West should stop seeking pretexts to pressure Iran: Khatami

November 20, 2007

TEHRAN -- Former president Mohammad Khatami has said that the West especially the U.S. should stop seeking excuses to pressure Iran for its peaceful nuclear program.

In an interview with the London-based daily Al-Hayat published on Monday, Khatami criticized the Western powers’ efforts to mount pressure on Iran, saying that referring Iran’s nuclear dossier to the UN Security Council was a mistake.
On the recent report by IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei about Iran’s nuclear activities, Khatami said, “The report contained positive points and I believe that the Iranians and the International Atomic Energy Agency have developed cooperation in a logical manner and achieved the desired results. However, the report also included some negative points and ambiguities which can provide a path for those who are seeking a pretext to prevent a diplomatic settlement of the nuclear issue.”
A report issued by the UN nuclear watchdog on Thursday confirmed the transparency of Iran’s nuclear program and said it found Tehran to be generally truthful about key aspects of its nuclear history.
Iran has repeatedly announced that it has no intention to deviate from the “peaceful path” in its nuclear drive, he said, adding that the nuclear dispute should be resolved peacefully under the supervision of the IAEA.
Asked whether fear of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction provides an excuse to step up pressure on Iran, Khatami said, “No doubt there is a fear of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, but why should Iran tolerate this pressure? Iran has repeatedly declared that it is prepared to cooperate with the IAEA and the international community. The Islamic Republic has no intention of moving toward the production of nuclear weapons, but we see that Israel possesses nuclear arms.”
If the West really intends to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons, it should first eliminate those arms which already have been manufactured, he added.