Press Release on the Comments Made by the Minister of External Affairs on the Use of Force in Iran (Excerpts)

May 28, 2007

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Throughout history, Iran has radiated through Persian language and culture its influence over all its neighbouring countries. In Iran, therefore, we deal with not just a political entity but also a cultural force that takes great pride in its civilizational achievements. I think it is worth reiterating this to ourselves when we deal with that country on difficult issues such as security, non-proliferation, etc. In our view, Iran must be engaged purposefully and candidly - not by demonising its social and cultural mores but by recognizing their internal dynamic even while we may not accept them for ourselves. For those of us who inhabit the same region as Iran and are aware of the richness of its history and culture, and the pride they take in their civilization, it is axiomatic that threats against or denigration of the country will not work.

Iran has to mindful of its international obligations, but progress on the issues that concern us will not be possible by the use or the threat of use of force or sanctions. It is only engagement which will enable us to see that Iran views following its international obligations as being in its pragmatic self interest. It is a country of tremendous natural and human resources and the development of these resources will make Iran a factor for regional security. The threat or the implied threat of use of military or economic force will not.