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Larijani speaks on Iran's nuclear programme


World

Larijani speaks on Iran's nuclear programme

“Being a nuclear power does not mean that we are going to make a bomb”

Iran’s nuclear programme has worried the international community for some time and negotiations to ensure that it is for purely peaceful purposes have gone nowhere leading to sanctions.

The president of the Iranian Parliament Ali Larijani, in an exclusive interview with euronews, has said, for the first time, that his country is to be a peaceful nuclear power – like Japan.

Larijani, who was Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, also dismissed the idea that Israeli or the US might attack his country’s nuclear facilities.

euronews started by asking him about the decision by Iran’s Parliament to pass a law allowing the government to pursue uranium enrichment to the 20 percent level.

Ali Larijani
“I think that there should be no concerns about that. Japan has an enrichment industry, does that cause any concern for anyone? Iran’s nuclear technology is very similar to the Japanese model.”

euronews
“We know that Japan could produce nuclear weapons within six months. Does that mean you are moving towards being a potential nuclear power and could then make a bomb within a short period of time?”

Larijani
“Listen, being a nuclear power does not mean that we are going to make a bomb. No one can be condemned before they do something.”

euronews
“But, for example, Russia’s President Medvedev said that Iran is about to have the potential to produce nuclear weapons.”

Larijani
“I think that that information is not accurate.
Iran has obtained nuclear know-how and we are not hiding that. It is true we have the potential. That is to say that Iran has become a nuclear power -that is true.”

euronews
“Then, you confirm that you are about to become a regional nuclear power?”

Larijani
“If by that you mean a new peaceful nuclear power, that is true.”

euronews
“Is that why the Bouchehr nuclear reactor is being brought on line in September?”

Larijani
“One nuclear power plant doesn’t make a country a nuclear power. The important thing is the knowledge and knowing how to use it. We have access to nuclear technology know-how and we have been working on that for 20 years.”

euronews
“Then, you are determined to continue on the nuclear path?”

Larijani
“Yes, but only peacefully.”

euronews
“But even so, you are increasing the fears of some countries in the region, your neighbours.”

Larijani
“Are you talking about Russia, which itself has nuclear weapons?”

euronews
“No. I’m talking about your immediate neighbours, such as Iraq and also the Israelis.”

Larijani
“I think we are facing a new phenomenon and something of a joke in the region. Russia has been a nuclear power for a long time and if that creates concerns, it’s a joke. You are talking about the region, but which country?”

euronews
“I’ve talking about some countries in the region, like Israel, which has declared that it is not willing to see Iran become a nuclear power.”

Larijani
“In the region, apart from Israel, there are no Zionist regimes. A lot of countries in the region are proud of the Iranian nuclear programme.”

euronews
“You’re not afraid that one day the Israelis or the Americans could carry out pre-emptive strikes against your nuclear sites?”

Larijani
“I don’t think they have completely lost their minds. It’s simply unreasonable. We are not going to just do nothing, and sit there with our arms crossed. They (the Israelis) have sensitive points, they are susceptible and they are very close to us.”

euronews
“What are you alluding to when you say sensitive points?”

Larijani
“I think that they understand me. We do have capabilities to defend ourselves. We are not hiding out missile capabilities. I think that this is all media hype. I would say that one error would be extremely expensive for the Israeli regime.”

euronews
“You are calling it media hype, but it happened, in 1981, against Iraq’s installations. At that time, the Iraqi reactor was attacked by Israeli planes, in 1981.”

Larijani
“We can’t make a comparison. I think that the Israelis have made an objective analysis about Iran’s capabilities. For that reason, there is all this media hype about Iran’s nuclear capability. An attack is not very probable, but in any case we are prepared.”

euronews
“The international sanctions are hitting your trade, transport and oil sectors, how do Iranians see those sanctions?”

Larijani
“We have found ways to evade the sanctions.”

euronews
“But how are you going to evade them when two thirds of your airliners – such as Iran Air – can’t fly through European airspace, for example?”

Larijani
“That issue is not linked to the sanctions. You’re talking about people travelling?”

euronews
“Yes, there are visas. For example the European Commission directives prevent some Iranians from getting visas?”

Larijani
“Do you think that some members of the Iranian military not being able to travel is going to cause us problems? Very frankly, it won’t deter us from moving forward. Those actions, which are an attempt to weaken the will of Iranians, make the Iranian people more resolved.”

euronews
“But the Iranian people and the opposition are calling for more freedom and human rights in Iran.”

Larijani
“What is the link? There is no link, because the opposition in France, in Europe and elsewhere all agree on one point: Iran’s nuclear technology.”

euronews
“That’s not true, because, for example, the
National Council of Resistance of Iran, based in France, is calling for more sanctions against the Iranian regime.”

Larijani
“No, they are dishonourable people, they are hated in Iran. They are terrorists and they have killed many people in Iran.”

euronews
“You say certain groups, but for example Sherine Ebadi, the founder of the Centre for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran, has not killed anyone, and is calling for the respect of human rights.”

Larijani
“Western countries are supporting Sherine Ebadi allowing her to take the actions she does, but she is free to return to Iran. When she left, it was of her own free will.”

euronews
“Some ministers, like the British Foreign Secretary William Hague, have called on Tehran to stop carrying out executions.”

Larijani
“I think that Britain and the United States should think more about their own crimes in Afghanisation and Iraq. You should ask him (Hague) how come that NATO gives financial and military support to (Iranian) terrorist groups. I think that we are facing dishonesty from those countries.”

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