A senior adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader has told euronews that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s presidency has effectively come to an end with more than a year to go before the scheduled election.
After parliamentary elections earlier this month, Mohammad-Javad Larijani said the west should recognise that Iran has a new kind of democracy and defended the country’s controversial nuclear programme.
He reacted to the recent meeting between the leaders of Israel and the United States, where the possibility of military action against Iranian nuclear installations was discussed.
Mohammad-Javad Larijani, the Secretary General of the Iran High Council For Human Rights speaks to euronews reporter Jon Davies.
Mohammad-Javad Larijani: “Putting myself in the place of the American people, it will be a bit disgraceful because to catch the heart of the American people to get the office, it seems that people are first going to get the heart of Netanyahu and AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee) instead of the heart of the people.
“It was a distraction from the mainstream issues that American politicians are confonting. Iran’s nuclear programme is so transparent, everybody knows the reality of that. So my reaction is that it was a political set-up to distract the attention of the people from focusing on economic issues which are very hard to resolve. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have any viable programme to answer (the problems). But anyhow, this accursed discussion of violence against a nation is unprecedented.”
Jon Davies, euronews: “You say the nuclear programme is transparent, but even the Russians have said recently that Iran must keep its promise to allow international inspectors access to the nuclear programme, which didn’t happen earlier in February when the mission from the IAEA came back empty-handed having said that they were being refused and blocked along the way. Where is the transparency?”
Mohammad-Javad Larijani: “Monitoring is continuous over there. The cameras are there. The people are going. And, well, ‘empty-handed’ is a bad word if they used it, because it depends on how they defined their mission. Obviously they should define their mission beforehand. They cannot wave their hands and say: ‘I want to go there and watch it’.”
euonews: “But in a transparent system, that would happen wouldn’t it?”
Mohammad-Javad Larijani: “Even in a transparent system, it doesn’t mean that they can give a telephone call and say they want to go to that place. We agreed to transparency fully-fledged. But the equation has two sides. Transparency is expected from us, we expect co-operation from the other side. We should have access to all non-military [aspects] of nuclear activities. We should have the ability to enjoy the cooperation of other states. We are deprived of all of that and they unilaterally ask Iran to be transparent. It is so inconsistent.
euronews: “So it sounds to me like you’re saying there is not complete transparency, because you’re not getting the other side of the coin…”
Mohammad-Javad Larijani: “No in fact, I want to say that transparency is on a spectrum. It depends on what time, what thing is catching the eyes of the monitors. For the nuclear reactor in Tehran, which we use to produce drugs and medical treatments for cancer patients, obviously we should be able to buy 20 per cent enriched [uranium].
Well, first they said we should swap it. We said: ‘Fine.’ They said: ‘No, you should give all of your minimally enriched [uranium].’ It doesn’t make sense. We want to use a nuclear reactor in Tehran which is totally for medical treatment.
So [we said]: ‘OK, forget about it, we made it and we used it.’
“These are bad habits of the United States. We do not accept the leadership of the USA. This is an absolutely failed story. But they can treat us like any other sovereign state, fantastic! We can talk, we can deal, we can give and take. We can do a lot of things, but no orders. This leadership may be accepted by Germany, by Sarkozy and others, but definitely not by the Iranians.
“The basic issue is obvious. Iran is emerging as an influential power in the region, with a different social-political system. We have our own democracy, not based on a secular liberal system but based on Islamic rationality. And this experience which has been going for more than three decades is turning Iran from the stooges of the United States to a leading country in the area with the most advanced level of science and technology.”
euronews: “Could you explain that democracy, when opposition leaders are being held in detention and many candidates are not allowed to take part in an election. What kind of democracy is that?”
Mohammad-Javad Larijani: “First of all, the opposition in Iran, I mean the reformists in Iran have about 40 seats in parliament. Those who are in jail are definitely not there because of their political views. It’s because they’re acting outside the legal structure. To act in a civil society, we should respect the laws even if they don’t like the laws. In Iran if somebody denies God or denies the legality of the Islamic system, then why should he be able to participate in an election, which by oath, is intended that somebody should come and work for the Islamic system.
euronews: “Are you suggesting that Mirhossein Mousavi or Mehdi Karoubi have denied the existence of God?”
Mohammad-Javad Larijani: “No, I’m suggesting that they participated in a coup d’etat against this state in the last election. It was not a campaign for the election. They misused the election euphoria and at the end, even before the results came out they announced themselves as the winners and they asked the people to come onto the streets, bring the government down and create a new government. This is, absolutely, a coup d’etat. This is a great crime.”
euronews: “Have they been tried for it?”
Mohammad-Javad Larijani: “Well, they are under surveillance and the dossiers against them are being compiled. In fact the government and establishment wants to play with them with soft hands. It is not in the interests of such a great nation with confidence in its power to treat their mistake with the maximum penalty. The system wants to try them with minimum penalty.”
euronews: “Where does President Ahmadinejad stand now after the elections? Where is his powerbase now?”
Mohammad-Javad Larijani:“President Ahmadinejad is finishing his second term, so ‘c’est la fin’ for the presidency. Obviously, according to the constitution, he cannot run again, so we are concentrating on the next election to pick among the candidates, and rally behind one of them and perhaps we’ll be successful.”