Notes on Iran Following Press Briefing by Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad (Excerpts)

February 28, 2007

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon in Germany on Wednesday 21 February 2007, on the fringes of the Quartet meeting said:

"The Iranian nuclear issue is another very serious concern to the international community. As the Secretary-General of the UN, I also have been trying to be a help in resolving this issue as much as I can. The international community was reasonably encouraged by the recent agreement on the North Korean nuclear issue through the Six-Party Process. We must address this issue as soon as possible. I urged the Iranian Foreign Minister to continue to resolve this issue through negotiations with the international community, particularly led by the European Union."

It is in this context that Mr Larijani, the Chief Iranian Nuclear Negotiator who had been visiting Europe and participated in the a major Security Conference in Munich, visited South Africa at the weekend and held discussions with President Thabo Mbeki on Sunday 25 February 2007.

These discussions took place within the framework of our ongoing discussions with Iran as members of the IAEA Board of Governors.

Report by the Director-General Of The International Atomic Energy Agency On The Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement And Resolution 1737 (2006) By Iran

The main findings are that, pursuant to its NPT safeguards agreement, Iran has been providing the IAEA with access to declared nuclear material and facilities and has provided the required nuclear material accountancy reports. The IAEA is therefore able to verify that Iran has not diverted declared nuclear material.

The IAEA finds that Iran's declaration on the inventory of nuclear material at its Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant is consistent with the results of the IAEA's evaluation.

However, no progress with regard to efforts to verify fully past development of Iran's nuclear programme. As a result, the IAEA is unable to verify the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities or to provide assurances about the exclusively peaceful nature of that programme.

Iran has not suspended enrichment related activities as required by the Security Council.

Maximum enrichment level of 4.2% of Uranium-235.

Iran has provided IAEA inspectors access, but has declined to agree to remote monitoring, pending clarification from the IAEA on the legal basis for this request and examples of where such monitoring has been applied to other countries.

Iran has not yet ratified the Additional Protocol.

No further developments with regard to the issue of finding the source of the lowly enriched uranium (LEU) and highly enriched uranium (HEU) particles found at Iranian sites.

Iran has made no new information available to the IAEA concerning its P-1 and P-2 centrifuge programmes.

Iran has not provided the IAEA with a copy of a 15 page document describing the procedures for the reduction of UF6 to uranium metal and the casting and machining of enriched and depleted uranium metal into hemispheres. However, this document remains under IAEA seal.

Iran has not agreed to any of the required transparency measures, which the IAEA regards as essential for clarification of certain aspects of the scope and nature of its nuclear programme.

Comments by Iranian Chief Nuclear Negotiator, Mr Larijani

The 43rd Munich Conference on Security Policy and similar initiatives launched for the same purpose reveal the fact that this fact-changing global developments have drastically transformed the international and regional security realities which necessitate a review and redefinition of the previous analytical and management tools.

It is vitally important for all of us to find a way out of this dilemma by creating the required analytical and management capabilities. And any delay in this regard can potentially culminate in the eruption of new crises. And any miscalculated efforts for the settlement of the key issues can prepare the ground for a new spate of confrontations.

The primary purpose of any unilateral, bilateral or multilateral security strategy, alliance or pact is the establishment of order: an order which is aimed at settling the convergent or divergent interests, values and ideologies in the system of international relations. Any world security order can be viable and sustainable only if it meets the material and moral interests of individuals and societies which include Justice, freedom, well-being and respect for their identities. An order which fails to meet the afore-mentioned interests for individuals, groups and states is an arbitrary order which is doomed to break down due to the injustices that it is bound to bring in its wake.

A sustainable order can not entail anything other than inclusive aims.

A sustainable security order rejects the attainment of the interests of one side through intimidation, coercion, and violence at the expense of others. An international and regional security order can be sustainable only if it is underpinned by understanding and concord.

In the security order prevailing in the Cold War era the two superpowers were engaged in colonising the smaller states and paid little attention to the underpinnings of a sustainable order that is respect for identity of societies, sustainable development, justice and democracy. This situation led the Iranian people to launch a great revolution to change the status quo in 1979.

The United States not only failed to put pressure on this regime for its inhuman behaviour and human rights abuses but it also supported it as a Gendarme for the region to control other small regional states and a military coup was launched against the government of Mossaddegh.

