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Iran's foreign minister on protests and nukes

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Iran's foreign minister on protests and nukes

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The Iranian Foreign Minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, has been speaking to euronews about the uprisings in some Arabic countries and said that anti-government protests in Iran are linked to manipulation from outside the country. Salehi also reacted to concerns over Iran’s nuclear programme and Iranian ships passing through the Suez Canal heading for Syria.
 
euronews:
 
“How do you see the events in Arab world? In Egypt, Tunisia, Libya where there has been a wave of revolutions and protests?”
 
Salehi:
 
“Well, we think these are authentic moves from the people.  They are tired of tyranny, despotism and arrogance on the part of their governments.  So people are trying to regain their honour and real position.“ 
 
euronews:
 
“The Iranian president, Ahmadinejad, condemns the oppression in Libya.  Is that your official position?“  
 
Salehi
 
“Yes, we condemn the use of any force against authentic moves of people of any country.  So I think that the force that was used in Libya against their own people was absolutely unjustifiable.”
 
euronews:
 
“There are reports that say that Iran is using oppression against protesters and against the opposition.”
 
Salehi:
 
“There is a tremendous difference and a basic difference between the two. There may be manipulated protests from some people in the street.”
 
euronews:
 
“Who is manipulating who?”
 
Salehi:
 
“I think the Europeans, probably the Western governments, are making this comparison. There are absolutely no grounds for comparison. For example, if you want to speak about protests and demonstrations, a few months ago there were demonstrations in France. You have demonstrations all over the world.”
 
euronews:
 
“But, there is no relation between what happened in France and what is happening in the Arab world or in Tehran. Are you saying there are a conspiracy theories coming from Europe?”
 
Salehi

“No.  What I am saying is that the few protests that we saw in Tehran and other parts of Iran are manipulated.”
 
euronews:
 
“But in Iran, there are arrests of opposition leaders.”
 
Salehi

“No, we have not done this. Those gentlemen you refer to are in their homes, they are living ordinary lives.”
 
euronews:
 
“Some reports say that they are under arrest and  unable to move about freely in Tehran.”
 
Salehi:
 
“No, this is what I heard on the news today. We do not do such things. We refute these claims.”
 
euronews:
 
“Their houses are under surveillance in Tehran.“ 
 
Salehi:
 
“They are in their homes. As I said, every country enjoys its own rules and regulations. There is the rule of law. Even in European countries people are prevented from going against the rule of law. Nobody can take the law into their own hands.”
 
euronews:
 
“Reports concerning Mehdi Karoubi and Hussein Moussavi say that they have taken to an unknown location.”
 
Salehi:
 
“I have no information about that. To the best of my knowledge, they are at their homes. They are always moving from one place to another. They are free to visit their families. They may have made their own decision to move.”
 
euronews:
 
“Nobody knows where they are. Their families don’t know where they are.”
 
Salehi

“As I said, in Tehran we have only had the manipulated protests of a few people.”
 
euronews:
 
“Journalists and reporters can not work easily in Tehran or other Iranian cities.”
 
Salehi

“No, I do not agree with this. There may be some cases where people on the street have taken the law into their hands and have created some limitations, but this is not the policy of the country. The media is free. I mean, we have the most free media in the Middle East.”
 
euronews:
 
“But, for example, cutting Twitter, Facebook and the internet, and stopping communication between families in Tehran, what does all this mean?”
 
Salehi:
 
“OK, sometimes when you have protests, even in the West, when you want to control a protest, what do you do? It was in England a few months ago when students had some demonstrations. Did the security forces in England and the police provide the students with cakes and food or something? I mean they, the police, had the responsibility of controlling the protests that were beyond rule of law.
 
euronews:
 
“There are concerns in Israel and the Israeli prime minister has said that Iranian warships off the coast of Syria is a provocative operation.”
 
Salehi
 
“I would say that this is about Iranophobia. Israeli officials always make such comments. But the countries in the region know very well about the intentions of Iran. We have always trusted and been a very good friend to governments in the region. That is a training mission.”
 
euronews:
 
“But, for example, the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said it is a dangerous matter.”
 
Salehi:
 
“Well, this is his own impression. They always make such statements which have nothing to do with the reality.”
 
euronews: 
 
“Does this mean that there is something hidden behind that operation?”
 
Salehi:
 
“No, there is nothing secret about this mission. We have stated this and I have said it over and over. This was only for the purposes of training.”
 
euronews:
 
“There are fears that the ships may carry weapons  from Iran to Syria.”
 
Salehi:
 
“No. We have said explicitly that the ships did not carry any military weapons.”
 
euronews:
 
“What do you say about accusations that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons?”
 
Salehi:
 
“We absolutely refute that. Our supreme leader, who enjoys a religious position, has made a decree which is both religious and governmental. The decree states that the holding of nuclear weapons, production of nuclear weapons and use of nuclear weapons is against the principles of our religion.
 
euronews:
 
“Israel is saying that you are only one year away from  producing your first atomic bomb.”
 
Salehi:
 
“Well, they have been saying this. Some say about a year, others says two years, or three years.  There are different speculations in order to make other countries in the region frightened of Iran. We refute this. If we had the intention of making an atomic bomb we would not shy away from it. Why should we shy away from it? We have remained a faithful member of the NPT (Non Proliferation Treaty), we believe in the integrity of the NPT, and we insist on the fact that the production of atomic bombs is against tenets of Islam.”
 
euronews:
 
“Why is Iran not cooperating with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)?”
 
Salehi:
 
“This is what I am saying.  We have very good cooperation with the agency and the agency has explicitly stated this in their report – this last report.  We have inspectors in my country 24 hours, cameras are working, we have resident inspectors. We opened up our nuclear installations to outside visitors from all over the world.”
 
euronews: 
 
“It is not the case in Natanz, for example.”
 
Salehi:
 
“Excuse me?”
 
euronews: 
 
“Natanz doesn’t have cameras.”
 
Salehi:
 
“You can come if you want. If you come and see the cameras, please show it on euronews.”