Paris, 21 Oct. (IPS) “Differences between Mr. Larijani and Mr. Ahmadinejad had reached such a point that the two men could possibly no more working with each other”, one of Iran’s senior lawmaker disclosed Sunday, shedding some lights on --some of the reasons -- the top Iranian nuclear negotiator resigned.
It was the first time since the surprise resignation of Mr. Ali Larijani on 20 October 2007 that and informed source, in this case Mr. Mohammad Reza Bahonar, the deputy Speaker of the Majles (the Iranian Parliament) was providing newsmen some insights explaining the dramatic decision.
The differences were so great that it was almost impossible for the Larijani and Ahmadinejad continuing working together.
Informing the public about the resignation of the Secretary of the Supreme Council on National Security (SCNS), Mr. Qolamhoseyn Elham, the official Spokesman of the Government also said that Mr. Sa’id Jalili, the Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister for American and European Affairs had replaced Mr. Larijani.
“Mr. Larijani had resigned several times in the past. This time, the President accepted his decision to continue his political activities elsewhere”, Mr. Elham, who is also Justice Minister and a close aide of the fanatic Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, adding that the Mr. Larijani had resigned for “personal reasons”.
But according to Mr. Bahonar, the Secretary of the SCNS and Iran’s Chief nuclear negotiator had resigned because of “great differences with Mr. Ahmadinejad.
“The differences were so great that it was almost impossible for the two men continuing working together. They reached the conclusion that this (resignation) must take place”, Mr. Bahonar told journalists, adding: “it could have been possible to solve the problem by intermediaries and continue for a short period of time, but it could not be solved definitely”.
The dramatic event, one of the most spectacular in the life of the Islamic Republic of Iran, erupted immediately after a “historic” meeting between the Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Iranian leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenehi on 16 October 2007.
Russian President suggested Iranian leader flexibility on Iranian nuclear stanoff with the international community
On that occasion, Mr. Putin gave the Iranian side a message containing some proposals – so far undisclosed --, one of them “touching the nuclear issue”, Mr. Larijani told journalists one day after the departure of the Russian President, adding that the leader told him “we would consider and let you know latter”.
The bit of the news immediately made world’s press headlines and commentators speculated that Mr. Khamenehi, who takes all decisions on major domestic and foreign policies, had “bowed” to Mr. Putin’s warnings.
But the day after, it was the turn of Mr. Ahmadinejad to explode a bombshell of denying flatly Mr. Larijan’s statement, saying the message of the Russian leader had been one of “friendship and cooperation between our tow nations, a message that we welcomed. But it contained no mention to the nuclear question, one that, for us, is over. Our atomic programme is irreversible and would continue for peaceful purposes”.
“There is no doubt that what Mr. Larijani reported from the message and proposals Putin made to Khamenehi is correct. But his big, unforgivable mistake that unleashed the wrath of Khamenehi, a man known for his narcisim, ego-centricity and, suffering from an acute complex of inferiority was to omit adding that while the Iranian leader told his Russian guest that he would “consider” his proposals, he also reiterated to him that “we are determined in our nuclear programme for energy, hence, enriching uranium”.
Mr. Larijani and Mr. Xavier Solana worked long hours together and established a rather good and positive relationship.
When Mr. Larijani replaced Hojjatoleslam Hasan Rohani as both the Secretary of the SCNS and Chief nuclear negotiator on 2005, he used to accuse the former negotiators of having “offered the Europeans with pearls and get chocolate in return from them”, a malicious way to charge Mr. Rohani and his men for having accepted France, Germany and Britain’s proposal to suspend enriching uranium as a “confidence building measure”.
But as he wrestled with the so-called 5+1, namely the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany in the one hand and the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), on the other, he realized that if his protracted talks with the international community are reaching a dead end and the western interlocutors, which suspects the nature of Iranian atomic activities have a military end, are becoming more aggressive, it is mainly because of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s belligerent rhetoric, his confrontational foreign policies, his statements on annihilating the Jewish State and his repeated insistence and assurances that the continuation of Iranian nuclear programme is “irrevocable” and the UNSC resolutions are “nothing but worn pieces of paper”.
“When the President declares that our nuclear programme is a solved question and t is irrevocable, he leaves no room for Mr. Larijani to negotiate”, Hojjatoleslam Mohammad Ali Abtahi, a former Vice-President under the moderate Mohammad Khatami, commented in the pro-reform daily “E’temadi Melli”.
At the same time, like other Iranian commentators and political analysts, Mr. Abtahi, while agreeing that the nomination of Mr. Jalili, “a friend of Mr. Ahmadinejad”, in place of Mr. Larijani would end the Iranian side’s “multi-voices”, he also wonders if a rather unknown man with very little experience can handle such an enormous, difficult, complex and complicated task as negotiations with experienced, hard core diplomats and specialists?
In fact, the 42 years-old Jalili, described by friends and insiders as “tough man to deal with”, had never occupied any important function before his last post as deputy minister in charge of American and European affairs except some years he was in charge of the office of Mr. Khamenehi.
A former Revolutionary Guard who lost one leg during the Iran-Iraq devastating war, Mr. Jalili is expected to be more in tune with the President, who, with the departure of Mr. Larijani, is the second after the leader at the helm of the nuclear standoff.
Ali Larijani and Xavier Solana had a "good working relationship"
In its first reaction to Larijani’s resignation, the European Union expressed concern, saying his absence would “add one more difficulties to the mountain of difficulties we have with the Iranians”.
“Mr. Larijani and Mr. Xavier Solana worked long hours together and established a rather good and positive relationship”, one European spokeswoman said, quoted by the Persian service of the BBC.
In a commentary on the subject of Larijani’s resignation, Mr. Hoseyn Shari’atmadari, the Editor of the hard line Keyhan daily and considered as Khamenehi’s “Goebbels” warned the Iranian interlocutors that “with or without Larijani, the Iranian nuclear policy would not change, for it is not he or his successor that decides for the subject, but the leader”.
Speaking on Sunday at a forum organised by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, American Vice President Dick Cheney warned: "The Iranian regime needs to know that if it stays on its present course, the international community is prepared to impose serious consequences . The United States joins other nations in sending a clear message: We will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon.
If, under the new atomic negotiating team presided over by Ahmadinejad, Iran continue to challenge the international community and ignore Putin’s warnings and proposals, both he and Khamenehi would be blamed for the conflict that might follow: harsher sanctions by the Security Council and a possible military air attack over Iran by the United States. If the team changes direction, it is a political suicide for Ahmadinejad.
ENDS LARIJANI RESIGN 211007