However, peace cannot be equated with stability, because it connotes and entails more than that. Our world has lost peace at the expense of stability for sacrificing freedom and justice. Disrespect for the main ingredients of a sustainable security order has laid the breeding grounds for suspicion, hostility and ultimately confrontation with colonialism. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, unilateral security order prevailed. Unilateralism essentially nurtures militarism. The only superpower has ties the issues of development, democracy or human rights in other countries to their submission to its unilaterist policy and adopted a war-like attitude towards countries which tried to guard their independence.

After the victory of the Islamic Republic, Iran has seen almost one general election each year. Do you know of any other state in our region which has been so much dedicated to democracy as Iran? The US administration's policy was denial, isolation and sanctions. This policy has resulted in nothing other than further stiffening the resolve of the Iranian people.

The pursuit of this one-dimensional policy in other regional states has given rise to opposing movement. Nixon in his book "Victory without War" states: "In the west we speak of the fundamentalists, while fundamentalists speaks of the problems of peoples. It is quite natural that they listen to them."

The policy of monopolization of international security cannot ensure a sustainable order and peace. Sustainable security requires mutual understanding and close attention to the main ingredients of security.

Mutual understanding is ties to constructive diplomacy and constructive diplomacy requires a common will and common will entails shared opportunities.

If common paradigms are created between big powers and regional powers, the sustainability of international order and peace can be hoped to be sustainable. What common paradigms can be found in these two areas.

1. Democracy: democracy is a principle which should underpin any common approach in the future. An order cannot be meaningful and sustainable without democracy. Sometimes one hears that some regional states lack cultural and political development for democracy. This is more of an irresponsible justification than a reality. Because democracy cannot be exported in the form of a package to a region. Wherever the process of democratisation starts it has to be experienced and practiced and, of course, not without difficulties. Without democracy, real order and peace will be impossible.

2. Respect for other cultures: the view which believes that there should be a single individual and social lifestyle clearly lacks the intelligence to appreciate the cultural and sociological significance of other societies. Respect for the cultures, customs and traditions of other nations are indispensable for peaceful co-existence and mutual understanding.

There is security in most of Iraq and only a limited part of that country is suffering from insecurity. These secure regions have two characteristics: first they border on Iran. As you know, Iran has one of the longest common borders with Iraq which amounts to 1350 kms and all the Iraqi provinces which are close to the Iranian borders enjoy security. Second, the American troops are not present in those provinces.

3. Iran has played a unique role in the fight against drug trafficking in the region and has suffered immense human and material losses. All the efforts have been surprisingly played down or ignored in Afghanistan. The US continues to regard Iran as part of the axis of evil despite the role it has played. Iran believes in rationality and constructive interaction in International Relations but never ignores its independence.

4. Two years of negotiation and suspension of all nuclear activities resulted in a plan in which nothing was clear and which Dr ElBaradei and other Europeans said was an inappropriate plan. During the last year, pressure was imposed on Iran: either we stopped nuclear activities or we would be referred to the Security Council and other threats. Even after long negotiations with Mr Solana, Iran's case was referred to the Security Council.

Iran's nuclear case in a general view: It is related to the past It is related to the present. It is related to future conditions.

What is related to the past if there are any questions Iran is committed to answer them, and we sent a letter to the IAEA and announced that we are ready to work out a modality on the condition that Iran's case returns to the IAEA. In other words we have commitments in this part.

Regarding what is related to the present, not only nuclear activities of Iran are under the supervision of the IAEA and their inspections are going on, but also Dr ElBaradei and the Europeans know that the current situation of Iran is continuing with the supervision of the IAEA and is in the framework of NPT and safeguards.

The main concerns of those who talk with me is related to the future. Some of them frankly said that they could not accept that even Iran reaches to peaceful nuclear knowledge, because they were concerned about future wrongdoings.

These comments are surprising. These kinds of justification cannot be found in international laws, that before crimes have been committed, some are already looking for punishment. But at the same time, in response to the incentive package and also in our negotiations with Mr Solana we said that we are ready to have all of our nuclear activities in a consortium so that others can participate in our activities and as a result we build confidence. Despite the fact that according to the international arrangements we are not obliged to do so, but to prove our good intention we are ready to do so. What is wrong with this logic? Does the attitude of the other side not create suspicion that either we should act like Israel and have the atomic bomb and not accept NPT, or if we act in the framework of IAEA and NPT they are not going to consider rights for us?

