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News | Atom Chief Slams IAEA, Reports Sabotage; Khamenei: I'm No Stalin

by MUHAMMAD SAHIMI

18 Sep 2012 11:35Comments

Press Roundup provides a selected summary of news from the Farsi and Arabic press and excerpts where the source is in English. Tehran Bureau has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy. Any views expressed are the authors' own. Please refer to the Media Guide to help put the stories in perspective. You can follow breaking news stories on our Twitter feed.

AbbasiDavaniViennaISNA.jpg11:35 a.m. IRDT, 28 Shahrivar/September 18 In a speech to the 56th Annual Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, Dr. Fereydoun Abbasi Davani, chief of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), accused the United Nations' nuclear watchdog agency of indifference to the assassination of Iranian scientists and insinuated that agency inspectors might have had foreknowledge of sabotage he said took place at the Fordow uranium enrichment facility last month.

After repeating Iran's official position that the production and use of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, are against Islamic teachings and that the country has thus foresworn them, he stated,

After the martyrdom of Dariush Rezaeinejad in the aftermath of the first anniversary of the assassination of Professor Majid Shahriari, and one day before the second anniversary of the assassination of Professor Masoud Ali Mohammadi, the agents of Zionism committed another crime and murdered Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan and his driver, Reza Ghashghaei, using a bomb that had been attached to their car. Over this time period, there were plans to assassinate members of our nuclear negotiation team and other scientists that were discovered by the Ministry of Intelligence and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, leading to the arrest of the [would be] assassins, the report on which was made public.

The emergence of nuclear terrorism, and the indifference of the agency to it, coupled with its superficial and cliché responses to the questions about this phenomenon will be dangerous to scientists of other countries in the future. Martyr Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan was a key scientist in Iran's nuclear technology and [uranium] enrichment [activities]; after his martyrdom, hundreds of academic and industrial experts volunteered to work with the AEOI.

Abbasi Davani said that after he met with IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano last year, he invited Amano to visit Iran and familiarize himself with the country's nuclear program. He said that he suggested, as well, an appropriate time frame for resolving the issues regarding the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program, but that "one year has passed and no response has been received, [the agency] continues on its path and has been acting so that the negotiations will not yield any agreement." He continued,

One can create a huge impediment in the path of the negotiations at their beginning, and then claim later on that they did not yield any result. But the wise approach is one in which the agency is more patient for what it calls the truthfulness test and careful in what it does in order to respect the rights and security of a member state. It is worth noting that al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and Saddam Hussein regime were, and have been considered, major threats to the national security of certain countries, but our country has thousands of [miles of] borders with these countries [Afghanistan and Iraq] and [therefore] our national security is far more important than that of those [more distant] countries, particularly those that are beyond the Atlantic. Thus, it is necessary to take into consideration the critical conditions of the region and create trust with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Time can resolve all the unclear aspects. The only thing needed is mutual trust.

Iran's nuclear chief then accused the IAEA of not being neutral and objective, saying,

It is possible that the agency has deviated from its main obligations, namely, being fair and neutral, due to mismanagement and influence peddling by some nations. Thoughtful people of the world should be aware that Iran's nuclear dossier and its alleged lack of transparency that have been brought up are the result of the destruction of the interests of the ruling elites of a few countries and the emergence of the idea of freedom. If we take the same pessimistic approach as the agency's that, unfortunately, is based on stubbornness and [making allegations] without presenting any [credible evidence], we must not continue our negotiations and adopt a different approach.

It is possible that the terrorists [meaning agents of Israel] have penetrated the agency and make decisions [for it] secretly. It is our duty to inform the director-general and warn him. I emphasize that one can look pessimistically at the events and the [agency's] reports and conclude that it is trying to create problems for those nations that want to live in peace and help human civilization bloom under the pillar of belief in God. Some examples may perhaps clarify this.

Abbasi Davani proceeded to discuss hitherto unreported sabotage at Iran's uranium enrichment facilities:

On August 17, 2012, the electric power line from the city of Qom to the Fordow complex was cut off, using explosives. Let me remind you that cutting off electricity is one way of damaging the centrifuges [that enrich uranium]. In the early hours of the next morning, the agency's inspectors suddenly asked to visit Fordow. Are they not related? Who, other than the agency's inspectors, could have access to the Fordow complex after such a short time to record and report the extent of the sabotage? [...]

