|Talks will succeed if West recognizes Iran’s right to nuclear energy: Larijani||
TEHRAN - Military action against Iran would be “highly costly” for the United States and threats issued by U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney are only campaign rhetoric and can be largely ignored, Iranian Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani told the Financial Times in an interview published on Saturday.
Romney has sought to portray himself as much tougher on Iran than President Barack Obama, but Larijani is unimpressed, saying the Republican candidate has the “little bit of wisdom” needed to understand the consequences of waging war on the Islamic Republic.
Speaking at his office in Tehran, Larijani lambasted U.S. policy in the Middle East as a catalogue of failures and said it made little difference who was in the White House.
“It is political systems in the U.S. which make decisions, not individuals,” he said, adding, “Mr. Obama swept to power and made promises which were not followed by actions. So, I do not think significant changes can happen.”
“What did he do for Palestine? Did he not go to Turkey and Egypt and promise to protect the rights of Muslims? (But) we have not seen any action to back up his promise of change. The Americans supported (former Egyptian president) Hosni Mubarak until his final moments (in power). The same with Tunisia’s (Zine El Abidine) Ben Ali and in Yemen (with Ali Abdullah Saleh).”
Elsewhere in his remarks, Larijani, 54, who was Iran’s top nuclear negotiator between 2005 and 2007, said that the success of nuclear talks with the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany) depended on Washington’s willingness to hold sincere discussions.
Larijani blamed the lack of progress in the talks on Western countries, saying that the negotiations would be helped if Washington put its public statements on recognition of Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear energy into writing.
“I assure you that these talks can be successful and help create more security in the region. But if they try to dissuade Iran from its rights to have peaceful nuclear technology, then they will not go anywhere – before or after the U.S. elections,” he said.
“Many times the U.S. president or secretary of state have said they recognize Iran’s right to nuclear energy. So, if (they) accept this, write it down and then we use it as a basis to push forward the talks… What they say during the talks is different from what they say outside the talks. This is a problem.”
Larijani repeated Iran’s position that it was interested only in “peaceful technologies”, adding, “We do not need (20 percent enriched uranium) now. But if we need (it), we may (produce it), or if we can buy it from other places, then we will not produce it.”
He also said that Iranian leaders had not discussed withdrawing from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), even though “there is this serious question” among Iranian “intellectuals” about the benefits of remaining a signatory to the treaty at a time when international pressure to scale back its nuclear program continues to mount on Tehran.
“The Israelis did not join the NPT, and they do not recognize the IAEA,” he said.
“They are doing what they want – producing nuclear bombs, and no one questions it,” Larijani stated.
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