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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

PRESS CONFERENCE BY MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF IRAN

Department of Public Information . News and Media Division . New York

3 October 2007

Defending his country’s right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, and pledging its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Motaki said today that States that had previously used nuclear weapons and that were testing new generations of them posed the greater danger to global security.

Speaking at a Headquarters press conference, Mr. Motaki said Iran’s replies to a list of questions from IAEA about its nuclear programme would meet with the “satisfaction” of the Vienna-based agency, although “technically”, he did not know how long it would take for all those questions to be answered. “We do believe that the issue is being considered in its rightful and appropriate place, that is, the IAEA.”

He said that, as a State party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), Iran enjoyed the right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful uses. “We are not looking for a nuclear bomb, we do not need a nuclear bomb, it is not in our military doctrine to have nuclear weapons… We follow a policy of elimination of all nuclear weapons from all around the world… We are a principled nation. We follow our principles.”

The Minister said his country was committed to showing transparently in all parts of its (nuclear) activities, explaining that its nuclear programme went back 50 years, well before its revolution, to a contract signed with the United States for a 23,000 megawatt nuclear power station. “Our Parliament has given a mandate to the Government to produce 20,000 megawatts of electricity,” he added. “Nuclear energy by all the State parties to the NPT should not be considered a threat.”

When asked whether China could play a mediating role as it had done with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, he said the two issues were completely different. “In North Korea, they are talking about nuclear weapons and in Iran we are talking about nuclear energy. This is peaceful.”

He went on to underline two main elements of Iran’s position -– realizing that it had a right to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, and the need to avoid ambiguities or doubts about its intentions. “Really, the countries that are testing their fourth or fifth generation of nuclear bombs are the real threat for the world, because they have the experience of using nuclear weapons in their history. Those who have used [them] once may use them again, and that’s a real threat.”

Asked about Iran’s ability to sustain sanctions, the Minister said pressuring States to keep them from realizing their rights was not a solution. Political reasons had motivated some countries to put Iran’s nuclear programme before the Security Council. Sanctions would be unjust and they would not work.

Regarding the possibility of an attack on Iran by the United States, perhaps using nuclear weapons, he replied that in the past two years, “a kind of psychological war” had been underway, with the option of military action remaining on the table. “We tried to brief our friends in the region that Iran is trying its best to avoid any confrontation, but we do not consider the other party to be in the position to impose another war [in the region] against its taxpayers, here in the United States.”

On the situation in Iraq, Mr. Motaki, asked to clarify a reported remark by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that Iran would “fill the vacuum” if troops from other countries were to leave, he said Gulf countries, including Iran, were in a position to protect stability in that region. That was a “major” Iranian policy, underpinned by Security Council Resolution 598 (1987), which referred to regional security by regional countries.

As for Afghanistan, the Minister said the situation there was complicated, security was a problem, and the only alternative to Afghan President Hamid Karzai was civil war; that was why the international community must support him. The United Kingdom was trying to bring “small changes” to its policy in the region, which was a positive development, in Iran’s view.

Why did Iran need nuclear energy, sitting as it did on “one of the prime petro-puddles on the planet”? a correspondent asked. Would its money not be better spent on education or social services?

The Minister replied that nuclear energy for peaceful purposes was “an essential right to all mankind”, as well as a clean form of power. The United States, with its own oil resources, got 25 per cent of its energy needs from nuclear power plants. “If it is good for the United States, why is it not good for Iran? If it is bad for Iran, who do you not follow the same policy in your country?”

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For information media • not an official record



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