As international pressure mounts on lran to suspend its uranium enrichment efforts, the country’s foreign minister Manourchehr Mottaki is insisting that the world has nothing to fear from its nuclear programme.
Iran is currently under threat of being referred to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions.
The only prospect for avoiding that seems to be ongoing talks about a Russian offer for it to supply enriched uranium for Iran’s nuclear energy programme.
Euronews interviewed Manourchehr Mottaki in Brussels.
EuroNews: Minister, welcome to Euronews, You’ve said that now the time for negotiation has come and it’s no longer the time for threats, what does that mean?
Mottaki: Last September when we had a meeting with the EU 3 (Britain, France and Germany) in New York, Mr Fischer (the then German foreign minister Joschka Fischer) mentioned very clearly that from the very beginning they did not accept the right to nuclear technology for Iran, that’s why we believe that steps should be taken from other side.
EuroNews: The Russian proposal was a rather good one, but (it seems) you expect something more, what are you expecting?
Mottaki: The period (timescale) of this proposal, implementation of this proposal, means our target is to enrich uranium ona major scale in Iran finally (eventually). For the time being we are in a cooperative position, to work with others for the next step, which is major nuclear fuel production, because at the end our target is to have major fuel production in Iran, finally, but there can be a gap in between (a delay before that occurs).
EuroNews: Don’t you think that raising the rhetoric against Israel and saying that Israel must be destroyed is counterproductive to achieving such nuclear technology?
Mottaki: Already the Zionist regime has nuclear weapons in Palestine’s territories and nobody is concerned. We have explained repeatedly our policy that nuclear weapons have no place in our defence doctrine and above all of that we mentioned, due to our religious teachings, we are prohibited
to go for (produce) nuclear weapons.
EuroNews: What about the fact that the USA and Europe are both fighting a war against terrorism?
Mottaki: We are in the position to cooperate, to exchange views with the Europeans, unfortunately due to the Middle-East situation, Europe is following what the US is dictating and the current development in the Middle-East, in Palestine, shows that the Europeans’ understanding was not correct.
EuroNews: Are you ready to support Hamas?
Mottaki: We support the Palestinian people and their wish, their choice and this is their choice, definitely.
EuroNews: What about Hezbollah?
Mottaki: Hezbollah is a (political) party, why are the US and Europe going to impose their wishes on Lebanon, why they would like to interfere in Lebanon?
EuroNews: Because the US and Europe are fighting a war against terrorism.
Mottaki: We do not consider the groups who are fighting to release their territory from the occupation of the Zionist regime are terrorists. We should sit together and have a new definition of terrorism. From the very beginning Iran was against the Taliban in Afghanistan and the US and its allies
supported the Taliban in Afghanistan.
EuroNews: Yes, but in someways you need to co-operate with the US in Iraq, because both Teheran and Washington are relying on the Shias’ organisations.
Mottaki: We consider the Iraqi people as one – the Shiites, Sunnis, Kurdish people, Turkmen people –
they are all Iraqi. We consider their participation in the political trend of their country, this is what we have supported, but if they would like to see, we have supported the political trend there and government-making in Iraq, because we are in the region, we know this was the best option, that we support that, but we believe that the continuation of the occupation of Iraq is not in favour of the Iraqi people, it is not in favour of the regional countries, by some of them, it is not in the favour of security and of stability, particularly in the southern part of Iran.
EuroNews: Thank you very much, minister.