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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Pahad: Any action against Iran will endanger world security

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Pretoria, May 2, IRNA
South Africa-Iran-Pahad
South African deputy foreign minister warned Tuesday that any action that might escalate the already tense situation with regard to Iran's peaceful nuclear program will have 'unpredictable consequences' for world security.

Speaking to reporters here in Pretoria, Aziz Pahad said that South Africa is convinced that the whole region is in a 'volatile' and 'explosive' situation and any action that will increase the tension and the volatility of the area, does have a danger of 'exploding the whole region'.

Pahad reiterated that his country accepts Iran's right to have nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and that it believes a diplomatic solution based on the IAEA process must be sought to resolve the present crisis.

"It is in the interest of the peace and stability of the region and the world that how we handle this matter should not escalate tensions but help us to solve this problem in a way that the Iranian program will continue for peaceful purposes," he said.

"The IAEA is the body that is mandated to deal with these issues and that if we take the matter out of the IAEA without exhausting that process, it can open up a process that nobody can predict what the consequences will be," he added.

He cautioned that Iran has already warned that it will stop its interaction with the IAEA and take other measures if sanctions are imposed on that country.

"We don't believe that we have exhausted all the processes within the IAEA framework to find a diplomatic solution," the South African deputy foreign minister said.

Referring to the latest report by Mohamed Elbaradei, the IAEA director general, Pahad said that based on the report 'very few issues' remain to be solved.

He said that South Africa finds it 'difficult to understand' that why the remaining issues cannot be finalized and that it hopes that through consultations, all parties will move away from confrontation and try to get the clarifications that the IAEA wants.

"Once again the report says that there are few issues in relation to the IAEA program that the Iranians must cooperate more fully and must be transparent and these are the issues that we are asking the Iranians to cooperate with the IAEA," he said.

"We fully understand that there is a lot of suspicions about Iranian policy with regard to their program and we continue to act with all the parties to try to ensure that enough contribution is made to the confidence building measures that is absolutely necessary, because it is absolutely clear that both sides don't trust each other," he added.

Responding to the United States willingness to bring the Iranian issue within the Chapter 7 of the United Nations Charter, Pahad said that such a move will leave no alternatives but to remain within the resolutions of the Security Council.

He cautioned that Iran has already warned that it will stop interaction with the IAEA and take other measures, if sanctions are imposed on that country.

In the meantime, Pahad recalled that there is no consensus among the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council on how to deal with the Iranian nuclear issue.

"There is no consensus within the permanent members of the Security Council about what the council must do and if there is no consensus and it gets messy, then the ability of the international community to speak of one voice on this issue becomes more obvious," he said.

The South African official also reiterated his country's position on opposing all forms of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

"We continue to call on all the countries that have weapons of mass destruction to destroy them in terms of the NPT program," he said.

Responding to a question on the statements by the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, with regard to Israel, Pahad emphasized that Iran has not said that it is going to attack Israel.

"Iran's position is that they do not recognize the existence of the state of Israel, but we believe that it is in the interest of the Palestinian and the Israeli people that there is only a peaceful resolution based on a two state solution and we have to work on that," he said.

"We don't think that calling for the annihilation of Israel at this stage helps the process at all and it is not in the interest of the region as a whole and at the same time we shall wait and see how the Israeli new government is willing to act with the Palestinian government," he added.

"If we don't move very decisively now, we will come up with conditions for more and more violence in that region, which coupled with the Iranian issue and the Iraqi and the Syrian situation, does paint a very very bleak future for that region," he further noted.

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