The Government has no say in this matter. It just carries out what is decided and told to execute, like introducing the Additional Protocol to eh Majles
PARIS, 29 June (IPS) As Iran’s top negotiators start a new round of negotiations with the European Union and international inspectors visited one of Iran’s sites said it was a nuclear lab, Iranian analysts said Tehran is "very serious" about resuming its enriching uranium programs.
“Iranians are absolutely ready and prepared for any standoff and fight with both the European Union’s three big powers and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)”, Mr. Morteza Ra’issi, an Iranian journalist who covers regularly the meetings of the Vienna-based IAEA told the Asia Times Online of Hong Kong, referring to the last letter round of showdown between Iran in the one hand, Britain, France and Germany and the IAEA on the other.
The tumultuous relations escalated after Hojjatoleslam Hassan Rohani, the Secretary of the Supreme Council for National Security (SCNS) and the country’s top negotiator with the IAEA and the Europe’s “Big-3” informed them about Iran’s decision to resume enriching uranium, the issue at heart of Iran’s row with the IAEA, Europe and the United States.
Speaking at the Majles two days ago, Mr. Rohani explained at length to lawmakers why Iran had decided to resume enriching uranium and other activities related to producing nuclear energy for civilian uses.
The basis for the decision is that since Britain, France and Germany have not respected their part of the Tehran Agreement of last October, the Islamic Republic feels free of its engagements, he said.
"We have announced to the three European countries that the Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to resume the manufacture and assembly activities on June 29", he said.
The official also rejected IAEA director general Mohamed ElBarade’i’s allegations of concealment in the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.
"Mr. ElBarade’i and the agency had found one contradiction (in Iran’s declaration of its nuclear program), but they apologized for that and said they were mistaken", Rohani said.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi echoed Rohani’s views, saying the Europeans` failure to honour their pledges had forced Iran to rethink its cooperation.
"Our policy regarding the International Atomic Energy Agency has not changed ... what has caused a change is the Europeans` failure to fulfil their pledges. Given that the three European countries have not honoured their commitments according to the Brussels meeting, we see no reason to keep up our part of commitment", the official Iranian news agency IRNA quoted Mr. Asefi as having indicated.
Both officials however stressed that nothing has changed as it regards the IAEA inspectors` free access to Iran’s nuclear facilities.
"The agency’s inspectors will operate as before, having access to all facilities and facing no problem”, Mr. Asefi assured, adding, "Cooperation must be bilateral; we prefer the language of understanding and friendship to the language of threats and intimidation".
Mr. Ali Larijani, a Revolutionary Guard’s commander who was the Head of Iran’s Radio and Television and now seats at the SCNS as the personal Representative of Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i stated on Thursday that Iran had “never accepted to shut down its uranium enriching programs”.
“What Iran had agreed was to suspend enriching uranium on a voluntary basis. This does not mean that we accepted to put an end to it”, he explained, adding that enriching uranium is Iran’s “full and recognised right”, he said, referring to the agreement concluded on 21 October between foreign affairs ministers of Britain, France and Germany with Mr. Rohani in which Iran accepted to suspend all activities related to uranium enrichment, including "the assembly and testing of centrifuges" as well as signing the Additional Protocol to the Non Proliferation Treaty against the transfer of advanced nuclear technology to Tehran for “peaceful purposes”.
"This is an act of defiance of the IAEA board of governors, it is a thumb in the eye of the international community", US State's Undersecretary John Bolton told a congressional committee
But in the process, IAEA inspectors found that not only Iran had not stopped enriching uranium, but had acquired more modern centrifuges needed for the purpose, an essential step for producing nuclear energy.
The France, Britain, Germany-sponsored Resolution approved by the IAEA’s Governors at their last meeting in Vienna had angered Tehran to the point that several hard line lawmakers at the present conservatives-controlled Majles had urged the Government of President Mohammad Khatami to get out of the NPT.
Iran argue that under NPT regulations, it is entitled to receive advanced nuclear technologies and that the Europeans Big-3 had promised to assist Iran on that line. All Iranian leaders, insisting that they are not after the nuclear bomb, repeat this point constantly, but have dramatically failed to convince the international community.
