Mahdi Safari, Iranian Ambassador to China [Courtesy of Iranian Embassy in China]
Iran has been a focus of the international community. Recently, Mahdi Safari, Iranian Ambassador to China, spoke with Beijing Review and shared Iran's stance on some global issues and relations with China.
Beijing Review: Western media have expressed disappointment at the latest talks between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in late February. How would you evaluate the outcome of the talks and the cooperation between Iran and the international nuclear watchdog?
Mahdi Safari: The talks have not been disappointing. This is just propaganda by some Western media and diplomats in order to negatively affect the atmosphere of cooperation between Iran and the IAEA, and unfortunately media in other countries have directly quoted from Western media sources without due verification and diversification of their news sources.
The recent talks between Iran and the IAEA have been going on in a logical and acceptable framework and are right now continuing. Of course both sides have some differences of views that are possible to overcome through dialogue. The latest three rounds of talks between Iran and the IAEA were held from January 29 to 31 in Teheran, from February 15 to 17 in Vienna and from February 20 to 21 in Teheran. According to the understanding reached during those talks, it was decided that: First, before taking any action a modality should be devised and implemented between both parties for solving the remaining issues; Secondly, before the finalization of the mentioned modality, no request should be made by the IAEA for inspections in Iran. Based on those principles, both parties exchanged their draft modality frameworks and it was decided that the final document on the modality would be signed during the third round of talks to be held in Teheran.
Unfortunately, the IAEA delegation visiting Teheran on February 20 asked to inspect the Parcheen military site and announced the requested inspection as a pre-condition for continuation of talks. It is worth mentioning that this issue had not even been mentioned in the IAEA proposed draft. Nonetheless, the Islamic Republic of Iran has continued its cooperation with the IAEA and right now is in dialogue for resolving the remaining issues.
Are there any preconditions for Iran to cooperate with the IAEA?
There are indeed no pre-conditions. All of Iran's nuclear activities are currently carried out under the supervision of the IAEA and Iran has been cooperating with the IAEA at a level much further than its obligations under the NPT [Non-Proliferation Treaty]. Of course Iran believes that a never-ending process of posing questions and requirements shall not lead to a final resolution, and in order to resolve the remaining issues between Iran and the IAEA, it is necessary for the IAEA to offer Iran all its questions and issues once and in one package followed by the IAEA guaranteeing within the modality framework that once Iran offers convincing answers to all the questions, they should return Iran's nuclear file to the normal status.
Iran has reiterated the peaceful nature of its nuclear programs, and promised not to develop nuclear weapons. But why do things keep escalating, even to the point that there have been calls for a military strike on Iran? Are you more concerned about Israel or the United States?
Iran's nuclear activities are peaceful, open and transparent. We believe that if there is any serious will for solving the questions the other side has regarding Iran's nuclear programs, it is possible to solve them all in the simplest and fastest way. We believe that some countries have hidden their political motives behind Iran's nuclear issue and, having such political objectives, they are preventing the international bodies and organizations from executing their responsibilities in a purely professional way.
We have unfortunately witnessed that some international organizations have yielded to the pressure exerted by major powers without regard for violation of their own international credibility. One such example is threatening to attack Iran or even threatening to use nuclear weapons against Iran, which are despicable from the point of view of international norms. You have witnessed how they have treated Iran, a country that has always officially declared its peaceful nuclear activities which has been repeatedly verified by international inspectors. Whereas Israel, a non-signatory to NPT that has admitted to having nuclear weapons, together with the United States and others, has repeatedly threatened to attack Iran, and no action is taken against it.
While we do not look for war and will not be the first to start it, those threatening Iran know it very well that Iran does have the capability to defend itself and committing such a great mistake such as attacking Iran can endanger the peace and stability in the region and even the whole world. Therefore we consider an attack on Iran quite improbable.