Ahmadinejad: Iran's Stance on the Nuclear Issue (Excerpts)

January 14, 2006

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

This year the Iranian people came out onto the scene, and in a totally free and serious election, made a choice and determined the fate of the executive branch for the next four years. In these elections, which were by its standards unprecedented in the world, the masses of the people came out to the scene, and without out party organization or financial and political backing of groups or organizations, demonstrated their will. In other words, we may be able to say, that in these elections a pure form of democracy was manifested, so much so that people involved themselves, supported each other, in a popular form of organization, in a popular form of investment, and made a great choice, and decided to send a representative to the executive branch.

In these elections, the direction of the [future] government became fully clear. The representative of the people fully and transparently made his views known on domestic and foreign affairs, and people who had similar views came out on to the scene and made their decision.

Our domestic policy was geared toward establishing a developed, strong, and Islamic society. This was the slogan of the Islamic revolution. Its distinguished features have been completely reflected in our vision. We are a nation whose achievements are of epic proportion. It is an old civilization which has achieved great things in its history. Today, our nation has tasted independence, freedom and the Islamic republic system. It is determined to establish a model society. The creation of a model society cannot be achieved without establishment of justice, strengthening of our sense of fair play, greater public service and developing the country's moral and material states. That is why we drafted our four slogans of establishment of justice, sense of fair play, public service and improving the country's moral and material welfare. The government has taken great steps in this direction so far. This fact has been reflected in the appointment of our colleagues. In doing so, we took special care to ignore special factional and party consideration. We have appointed those individuals who are dedicated to their work and are ready to serve the country. Government's decisions have been all in this direction. Our visits to provinces are a key factor in our efforts to strengthen ties between the cabinet and the nation. It will harmonize the relations between the two. It will steer the decision-making process to a proper and correct direction. It will facilitate the job of supervising and monitoring. It encourages public scrutiny and helps to energize administrative organizations. It informs the government of the outcome of its decisions. Government belongs to all people. It has to address the problems of every parts of the country. All parts of the country should move forward simultaneously. Every Iranian is entitled to equal rights, especially in developing individual talent and development.

Therefore, the government has started this great task and it has visited five provinces so far. God willing, these visits will continue until the end of the term of the government. We plan to officially visit every province three times during the term of this government. In the intervals between the visits to the provinces, the ministers will carry on with their activities in the provinces. That is to say the ministers visit the provinces collectively and on their own.

Thank God, this policy has also been reflected in the 1385 [year starting 21 March 2006] budget. Allow me to explain to you some of the items on the 1385 budget. If we divide the total expenditures of the government into current and capital expenditures, the total current budget of the government for the next year will increase by 10.3 percent. But the capital expenditure of the government, which is the main instrument of the government to administer justice, will increase by 74.2 percent.

As compared to the Majles's ratified figures, the capital expenditure will increase by 63.4 percent. This shows that the government has decreased its unnecessary expenditures on formalities or duplicities, and it is concentrating the budget and its facilities on the development of the country. Since we want to promote justice, we said that we should concentrate on provinces. We said that decentralization is the basis of administrating justice. Therefore, we increased the budget allocated to provinces by 180 percent. This share has also increased as compared to the total budget.

That is to say, the budget allocated for capital expenditures in the provinces this year was 19.8 percent of the total capital expenditure of the country, while it has increased to 34 percent next year.

This means decentralization. It means that things have been directed toward the provinces. The total development funds for the current [Iranian] year - in terms of the figure in the budget, not what is actually spent, which is less than the budget - 20.6 percent relates to development activities. In 1385 [starting in March 2006], this figure has increased to 31.3 percent, which is a very big figure.

In the foreign policy arena, too, the government announced that we seek peace and calm for all in the light of justice and spirituality. We said that we seek an active foreign policy. And this is what the government is pursuing and planning for. We think that if the world is to reach lasting peace and calm, this peace and calm is only possible in the light of justice and spirituality. Imposed peace, peace under swords, under nuclear, chemical and biological arsenals, will not be lasting. A peace based on plundering nations' wealth and imposing discriminatory decisions will not be lasting.

As a rule, progress is also meaningless without justice. People who have tried over the past 200 years to bring welfare and progress to their peoples without paying attention to spirituality and the worship of God - we can see that this aim of theirs has also not been fulfilled. Human excellence, the excellence of human society comes about in the light of justice and spirituality. Measures that are taken outside religious morality, politics minus morality, economics minus morality, culture minus morality, only turns the world into a hell for nations and humanity. The fact that, as you can see, there is tension somewhere in the world every day, there is war, there is oppression and injustice is because of this approach.

