Excerpts of Reuters interview with Iranian president


Richard Moore

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Excerpts of Reuters interview with Iranian president

23 Apr 2007 21:14:09 GMT
Source: Reuters

April 23 (Reuters) - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran would not halt its 
disputed atomic activities under any circumstances in an interview with Reuters 
and an Iranian television station on Monday.

Following are excerpts from the interview conducted in Persian and translated 
into English by Reuters:

Q: Mr President, Iran has so far refused to suspend its uranium enrichment work,
what would be the basis of Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani's talks 
with EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana in Turkey on Wednesday?

A: The dispute over Iran's nuclear work is completely a political issue, without
any legal or technical aspects. Iran has never violated international laws ... A
few (Western) countries that have maximum use of nuclear technology do not want 
other countries to have the technology. We are among nuclear fuel producer 
countries ... and there is no reason to move backwards. The negotiations between
Larijani and Solana are very important and will be useful ... to remove 
ambiguities and to reach an understanding.

Q: Will Iran accept double suspension of enrichment and sanctions?

A: This issue (double suspension) is meaningless and has no legal basis. Our 
atomic work is legal ... You cannot ask a country to suspend its legal 
activities in return for a suspension of an illegal (U.N. resolution) ... The 
term 'double-suspension' is a wrong term.

Q: Why does Iran want to produce nuclear fuel?

A: Iran's aim is clear ... Based on our experiences, if any country wants to use
nuclear technology for various peaceful purposes it should produce the fuel 
itself. Iran is a member of the nuclear club and all the countries should accept

Q: If international pressure mounts on Iran to suspend its nuclear work, what 
would be Iran's practical steps considering the authority given to you by 
parliament to review the level of cooperation with the International Atomic 
Energy Agency? And also in case of wider U.N. sanctions, will Iran use its oil 
exports as a weapon?

A: Iran's history shows that the Iranian nation can resist pressures and has the
power to transform threats to opportunities. So far Iran's peaceful atomic work 
has always been in the framework of law and we like to continue so. We are the 
only country whose atomic work is directly under IAEA supervision ... We are 
reluctant to enter such atmosphere ... ambiguities can be removed through talks.
Our nation has learned to defend itself. Of course we are not interested in 
using oil as a weapon.

Q: What do you think about possible talks between Iran's Foreign Minister 
Manouchehr Mottaki and his American counterpart Condoleezza Rice? Iran says 
America has changed its tone towards Iran, is Tehran ready to hold direct talks 
with the United States to resolve those international issues it faces?

A: We have always expressed our readiness for talks ... We are ready to hold 
talks but under one condition which is the presence of international media and 
the talks should be broadcast live. We do not have good memories of those 
negotiations that the nation was not informed about.

Q: Is this a decision made by the Iranian establishment? Is there a consensus on
this issue?

A: This has always been Iran's view and it is not something new. It is not a 
personal decision and there is a consensus about it. Q: How can Iran help the 
United States to resolve Iraq's problems and is Iran ready to participate in the
meeting of Iraq's neigbouring countries which is going to be held in Egypt?

A: America's problem in Iraq is America itself ... their point of view towards 
regional issues is wrong because American authorities think they can solve 
problems by using military force and missiles ... If America changes its 
behaviour those problems will be solved ... we have previously said it, publicly
and through messages, right now also we are ready to show the way to resolve 
Iraq's problem ... the solution is that the American government should have a 
humanitarian view towards Iraq.

Q: What would be Iran's reaction if attacked by the United States?

A: The era of threatening other countries with bombings and missiles has past 
... especially those who think they can pressure Iran by using the language of 
threat, are mistaken ...I doubt there is such will in America (to attack Iran) 
... but anyway under any circumstances, we will defend our rights ... as an 
independent nation we can protect our integrity. Naturally, when a nation 
becomes under attack it will use appropriate measures to respond ... and like 
any other nation we have various ways to respond.

Iran's foreign policy is based on peace and friendship, Iran will not attack any
country but if attacked we would defend ourselves with full power.

Q: I would like to repeat my question, will Iran attend the meeting for Iraq's 
neighbouring countries?

A: We are reviewing it, we are in talks with our Iraqi friends over this issue.

Q: Is Iran prepared for further U.N. sanctions Which can push the country 
towards isolation. Do you not think it will put more economic pressure on the 

A: Sanctions are meaningless today. Nations will not accept such pressures 
anymore ... being isolated is irrelevant ... our nation's path is clear, we 
believe those who want to isolate us will be isolated themselves.

Q: Is there any possible proposal that may persuade Tehran to suspend its 
nuclear activities even for a short period of time?

A: Why this suspension issue is so important and why there is such pressure to 
achieve it ... which advantages it might bring that they want to reach it under 
any circumstances even for a short term... suspension of legal activities does 
not exist in any international law ... There must be a political reason behind 
this demand ... We have doubts about the West's intentions ... The best proposal
is to accept the Iranian nation's rights. We are honest when we say our nuclear 
work is peaceful ... and when we say we will preserve it, we are serious about 

Q: What does Iran exactly want from the United States? What can the United 
States do to persuade Tehran to hold direct talks?

A: They cannot use the language of threat against a nation ... and use U.N. 
resolutions as a stick to force us to abandon our nuclear work. It cannot be 
accepted by any nation. They should act honestly. In that case, the Iranian 
nation will have no problem (for direct talks) about international issues ... in
presence of international media.

AlertNet news is provided by Reuters.

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