU nuclear talks.
Asked whether Iran will forward any letter on ambiguities of the G5+1 package of incentives before offering its reply to the said package, Asefi said it makes no difference which one comes first. He ruled out any precondition for talks, saying it will make the process of understanding much more difficult.
Elsewhere in his weekly press briefing, Asefi said the support of 116 NAM member states and 57 Muslim countries for Iran`s peaceful nuclear program, indicated that Iran`s move was under international laws and regulations.
Asefi denounced North Korean missile test, saying, "We do no welcome any move which will lead to arms race. On the other hand," he said, "we do not welcome the discriminatory approaches of Western states in that respect, believing that the issue should be solved in a six-way dialogue free from any pressure and intimidation."
. . .
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi said here Sunday that the US was sending different messages to Iran, which showed there was no unanimity of views among American officials. Asefi made the remark while speaking to domestic and foreign reporters at his weekly press conference in response to a question on US officials' allegations that Iran was sending confusing messages.
"Our messages were transparent. The US should abandon measures which may lead to pessimism," he said.
He added, "Iran`s message has been transparent from the beginning. We are willing to settle the (nuclear) case through negotiations."
The Foreign Ministry spokesman recommended Washington "to let negotiations go through its natural course."
He stressed, "Iran will not back down from its stance under pressure. A review over previous talks proves this reality. Resorting to such tools as the United Nations Security Council had no impact on Iran`s decision-making in the past. Currently, embarking on violent literature will not be effective and useful."
Asefi called on the US officials to pay attention to the issue.
A reporter asked about Asefi`s view on an interview of Secretary of Supreme National Security Council Ali Larijani with the "Guardian" newspaper which quoted him as saying there was nothing wrong with with holding telephone conversation with the US (officials). The spokesman quoted Larijani as saying, "Our problem with the US is not emotional rather it is rational and logical. If the US changes its behavior and calls us, we will talk."
. . .
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi said here Sunday that Iran does not intend to procure time. Speaking to domestic and foreign media in this week`s briefing session, he said that just two weeks have passed since Europe`s proposal was submitted to Iran.
"Besides, given that Europeans themselves have said that their offered package of incentives is comprehensive and attractive, it takes time to assess its various dimensions and respond to Europe."
In response to a question whether Iran will ignore the deadline set for it to respond to the received proposal before the G8 summit, he said that no such offer has been received and dismissed associating the issue with the summit.
"Procuring time is not on our agenda. Several committees are working on Europe`s proposal and whenever we come up with a decision it will be declared," he added.
Concerning the time Iran`s response is expected to be declared, Asefi said that no exact date has been specified, rather it has been said that it will be declared within the second month of summer.
"Iran does not wish to make a rush decision. This should be appreciated by Europe, given that Iran intends to pursue the matter accurately, examine it thoroughly and respond properly," he added.
Asefi hoped that the paths selected to hold talks with other parties will not be overlooked.
Replying to another question about Iran`s response to the received proposal he said, "We will decide based on our national interests.There are two sides to this equation. One is Europe`s approach and the other is Iran`s interests. We should attempt to bridge the two sides."
Stressing that Iran will not sacrifice its national interests for anything, the Foreign Ministry spokesman said that at the same time, efforts will be made to eliminate the cause for Europe`s anxieties over the issue through the response to be given to the West.
"One thing is definite.All the future measures by Iran and and its response will center on its national interests and the public will," he added.
About the way Iran can put an end to their concerns, Asefi said that given that they are worried that Iran may develop nuclear weapons, we are prepared to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency, which has inspected the country`s nuclear installations 2,000 times.
"Such anxiety has been brought up not by Europe, but only a few European countries have such concerns. After all, is Iran the only country having such a situation? There are 46 other states of similar status, which are not mentioned at all."
"Even many European countries have a similar condition.Why should they lose their confidence in Iran, when 46 countries have a similar status? If Iran`s nuclear issue is not political, but a legal question, it will be possible to end the worries of the parties involved in the case and find a solution," said Asefi.
Iran Sunday rejected reports on suspension of enrichment work for a period of three months. Speaking to reporters at his weekly press briefing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi said, "As far as I know, the suspension (of uranium enrichment) for three months is not correct."
A morning daily has reported that Iran has accepted to suspend its enrichment activities for a period of three months.
Asked about safety system of Iran`s Bushehr power plant and concerns expressed by the Persian Gulf littoral states in this regard, he said Bushehr power plant is equipped with a highly advanced safety system, with high standards. "The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), too, has confirmed this issue and there is no room for concerns in this regard."
In response to a question on Germany`s viewpoints on suspension of Iran`s enrichment activities with respect to a meeting held in Berlin Saturday between the Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Asefi said, "Raising the issue of suspension of enrichment is a step backward."
He assessed as a "positive step and in the right path" the package of incentives proposed to Tehran by the six world powers. A package of incentives was offered to Tehran early this month by the 5+1 Group composed of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain) plus Germany to convince it to give up all its uranium enrichment-related activities and resume talks to settle the dispute over its nuclear program.
On European`s rush to receive Iran`s response to the proposed package, Asefi advised them "not to sacrifice precision for speed. Working groups and different committees are studying the package.Iran will announce its response when it has a summing-up of the case."
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi here Sunday said that Russia has not fulfilled its commitments properly.
Addressing reporters in his weekly press conference, he made the above remark in response to a question about the Russians delay in completing Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant. Criticizing the Russian partner working on the project, he hoped that the relevant contractor will comply with its commitments to this end and will make up for the delay.
Replying to a question about the timetable of the project and whether its implementation has been postponed until 2007, he hoped that they will comply with their commitments and compensate for the delay.
Turning to the foreign ministers meeting of 57 Islamic states in Baku and their support for Iran`s peaceful nuclear activities, he said that this shows the support of international community for the country`s peaceful nuclear program.
Asefi pointed to the talks of Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki with German, Italian and Spanish officials as well as his speech in Geneva as part of Iran`s diplomacy.
In response to a question about the concerns of the countries bordering the Persian Gulf over the safety of Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant, he said that Iran`s nuclear issue was discussed with some of these countries and they were told that there is no cause for concern in this respect. He referred to the remarks of Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal on the matter as a sign of the accord of the Persian Gulf states with Iran and underlined that Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant has a high safety standard, which has been confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Responding to a question about the precondition offered by the German foreign minister for Iran`s uranium enrichment, he said that bringing up the issue of enrichment means turning back. Asefi referred to Iran`s stance based on holding talks with no precondition and said, "By presenting its package of incentives, Europe is moving along the right path. However, any precondition will only limit the atmosphere of talks. During talks with EU3, we declared that setting any precondition will be irrational and that understanding can only be reached through talks."
About the outcome of Mottaki`s talks with the United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, he said that Mottaki briefed Annan on Iran`s views.
Asefi said that Iran welcomes the interest of European states in holding talks. The Foreign Ministry spokesman pointed to the talks of IAEA Chief Mohamed ElBaradei, EU Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov with Iranian nuclear negotiators and said that such contacts clarify Iran`s views and show the right path to reaching understanding.
Asked whether Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul has brought any message for Iran, he said, "To the best of our knowledge, he has no written message and we have not heard any word on it from the visiting Turkish officials."
he did not dismiss the possibility of any verbal message. Asefi
pointed to Turkey as a country with a friendly approach to Iran and
that during talks with Gul, bilateral relations and the country`s
nuclear issue will be discussed.