A similar operation has occurred at the Natanz facility. Given the transparency of our peaceful nuclear program, we have been trying to purchase some of the parts that we need in the international market. The agency does nothing to help us with regards to the sanctions [that prevent many international purchases]. Perhaps, it [feels that] it has no duty [in this regard], or when the Stuxnet virus is used against our program, industrial sabotage is carried out, or explosives are inserted in [imported] machines, but it reports with utmost honesty and care the exact amount of enriched uranium, the degree of uranium enrichment in the uranium hexafluoride that leave the centrifuges, and whatever can be seen [by its inspectors]. Such information is then easily accessed by the terrorists and saboteurs.

On May 20, 2012, we demonstrated this to the director-general and two of his deputies, showing them an instrument in which explosives had been installed, and asked them to include this in their next report, but unfortunately they did not do this.

Those who planned the attacks on Iran's nuclear program have realized that, given the agency's reports, they have not succeeded. To make happy those who enjoy the blossoming of the talents of human beings and praise God for it, I should mention that the Iranian experts have been able to develop methods to counter cyberwarfare, industrial sabotage, and use of explosives, and prevent them in time, and have also developed ways of protecting our nuclear complexes against missile and aerial attacks. But based on the Islamic teaching that people are innocent [unless proven otherwise], we [do not accuse the agency of being involved in the sabotage] and ask them to correct what they are doing and return to fairness.

Abbasi Davani then emphasized that Iran would not enrich uranium above 19.75 percent, and that the enrichment being done at that level is for the Tehran Research Reactor, which annually produces medical radioisotopes for 850,000 Iranian patients.

Khamenei: "I am not Stalin"

The hardline website Tribon-e Mostazafin reported that in a meeting with hardline university students that took place during the fasting month of Ramadan (July 20-August 18), Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared, "I am not [Joseph] Stalin, to say something and then have some people theorize what I said." This was reported by Mehdi Amirian, secretary-general of the central council of what the hardliners claim to be the Office for Consolidation of Unity (OCU), the umbrella group for university Muslim Student Associations, and Mohammad Pahlavan, secretary-general of the right-wing Union of Societies of Muslim Students. In fact, the legitimate OCU has been dismantled by the government, and many of its leading members are currently imprisoned. In its place, a fake organization has been established with the same name. Both Amirian and Pahlavan expressed their dismay that what Khamenei said about himself vis-à-vis Stalin had not been reported by the state's television and radio outlets.

Both men also said that Khamenei told the students that attacking the British embassy in Tehran last year "was wrong." That declaration was also not picked up by the state media. Both statements were apparently also censored by Khamenei.ir, the Supreme Leader's official website; the two men attributed the suppression to the office of the Supreme Leader, which has been accused of having a hand in many attacks on the opposition. Amirian asked, "How is it that a student blogger is arrested for the criticisms that he had in his blog, but the culprits behind the crimes at Kahrizak [the detention center where at least four young people were murdered in the wake of the 2009 election protests] are still free? How is it that the case of the vast corruption went to trial within four months, but the Kahrizak case and the case of the attack on the dormitory of the University of Tehran [a few days after the 2009 election] are still pending?"

The timing of Tribon-e Mostazafin's story is interesting. On Sunday, Kaleme, the website close to Mir Hossein Mousavi, reported that a picture of the cabinet of former Prime Minister Mohammad Ali Rajaei included in middle school textbooks of the middle school has been altered to erase Mousavi, who was foreign minister under Rajaei. Kaleme rebuked the government for employing this well-known Stalinist tactic. Very soon after this revelation, Tribon-e Mostazefin posted the interview with Amirian and Pahlavan.

Jafari: Insults to Islam do not justify embassy attacks; Israel will not strike Iran

JafariPresserISNA.jpgIn a press conference on Sunday, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps chief Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari spoke about some of the most important issues facing Iran.

On Israel dragging the United States into a war with Iran: "Our evaluation is that Israel cannot do this. The United States realizes that it is vulnerable in the Middle East, and its bases are targets of the Revolutionary Guards' missiles," Jafari said. He added that the reaction of the Islamic world to any attack on Iran is another reason that Israel will not be able to drag the United States into an armed conflict.

On Israel's intentions: "I highly doubt that Israel will attack Iran. Many Zionist experts and military leaders are also opposed to such attacks. Of course, some of their threats are psychological warfare in order to provoke the West into tightening their sanctions against Iran." He continued, "If Israel attacks Iran, nothing will be left of that country."

On preventing Israel from attacking Iran: Jafari warned, "The [protective] power of Iran for its nuclear program is at an acceptable level, and attacks will not be able to hurt the program much. But if the international organizations cannot prevent Israel from attacking Iran, Iran will reconsider its obligations [toward the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty], as the conditions will change. Israel is too weak to attack Iran and because it is concerned about the consequences, Israel will not attack Iran, unless they are mad men; otherwise, a rational calculation does not call for attacks."

