Posted by inthesenewtimes on May 18, 2010
18th May, 2010
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has claimed that mediation efforts by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva would fail.
Other US allies such as France and Germany have alleged time and again that Iran is not participating in the international arena in good faith. However, the joint nuclear declaration by Iran, Turkey and Brazil, reached on the sidelines of the G-15 summit in Tehran on Monday, for the Islamic Republic to ship its low-enriched uranium to Turkey in exchange for higher-enriched fuel within a specified time frame has been widely hailed as a victory for diplomacy.
Iran, through its effective diplomatic efforts, has proved mainly Western skeptics wrong once again. Based on the declaration issued by the three countries, Iran would ship 1,200 kilograms of its low-enriched uranium (LEU) for 120 kilograms of higher-enriched nuclear fuel for Tehran’s medical reactor. The exchange would take place in Turkey under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The important development came as the US and its Western allies were engaged in a rigorous campaign to muster support for a fourth round of UN sanctions against Tehran.
As to global reactions to the Tehran nuclear declaration, Israel insisted that Turkey and Brazil were manipulated by Iran, while the European Union called the move a step in the right direction, though Britain has denounced it. Russia welcomed the joint effort by Tehran, Brasilia and Ankara, as the US stressed that it must first be conveyed to the IAEA before it can be considered. Meanwhile, the UN has described the development as encouraging.
The following is the transcript of Press TV’s interview with Mohammad Marandi, professor of political science at Tehran University in the studio, and Ali al-Kabbani, author and journalist in London.
Press TV: First, Mohammad Marandi, Tell us exactly what message did the Tehran declaration send to the international community?
Mohammad Marandi: I think first and foremost it is stating that Iran is definitely not isolated. Not only is the G15 conference in that sense significant, that many heads of states have participated in the conference in Tehran, but also two important players especially Brazil, which has a growing role to play in the international community and global politics. These countries have participated and have effectively sided with Iran by signing this declaration. So I think one key element here is the fact that Iran is definitely not isolated and that when the western countries and the western media speak about the international community, they are basically speaking about themselves. They believe that they are representative of the whole world where in fact it is the majority of the countries of the world including the countries of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) as well as the countries or members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. These countries have supported Iran’s position traditionally and they constitute the majority of the countries of the world. So I think it basically says that Iran has strong support and that western countries will have great difficulty in isolating Iran and pushing for new sanctions.
Press TV: Ali al-Kabbani, do you think this declaration has managed to ease the Western standoff over Iran’s civilian nuclear program, including sanctions?
Ali al-Kabbani: Actually I agree with your guest in Tehran that Iran from the beginning was very transparent about its nuclear file. The file was, from the point of view of the West, always political. So they have got the political agenda against the Islamic regime in Iran and used the nuclear file as an excuse to put sanctions and try to isolate Iran from the rest of the world. Of course they can not isolate Iran because the international community rightly is not with the United States and its orbit of agent governments and as President Ahmadinejad said the whole international system has to be reorganized and the right place to discuss this would be the General Assembly not the Security Council which is controlled by the United States and the major powers and anyway they are paralyzed because of the veto power for any of their members. So what was achieved in Tehran is a step forward and I praise Iran for going a step forward in the road of confidence-building with international west in a way to send the ball back to their court, because any honest broker would have managed to reach such a declaration with Tehran because they are open from the beginning but of course they mistrust the West and they have all the right to do that and once the honest broker in Turkey and Brazil came and negotiated this trilateral negotiation in Tehran. It was easy to reach an agreement because Tehran is trying to really prove once again for the international community that its nuclear file is peaceful and according to NP treaty it has got all the right to enrich uranium and develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
Press TV: Mohammad Marandi, would the US and its Western allies still pursue sanctions if the IAEA approves the Tehran declaration?
Mohammad Marandi: Well that is very difficult to say. I believe that the United States is not sincere and if they can they would try to increase tensions with Iran to put more pressure on the country. But I think what is important is that the situation on the ground has changed because Iran has effectively, through this declaration, stated that the assurances it needed have been met. The fact that two very high-level figures, meaning the president of Brazil and the prime minister of Turkey, who is the most important person in the Turkish government, both of them have come to Iran. They have signed the declaration. The picture behind you is in fact very revealing. So Iran has been assured and if Turkey was not to return Iran’s enriched uranium, if western countries fail to give Iran 20 percent fuel, it would be a major humiliation for Turkey. So I think the Iranians feel confident that the 3.5 percent enriched uranium is safe and secure in Turkey and on the other hand the situation and the facts on the ground have really changed from eight months ago. Iran today has a lot more enriched uranium of 3.5 percent in its stockpile, so the removal of 1,200 kilos will not really have an effect. Iranians can still produce 20 percent uranium on their own. And also Iranians are now producing enriched uranium at 20 percent, something that they were not doing eight months ago. So the facts on the ground have changed, the Iranian position is much stronger and I think that the fact that Brazil and Turkey are definitely on Iran’s side, makes the Iranian position even stronger at a global level because Brazil and Turkey obviously will begin defending this declaration alongside Iran.
