Japan ready to mediate in Iranian nuclear issue: academic

November 13, 2007

TEHRAN - Naoki Tanaka, the president of the Japanese Center for International Public Policy Studies, said here on Monday that Japan is prepared to mediate between Iran and the United States to help resolve Iran’s nuclear standoff with the West.

In a meeting with Tehran Times and Mehr News Agency Managing Director Parviz Esmaeili, Tanaka said imposing sanctions on Iran runs counter to Japan’s national interests.
Since Japan enjoys good relations with Iran and the United States, it has the potential to mediate between the two countries to help resolve the remaining differences over the nuclear issue, he added.
He emphasized that Iran has the inalienable right to utilize nuclear technology and expressed regret over certain powers’ double standards toward Iran’s nuclear dossier.
Tanaka also proposed the establishment of a neutral international organization tasked with “eliminating nuclear weapons” and supporting peaceful nuclear studies of the world’s scientists, without any political biases.
He said that negotiation is the only way to resolve the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program.
The leaders of the U.S., Russia, and other world powers should know that no matter how advanced their military equipment is, they should not give up searching for a diplomatic settlement of the nuclear row, he stated.
“Power without wisdom is destructive,” he noted.
Japan is interested in expanding its relations with the Islamic Republic, but UN Security Council resolutions and the United States’ unilateral sanctions against Iran are the major obstacles blocking efforts to develop bilateral relations, he said.
“I know that over the course of history, the Iranian nation has repeatedly witnessed the betrayal of European countries, including the 5+1 group,” he said, adding that Japan can provide Iran with the guarantees necessary to allow it to exercise its inalienable nuclear rights.
Tanaka also predicted a bright future for the two countries’ scientific advancement through peaceful nuclear cooperation.
Although weapons of mass destruction have proven ineffective, the United States is still continuing efforts to manufacture and stockpile such weapons, and this is a problem countries such as Iran and Japan can resolve through constructive cooperation, he stated.
For his part, Esmaeili called for the expansion of intellectual cooperation between the two countries.
He underlined Iran’s inalienable right to utilize peaceful nuclear technology and agreed with Tanaka’s view that weapons of mass destruction are ineffective in the modern world.
“If a nuclear bomb could provide a country security, the former Soviet Union would not have collapsed, and the 17,000 nuclear warheads in the United States could have prevented events like 9/11,” he observed.
Most of the 5+1 group countries (five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) have betrayed the Iranian nation over the course of history and have never been “loyal to the contracts” they have signed with the Islamic Republic, and thus the Iranian nation cannot trust their promises and cannot ignore their previous political actions, he added.
Over the past 20 years, the Western powers have imposed many sanctions on the Islamic Republic and have never contributed to the country’s scientific progress, and their double standards compel countries to conduct clandestine activities, he said.
When certain Western powers support a country like Israel in its efforts to manufacture a nuclear bomb, despite the fact that it does not accept the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the same powers try to deprive Iran of peaceful nuclear technology, although it has allowed IAEA inspectors to perform unprecedented inspections of its nuclear installations, they encourage other countries to escape IAEA supervision and think about conducting clandestine activities, he stated.
Esmaeili added that the United States promotes insecurity in the world.
The Bush administration is creating the “atmosphere of animosity” in the international community, he stated.
Tanaka said his country is making efforts to establish an international research center working for the total eradication of weapons of mass destruction.
“We should rid the whole world of weapons of mass destruction. The more such weapons are proliferated, the greater the possibility that terrorists will gain access to them,” the professor noted.
If uranium enrichment is developed with the purpose of making atomic bombs, international security will be threatened, he said.
Esmaeili said atomic weapons are not a threat to politicians but it is the people who will lose their lives if they are used, as happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the “destruction of these weapons is a ‘sacred goal’ for both of us.”
The Tehran Times managing director also praised Japan, saying that despite the fact that it has had a uranium enrichment program for about forty years, it has never made efforts to produce nuclear weapons.
“The Japan experience proves that intentions should be controlled in the world, and not the tools and technology.
“A mechanism can be devised according to which all countries can conduct enrichment activities but never move toward (the production of) weapons of mass destruction.”
Emphasizing the importance of clean energy in light of the global warming problem, he stated that the U.S. is seeking to monopolize energy production in order to expand its domination of the world.
Japan’s political clout not commensurate with its economic power
Esmaeili also criticized Japan for not being actively involved in international developments. He stated that economic power shapes international relations, but Japan, which is the second largest economy in the world, is not the second most important political player in the world.
“Japan can move beyond the East Asia region, and it can play the role of the second or even the most important country in the world.”
Muslims’ positive view of Japan
Generally, Muslim nations have a positive view of Japan and regard the Japanese as a civilized nation that does not seek to dominate the region, Esmaeili noted.
However, Tokyo has not been able to take advantage of this situation and U.S. corporations, whose government is the most hated by Muslim people, have captured Islamic markets, he said.
Nevertheless, Washington is still not happy about the expansion of Japan’s trade ties with Islamic countries, he added.
Tanaka asked Esmaeili if only certain (conservative) officials advise the Supreme Leader on foreign policy issues.
Esmaeili responded, “Iran’s foreign policy is independent from local political factions.
“He has different advisors. For example, Dr. Ali Akbar Velayati, who served as Iran’s foreign minister for 16 years, and Dr. Kamal Kharrazi who was foreign minister in the government of Mohammad Khatami and has been appointed chairman of the Strategic Center for Foreign Policy by him (the Leader).”
Tanaka said Tokyo views Iran as a friendly state and making use of Iran’s energy resources is a priority for Japan