Paris, 11 Feb. (IPS) Once again, Iranian clerical leaders resorted to their old “double speak” tactics dear to George Orwell, presenting two versions for one single speech, that of Mr. Ali Larijani at the international security meeting of Munich.
According to international wire agencies from the German city of Munich, the Secretary of Iran’s supreme Council on National Security (SCNS) told the participants at the meeting that “Iran is willing to threaten Israel is wrong. We pose no threat and if we are conducting nuclear research and development we are no threat to Israel. We have no intention of aggression against any country".
The full text of the speech in Farsi and in English, carried Sunday by all major Iranian news services, contains no such direct hints or assurances concerning Israel.
However, the full text of the speech in Farsi, carried Sunday by all major Iranian news services, and even in English, as published by the official Iranian news agency IRNA, contains no such direct hints as Israel or assurances concerning the Jewish State.
“If Mr. Larijani has really made such remarks concerning Israel and if published by the press in Iran, it would no doubt harm very badly the image of Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad and discredit him for both Iranian and Arab public opinion on which he had a good ride for some time because of his harsh anti-Israeli outbursts”, a scholar told Iran Press Service on condition of not being named.
Actually, the speech, due to centre of the question of “Security in the Middle East”, is almost irrelevant to the subject. Except a repetition of old Iranian claims and recriminations against the West, particularly the United States, like helping Saddam Hussein while he was using chemical weapons against Iranian soldiers or that Iran is victim of terrorists (the Mojahedeen Khalq Organisation) who enjoys security and freedom in western countries, Mr. Larijani touches very briefly to the situation in the region, saying Iran is calling for a nuclear free region.
"After the victory of the Islamic Revolution, Iran established all its state organs and institutions on the votes of its people. Islamic 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? Even if one can ever find any such state in our region its armed forces are so strong that they can change its democratic institutions when they wish so. But, let's see how the US administrations have been treating the democratic Iran. The policy they pursued in this regard was denial, isolation and sanctions. Yet, we should note that this policy has resulted in noting other than further stiffening the resolve of the Iranian people’, Mr. Larijani stated.
But he omitted to also say that elections the Islamic Repubic of Iran are more a “selection than real elections, because all candidates must be approved by the Council of Guardians. He also did not say that on orders from the leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i, more than 150 publications, most of them reformists or independents, have been shut. He did not say that dozens of leading and popular Iranian political and intellectuals and journalists dissidents were assassinated, imprisoned, forced to leave the country or keep silence.
The speech contains absolutely no new incentives or proposals concerning the Iranian nuclear issue, repeats again observations and Iranian position.
“Repeatedly, Mr Larijani said the security gathering, “we announced frankly that in Iran's National Security Doctrine there are no rooms for atomic and chemical weapons and we consider them against the Islamic laws. Supreme Leader of Iran in this connection released a decree that mass destruction weapons are prohibited religiously. Besides, we know that Iran's action in this way will trigger atomic arm race in the region which as a result will endanger the peace and stability of the region and the world”.
“Therefore, he went on, “we support the idea of a Middle East free from weapons of mass destruction. The main problem is as simple as that but the use of political ploys can further complicate it, which basically can have harmful impact in the region. We believe in a solution through negotiation and dialogue”, he said in the most conciliatory tune ever heard from Tehran, may be because of the presence of the Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister and an audience very much sensitive towards Israel.
"If other side is determined in doing, I am sure within a few months all issues will be finalized and the way will be paved for long-term cooperation both in regional aspect and energy. 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”, he said, adding:
"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 had been spent on negotiations what possible damages could have occurred? And now that this has not happened what achievement has been made? In 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”.
The speech contains absolutely no new incentives concerning the Iranian nuclear issue.
"I do hope that the out-moded experiences of the past either with regard to this particular case and also with regard to the general issue of regional and international security will be reconsidered and we do not let the minimal short-lived achievements overshadow long- term cooperation”, Iran’s Security man pointed out.
The only common denominator from the speech of Mr. Larijani delivered at Munich and the once produced to the domestic media is this absence of the usual anti-American, anti-Israeli rhetoric.
