Famiglia Cristiana Interview with Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D’Alema (Excerpts)

September 7, 2006


Famiglia Cristiana


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Q: One final, and important, issue: Iran's nuclear aspirations. Teheran is going ahead and has rejected the UN's offer. What can be done, also in consideration of the new mandate that the EU foreign ministers gave to Solana in Finland?

A: The messages arriving from Teheran are contradictory: offers of dialogue along with threatening declarations, unacceptable attacks on Israel and assurances of the fact that Iran wants nuclear power for civilian and not military purposes. Iran is standing at a fork in the road, and must decide which direction to take. On the one hand, there is the offer by the international community, which is asking for the suspension of uranium enrichment, but which recognises Iran's right to civil nuclear power, cooperation on a light water reactor and a series of other opportunities. On the other hand, it is threatened with isolation. I believe that this is still an uncertain phase in which Iran must be encouraged to make a positive choice. While in Finland, we maintained an unequivocal stance on essential points and decided to charge Solana with the task of exploring the possibilities for open dialogue with Teheran».

Q: But how can this be done?

A: In the first place by remaining steadfast: we will not forgo assurances that Iran will not produce nuclear weapons. If we want a country not to have nuclear weapons, however, we cannot at the same time send aggressive messages. We must involve Iran in a process aimed at creating stability and security throughout the region, since it is difficult to imagine progress in Iraq and Afghanistan without the active participation of Iran. Iran's influence has increased enormously with the war in Iraq, which proves that it was necessary not only to reflect well before the war but to have read at least a couple of books