Press TV: Ali al-Kabbani, some have speculated this was a move by Iran not to get slapped with more sanctions. Do you agree?
Ali al-Kabbani: I do not agree with that assessment because sanctions were unjustified from the beginning and to renew sanctions was a weapon to hurt the Iranian people and not the Iranian government. So sanctions have never succeeded in bringing the government down or changing the line of governments. Plus the Iranian government always acted legally, according to the law, the international law and respected the NPT treaty and it was very transparent all the way. So I can not imagine how sanctions would change the attitude of such government. Unless they wanted Iran and this was the main aim to really abolish its nuclear program and I think they know from history that the Iranian regime is not the kind of regime which will respond to pressure.
On top of it, actually I just read on my way here to the studio that the American corporations and the big American companies were contacting the American Congress, asking the Congress to stop this sanction issue with Iran because it is hurting the American economy and the American interest in the area. So even the American companies are upset and hurt by these unjust sanctions.
On top of it, they were trying to employ this fourth round of sanctions for the last three, four months and they failed because as I said it has no real grounds on the international community.
On top of it, we all know that it is Tel Aviv and the Israeli government which dictate the American policy for the Middle East. So now we have to wait and see what the Obama administration is going to comment on this, in my opinion, the historic declaration of Tehran which pulled the carpet from under their feet. So it will be interesting to see how the American administration will react now when Iran really gave its low-enriched uranium to a third party, waiting for the 20 percent enriched uranium, which is going to Tehran research center for medical reasons. So it is really shameful of the West and the United States on top of it to delay such an issue which is peaceful humanitarian and scientific.
Press TV: Mohammad Marandi, do you consider this declaration a goodwill gesture or a concession by Iran?
Mohammad Marandi: I think that a number of goodwill gestures coming from the Iranian side, the whole idea of exchange was a goodwill gesture according to the international law and the IAEA regulations, when a country needs fuel for an experimental reactor like the one in Tehran, the IAEA has the responsibility to find a producing country and to send it.
In this case, the western countries ask for Iran to, I think the proposal was effectively an Iranian one that the Iranians are willing to send their own enrichment and give some of their own enriched uranium of 3.5 percent in return for uranium at 20 percent. So that was a goodwill gesture. The fact that the United States has been making irrational demands, demanding that Iran send its enriched uranium out of the country and then for it to be further enriched and then sent back was an unreasonable demand at the time. What happened today though they said earlier is not really a concession because Iran has produced a great deal more enriched uranium, the amount that will be sent abroad is not the majority of the stock, it is less than 50 percent. The Iranians are producing uranium at 20 percent because of the fears that it will not get the fuel that it needs the fuel for Tehran reactor. So the Iranian position is much stronger today. And another point that I would like to add and that is one major achievement today is the fact that countries outside of the so-called Western world have played a central role. And the fact that Iranians have been able to enhance brazil’s position on the global stage and Turkey is a very good sign and the Iranians feel that this South-South cooperation lessens American hegemony and American power both in the region and beyond and it can only be a good thing. So in this sense it has been a major move in decreasing the American, British and French global influence and hegemony.
Press TV: That is a good point you are making there, Ali al-Kabbani, your reaction.
Ali al-Kabbani: I fully agree because Iran did not give any sovereign concessions. It kept its legal rights to carry on enriching more uranium in Iran. It did not give any concession really, any sovereign concession but it gave some state words towards confidence building from the worried West. They are worried that Iran have military intention and want to a nuclear weapon. Ayatollah Khamenei made it clear that they are not interested in building a nuclear arsenal. President Ahmadinejad confirmed that also. And as I said the whole nuclear file is very transparent. There are 24 hours cameras operating on all the nuclear reactions, connected to the satellites and the IAEA inspectors are regularly there and they have got permanent nuclear inspectors in these nuclear centers. So Iran have been very transparent. It can not do more that what it is doing. Except in my opinion they have to have a good public relation program directed towards the United States and the West to explain all theses situations to general public because as I said Israel is using its lobbies in the West to dictate its policies and to dictate the measures to help its position.
