TEHRAN – Prominent American intellectual and political activist Noam Chomsky has said that the United States has been refusing to enter into serious diplomacy with Iran.
He made the remarks during an interview with the Russian television network, RT, when asked whether he sees the U.S. policy changing toward Iran.
Following are excerpts of the interview published on RT website on Thursday:
The real issue is what will happen in the United States. The way the issue is presented in the United States, and most of the West. There is plenty to criticize in Iran but the real issue is quite different. It’s the refusal of the West, primarily of the United States, to enter into serious diplomacy with Iran. And as far as Iran violating the will of the international community; that depends on a very special definition of international community which is standard in the West where the term means the United States and anybody who goes along with it. So if the international community includes the world then the story is quite different. For example the non-aligned countries, which is most of the world’s population, have vigorously supported Iran’s right to enrich uranium – still do.
The nearby region, in the Arab world, Arabs… do not regard Iran as a threat, a very small percentage regard Iran as a threat. The threats they perceive are the United States and Israel, so they are not part of the world as far as “international community” is concerned but it’s a western obsession. Are there are ways to deal with it, whatever one takes a threat to be? Sure, there are ways.
So for example in 2010 there was a very positive advance that could have mitigated whatever the threat is supposed to be. Turkey and Brazil reached a deal with Iran in which Iran would ship out its low-enriched uranium in exchange for storage in Turkey, and in return the west would provide isotopes for Iran’s medical reactors. As soon as that was announced Brazil and Turkey were bitterly condemned by Washington and by the media, which more or less reflexively follow what Washington says. The Brazilian government was pretty upset by this, so much so that the Brazilian foreign minister released a letter from President Obama to the president of Brazil in which Obama had proposed this assuming that Iran would turn it down. When Iran accepted, of course he had to denounce it and Obama went right to the Security Council to try to get harsher sanctions. Well that’s one case.
There’s a more recent one that is even more interesting. Last December there was supposed to be an international conference in Finland to carry forward longstanding efforts to establish a zone free of nuclear weapons, all weapons of mass destruction in fact, in the Middle East. This is under the auspices of the proliferation treaty, basically the UN. Well it was to be in December, it didn’t happen. The first thing that happened is that Israel announced they wouldn’t participate. Then everyone who was interested was waiting to see if Iran would participate. Iran said they would participate with no conditions. Immediately Obama called off the conference, giving the reasons which are the official Israeli reasons: You can’t have a conference until there is a regional peace settlement. Of course in the background you can’t have a regional peace settlement until the U.S. and Israel stop blocking the international consensus on an Israel/Palestine agreement – as they are doing and have been for 35 years. So no meeting. The Arab countries who have pressed for this for a long time said they’re going to go ahead with this anyway but of course you can’t without U.S. support. The European parliament passed a resolution calling for a quick renewal of the initiative Russia supported it. People in the United States have done almost nothing about it for a very simple reason: not a word about this has appeared in the American press, literally. You can read about it in arms control journals or international affairs journals or in things that I write or in things on the fringe. But the press is silent about it, so no pressure. Well, could that have succeeded? Maybe. There could have been steps toward mitigating the crisis. I won’t go through the record but this goes pretty far back. As long as the West, following the U.S. lead refuses to accept a negotiated diplomatic solution the situation can be very serious.
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