On preemptive attacks by Iran: Jafari rejected the notion of a preemptive attack against Israel. "Iran neither needs it, nor considers it as appropriate. It is powerful enough to defend itself," he said.

On attacking Western embassies: Asked by a reporter for AFP whether Muslims' anger about the widely disseminated video clip that mocks the Prophet Muhammad justifies the attacks on U.S. embassies in the Middle East, Jafari responded, "It cannot, most definitively, be an excuse for attacking the embassies, and it is not the right thing to do, even though the Muslim masses have been hurt emotionally."

On the presence of the Quds Force in Syria: Jafari confirmed previous reports that Quds Force members are in Syria, but that "this does not mean that we are present militarily." He said that Iran is helping the regime of President Bashar al-Assad regime because Syria is a member of the so-called "resistance front" against Israel, and that "we are proud of it." He said that he cannot state with certainty whether Iran would take part in a war in Syria, if that country were attacked. "It depends on the conditions," he said.

On Iran's presidential elections of 2013: "We do not feel there is any threat and, therefore, do not see the need for any special operations. People are alert and informed, and recognize their true servants," Jafari said. He added, "If the reformists do not undertake radical actions, they too can participate in the elections."

Khatami to Khamenei: The ruling power is yours, open up the political system

In a speech to a group of veterans of the Iran-Iraq War, former President Mohammad Khatami took the government to task on a host of issues: the failure to release the political prisoners, Iran's declining international prestige, the rejection of all criticism from the political opposition, rampant corruption and deceit, and the isolation of what he called "the legitimate forces of the Revolution." He also addressed the charge that he did not better use his power during the eight years he served as president to improve the country. Most importantly, he spoke about the political repression in the country, seemingly attributing responsibility for it directly to Khamenei,

We say to you, you Supremes [hazaraat-e moazzam, -- moazzam, or supreme, is used only for Khamenei in Iran], you stay [in power], but let us criticize to reform and improve the approaches [to running the country]. If it is reformed, the political system will survive; if not, it will disappear. Even if we do not criticize, we will have problems in the future. The frustration of legitimate groups and the emigration of our youth and their protests against what is going on are grave threats. The only way out is reform, as I know no other way. [...]

Something is wrong with this system, one in which there is embezzlement of three trillion tomans [$2.6 billion]. What about other cases [of corruption]? If there had been even one case of [embezzlement of] five billion tomans [about $4 million] during my administration, shrouded hardliners would have invaded the streets to protest, and I thank God that even the present judiciary has not been able to convict even a low-level manager of my administration. [...]

We declare, "The government and elections are yours. Open up the political system. We want to critique the reform movement, [but] want to do so with security [without fear of getting arrested], [without] you claiming that we are conspiring [against the nation]. If there is freedom, and if the military/security environment is eliminated, the power and rule will be yours. Of course, the best situation would be to hold free and fair elections, so that the people can freely elect [their representatives].

Hassan Nazih, opponent of Shah and Khomeini, dies

HassanNazih.jpgOn Friday, Hassan Nazih, who was the first chief executive of the National Iranian Oil Company after the Revolution, but joined the opposition shortly thereafter, passed away in Paris. He was afflicted with Alzheimer's disease. Born in 1921 in Tabriz, Nazih received his law degree from the University of Tehran in 1944, and was an ardent supporter of Dr. Mohammad Mosaddegh. When Mosaddegh was put on trial after the CIA coup of 1953, Nazih was reportedly one of those who helped prepare his defense in the military court. In 1961, Nazih was one of the founders of the Liberation Movement of Iran, led by former Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan, Dr. Yadollah Sahabi, and Ayatollah Seyyed Mahmoud Alaei Taleghani. In the 1970s, he wrote many letters of protest to Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi. He was a key figure in the establishment of the first committee for the defense of human rights in Iran in 1977.

Following the Revolution, Nazih was opposed to the Assembly of Experts that drafted the country's new constitution. In a speech in 1979, he declared, "If we believe that we can address all the political, economical, and judicial problems in an Islamic framework...even the grand ayatollahs know that this is neither possible nor useful." In an interview, he said, "As a secular Iranian democrat I was always opposed to Ayatollah [Ruhollah] Khomeini and [his] Islamic Republic." When Bazargan suggested a "Democratic Islamic Republic of Iran" to counter Khomeini, Nazih went a step farther and suggested the "Republic of Iran." He left Iran in autumn 1979, after accusations of corruption were made against him. The leftist students who overran the U.S. Embassy in Tehran that November accused him of spying for the United States, a charge that was never proven.

Copyright © 2012 Tehran Bureau

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