We have to declare to the general public the real situation so they can change the attitude of the governments and these unjust attitudes towards the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Press TV: Mohammad Marandi, the US and its allies may say there is still the issue of Iran enriching uranium, since the declaration does not limit Iran’s enrichment activities. What would you say to that?
Mohammad Marandi: I would say that in fact this is one the major achievements of the text. Turkey and Brazil have effectively said that Iran has every right to continue with its nuclear program and not only that they said the text also speaks of cooperation in the field of the nuclear energy. So these two countries are effectively saying what Iran is saying. That is significant because Turkey of course is a member of NATO; it has been an ally of the United States in the past. It is growing more and more independent as time goes by. Brazil is a major player in Latin America and in global politics and becoming more important by the day. So these are countries that are effectively just as important if not more important than countries like France and England. It is just that those countries are closely allied to the United States and they have the right of veto in the UN Security Council. So the text is a very strong defense of the Iranian position and Iranian sovereignty and at the same time it provides a reasonable solution that is acceptable to all sides if all sides are rational.
Now the question is whether the United States wants to be a rational player or does it want to continue with its irrational hostility towards the Iranian people.
Press TV: Will threats of war against Iran stop, or will the US still insist on saying all options are on the table?
Mohammad Marandi: I think that that too is in the declaration. The declaration speaks of countries in the future not making the sort of hostile remarks and threats that have been made in the past by the United States. It does directly refer to such language and such threats. We have to remember that the United States in the nuclear posture effectively threatened Iran with a nuclear strike. Not that it will carry one out but the whole idea itself, the idea of the threat is barbaric and outrages. This declaration is completely opposed to that.
The fact that Obama, like the previous president, has regularly said that all options are on the table, that too is a threat directed at the Iranian people. That is basically saying that we can attack your country and kill and murder Iranians because of our differences with the Iranian government. That too is something that is dealt with in the text because any military act or any threats both are rejected. So the text itself is an extraordinarily great achievement for the Iranian government, for the Islamic Republic as well as for the Turkish Republic and Brazil, because both of these countries had a role to play in developing it.
Press TV: Ali al-Kabbani, the same question is put to you. So do you think the threats of war against Iran will stop, or will the US still insist on saying all options are on the table?
Ali al-Kabbani: The fact that all options are on the table is an illegal declaration. Because we all know that the invasion of Iraq and the war against Iraqi people was illegal. So for Barack Obama to go to the United Nations and to go to the Security Council to get the legitimacy for his actions, he can not go and say all options are on the table. Because that decision actually is in the hands of the international community, not the cowboy policy of the United States on its own. And as your guest said the barbaric declaration of Barack Obama that he may use nuclear weapons against Iran and North Korea, it is unbelievable that the head of a major power frighten two countries unprovoked with the most horrific weapons that human beings have ever developed. So I do not agree that all options are on the table and also Iran and all the world knows that those who want to act, they act, they do not talk.
So I can hear a lot of talk in the United States but no actions because they can not do anything they do not have the legitimacy to strike Iran military. They do not have the capacity while they are present in both Iraq and Afghanistan with the failure which we can see everyday in both countries. So I do not think that they would dare to open a third front. But the talk itself is unjustified.
I want to say something about Turkey. Turkey is now negotiating with Russia building a new nuclear reactor in Turkey for peaceful purposes also. So the principle of the declaration today is important also to Turkey because it will apply to its own nuclear file and the newly developed nuclear reactor. So I think the cooperation between Iran and important countries like Turkey, Brazil and other countries in the world, especially China will be very important to really stop the monopoly of the West in deciding the world politics. Because it is unfair. It is always using double standards and hypocrisy in political measures when it comes to countries in the Middle East especially and Muslim countries in general. So we have to bring back the independence in our hands as the Islamic Republic of Iran rightly did. And we wanted the end because the West has no other alternative but to accept Iran in the nuclear club now and to deal with Iran. The other issue is that the united states have got many issues with the Islamic Republic of Iran. The United States needs Iran in more than one issue in the area and outside the area. So they are using this frightening tactics to really put pressure on Iran, to get some concessions in some other political files because the US knows the nuclear file of Iran is not a threat to the West, is not a threat to the US. It is just a propaganda hailed by the Israelis for their own reasons to take world attraction from their atrocities in Palestine towards the nuclear file of Iran. So it is just an Israeli tactics to draw the attention of the world towards Iran away from their atrocities and illegal actions in Palestine.