Humanity is facing a number of governments that aim to impose false peace without justice. We believe that such peace will not materialize, because the necessary foundations, grounds, and principles for it are not evident. Even if such an issue [peace] does prevail in a corner of the globe, it will not last for long.

Nowadays, humanity is grappling with a number of rulers, who by imposing wars on other nations, would like to ensure security for their own people. Conditions in the world have today connected nations to each other in a way such that one [incident] affects all the others. Economic, cultural, and political development cannot be confined to isolated islands anymore. Therefore, those who think that they will bring themselves tranquility by imposing wars, insecurity, and violence on a number of nations -- they are 100 percent mistaken. Today, if the fire of tension, discrimination, and oppression is started in any corner of the world, the flames would engulf the main perpetrators also. It is a divine tradition.

We said that we are after peace, tranquility and dignity for all and would like to co-exist in the world with justice and peace for all. We are after expanding our relations. The main drive behind our foreign policy is aimed at expanding relations as well as ensuring peace and tranquility for all nations. God willing, we have been moving in this direction so far. Today, the Islamic Republic' foreign policy is very active, coordinated and lively. It is pursued and based on a clear rationale - the rationale of peace for all on the basis of justice and spirituality.

I hope that the government, with the nation's cooperation, alongside the nation and behind the nation, is able - over the course of the term in which it is serving - to pursue in earnest the ideals and aims for which the nation voted in the elections, and to fulfill them, as much as it can, both within the country and abroad. God willing.

I sincerely thank you all for your patience and for listening to what I said. I am at your service for answering your questions.

. . .

[Reporter] Greetings, Mr President. We would like to express our gratitude to you and your colleagues in the government. A question which is still on people's mind on the nuclear issue is that we are witnessing at the moment that some European countries and particularly America are using a language of threat and sanctions regarding Iran's nuclear program. Please first tell us about the latest development in our nuclear case and also tell us what Iran's response to Europe's and America's unconventional and non-diplomatic language is? My other question is regarding the proposal you made in the recent weeks. You made a proposal and asked the Iranian and European scholars to hold a dialogue with regards to the human rights issue, what was Europe's reaction to this proposal? I have another brief question about your best and worst memory since you became president in the past four months and nine days? Thank you.

[Ahmadinezhad, jokingly] Thanks very much. How many questions did you ask? I think three and a half, ha? We consider your "brief" question as half a question. [He laughs]

. . .

As I said at the beginning, unfortunately today humanity is plagued with some leaders who only see their immediate surroundings. Those who believe they have greater rights than other nations, simply because they possess a large nuclear, chemical and biological arsenal. They are convinced that they can impose their views on others. Iran's nuclear case falls in that category. All member countries have the right to use peaceful nuclear technology based on the IAEA regulations and the Non-Proliferation Treaty [NPT]. No amount of efforts can limit these rights or prevent the member countries from realizing them. The inspections should not deprive nations from realizing their rights. Many Western countries have a large arsenal of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. They built dozens of new nuclear power plants every year. They now challenge Iran. The unprecedented inspections and monitoring of the Iranian activities have failed to produce even an iota of evidence showing any diversion in of our country's nuclear research. But, they want to flex their muscles and prevent our nation from realizing its inalienable right. They believe that the Iranian nation should not possess this. In the beginning, every time we told them that they aimed to stop our progress, they would turn around and say that they were worried about the production of nuclear weapons. But as you witnessed recently, they blatantly admitted that they were against research and academic work. We have always known this. They want to monopolize expensive nuclear energy. They are pursuing two objectives. In the first place, they sell this energy at high cost and in a piecemeal fashion to other nations. And in the second place, they use this as a tool to impose their policies on others. We have said it many times that our nation does not need nuclear weapons.

A nation which has culture, logic, and civilization does not need nuclear weapons. Those countries which need to solve all problems by force seek nuclear weapons. Our nation does not need such weapons. Our nation has got a very clear logic in all international fields. This logic is enshrined in a calm and peaceful environment. Iranian people have a very strong and clear logic which complies with human nature.

We believe that some of the western countries have opened Iran's nuclear dossier in line with their past hostilities against Iran. Those countries, who are now accusing Iran, used to support the corrupt, despotic, unpopular and western regime of this country 30 years ago. They used to provide it with weapons. They even provided it with the [nuclear] fuel cycle, or at least signed contracts in this respect. They also provided it with [nuclear] power plant and aircraft.

Immediately after the Iranian nation in a popular movement toppled that dependent regime on the West, which had oppressed people for tens of years, and began to experience freedom, independence, and the Islamic republic and democracy, some [western] countries became hostile to our people. Their hostility is still continuing. They sanctioned Iran. They imposed a war on Iran and equipped Saddam [Husayn] against our country.

