Sanctions on Iran not effecting nuclear position
Iran-UN, Politics, 7/2/2007
The spokesperson of European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana dismissed today a western news agency report on statements attributed to Solana as "wrong interpretation." "It is wrong interpretation of what he said," Cristina Gallach said in Brussels this evening. She was referring to news report statement saying "Solana suggests Iran behind Gaza and Lebanon attacks." "We don't deal with suggestions. We are not in a business of suggestions. People take out sentences out of context to spin," noted Gallach.
During a conference today, Solana referred only once to Iran in relation with the recent interview by Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani who told the US magazine Newsweek that Hamas and Hizbullah were not terrorist groups and that Iran supports the two groups.
"The European Union foreign policy chief suggested on Monday that Iran could be linked to the Hamas military takeover of Gaza, recent on the Lebanese army, and on European peacekeepers in Lebanon," claimed a news report "Mr. Solana did not make any links. He didn't' say so," stated Gallach.
Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has said that Iran is ready to continue its nuclear talks within the next three weeks, telling the Arab-language news channel Al-Jazeera broadcast Sunday evening that the best way out of the nuclear standoff was to "return Iran nuclear case from the United Nations Security Council to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)."
Mottaki said "The (nuclear) talks should be supported by all sides."
He noted that the talks should focus on two major axes: Iran's commitment to its peaceful nuclear activities and its not opting for nuclear weapons, and recognizing Iran's right to acquire peaceful nuclear technology.
"Taking into consideration these two principles will help continue nuclear talks," Mottaki stressed.
As for the reaction of the Iranian people after imposition of economic sanctions against the country for its peaceful nuclear program, Mottaki said, "Iran's nuclear program is completely supported by all Iranians both inside and outside the country." Mottaki added that all Iranians surely "favor a peaceful solution to the nuclear case but they would stand against anyone who intends to create any problem for the country."
"The history of Iran has shown that Iranians stay united when it comes to defending their country," Mottaki stressed.
Iran has announced a rationing program for gasoline. US Department Of State Spokesman Sean McCormack said today that even though international sanctions on Iran have caused financial difficulties for the Iranian government, the United States and others "are working hard to make sure that the costs of these sanctions aren't borne primarily by the Iranian people."
The sanctions appear to have "made it more difficult for the Iranian government to engage in illicit activities” and “raised some of the costs for the Iranian government operating in the international financial system." McCormack said the sanctions are due to the Iranian government's "failure to cooperate with the international system," adding "If they continue in that sort of defiance of the international system, you're going to see more of these sanctions and there are going to be more costs to the Iranian government."
Today, US National Security Advisor Steve Hadley was asked about the Bush meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin if Hadley felt confident after this summit that Russia will support tougher sanctions in Iran. Hadley said "I think the Russian President said publicly that we're really -- they are continuing to be in agreement with a two-track policy that we need to pursue in the UN Security Council tougher -- an additional UN Security Council resolution that would have additional sanctions. There has been some discussion of what the elements of that -- at the same time, of course, is the door remains open for the conversations with Larijani and Solana to bear fruit. That door is open. As the President made clear, we are very supportive of the Iranian people. We think Iran should have a peaceful nuclear civil energy program. We have no problem with that. We simply have to have assurances that this does not give rise to a nuclear weapon program."
He added "And so I think both Presidents are on the same wavelength, in terms of a two-track: further sanctions and pressure from the U.N. Security Council, and at the same time, trying to find if there isn't some kind of negotiated solution."
Asked "How concerned did you find, or did the President find Mr. Putin about Iran? Is there -- do you share with Russia the same concerns we see in the United States? Do they share the same concerns as you?"
Hadley replied "I do. I think they do. I think they see it very much the same way. I've said that before. And if you listen to the leaders as they talk about it, it's very much the same. This is a serious problem for them and for us. In some sense, it's even more serious to them, since Iran is much closer to them than to the United States."
It is worth noting that despite US portrayal of the Russian position over this prolonged period of the Iranian nuclear issue, Russia has taken a much more reserved role than that portrayed and hoped for by the US, and it along with China had opposed strong sanctions on Iran.
UK's Guardian Unlimited reported about the meeting saying that "Although the two presidents may have narrowed the gap yesterday, there is still no agreement on the detail, which will be fought over at meetings of the security council. The US wants Iran's neighbors and other countries to intercept cargo heading for Iran that might contain nuclear technology and to freeze the assets of several Iranian banks, but Moscow has yet to agree."
Meantime, a UN nuclear watchdog team would arrive in Iran within the next few days to discuss ways to settle remaining issues on Iran's nuclear case, said a senior Foreign Ministry official Sunday.
"The two-month visit to Iran of the technical and expert team of the International Atomic Energy Agency will take place in line with talks held between Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani and the IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini.
H described as "positive" Iran's cooperation with the IAEA and said, "The move shows Iran's goodwill. Tehran is serious about whatever it has announced."
He said the visit to Tehran of a Russian contractor of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran would take place to discuss the remaining issues on completion of Bushehr power plant, in
the southern province of Bushehr.
He stated that construction of Bushehr power plant has been completed by 95 percent, adding, "The visit is aimed at completing the remaining five percent." Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini said yesterday Iran is ready to study all plans and proposals which would guarantee its rights.
"Any idea has its own points of weakness and strength which should be studied more technically," he said.
Asked about a new plan recently presented by Western media and European officials on Iran's nuclear case, he said, "It has been discussed in previous talks between Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani and the EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana." He added, "The plan which has been recently raised by certain media and European officials is not something new. It is the same timeout plan (simultaneous suspension) whose various angles have been raaised (by the media)."
Hosseini, however, reiterated, "The issue has been discussed in previous talks between Larijani and Solana. It will be discussed in future talks, if necessary."
He said, "The plan has not been presented just by Britain, rather certain other countries have also raised it.
"Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei, has also raised it in his remarks." In response to a question whether the offer is the outcome of conditioning agreements between Larijani and ElBaradei on a political understanding between Larijani and Solana, the spokesman stated, "There is no link between these issues."
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Nuclear Safeguards Director Olli Heinonen will arrive in Tehran on July 11 to discuss Iran's nuclear case.
Iran's representative to the IAEA, Ali-Asghar Soltaniyeh, has said Heinonen is to offer a working agenda to Iran on the basis of which questions on Iran's nuclear case will be raised and responded.
Head of Majlis Commission on National Security and Foreign Policy Alaeddin Boroujerdi said on Saturday that the so-called "time out" proposal is not suitable to settle the nuclear dispute.
"The time-out proposal had been offered by some governments, but, Iran has rejected it so far."
The time-out proposal had called for enrichment suspension in return for a halt to economic sanctions on Iran.
On possible shift in UK diplomacy towards Iran's peaceful nuclear program, he said, "We should wait and see what kind of shift the new British government will make in this regard."
He recalled the public grievances in Britain about the former government's hostile attitude toward Iran, saying that the former prime minister Tony Blair was under sharp criticism of the British people over Iraq war and its conduct of Iranian nuclear program.
He expressed the hope that the new UK government to adopt rational approach in dealing with international developments.
Meantime, Iran as a signatory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is entitled to attaining peaceful nuclear energy, a visiting Iranian envoy to Japan said on Friday.
The Deputy Foreign Minister for Asia Pacific and Commonwealth Independent States (CIS) Affairs Mehdi Safari added that all NPT member states are entitled to making use of civilian nuclear technology, thus, the international community should respect Iran's right in this respect.
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