PARIS, 23 Feb. (IPS) As the international nuclear watchdog is revealing new Iranian hidden projects to develop possibly nuclear weapons, the former senior atomic negotiator Iran could develop nuclear weapon and master full nuclear cycle, but because of “regrettable mistakes we have none of them”.
”We need time in order to put into practice our potentials. The day we can master full nuclear cycle, the world would face a fait accompli. The world did not want Pakistan to have atomic bomb or Brazil to possess full nuclear cycle. But both achieved their goals and the world accepted. Our problem is that we have achieved neither, even though we are not that far”, Hojjatoleslam Hasan Rohani, former Secretary of the Supreme Council on National Security (SCNS) and chief nuclear negotiator said.
Speaking in a closed door meeting with members of the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution, Mr. Rohani, now the Head of the Expediency Council’s Strategic Studies acknowledged for the first time that the Islamic Republic has a record of hiding some sensitive nuclear projects and avoiding to inform the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on many others, “hence the confidence problem we have with the Agency and the international community”.
When we started thinking to acquire nuclear technologies back 15-16 years ago, we already were thinking full nuclear cycle.
Analyst could not understand why the damaging acknowledgments were publicized at a time that Iran’s case at the IAEA is about to be referred to the United Nations Security Council, as large excerpts of the meeting was published by the Germany-based Iran-Emrooz website in Farsi on 21 February 2006.
“There is no doubt that the meeting was held behind the doors, there is no doubt that Mr. Rohani’s lecture to members of the SCCR on the history and backgrounds of Iranian nuclear activities, the programs, projects and secret purchases of nuclear components they deliberately avoided to report to the IAEA and the difficulties the regime face with the international community etc could not reach the outside without prior authorization from very high above”, one prominent political dissidents told Iran Press Service.
According to Mr. Rohani, the man who inked on October 2003 Iran’s voluntarily suspension of all sensitive nuclear activities and accepted the Additional Protocol to the non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) with Britain, France and Germany, now known as EU3 or the European Troika, “no nation in the world, even China and Russia do not want the Islamic Republic possessing enriching uranium know how”.
“When we started thinking to acquire nuclear technologies back 15-16 years ago, we already were thinking full nuclear cycle. We tried to get it (the nuclear technology) from many country and considering the general international situation, we were looking more towards China and the Soviet Union, but no nation accepted to give us that technology”, explaining: “that’s the reason why we turned to the black market, middle men and international networks from one particular nation, which we never named but they (IAEA) concluded it is Pakistan”.
After revealing the “very grave and sharp differences” opposing the Foreign Affairs Ministry that would warn on the “seriousness” of our case going to the Security Council and the Atomic Energy Organisation (of Iran) that would take the matter “very lightly”, Mr. Rohani said there were same kind of difference of opinion concerning the talks with the European Troika, with some saying this is futile because Europe has no power facing the United States determination to take us to the Security Council and others insisting that this is a good idea because it would buy us time. “However, even then and from the outset, neither the Europeans nor the Russia wanted we putting aside full nuclear cycle”, he told the audience.
Continuing with the background of the nuclear crisis, he revealed that most of the countries Iran had approached them to buy nuclear components had reported to the IAEA without informing Iran, which, in turn, had not told the Vienna-based Agency. “This was the case with China and Russia that had sold some equipments”, he said without saying what kind of equipments.
“We even learned that the Agency (IAEA) knew some of the experiments we had carried before without telling us that they had monitored them”, he added.
It was under such circumstances that Tehran undertakes to suspend nuclear activities and accept the Additional Protocol that allows snap, unrestricted inspections of nuclear sites and projects by international inspectors against pledges by the EU3 to help Iran getting advanced nuclear technologies for peaceful aims, helping Iran getting into the World Trade Organisation and signing an advantageous Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the European Union.
We need time in order to put into practice our potentials. The day we can master full nuclear cycle, the world would face a fait accompli.
