Paris, 29 Sept. (IPS) As Iran and the European Union, backed by the United States, Russia and China, ended a second round of nuclear talks in Berlin on Thursday 28 September 2006, Iranian hard line and fundamentalist President Mahmoud Ahmadi Nezhad hinted that Iran’s next step could be enriching uranium for military use and reiterated that access to nuclear energy and by that way, enriching uranium is a “legitimate” right of the Iranians.
“After we opened the UCF (Uranium Conversion Facility situated near the historic and touristic city of Isfahan, in central Iran), they (the European Troika) made a lot of noise and propaganda, but our logic was stronger and our decision legal. On continuation of our activities, we opened Natanz (also in central Iran, where uranium is enriched) and they cut relations (talks) with us. As a result of that, we completed full nuclear cycle. Now, no one knows what we might achieve if again they cut relations?” Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad said during a meeting with “the pioneers of the school of suicide and jihad”.
After the Europeans cut relations with us, we completed full nuclear cycle. Now, no one knows what we might achieve if again they cut relations?
It was not clear what the hard line President meant by that sibling phrase, but some political analyst saw in it a threat, meaning that in case the ongoing talks would fail, Iran might emulate North Korea, cutting all relations with the IAEA, getting out of the NPT and closing all doors to inspections, a catastrophe scenario that the Europeans do their best to prevent.
Soon after his surprise victory in the Iranian presidential elections last year, Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad immediately ordered the resumption of activities at the UCF on August 2005, where activities, like in all other Iranian nuclear sites, had been voluntarily stopped following an agreement between the then negotiators with France, Germany and the United Kingdom.
To protest to the decision, the Troika, also known as the Europeans “Big 3 or EU 3” stopped all nuclear talks with Tehran, triggering a turbulent atmosphere in relations between the Islamic Republic and the EU 3 in the one side, the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on the other, a climate becoming more dense as the United States, accusing Iran of seeking the construction of nuclear weapons, were pushing hard for imposing tough sanctions on Tehran.
While talks between the two sides were suspended, Iran meanwhile started Development and Research activities as well as enriching uranium at Natanz, prompting the European negotiator to stop all negotiations on November that month.
Accusing the westerners of “perfidy” and promising to attack them from that point of weakness, which he descried as their “Achilles Heel”, he said “they started to behave reasonably slowly slowly, telling us first to suspend (enriching uranium) for three months, then they said two months, then they asked for one month, even one week. They issued resolution saying Iranians must suspend in order we talk to them. While it was them who wanted to continue negotiations, they put conditions. Now they say stop enriching for one day and pretend technical problems so we could talk to you. They say just pretend suspending to allow us declaring that Iran has suspended. But we say we are willing negotiate, but we are not demanding for it”.
He also severely denounced the action of the past nuclear negotiators led by Hojjatoleslam Hasan Rohani, the former Secretary of the Surpeme Council on National Security who now heads the strategic studies department of the influential Assembly for Discerning the Interests of the State (ADIS, or the Expediency Council), chaired by Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the Islamic Republic’s virtual number two man after the leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i.
Accusing the former negotiators of having stopped voluntarily all nuclear activities under external and internal pressures in order to respond positively for confidence building, Ahmadi Nezhad said in his usual double speak: “After our nuclear activities had been stopped they (the IAEA) came and sealed every thing. We asked them until when you want continue confidence building? They said “We don’t know”. We asked how we can solve that problem. They said it is not clear. We asked where the Agency (IAEA) says one need confidence building is necessary for our nuclear activities? That’s why we re-started UCF”.
However, in an interview with the influential French daily “Le Monde” dated 29 September, former reformist president Hojjatoleslam Mohammad Khatami responded to the accusations, saying the reason Iran had accepted to suspend its nuclear activities was because it was convinced that such a voluntarily decision would facilitates inspections by the help IAEA inspectors and helping good results for Iran and the West.
“But unfortunately, the Europeans, under pressures from America, delayed the solution day after day to the effect that we had the impression that they want to deprive us from our legitimate right to nuclear technologies. Not everything has changed, but I don’t see any other way out but negotiations and compromise”, he pointed out.
Touching on the Iraqi issue, and in order to prove the “perfidy” of the Americans, Ahmadi Nezhad said: “There was a time that the Americans were begging us to help them in Iraq for the occupants to get out. But as soon as we accepted that request, they said Iran is behind crimes in Iraq and must be put on trial. They have a diabolic nature. They would say they are going to attack us in a year, then in a month and in a week or days, now, they say they are looking for sanctions. They are not to be trusted”, he stressed.
Meanwhile, Iranian and the European senior negotiators, Ali Larijani and Xavier Solana described their talks as "positive", but did not announce any agreement
"It has been a long, constructive negotiation. We have been able to arrive at some positive conclusions. Today we have discussed modalities with the aim of coming back to the main negotiations as soon as possible", Larijani told reporters at the end of two days of meetings in the German capital', according to the French news agency AFP.
In a businesslike press conference, Solana told reporters: "We have been progressing. We will have a new contact in the middle of next week", AFP said, adding: Sources close to the talks said the contact could take place over the phone and did not necessarily mean they would be meeting face to face. ENDS IRAN NUCLEAR 29906