They applauded Saddam for his crimes, city wars, and using chemical weapons. They [some western countries] are continuing their same policy. Our nation does not need this. In the eight year sacred defense [REFERENCE to 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war] when Iraq used chemical weapons against Iran, the Iranian nation never violated its ethical and religious principles. Iran abided by the principle of governance of spirituality and ethical principles in all its international relations. We are asked why we have started [nuclear] research. We answer that there is no limitation to research.

There are no limits imposed on research in the NPT or in the Additional Protocol. Nor have we made such a commitment. Research is necessary for the life and dynamism of a nation. Is it possible to prevent the advance of ideas and the sciences? Is it possible to prevent the scientific progress of a nation? They say: "no - you have suspended this voluntarily." We say: "fine, it was voluntarily and we no longer want to suspend it." They say: "no, the condition for our negotiations with you is to suspend this forever." We say: "What is this? Do you think you are fooling a child? Why are you twisting it?" Are there any limits imposed on nuclear research or not? If there are no limits, well there are no limits. And if there are limits to which law are you referring to?

They tell us: "you have to build confidence". For two and a half years the government of the Islamic Republic, out of compassion and kindness, tried to build confidence. Today I declare that it is time for the western countries to build confidence. We have no confidence in their honesty. It is absolutely clear for us that they want Iranian people to enjoy scientific growth and development. They openly say they are opposed to research. On what right are you making such statements? Is this not a fundamentalist medieval perspective? We believe that, unfortunately, despite their technological and scientific development in certain parts of the world, several western countries still have an ideological and intellectual perspective that belong to the medieval age.

They tell us that we don't have the right to enjoy scientific development, that we should not be involved in research. You may like to accuse other countries, whenever you want, of doing this or that. Well, this is not going to solve any problems for you. Such language is no longer applicable. I take the opportunity here to advise these countries not to isolate themselves even more among other peoples. Today, the language of hegemony, the language of force, the language of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons is no longer applicable. These things are no longer effective in international calculations.

Nations have awakened today, and they will determine their future. Therefore, it is prudent for them [Westerners] to adhere to rules and regulations. They invite us to sit and negotiate, but conjure up an excuse to stop the talks. So we say ok. We want to talk to everyone. We are not afraid of dialogue. We follow a logical and lawful path. We have and continue to adhere to international laws. Over 1400 days of inspection have been conducted in our facilities. This is unprecedented. I announce today that it is them who should work toward building trust. We put forward a proposal calling for the UN to set up a disarmament committee. Some countries are holding a stick over our head during the negotiations, threatening us with referral of our case to the UN Security Council unless we bend to their will. Why do they tarnish the integrity of international institutions? Why do they force the IAEA to get involved with politics? Why do they use the UN Security Council for their own purposes? The UN Security Council has been set up for the world security. Is the UN Security Council a mere tool in their hands to use at their will - threatening to send our case to the UN if we refuse to comply with their demands? Our understanding is that the UN Security Council belongs to all nations and is not a tool for a few countries. Why do they use it for their own purposes? Doesn't this threaten global security? Doesn't this unilateral policy threaten global security? Although as a public servant, I already knew this fact, but I've come to gain a deeper understanding of the roots of insecurity, tension, terrorism and wars. A few countries, which consider themselves more deserving than others, have created terrorist groups, and announced their intention to kill people in other countries. With a mentality dating back to the dark-ages, they want to control the 21st century. It is obvious that such a move will not bring peace and tranquility to nations.

[Moderator] Could I ask people to turn off their mobile phones. Question from Al-Arabiyah network.

[Al-Arabiyah correspondent] Your Excellency! I am Muhammad Nur the head of the Al-Arabiyah network in Tehran. Thank you for giving reporters this opportunity. Your Excellency! My question is about the recent remarks of the American president, Mr George Bush, who said the solution to Iran's nuclear issue should be achieved through peaceful talks. In your view, what will be the future situation of uranium enrichment, which is suspended in Iran now, if Iran's case is reported or referred to the Security Council?

[Ahmadinezhad] Thank you very much. Our path is very clear. We shall continue with our activities within the regulations of the IAEA and the NPT. We are conducting research. I repeat, in terms of our principles, we are opposed to the method utilized by the gentlemen and we are opposed to the accumulation of nuclear weapons. Today, nuclear energy is useful for people in dozens of ways. We seek a peaceful use. The path of our nation is clear. I think those people who claim peace and tranquility, should first disarm themselves in order to gain our trust, secondly, respect international laws so we can have the confidence that they don't want to imposed anything on us outside the rule of law.