But Libya, by making damaging revelations, deals a severe blow to Tehran’s difficult confidence building process with both the IAEA and the EU3.
“Libya, which had both nuclear material and equipments from the same source as ours, had revealed everything to the Americans and the British and we ignored that until it was an open secret”, Mr. Rohani went on, adding that Iran had told the IAEA “everything except the P2 centrifuges, something they knew and considered our action as a breach of confidence and concealment”.
“This was a hard blow to the confidence the Europeans had put on us. It was a bad blow to the confidence-building process we had initiated painfully. What made the Europeans angrier with us was that from the start of our negotiations with them, the Americans were telling them that beware of Iranians. They are liars. But the Europeans were responding that they trust us. When the P2 affair blew up, the European started to strongly doubt whether we have also got designs for making nuclear bomb, as all the plans were coming from the same source”.
Though Mr. Rohani did not identified the source, but according to IAEA documents, both Libya and Iran were furnished by AKL, the nuclear laboratories belonging to Mr. Abdol Qadir Khan, the “father” of Pakistan’s A bomb.
According to Pakistani journalists who were briefed by the officials on the issue on February 2004, Professor Khan told investigators he had provided nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and the Communist North Korea in order to also make them become nuclear powers and help decreasing international pressures over Pakistan.
"Dr. Khan transferred ageing technology for enriching uranium for personal greed, without the authorisation from Islamabad, but certainly with the help of some colleagues", Reza Khan, a Pakistani journalist told the Persian service of Radio France International after the scandal was blown open.
The international community became more suspicious about Iran’s real intentions after inspections by the IAEA experts of the second hand P2 centrifuges showed an enriched level of 70 to 80 per cent.
“We were astonished and surprised by the facts, for the simple reason that at that time, we had no such activities. We even thought t was an American plot. But latter we realised that the centrifuges, though second hand, had been used by a third country, which was identified as being Pakistan, which had told the IAEA without informing Iran. What made the matter more complicated was that we told the IAEA that we are assembling them in a small factory which, in their eyes, does not make sense”, Mr. Rohani admitted, referring to the Kalaye Elektrik factory near Tehran).
Nevertheless, the former Chief nuclear negotiator confirmed that during the time Iran was negotiating with the European’s Big 3 and the IAEA, delaying Iran’s referral to the Security Council, Tehran gained precious time to complete Uranium Conversion Facilities (UCF) in Esfahan and the enriching facilities at Natanz, in central Iran.
According to Mr. Rohani, the “danger” of the Security Council is that “once reaching that level, other questions like our missile program on which they are very sensitive would also come up. And at the Security Council, one can be sure that Russia or China would not sacrifice their interests with the West to theirs with Iran”, he stressed.
Informed military sources believe Iran has developed new versions of its Shahab 3 ballistic missiles capable of reaching as far as Israel and shores of southern Europe, carrying a nuclear device.
After responding to a flurry of questions like “what is P2” or “what is UCF” or “what is heavy water” and “what is centrifuges” etc, the former SCNS Secretary admits that the Islamic Republic is badly isolated in the international scene, saying, “may be it would have been better that we tell everything to the IAEA, but one must have in mind that no country in the world was ready to help us”.
He also confirmed that the construction of Natanz site, started secretly, was revealed by the “Monafeqin” (hypocrites), the jargon officials in Iran use to name the Mojahedeen Khalq Organisation, the outlawed armed group led by the Mas’oud and Maryam Rajavi couple, dedicated to topple the Iranian theocracy with the massive help from the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
“The Monafeqin got some information about the site, took some pictures. One or two employees at the Atomic Energy Organisation also spied for some foreign nations”, he said, concluding:
“We still need a little bit of time. Once in full control of the nuclear cycle, we can have everything, but we don’t want the bomb. Then the world would change its attitude towards us, accepting the fait accompli. We would enter the Atomic Club”. ENDS IRAN NUCLEAR ROHANI 23206