PARIS-TEHRAN, 21 Sept. (IPS) Taking the standoff on its nuclear issue with the international community to a point of non return, Iran on Tuesday 20 September 2005 officially raised the specter of getting out of the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and resume enriching uranium if faced with a “language of force”.
The threat was made by the country’s top nuclear negotiator as in Vienna, the United States and the European Union’s so-called Big 3, namely Britain, France and Germany submitted the international nuclear watchdog IAEA with a draft resolution calling for the Iranian controversial nuclear issue to be dealt at the United Nations Security Council for possible economic sanctions.
If addressed from a position of force, the Islamic Republic would have no other choice but to leave the NPT and start enriching uranium.
“If addressed from a position of force, the Islamic Republic would have no other choice but to leave the NPT and start enriching uranium”, Mr. Ali Larijani, the new, hard line Secretary of the regime’s Supreme Council on National Security (SCNS) that supervises nuclear talks with both the EU3 and the IAEA told Iranian and foreign media during a press conference held in Tehran.
Though the possibility of Iran quitting the NPT had been debated at the Majles and in the press, but observers said this is the first time that Tehran raises it publicly.
“Every thing has a limit. One can not go endlessly threatening with the Security Council’s scarecrow and banging it on our head, expecting the Iranian people crouching facing the Mecca”, Mr. Larijani responded, referring to both the EU3’s draft resolution and the Muslim tradition of putting their dead facing the holly city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
“Besides, the Security Council has also its own structures of work and procedures”, he added, hinting to the possibility of Russia or China, both strong supporters of the Islamic Republic, to use their veto in case the five member Security Council decided on a tough sanctions on Tehran.
Actually, diplomats at the IAEA told Iran Press Service that the “difficulty” with taking Iran’s case to the UN is that “it would be possible with majority vote and not by consensus, which is the usual procedures with the Board”.
Besides Moscow and Peking, New Delhi, Islamabad, Brasil, Pretoria and several other nations members of the Non Aligned Movement (NAM) group in the IAEA’s Board are against referring Iran to the United Nations and even Ms. Condoleeza Rice, the State Department Secretary has proposed that “time be left for diplomacy”, as also suggested by Mr. ElBaradei. “Not only Board members are divided in pro and anti-Iranian camps, but even some EU nations like Italy and Japan are against strict sanctions against Tehran”, another diplomat said.
Sending the ball in the West’s court, Mr. Larijani, a strong critic of the two years-long, thorny, difficult, complex and complicated negotiations with the Europeans, said the United States and Europe should get their lessons from the outcome of nuclear talks with North Korea.
“We see now that America and Europe got almost nothing from the talks (with Pyongyang) except that North Korea announced it would not produce nuclear weapons, something we have always said, repeated and reiterated”, he pointed out.
Referring to both the IAEA’s boss Mohammad ElBaradei and Britain’s Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, who had called on Iran to “follow” the North Korean example, Mr. Larijani, also the closest advisor to Iran’s new President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said “after years of negotiations, you ended by accepting North Koreans rights. Why not also accepting our now”, he said, assuring that Iran wanted to enrich uranium in the framework of the NPT.
As he was talking to reporters, envoys from Britain, France, Germany, back by the United States presented the IAEA’s 35 members Board of Directors with a strong worded draft resolution accusing Iran of “breaches of its safeguards agreements”, allegations that Mr. Larijani rejected, accusing the Europeans of “failing to respect their engagements”.
“It was the Europeans who suspended the talks, not us”, he reminded, leaving the door open to further talks, provided they are no more “exclusive”.
Iran’s cooperation with the IAEA’s investigations has been marked by “extensive concealment, misleading information and delays in access to nuclear materials and facilities".
The EU3 shut the doors to nuclear talks with Tehran after the Islamic Republic resumed work at the Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF) installations near the central and tourist city of Esfahan in central Iran early on August, jeopardizing months of negotiations with the three European powers and refused to bow to calls by them and the IAEA for stopping the activities, a step before enriching uranium.
But according to Iranians, not only activities at the UCF did not concerned the agreements Tehran reached with the EU3 in Paris last November, Iran suspended all nuclear activities, including enriching uranium on a voluntary basis and for a certain period of time. “Works at the UCF is normal and enriching uranium is suspended”, he reiterated, adding “but if the Europeans think that with the time passing Iranian will forget (enriching uranium”, they are utterly wrong”.
“We are not saying No to talks with the Europeans, but we want other nations also be taken on board, listen to their advices, as out diplomacy must not waiting for the Europeans only”, he stressed, adding two years of (fruitless) talks with the EU3 was “enough”.
“We have complied with all the demands and resolutions from the IAEA. We have allowed more inspections than required. We have done our best to create confidence. Unfortunately, the result is back to square one”, he noted with a point of bitterness.
Entitled “Elements for the IAEA Board Resolution”, the draft, to be debated today Wednesday, the draft resolution observes that Iran’s cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency’s investigations has been marked by “extensive concealment, misleading information and delays in access to nuclear materials and facilities”, a behaviour that has “resulted in many breaches of its obligations to comply with its safeguard agreements”.
Mr. Larijani repeated accusations against the West for “forming a nuclear apartheid” formulated by Mr. Ahmadinejad during his speech at the United Nations General Assembly last week and added that “what we see today it that parts of the NPT clauses and regulations are interpreted in a way to deprive us from our basic right to access to nuclear technology for peaceful aims”.
“This something we can not accept at any cost”, he stressed, inviting “all partners” to talk on a basis of “logic, friendship, reality and equality”.
“Building confidence is a two ways street. You can not all the time say you have doubts in our intentions, while at the same time you keep a double standard, saying we give you all the technologies provided you get the fuel from us. But the difficulty is that one can never trust any country to give this vital material without conditions. There is guaranteed security in such matters”, he observed.
To American and Israeli’s allegations that Iran is after building a nuclear weapon, Mr. Larijani said “one of the strangest and fast growing new phenomenon is reading intentions. It is with this new science that some countries endlessly accuses us of having the intention of building nuclear weapons, without ever producing the slightest evidence and without ever taking into account our real intention, which is not making nuclear weapon”, he said, calling on the international community to give “some time” to the newly installed Iranian Government. ENDS IRAN NUCLEAR IAEA 20905