Zarif: Iran Will Not Bow to Pressure, Intimidation

March 30, 2006

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

Iranian Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN Mohammad-Javad Zarif said here on Wednesday said that Tehran was willing to cooperate but will not bow to pressure and intimidation.

"The UN Security Council should take heed of the way it has behaved towards Iran in the past," Zarif told reporters after the adoption Wednesday by the 15-member UN Security Council of a non-binding Franco-British statement on Iran.

"Fifty-five years ago when Iran launched a movement among developing states of taking direct control of national affairs by nationalizing its oil industry, one of the permanent members of the same council (Security Council) called the decision an affront to international peace and security and raised the issue before the UN body. Today, we see a repeat of the situation." He said the issue now at stake is of a developing state wanting to exercise its right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy guaranteed under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

"This is a legally recognized right and acknowledging the right of member states will guarantee the continued life of the NPT and its sanctions regime." "No established regime would last with the use of threats," he added.

Ambassador Zarif further said the key to the continued existence of any regime recognized under international law is its commitment to established rights which give countries the incentive to become members or signatories to its governing charter.

He said the UN Security Council should consider Iran's long record of silence to the numerous instances of pressure or imposition on the country and, notably, the use of chemical weapons on a segment of its population.

"At the time when chemical weapons killed Iranians, this permanent member of the same council (SC) who now purports to be actively campaigning against weapons of mass destruction and claims it makes no difference whether people are killed by bullets or toxic gases, made no such claim then," he added.

Iran's adherence to its commitments under international regulations and conventions is absolute, said Zarif, adding that its "adherence to its commitments stem not only from the fact of its membership in these conventions but also because of its religious values and historical background." Iran has never invaded any country over the past 250 years nor will it ever invade one, and even in that war imposed on it (Iran-Iraq war) when chemical weapons were used against its innocent people it refrained from retaliating, he added.

For all these notable reasons, Iran believes there is no sense in amassing weapons of mass destruction, the Iranian official asserted.

Iran's highest echelons of authority have repeatedly said that the country has no desire of producing weapons that threaten human existence, he added.

But the issue arises because Iran is being denied its right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy under the NPT, a right the exercise of which is being subordinated to the subjective desire or intentional restriction imposed by some states, he further said.

He reminded the international community that the US had also gone out of its way to block the project for construction of the Bushehr power stations and up until 2003 had tried hard to persuade Russia not to go on with the project.

Zarif said that the US, in official statements, only a few months ago still continued to insist that Iran had no need for the Bushehr nuclear power station.

Certain members of the international community have accused Iran of pursuing a clandestine nuclear program and of non-compliance in its obligations under the NPT, but reports of the IAEA director- general refute their claims and, furthermore, affirm that there has been no diversion in Iran's declared activities, noted the Iranian envoy.

Supporting such contention, he said the IAEA chief's report to the Security Council on Iran's nuclear activities includes a statement which says that the agency could not confirm that undisclosed activities in violation of the NPT had indeed been undertaken by Iran.

He said the authors of the (Security Council) statement passed on Thursday did not even take the trouble of reading the sentence in the IAEA chief's report which said his conclusions deserve an intensive process requiring more time for verification even by those countries which have signed the Additional Protocol.

After three years of cooperation and 1,700-man inspections, the IAEA reached no other conclusion than that Iran committed no diversion in its nuclear activities and this it announced officially, said the Iranian envoy, adding that if the referral to the Security Council was based on the IAEA report finding no such deviation other countries could also be referred to the Council.

He said 37 countries have signed the Additional Protocol (to the NPT) but have not yet received the pertinent documents on verification while 82 countries which have not even ratified it are now judging which countries should be referred to the Council.

Elsewhere in the press conference, Zarif made it clear that pressure and intimidation would not work on Iran.

"Iran is immune to force and intimidation," he added.

It is ready to cooperate to find a negotiated solution to the issue but only on the condition that it is allowed to pursue its program on a regular and timely while allaying the fears of certain Western states on the nature of its nuclear program, he added.

Zarif said the Iranian government will study the UN Security Council statement and will give its reaction in due time.

"We will by no means compromise or give up our indisputable right. While the US has for so long been having extensive nuclear cooperation with Israel for military purposes and while Israelis have full access to the country's nuclear facilities it has excessive and unreasonable expecations from Iran as an NPT signatory," complained Zarif, adding that US double standards makes it apparent that "NPT members should be punished because of their membership while those which are not members and are flaying international commitments should be rewarded." Asked about the possibility of sanctions or military action that may be imposed on Iran, Zarif said: "I hope they would seriously consider the grave consequences of adventurism and its destructive impact on the region and the NPT." For the time being, he said Iran will adhere to its commitments under the NPT and will not allow any countyr to violate its legal rights in any way and reiterated that threats or intimidation will have no effect on the country.

Asked to comment on the stances of Russia and China at the UN Security Council, Zarif said: "We do know that Russia and China have doing their best during this period to find a peaceful solution and we are thankful to both and to the non-permanent members of the Security Council that are members of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)." "We have launched extensive confidence-building measures in collaboration with the IAEA which well and clearly prove our intention to pursue peaceful nuclear programs," said the envoy when asked what guarantee Tehran would put up to prove its nuclear programs were not for military purposes.

In another part of the interview, Zarif, commenting on Russia's nuclear cooperation proposal, said: "We have always stressed our readiness to consider all proposals that could solve the problem while preserving Iran's indisputable right, and especially Russia's proposal, and all these can be studied." " The problem is to be found elsewhere. The problem is that there are those who put obstacles in the way of finding a peaceful solution to the case and are engaging in adventurism," he added.

Israel, Zarif pointed out, has the biggest nuclear arsenal in the region, but has a very negative record when it comes to implementing UN Security Council decisions and resolutions, and referred to Israel's repeated incursions and aggression on its neighbors, hostile policies and refusal to to join many international agreements including the NPT.

Zarif, moreover, said that he found it interesting that notwithstanding Israel's negative record of compliance of Security Council resolutions, it has been one of the most active in the propaganda and publicity war against Iran's peaceful nuclear program.

"Let's not forget that if the UN Security Council is really sincere in fulfilling its obligation of defending international international peace and security, it should look into the repeated and daily threats of the US and Israel which violate the provision on not using threats or resorting to force." "This is what we have officially and repeatedly asked the UN Security Council," he added.

"It is worth stressing here that both China and Russia and many other countries believe that the problem should be resolved only through the IAEA," he concluded.