Saturday, December 26, 2009

Iran is united, Ahmadinejad tells West

TEHRAN, Dec. 25 (MNA) - President Ahmadinejad has warned the West that it must not assume that Iran is a divided society as the country faced some demonstrations following the June presidential election.

“The Western politicians think something happening in Iran and Iran has become weakened. That is a mistake. They do not know Iran. The people of Iran are united and they would certainly defend rights and interests,” Ahmadinejad explained. The president also added the West must not think that Iran’s position has been weakened in defending its legal rights as it faces some opposition at home by some groups.

“There are different views that exist in this country. There are differences of opinion, there are rivals, competitors and they are serious. But the majority of the nation is united and they are determined to protect their independence,” the president said in an interview with Britain’s Channel 4 News broadcast on Wednesday.

He also said the officials “in the UK and the U.S. must accept the realities in the world.”

The president said Iran enjoyed friendship with the West under the dictatorship of the Shah regime but the West changed its behavior immediately after democracy prevailed in the country in 1979.

“Before the revolution we had a dictatorship in Iran. And they had friendly ties with the dictator. But since we have had democracy and freedom in our country they have risen against us.”

He advised Washington and London to revise their approach toward Tehran.

“I believe it will be good for the U.S. and British officials to could change attitudes. They should experience friendship.”

The president reiterated the position that Iran does not seek “anything beyond” its rights and again insisted that “we are against confrontation.”

On a threat by the United States, France and Britain that if Iran does not agree with the offer to exchange its lightly-enriched uranium for a higher enriched nuclear fuel for its research reactor in Tehran it will faces further sanctions, the president said, “Actually we have given the proposal for the exchange of the fuel and according to the regulations they have to provide the fuel without any conditions.

“We have offered a proposal in order to provide opportunity for them - in order to have an opportunity for cooperation instead of confrontation. And it is a very simple procedure.

“But they are insisting that to have conditions for giving us the fuel - political conditions I mean - while the exchange of fuel is a technical job.”

The president said Iran is legally authorized to produce nuclear fuel with a purity of 20 percent for its Tehran research reactor that produces radioisotopes for medical uses.

“We are in a position to produce 20 percent grade uranium. We have given this offer in order to provide an opportunity for them. If they do not use the opportunity we are in position and we are able to produce that grade of uranium. We have no problem doing it.

“The current regulations in the IAEA allow us to do so and we will make it ourselves. From our standpoint there is no problem for that.”

The president also dismissed claims that Iran had kept its new nuclear enrichment facility secret, saying Tehran informed the International Atomic Energy Agency of the facility 18 months before the operation.

“According to the regulations in the IAEA six months before the beginning of enrichment activities we should have informed them. We did it one year before the activities but unfortunately they have misinterpreted our cooperation.”

However, the president added Iran has been criticized rather than being lauded for declaring the site 12 months in advance.

“When we cooperate with them they show negative reactions - what does that mean? They said themselves - one that is not a member will remain immune from the investigations and verifications. When you cooperate the reactions are negative. What does that mean?

“Does it mean we should not cooperate at all? Or course we do not do not accept this - this is not acceptable for us. But their attitudes are wrong. They want to say that a country which is not a member is free to do everything more than the member. And those countries enjoy more rights and any government who fulfills its obligations would be under pressure. Do they think they can run the world with this logic?”

Ahmadinejad said the criteria for verifying the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear activities are the documents endorsed by the IAEA rather than media speculation or political rhetoric.

“We have the official documents from the IAEA and it has endorsed all our activities. We do not regulate our relations based on rhetoric. We do it on the basis of the law and the documents. We cooperate with the agency.”

However, the president warned that the agency must not confuse its purely technical job with politics under a pressure by the West, saying, “The agency has no right to express political opinions under the pressures of certain governments.”

On a question why Iran does not withdraw the NPT, the president replied, “We stay in the treaty and according to NPT we have rights and obligations. We have fulfilled our obligations and we should also enjoy rights.”

The president dismissed the argument that the international community is against Iran’s nuclear program, saying the U.S. and some of its European allies should not consider themselves as international community.

“Shouldn’t they adapt themselves with the votes of these 120 countries?” the president asked in an indirect reference to the 118-member Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) which has expressed support for Iran’s nuclear program.

The president also refuted a view that President Barack Obama has extended a hand of friendship toward Iran.

“Which hand did he extend? His right hand or left hand?”

The president went on to say, “What has he done in practice? I sent a message to him and we participated in Geneva negotiations. We talked with them and we offered the proposals for a fuel exchange. And we have announced that we stand ready to have a debate in New York. Who has extended his hand in practice?”

The Obama administration has in fact “extended the sanctions against us,” Ahmadinejad lamented.

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