Repeatedly we announced frankly that in Iran's National Security Doctrine, there is no room for atomic and chemical weapons and we consider them against the Islamic laws. The Supreme Leader of Iran in this connection released a decree that weapons of mass destruction are prohibited religiously. Besides, we know that Iran's action in this way will trigger an atomic arms race in the region which as a result will endanger the peace and stability of the region and the world. Therefore, we support the idea of a Middle East free from weapons of mass destruction.

But the irrational preconditions such as suspension of uranium enrichment set for the resumption of negotiations are standing practically as an obstacle in the way of the settlement of this issue. Now, it has been almost eight months that such preconditions have inhibited the settlement of this issue. Now the question arises that if three out of these eight months have been spent on negotiations what possible damages could have occurred? And now that this has happened, what achievement has been made? An answer to this question, one may say that a resolution has been issued against Iran and this country has been brought under pressure. Was the original intention of this process anything other than finding a solution to this problem? So, one can see that this misguided approach has not solved the problem and has been originally launched with some other motives.

This is a public response by the Iranians on how they see a negotiated solution to this issue. As you can see, they are insisting that the matter revert to the IAEA and that there should be no pre-conditions and all matters should be discussed openly and transparently.

Iran's Response to IAEA Report

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was quoted by Iran's student news agency ISNA as saying: "Iran has obtained the technology to produce nuclear fuel and Iran's move is like a train ... which has no brake and no reverse gear".

"We dismantled the rear gear and brakes of the train and threw them away sometime ago."

Manouchehr Mohammadi, one of the deputies to the foreign minister, was quoted by ISNA as saying at a conference in the central city of Isfahan: "We have prepared ourselves for any situation, even for war."

Iranian Envoy to IAEA

Iran's envoy to International Atomic Energy Agency Ali-Asghar Soltanieh said on Thursday that Iran's continued nuclear activity is not a strange issue since it is done according to a schedule already reported to the UN atomic agency.

He told IRNA here that all enrichment activities of Iran are viewed by cameras and supervised by nuclear inspectors.

Soltanieh underlined the fact that only 24 countries in the world have been known by the agency as not involved in nuclear issue while majority of them including Vatican do not work in this field. He added that the industrialized countries in Europe and also US have not been among these countries.

He remarked that the claims about undeclared Iranian nuclear substances and related activities in no way show lack of Iran's cooperation, because, as the agency has said, it is a long process which in Japan's case lasted thirty years.

Soltanieh said El-baradei's report serves as another document which refutes the claims of those who, with no rhyme or reason, accuse Iran of doing unpeaceful activities.

He said the report asserts that the agency has verified lack of any diversion of Iranian nuclear activities and that all produced substances are under the agency's supervision.

Soltanieh also said that the UN nuclear watchdog chief's report shows that the results of measuring ambient samples in Natanz conform fully with Iran's related statements and confirms Iran's reports on less that 5 percent level of uranium enrichment.

Iran's envoy to IAEA said that El-Baradei's report precisely echoes Iran's full readiness to resolve the few remaining issues out of the Security Council and within the agency's assignments.

International Reactions

Permanent 5 + Germany

The P5 + Germany held a meeting in London on Monday 26 February 2007 to discuss fresh sanctions against Iran following an IAEA report presented to the Security Council on Thursday 22 February 2007. Another meeting is scheduled for Thursday 1 March 2007.

Nicholas Burns, the US undersecretary of state, said he hoped the meeting would quickly produce a draft resolution to "see Iran repudiated again". He said it was too soon to say what provisions the resolution might contain.

Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, said that what Iran needed was not a reverse gear, but a stop button. She also pledged direct talks with Iranian officials if Tehran halts its nuclear enrichment programme.

Muslim Foreign Ministers meeting in Pakistan

Foreign ministers from seven Muslim nations meeting in Islamabad have called for a diplomatic answer to concerns over Iran's nuclear programme.

