|Iran sees no benefit in developing nuclear weapons: Zarif||
TEHRAN – In an exclusive interview with NBC News, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that Iran sees no benefit in developing nuclear weapons.
David Gregory’s extended conversation with Zarif was scheduled to air on Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Zarif said, “Iran is not seeking nuclear weapons” because he believes “nuclear weapons reduce countries’ influence in our region.”
Following is a transcript of the interview:
Q: But you won’t commit to a specific number of centrifuges. Another way of saying that is you won’t commit to dismantling a bulk of your capacity.
A: No, I will commit to everything and anything that would provide credible assurances for the international community that Iran is not seeking nuclear weapons, because we are not. We don’t see any benefit in Iran developing a nuclear weapon.
Q: How could you not see a benefit? I mean, you’re a Shia state surrounded by Sunni states, many of whom are your enemies. You know full well the deterrent factor that a nuclear country like Pakistan can wield in the international community. You can have more of the influence regionally. Cynics would say, “Why wouldn’t you want to have a nuclear weapon?”
A: Actually, all these calculations are wrong. In fact we need to go out of our way in order to convince our neighbors that we want to live in peace and tranquility with them, because the politics of geography -- the fact that we’re bigger, the fact that we’re stronger, that we’re more populous, the fact that we have a better technology, the fact that our human resources is by far more developed than most of our neighbors -- all of these provide us with inherent areas of strength that we don’t need to augment with other capabilities.
Q: But if that’s the case --
A: That is why nobody considers our neighbors in Pakistan as a stronger force in the region than Iran, simply because they have nuclear weapons. In fact, I believe nuclear weapons reduce countries’ influence in our region. It doesn’t help anybody. The fact that everybody in the international community believes that mutual assured destruction -- that is the way the United States, Russia and others, seek peace and security through having the possibility of destroying each other 100 times over is simply mad.
And that is why I do not believe that you need to inculcate this mentality that nuclear weapons make anybody safe. Have they made Pakistan safe? Have they made Israel safe? Have they made the United States safe? Have they made Russia safe? All these countries are susceptible. Now you have proof that nuclear weapons or no amount of military power makes you safe. So we need to live in a different paradigm. And that’s what we are calling for.
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