Speaking with the pro-conservative “Mehr” news agency, Mr. Ala’eddin Broujerdi, the Chairman of the Security and National Affairs Committee of the Majles said, “We shall work for finishing with this humiliating attitude (of IAEA and Europe) and resume enriching uranium and if the government does not agree, we shall force it to come along” and assured Mr. Rohani of the “full support” of the Majles concerning resumption of uranium activities.
Expressing disappointment at the letter, Berlin, London and Paris said they were preparing a joint response to Iran's announcement that it was breaking a three-month-old deal with them in order to resume production of centrifuges used for uranium enrichment.
John Bolton, the US Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security said Tehran's letter, also sent to the IAEA, was proof of Iran's intent to reprocess uranium as part of a covert nuclear weapons program.
"This is an act of defiance of the IAEA board of governors, it is a thumb in the eye of the international community", Bolton told a congressional committee.
"They may react bitterly or heighten pressure on us, but that is not important", Mr Rohani told parliament, in comments broadcast live on state radio.
According to Iranian observers, Mr. Rohani’s letter confirms the progressive shift of the ruling conservatives from the era of détente initiated by the powerless Khatami towards a more radical line in both foreign and domestic scenes.
“That might also explain the capture of the three British patrol boats and their crew of eight military servicemen on Monday in the Iranian side of the Arvand Roud (Iranian name of the Shat el Arab border river between Iran and Iraq)”, said Mr. Sadeq Saba, Iran affairs senior commentator of the BBC.
“The conservatives feel that on the nuclear issue, they have the support of the majority of the population. At the same time, based on the long experience they have with the European Union, they are certain that the Big 3 would not yield to Washington to the point of referring Iran’s nuclear issue to the Security Council”, Mr. Ra’isi pointed out.
In his view, not only the Europeans do not want ending their traditional policy of critical dialogue with Tehran, but also knowing Iran’s power and influence in the region in general and Iraq in particular, fears that an isolated Islamic Republic would be less cooperative with the international community seeking restoring peace and security to Iraq and the Middle East.
“Among the different options, the best available long-term sustainable option is engagement by providing incentives, as the Euro-3 have already started”, AFP quoted a European diplomat as having indicated.
Fortunately, the fundamentalist seventh Majles is determined in not approving the Additional Protocol and one might hope that it would also consider getting Iran out of the NPT
In fact, a joint U.S.-EU statement, issued after talks between President Bush and European leaders in Ireland on Saturday stopped short of threatening new action to punish Iran, but said they were disturbed by Iran's recent announcement of its intention to resume manufacturing and assembly centrifuges and called on Iran to rethink its decision".
In the first Iranian reaction to the EU-U.S. statement, the hard line Keyhan evening daily, one of the mouthpieces of Ayatollah Khameneh’i repeated that the authorities might now consider pulling out of the nuclear NPT.
"The joint statement shows the true nature and objectives of America and its (European) allies to deny the Islamic Republic access to nuclear technology. We shall no doubt reach the point that in order to safeguard our sovereignty and interests, exit from the NPT would presents itself as the only logical and legal choice, a decision we should have taken much earlier, but however it is not late yet", said Mr. Hoseyn Shari’atmadari, a high-ranking Intelligence Ministry officer specialising in interrogating political and intellectual dissidents, appointed by Mr. Khameneh'i as the daily’s editor.
“Fortunately, the fundamentalist seventh Majles is determined in not approving the Additional Protocol and one might hope that it would also consider getting Iran out of the NPT”, he added.
Resuming his weekly briefing with reporters after months of suspension, Mr. Abdollah Ramezanzadeh said the government of President Mohammad Khatami is out of the nuclear issue.
“The Government has no say in this matter. Hojjatoleslam Rohani talks (to the IAEA or Europe), decides and informs. The government just carries out what is decided and told to execute, like introducing the Additional Protocol to eh Majles and things like that”, he told reporters, confirming what every one knew. ENDS IRAN IAEA 29604