“Maybe the most interesting factor in the speech, which I read in Farsi and in English, is that it is empty of the usual attacks and accusations against Israel or the United States or in the defence of he Palestinians”, observed one prominent Iranian scholar, adding: “this maybe because of the presence of so many top security and diplomatic officials who could immediately remind him of statements from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadi Nezhad on removing Israel from the map of the world or his denial of Holocaust etc…”.
Due in Munich on Friday, with a meeting with Italian Prime Minister on his way and a further one with the United Nations Atomic Energy boss Mohammad Elbaradei in Vienna on Saturday, Mr.Larijani was suddenly reported by a source in the Iranian embassy in Berlin as being sick and his trip cancelled. However, he arrived on Saturday to the conference in Munich and all the news about his sickness being denied by sources at the Iranian SCNS.
“The key to this saga is within Iranian higher decision-making sphere, where an unprecedented battle rages between the hard liners and the so-called pragmatists about how to prevent UN’s Security Council sanctions being implemented on Iran”, a diplomat told Iran Press Service, referring to the resolution 1737 that urges Tehran to suspend all its nuclear activities by the end of February 2007 or face some economic and diplomatic restrictions.
While the fanatic President repeats that the decision is a “torn piece of paper” which has “no legal basis”, others insist that the Resolution, if implemented, would badly harm Iran.
“One might call it illegal, a useless political act taken under American pressures, but the fact is that experience shows that it is easy to get into the UN Security Council’s path but very difficult to get out, paying a very high price for it”, warned a month ago Mr. Mohammad Hoseyn Moussavian, a former top nuclear negotiator under the president of Hojjatoleslam Mohammad Khatami.
Already, and in application of the Resolution, the IAEA put on hold some of its nuclear projects with Iran. But Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad again on Sunday repeated that Iran would continue with its nuclear programmes, which he has sold as a “the Iranian people basic national right”, that the regime’s leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i, who has the last word on every major international and domestic issue, has said “no official is allowed to back off from it”.
“It seems that the President had eventually ruled out against Mr. Larijani’s trip to Munich, fearing he might come to some agreements with the European negotiator Xavier Solana and Mr. Elbaradei on Iranian nuclear standoff, but, learning about it, the leader authorized the voyage”, one informed source told IPS, reminding that Mr. Larijani, who now sides with the pragmatists, had offered a lukewarm welcome to IAEA’s General Director proposal of “time out”, based on mutual suspension of Iranian nuclear activities, mostly enriching uranium in the one hand and the Security Council’s sanctions against Iran on the other.
The proposal had won a backing from Russia, one of Iran’s most powerful ally, which has urged Tehran to “be responsive to the international community’s demands”, but almost rejected by Washington and the European Troika of France, Germany and England.
According to some European diplomatic sources, Mr. Xavier Solana, European Union Minister for Security and Foreign Affairs examined this proposal when he met Mr. Larijani in Munich at the sideline of the Security Conference.
In her opening address to the Munich venue, German Chancellor Angella Merkel warned Iranian ayatollahs that the international community is “all determined to prevent the threat of an Iran with a military nuclear programme", and said the Islamic republic must conform to international demands to stop enriching uranium "without ifs and buts and without tricks".
"What we are talking about here is a very, very sensitive technology and so we need a high degree of transparency, which Iran has failed to provide, and if Iran does not do this it risks falling deeper into isolation", the Chancellor who holds the presidency of both the European Union and the G-8, added.
Interestingly, Russian President Vladimir Putin also joined in criticizing the Iranian negative attitude, telling the Security meeting “I don’t understand why the Iranian Government does not want to be positive and transparent with the Security Council and the IAEA’s demands”.
However, he also urged the international community to be attentive to the Iranian nuclear problem, warning that “otherwise, the world could be at danger and destabilized”.
“Today, decisions taken by a Security Council which is under pressures from the West is without credit. WE shall continue with progress in our nuclear rights”, Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad concluded during a speech pronounced on the occasion of the victory of Iranian Islamic Revolution of 1979, dashing hopes for a meaningful solution to the Iranian atomic dilemma. ENDS LARIJANI DOUBLE SPEAK 11207