Iran FM Interview: We Will Continue to Support the Resistance

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A handout picture released by Iran's ISNA news agency shows the new Iranian-made highly mobile propellant-powered reconnaissance drone named "Yasseer", in Tehran, on 28 September 2013. (Photo: AFP /ISNA - Amir Pourmand)

By: Nizar Abboud

Published Tuesday, October 1, 2013

New York – Despite the climate of communications between Tehran and Washington, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif tells Al-Akhbar that his country "will hold on to all its rights and will not give up any of them."

In an exclusive interview with Al-Akhbar during the 67th session of the UN General Assembly, Zarif spoke of the Iranian nuclear program, the Syrian crisis, the resistance, and Palestine.

"We are not ready to give up anything," he declared. "Iran will hold on to its rights. However, we are ready to address some concerns that [the US administration] has. We believe it will be easy for Iran to show that it does not want to acquire nuclear weapons. We believe it is in our interest to demonstrate that we are not seeking nuclear weapons."

"At the same time, the only way to convince the international community that Iran is not seeking to acquire nuclear weapons is the recognition of our right to peaceful and transparent [nuclear] activities inside Iranian territories, including enrichment," he explained. "The skilled scientists, technicians, and the technology we have in Iran could be utilized in a transparent manner under international supervision."

"Therefore, we are ready – not to give up our rights – but to exercise them in a manner that does not raise suspicion," he added.

Explaining the level of uranium enrichment reached in Iranian reactors, Zarif said, “These things are subject to negotiations. We do what Iran needs, what is requested in Iran, and we are ready to do it in coordination with the international community."

"They have to choose if they want to go in the direction of a realistic solution. We hope that the statements coming out of Washington, especially from President [Barack] Obama and Minister [John] Kerry, are headed in a positive direction. If this is so, we can go ahead and solve this issue quickly," he continued.

"This could be completed in three to six months if the right intentions are there," Zarif maintained. "If there is a will, there is a way, as the proverb goes."

Zarif denied any connections between the negotiations on the Iranian nuclear file with the US and the Syrian crisis. "Definitely not. On the Syrian side, we believe we are moving in the right direction. We are moving toward removing the chemical weapons and pushing a political process, which would end the bloodshed and herald negotiations."

"We believe these steps to be important and they should be taken with steady efforts to solve the issue in a realistic and comprehensive manner. We believe that possession of nuclear weapons by non-state actors, especially the extremist groups in Syria, to be a threat against the whole region, in addition to international peace and security. This threat should be seriously addressed in the context of removing chemical weapons from Syria. It should include all areas, including those occupied by the armed groups."

Concerning support for the Palestinian and Lebanese resistance, Zarif said, "It is based on the essence of our foreign policy, which remains the same."

"Solving the Middle East problem will only be achieved when the rights of the Palestinian people are recognized – accepting the need to respect Palestinians, their return to their homes, and gaining all their rights like other people around the world. But inventing excuses to violate their rights, like what happened in the past 60 years, including 30 [years] at least before the establishment of the Islamic Republic, cannot be accepted."

"We must put an end to the lies promoted by [Benjamin] Netanyahu and his gang in Israel. These are lies designed to deceive the international community. It is an insult to the minds of the international community. The international community must answer these lies. Since 1992, they have been saying that Iran will be developing a nuclear weapon in six months. But 22 years later, we do not possess nuclear weapons and will not have nuclear weapons, not in six years and not in 60 years."

He concluded that peace cannot be achieved through violence and denying Palestinians their rights.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.


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