February 4, 2009
Financial Times

Iran Says US Must Accept Nuclear Programme

by Roula Khalaf and Najmeh Bozorgmehr

A senior adviser to Iran's president says dialogue with the US will succeed only if the Obama administration accepts Tehran's right to have a nuclear programme.

Mojtaba Samareh-Hashemi, right-hand man to Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, the fundamentalist president, said, in an interview with the Financial Times, Tehran was studying its options, just as the new US administration was reviewing its Iran policy.

The US hopes to engage with Iran and persuade the country to halt its uranium enrichment activities, the most sensitive part of the nuclear programme, and withdraw its support for militant groups in the region.

The launch of a homemade Iranian satellite on Tuesday further raised concerns among western powers that Iran was accelerating its development of ballistic missile technology.

But Iran too has a list of demands requiring US policy shifts.

On some issues - such as the removal of US troops from Iraq and stabilising Afghanistan - Iran and the US can find common ground.

Others, particularly Iran's claim that its nuclear programme is peaceful in nature and so advanced that it has become a fact on the ground, could prove the two sides' differences are irreconcilable. . . .


Enver Masud, "Iran Has an 'Inalienable Right' to Nuclear Energy," The Wisdom Fund, January 16, 2006

Gordon Prather, "Iran's Sisyphean Task,", March 1, 2008

"Israel Prodding U.S. To Attack Iran," CBS News, June 24, 2008

Robert Tait, "Iran launches first homemade satellite," Guardian, February 3, 2009

Leonard Doyle, "UK and US put Iran at heart of the agenda," Independent, February 4, 2009

[Scowcroft replied that his brief to the Iranians would begin this way: "First, that we're aware you live in a dangerous region, and we're prepared to discuss a regional security framework. . . . Second, whether or not you want nuclear weapons, you're proceeding on a course that psychologically destabilizes the whole region. It is dangerous. It will bring about a counterreaction. And let's work on this security framework. You don't need nuclear weapons."

Brzezinski said he agreed and added: "The only way we can accomplish [mutual security] is by sitting together and figuring out some mechanism whereby you achieve what you say you want, which is a peaceful nuclear program, and we achieve what we need, which is a real sense of security that it's not going to go any further."--David Ignatius, "An Obama A-Team for Iran," Washington Post, February 5, 2009]

[Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi said in Tehran on Wednesday, "Iran has no plans to stop its nuclear activity. At its forthcoming meeting, the 'Iran Six' should draw up a logical approach and accept the fact that Iran is a nuclear state."

NATO is scrambling. It must somehow reduce dependence on Pakistani supply routes, which are currently used for ferrying about 80% of supplies. The irony cannot be lost on onlookers. NATO seeks an Iranian route when Tehran is demanding a US troop pullout from Afghanistan.--M K Bhadrakumar, "Moscow, Tehran force the US's hand," Asia Times, February 6, 2009]

Haroon Siddique, "Ahmadinejad says Iran ready to talk to US," Guardian, February 10, 2009

[UN officials cautioned that there remained many practical obstacles to the production of a bomb, and pointed out that the uranium was under close surveillance, and the report issued by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Iran appeared to have slowed down the rate at which its uranium enrichment capacity is expanding.--Julian Borger, "Iran has enriched enough uranium to make bomb, IAEA says," Guardian, February 19, 2009]

Will Hide, "Iran: the friendliest people in the world," Times, February 21, 2009

Richard M Bennett, "A reality check on Iran and the 'bomb'," Asia Times, February 28, 2009

[The US swing towards a Manichaean vision of pro-western moderation versus Islamist extremism has taken regional polarisation well beyond Ben-Gurion's more modest objective of creating a balance of forces and deterrence. In their aim to break the resistance throughout the Muslim world to a secular, liberal vision for the future, the US and its European allies have instead provoked mass mobilisation against their own project, as well as radicalisation and hostility to the West.--Alastair Cooke, "The strange tale of Iran and Israel," Le Monde diplomatique, February 2009]

[ . . . the report omits any mention of the universally accepted view - accidentally confirmed by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in a December 2006 interview - that Israel already has nuclear weapons which may have had destabilising consequences of their own.--Jim Lobe, "Call to 'Resist and Deter' Nuclear Iran Gains Key Support," Inter Press Service, March 7, 2009]

back button