. . .

[AFP correspondent, speaking in English] Mr president, could you confirm that Iran is intending to enrich uranium on a small scale as stated by Mr Al-Baradi'i for research purposes, and if it does what practical steps will Iran take if it is taken before the Security Council by the Executive Council of the IAEA?

[Ahmadinezhad] I have already answered [this question]. According to the international law, Iran has a right to peaceful use of nuclear energy. We are moving in the framework of the agency [IAEA]'s regulations. We have abided by international rules more than any other nation and there has been no report on Iran's violation in this respect.

We are not interested in creating tension at the international level. We do not want to have illogical and unnecessary discussions poisoning the international atmosphere. We have pursued a very clear logic so far. We have a right and we work in the framework of the agency's regulations. Today, we are carrying out research. I should also say that our people will not accept others to impose on us whatever they want. Our nation has a definite right to peaceful nuclear technology and will achieve it.

We are the only nation that has invited all others to come and join us. If you say that you do not trust us, you can come and become our partner. We are ready to become your partner in your [nuclear] technology. We can both supervise each other's activities. We can watch you not to deviate toward nuclear weapons and you can also become our partners and watch our activities directly.

How do you justify this logic to have an arsenal full [of nuclear weapons], but when you get to such nations as ours, you do not even allow research. This logic cannot rule the world today. Even if the Security Council gets involved in this subject, it will not help solve the equation. We do not want to move in this direction. But those who insist on undermining our rights should know that this will not happen.

. . .

[Japanese NHK TV, speaking in English] Mr President, you repeated full commitment to the regulations of NPT. Is there any possibility for the Islamic Republic of Iran to withdraw from NPT itself in the future if the case is taken to the Security Council?

[Ahmadinezhad] We have time and again said that claims made by some western countries are political and do not have any legal basis. I once again recommend to them not to isolate themselves so much among nations. It is not right for them to make a new claim everyday, and to bully or intimidate other nations. This will further isolate them. I have no doubt today that the heads of these few countries are the most despised people among nations.

If they claim otherwise, we have a way to test it. I am ready to accompany each of them among various nations without guards and media propaganda. I am ready to accompany them even among their own nations. They are not even able to appear among their own people. They are isolated among nations.

Take a look at their elections. A small number of people vote, and with the power of judges someone is finally elected. They [leaders] are isolated. I advise them to put this literature aside. The use of this literature belonged to centuries ago. It is not the Middle Ages anymore. It is not 100 years ago. It is not even 10 years ago. Today is today.

If you want to play a substantial role in the international equations, you should speak with the nations based on today's criteria.

My second advice to them is that they should not undermine international organizations so much. It is not right to exert so much pressure on the agency [IAEA]. The agency is a legal entity. Its cameras are installed. No country's nuclear activities are as transparent as Iran.

Everything is in front of the IAEA inspectors and cameras. No [other] country is like this. If they say it is, let them report it. In these Western countries, do they allow us to go and see their nuclear installations? We want to go and see them. I declare now that we want to go and inspect them, and we call on the IAEA to do this.

They exert so much pressure that they force the IAEA to take a political stance. Well, what do you think happens then? The IAEA loses its credibility. Let them not invoke the name of the Security Council so much. Let them not inculcate in the mind of nations that the Security Council is a tool in the hands of a few powers. If this is the case, it will have no credibility left. The Security Council won't have any influence left. Then, how will you be able to establish security in the world?

At the drop of a hat, [they say]: No research, mister, or I'll take you to the Security Council. What kind of literature is this? What kind of literature is this to use when speaking to the great Iranian nation?

Let me give a third piece of advice. We favor dialogue and we've always done so, with everyone. But I advise them: Know the Iranian nation! Know the revolution of the Iranian nation! Know the government of the Iranian nation! Otherwise, you may do something that you'll regret later and your regret will come at a time when it will be of no use to you.

What kind of way is this to behave? Each one of you who comes and stands behind the podium is insulting, is rude. What kind of behavior is? Is this civilized behavior? Is this civilized behavior? That - when it comes to governments that don't accept your policies - you should keep getting together and saying things and approving your own remarks and then breaking up. Then, getting together two by two, three by three, with one of you saying something and the other approving it, the other one echoing it, the other one resonating it. Then, imagining that a right has been created in the world. Amend this behavior, toward all nations, especially the Iranian nation! The Iranian nation is a learned nation. It is a civilized nation. It is a history-making nation. It is a nation that - both in the region and the world - has a very active logic and foreign policy today.