The joint statement read by Khurshid Kasuri, Pakistan's foreign minister, said: "The ministers reviewed with deep concern the dangerous escalation of tension especially over the Iranian nuclear issue." Kasuri said: "It is vital that all issues be resolved through diplomacy and there must be no resort to use of force."

Arab League

Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa Saturday reiterated the Arab stand on Iran's nuclear issue, calling for continuous dialogue instead of military action or legal procedures that could lead to the deterioration of the situation in the region.

Moussa said the door to dialogue was still open regarding Iran's disputed nuclear issue, regardless of some calls for tougher sanctions against Iran for defying a UN Security Council resolution, which demanded a stop to Tehran's uranium enrichment,

The Iranian nuclear issue will be discussed at a meeting of the Arab League Council at the level of foreign ministers on March 3, according to Moussa.


Miguel Angel Moratinos, Spain's foreign minister, has called for continuation of diplomatic efforts to solve Iran's nuclear issue and said that the EU would push for dialogue. He called for employment of all the required potentials to opt for a diplomatic solution to the problem to avoid unwanted situations which might lead to confrontation or rising tension between Iran and the international community.


Russia has questioned the usefulness of additional sanctions. Vitaly Churkin, Moscow's UN ambassador, said the goal is to reach a political solution, not impose sanctions. Churkin said: "We should not lose sight of the goal and the goal is not to have a resolution or to impose sanctions. The goal is to accomplish a political outcome of this problem."


The Foreign Secretary, Margaret Beckett, said 'It is clear from Dr El Baradei's report that Iran has not complied with Security Council Resolution 1737 and has failed to suspend its enrichment related and reprocessing activities, as required by both the IAEA Board of Governors and Security Council.

'We remain committed to a negotiated solution on the basis of the far reaching proposals we made last June, which would give Iran everything it needs to develop a modern civil nuclear power industry and provide a basis for wider co-operation.

"Iran has so far failed to take this positive path and comply with Security Council requirements. As envisaged in Resolution 1737, we will therefore work for the adoption of further Security Council measures, which will lead to the further isolation of Iran internationally. We will now be consulting closely with our European, Chinese, Russian and US partners and other Security Council members on next steps. We remain determined to prevent Iran acquiring the means to develop nuclear weapons."

The situation in the region is very tense and many observers are talking of the possibility of a military strike against Iran. The USA has launched the largest military buildup in the Persian Gulf since 2003. Three carriers and frigates, as well as US marines are now on standby off the coast.

An article in the New Yorker magazine (25/02/07), by Seymour Hersh describes a special planning group at the highest levels of the US military had expanded its mission from selecting potential targets connected to Iranian nuclear facilities, and had been directed to add sites that may be involved in aiding Shia militant forces in Iraq to its list.

Elements of the tough new approach towards Tehran outlined by Hersh include:

* Clandestine operations against Iran and Syria, as well as the Hizbullah movement in Lebanon - even to the extent of bolstering Sunni extremist groups that are sympathetic to al-Qaida

* Sending US special forces into Iranian territory in pursuit of Iranian operatives, as well as to gather intelligence

* Secret operations are being funded by Saudi Arabia to avoid scrutiny by congress. "There are many, many pots of black money, scattered in many places and used all over the world on a variety of missions, "Hersh quotes a Pentagon consultant as saying

His assertion that the Bush administration was actively preparing for an attack on Iran was denied by the Pentagon. "The United States is not planning to go to war with Iran. To suggest anything to the contrary is simply wrong, misleading and mischievous, "the Pentagon spokesman, Bryan Whitman, told reporters.

The US has no intention of attacking Iran, secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in a television interview broadcast on 22/02/07.

"Let me just say here publicly, the US has no desire for confrontation with Iran, None," Rice told CNN.

In the interview Rice also reiterated her offer to talk to Iran "any time, any place" if Tehran first halts its uranium enrichment programme.

No plan for Iran attack - Blair

British Prime Minister Tony Blair insisted Thursday there was "no planning" under way for an attack on Iran, while defending his record on Iraq.

"You can't absolutely predict every set of circumstances that comes about but sitting here now talking to you, I can tell you Iran is not Iraq,"

"There is, as far as I know, no planning going on to make an attack on Iran and people are pursuing a diplomatic and political solution".

"But I personally think that you will never have a situation where you simply say there are no set of circumstances in which you could ever conceive of anything."

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