Iranian Statement on Its Nuclear Program

August 28, 2006

On July 31, Javad Zarif, permanent representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran, issued a statement on the U.N. Security Council's passage of Resolution 1696 which demanded that Iran suspend its uranium enrichment program by August 31 or face sanctions. Below we print excerpts from this statement.

In my letter of 28 July 2006, I had requested to be given an opportunity to speak before the Council takes action, so that the Council would be appraised - for the first time, of the views of the concerned party before it adopts a decision. You may recall that my previous request to speak before the Council, when it adopted its Presidential Statement on March 29th, had also been denied. It is indeed indicative of the degree of transparency and fairness, that the Security Council has adopted a presidential statement and a resolution without even allowing the views of the concerned party to be heard.

This is not the first time that Iran's endeavors to stand on its own feet and make technological advances have faced the stiff resistance and concerted pressure of some powers permanently represented in the Security Council. In fact, contemporary Iran has been subject to numerous injustices and prejudicial approaches by these powers. The Iranian people's struggle to nationalize their oil industry was touted, in a draft resolution submitted on 12 October 1951 by the United Kingdom and supported by the United States and France, as a threat to international peace and security. That draft resolution preceded a coup d'etat, organized by the US and the UK - in a less veiled attempt to restore their short-sighted interests. More recently, Saddam Hussein's aggression against the Islamic Republic of Iran on 22 September 1980, and his swift advancement to occupy 30000 sq. kilometers of Iranian territory, did not trouble the same permanent members of the Security Council enough to consider it a threat against international peace and security, or even to make the routine call for a cease-fire and withdrawal.

And over the past several weeks, this august body has been prevented from moving to stop the massive aggression against the Palestinian and Lebanese people and the resulting terrible humanitarian crisis. . . .

Likewise, the Security Council has been prevented from reacting to the daily threats of resort to force against Iran, even the threat of using nuclear weapons, uttered at the highest levels by the US, UK8 and the lawless Israeli regime in violation of Article 2(4) of the Charter.

On the other hand, in the past few years, a few big powers have spared no effort in turning the Security Council, or the threat of resorting to it, into a tool for attempting to prevent Iran from exercising its inalienable right to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, recognized explicitly under the NPT.

The people and Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran are determined to exercise their inalienable right to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes and to build on their own scientific advances in developing various peaceful aspects of this technology. At the same time, as the only victims of the use of weapons of mass destruction in recent history, they reject the development and use of all these inhuman weapons on ideological as well as strategic grounds. The Leader of the Islamic Republic has issued a public and categorical religious decree against the development, production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons. Iran has also clearly and continuously stressed that nuclear weapons have no place in its military doctrine. The President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in his statement before the General Assembly last September, also underlined Iran's fundamental rejection of nuclear weapons, as well as the need to strengthen and revitalize the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

In order to dispel any doubt about our peaceful nuclear program, we enabled the IAEA to carry out a series of inspections that amounts to the most robust inspection of any IAEA Member State. It included more than 2000 inspector-days of scrutiny in the past 3 years; the signing of the Additional Protocol on 18 December 2003 and implementing it immediately until 6 February 2006; the submission of more than 1000 pages of declaration under the Additional Protocol; allowing over 53 instances of complementary access to different sites across the country; and permitting inspectors to investigate baseless allegations by taking the unprecedented step of providing repeated access to military sites.

Consequently, all reports by the IAEA since November 2003 have been indicative of the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program. In November 2003 and in the wake of sensational media reports on the so-called 18-years of concealment by Iran, the Agency confirmed that "to date, there is no evidence that the previously undeclared nuclear material and activities were related to a nuclear weapons program."

Iran's peaceful nuclear program poses no threat to international peace and security, and therefore dealing with this issue in the Security Council is unwarranted and void of any legal basis or practical utility.

Today's proposed action by this Council - which is the culmination of those efforts aimed at making the suspension of uranium enrichment mandatory - violates the fundamental principles of international law, the Non-Proliferation Treaty and IAEA Board resolutions. It also runs counter to the views of the majority of UN member states, which the Security Council is obliged to represent.

Iran's right to enrich uranium is recognized under the NPT. And upholding the rights of State-parties to international treaties is as essential as ensuring respect for their obligations. These regimes, including the NPT, are sustained by a balance between rights and obligations. Threats will not sustain the NPT or other international regimes. Ensuring that members can draw rightful benefits from membership and non-members are not rewarded for their intransigence does.

Yet exactly the opposite is the trend today. Today we are witness to an extremely dangerous trend; while members of the NPT are denied their rights and are punished, those who defy the NPT, particularly the perpetrators of current carnage in Lebanon and Palestine, are rewarded by generous nuclear cooperation agreements. This goes so far that when it suits the US, even the acquisition of nuclear weapons for non-NPT members becomes "legitimate" to quote the US Ambassador. . . .

It is pertinent to ask: what is the motive behind this long standing urge of some permanent members to bring Iran before the Security Council and the current rush? Is it anything other than pressure and coercion? I would suggest to you that this approach will not lead to any productive outcome, and in fact it can only exacerbate the situation. The people and Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran are not seeking confrontation and have always shown their readiness to engage in serious and result-oriented negotiations based on mutual respect and equal footing. They have also shown, time and again, their resilience in the face of pressure, threat, injustice and imposition.