You know and we know: You need us far more than we need you. You all need the Iranian nation today. Why do you strike a powerful pose? You don't have any power, so what does this mean? On the one hand, you go and give interviews, you threaten [us]; on the other hand, your inspectors keep coming and talking to us, saying: Retreat by an inch, do this, do that! You like to hear us say the words that you like. You want the Iranian nation to do as you please. What kind of inappropriate expectation is this? The Iranian nation is an independent nation. Of course, it will decide and act within the framework of stipulated, lawful international regulations, and it will follow its course.

[Presenter announces a break in the live relay to allow the broadcasting of the news bulletin; live relay resumes after 14 minutes]

[Ahmadinezhad; second session of press conference in progress] After all, in our relations with other countries, we have our national interest in mind of course in accordance with the international regulations. I have already answered the second part of your question. We have the essential tools to defend our nation's right and we think that those who are using this aggressive and illegal language against our nation, need to have relations with the Iranian nation ten times more than the Iranians need them.

. . .

[Reporter] Greetings Mr President. I am Aleqbandan from Jam e-Jam Newspaper and have a very short question for you. The Europeans and the Western countries ...

[Ahmadinezhad interrupts addressing other reporters] No problem, come and ask your question.

[Jam e-Jam reporter continues] What should the Western countries do to build trust?

[Ahmadinezhad] They should give necessary guarantees to assure us that they will recognize the right of our nation, and that they will not cause any nuisance or create unnecessary problems. They should also make their nuclear activities transparent by allowing IAEA to inspect their activities and to impose limitations on their activities. These are parts of our expectations from them. They should stop their political games. These are what we expect them to do to reassure us that they abide by law and that they are telling the truth when they say they recognize the right of the Iranian nation.

[Qods daily reporter] My name is Khalilkhani.

[Ahmadinezhad] You appear to be a brawny man, please speak a bit louder.

[Qods daily reporter] Fine. My question is as follows: The Russian foreign minister said that there is no need for Iran's dossier to be referred to the Security Council by the agency [IAEA] and a member of the Security Council may just ask for the review of Iran's dossier.

[Ahmadinezhad] Take it where?

[Qods daily reporter] To the Security Council based on the request of members. My question is that if they have such an intention and they can use this instrument against Iran why have they not taken Iran's dossier to the Board of Governors yet?

[Ahmadinezhad] The dossier is at the Board of Governors.

[Qods daily reporter] I meant the Security Council.

[Ahmadinezhad] Yes. The Board of Governors should review the dossier. However, the Security Council can also review the dossier directly. Since we have a clear logic and we act according to the law, we are not worried about other people's behavior. However, we are sorry for the world and nations that a number of countries want to have such a display of power and intend to adversely affect the world tranquility.

We believe that we are pursuing a clear path. We are people of dialogue, logic and law. We are not interested in what they are accusing us of. But we know how to defend ourselves and our interests.

. . .

[Sadeq Sabah from the BBC] Mr Ahmadinezhad, you said today that Iran was not after making a nuclear bomb and you regarded it against [Islamic] belief. I would like to ask why the Islamic Republic should not deem itself entitled to this right? Also, if the enemies of the Islamic Republic, assuming Israel, wish to attack Iran with nuclear weapons one day, why should Iran be unable to protect itself? Do developing long-range missiles not serve the same purpose as nuclear weapons, though their damage is limited? Thank you.

[Ahmadinezhad] Thank you. I did answer your question already. We think that humanity has reached a level where public opinion and will have become crucial, not atomic bombs. In fact atom bombs have no advantages for them. Instead it portrays their image as cruel and inhumane. According to our belief, all these [nuclear weapons] should be removed. Even if we were in charge of the world today, we would have removed these missiles also.

We think that humanity means rationale, knowledge, reasoning and dialogue. We need dialogue. What is this [word indistinct] competition! Now, I would like to ask you what position does the Qods occupying regime which [words indistinct] have? If only one question shakes its foundation, do we still need nuclear weapons! No, we do not. We only raised a question and that shook them and their supporters. Now imagine what will happen if we express our opinion? I do not think there is a need [for nuclear weapons]. Reason and logic are nowadays prevailing over the world. Those who invest in such projects waste their money unnecessarily. Next.

. . .

[Reporter continues in Arabic and then switches to Farsi] In Bandar Abbas and in Minab city you stressed that in the near future the Iranian nation will have access to nuclear energy. Does this not mean that you intend to do more nuclear research in the near future and that you intend to carry out enrichment activities and produce nuclear fuel?

[Ahmadinezhad] Thank you. These concepts and phrases that you use each have clear legal implications according to the regulations of the Agency. The enrichment and research have clear meanings. We are in the process of research and God-willing we intend to continue our research activities in the future.

. . .