Iran Foreign Minister Dr. Zarif named his presentation to the last round of nuclear talks between Iran and 5+1 in Geneva on 15 and 16 October “an unnecessary crisis, opening new horizons”. This symbolizes the entire story of this issue, which has found global dimensions, while it is simply the story of a proud nation endeavouring to build a better tomorrow for its future generations. This is a viable question that while we live in a world that is far from being crisis free, and global challenges are raging at all levels, why an artificial crisis could and should drag on for years and what benefit can be obtained by putting pressure on Iran?
Why do we believe that Iran nuclear issue is an unnecessary crisis? First: The United States has been the first country that encouraged Iran to move for a nuclear future. On 5th of March 1957 Iran and the US signed a nuclear cooperation agreement and in 1967, the first research light water reactor was delivered to Iran with 5 kilogram of enriched uranium to be used in that reactor. In 1979, we signed an agreement with Germany to build Bushehr nuclear power plant. Immediately after that, Islamic revolution happened in Iran. The revolutionary government chose to stay in NPT but the Germans and others refused to fulfil their commitments and to finish Bushehr plant.
Second: Iran embarked upon a rapid growth and development path, and long term plans for development were passed by the parliament. The most important point in this regard was that to keep the pace of development and provision of energy for that, Iran needs 20000 mgw of power annually. This huge amount of energy cannot and must not be produced by fossil fuel which is abundant in Iran. The pollution based of these fuels is a fatal factor in today’s Iran.
So the approach is diversifying energy resources, and replacing fossil fuel energy with renewable and clean energies such as nuclear. Consider this: Iran is a country 53 times bigger than Belgium, with a population 7 times larger than that. More than 45 million of this population are between the age of 18 and 30. This is a vast pool of youth pouring into job market every year and need to be fed through a dynamic economy.
Third: nuclear material today is used in many areas from industry to agriculture to health. The reactor given to us by the United States produced radioisotopes used in radio medicine for decades and was running out of fuel. Based on our agreement, the Americans must have provided us with that fuel but they did not. The others, all those who advocate for human rights day and night, followed the Americans and let down about 1 million cancer patients who are in dire need of these radioisotopes. We requested to give us our own 60 tonnes of UF6 which is stockpiled in Europe.
They refused. We own even now, 10% of enrichment activities in EURODIF and requested to give us our own 10%. It was refused again. Therefore Iran moved quickly to set up its own fuel cycle to provide fuel for its reactor and to produce radio medicines for Iranian cancer patients.
Fourth: all Iran’s nuclear activities are under constant surveillance of the IAEA, by round-the-clock working cameras and by inspection of IAEA inspectors. 8000 man-day inspections including 100 “unannounced” inspections have been carried out by Agency inspectors at Iran’s nuclear facilities. According to all reports of both former and present Directors General of the Agency, no evidence of diversion of nuclear materials to prohibited purposes has been found.
This factual story has been transformed to a fictional Hollywood style scenario of nuclear weapons and has created an unnecessary crisis by those who not only produce and stockpile weapons of mass destruction but they actually have used it against other nations!
In our defence doctrine, weapons of mass destruction have no place and we believe that politically, strategically and religiously, these weapons are of no benefit and justification for their owners. We are victims of weapons of mass destruction in particular, chemical weapons, given to Saddam regime by some western countries.
During last 10 years, we have had numerous negotiations with western powers and we have done countless measures to build confidence on our nuclear activities. In 2003 in Tehran, in 2004 in Brussels, in 2004 in Paris, in 2007 in Madrid, and in Lisbon, in 2008 and 2009 in Geneva, in 2010, with Lula Da Silva, the then President of Brazil, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish Prime Minister and our former President, Dr. Ahmadi Nejad, in Tehran and also talks in Istanbul, in Baghdad, in Moscow and in Almaty to help 5+1 to build confidence in our nuclear activities. We voluntarily suspended our activities, and we trusted them in agreeing to send our enriched uranium to receive fuel in return.
We stopped our centrifuges times and again and we concluded that, this is not technical and legal issues that 5+1 or at least some of them have in mind, but it is a politically motivated campaign against our development plans.
It is now two decades that some believe and preach that Iran will make bomb in 6 months and the world is witnessing that this is hollow words. We are being threatened by Israeli Prime Minister bluntly, unambiguously and very clearly from a global tribune in the UN General Assembly to be punished with military strike and we are asked to explain our peaceful activities. Of course the Israelis know that any strike on Iran will teach them an unforgettable lesson.
But who will stand up to this clear manifestation of violating International Law and the UN Charter? 120 Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) countries in numerous occasions have confirmed that Iran’s nuclear activities are lawful and under IAEA monitoring.
In the European Year of Citizens, citizens of the Islamic Republic of Iran have gone unlawfully and unjustifiably under the most severe regime of economic sanctions ever formulated and imposed against a nation; including and in particular, medicines and medical requirements while the European businesses have been excluded from legitimate and legal trade with their Iranian counterparts with whom they have had centuries of beneficial commercial relations.
The real message of the election of President Rouhani is that civilized and peaceful nation of Iran is the opposite side of violence and extremism which runs in the region. The President suggested in his United Nations General Assembly statement to create the “World Movement against Violence and Extremism”.
President Rouhani entered into the race by a clear slogan: hope and wisdom. He, himself translated this slogan into political language and he explicitly announced that he will pursue a more open foreign policy and a clear process of detente between Iran and other countries, especially with the West, based on mutual respect. Politically we want to have normal and beneficial relations with all countries around the world. We will prove ourselves as a decent reliable partner for others, as we always have been.
Recent positive development of Iran so-called nuclear dossier in New York and Geneva, clearly indicate that the crisis has been unnecessarily created and dragged on too long by some western powers. We have announced that we are willing to put an end to it soon, and we are prepared for confidence building measures.
At the same time, 5+1 needs to play with its own real cards on the ground. We are fully committed to our international obligations and we are absolutely determined to enjoy our inalienable rights under international instruments, including NPT.