The following is a rush transcript of Press TV’s interview with Head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi on the West’s reaction to Tehran’s recent announcement that it is constructing another nuclear enrichment facility near the central city of Qom.
Press TV: Dr. Salehi, you were Iran’s representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) between 1999 and 2004. Since your recent appointment, have you seen any changes in the Western perception of Iran’s nuclear program?
Salehi: It is very delicate issue really to discuss, concerning the question that you asked, the answer is no, in another words we have witnessing that the West has been continuously increasing their accusations, it seems that their accusations are never ending, there is a saying in Persian which says whoever goes up the ladder of accusations higher and higher if he ever falls he will have his bones broken harder, so I don’t know if they are really aware of this because one day truce will emerge and this will create a lot of problems for them which already it has we were accused previously, like six year ago, that we have enriched uranium up to 70 percent and then we insisted that this was an imported thing from outside, in another words, it was not done inside [and that] we have never enriched up to 70 percent. But they insisted until finally after 3 years they found out that it was not true and what we had insisted true.
There are a lot of similar issues that they have accused us of and we have proved the opposite but it seems that they don’t want to learn their lesson. And finally there was a work plan that was worked out between Iran and the [International] Atomic Energy Agency. And in this work plan the questions were exhausted so Iran answered all the questions that were raised, in six categories, and the IAEA itself admitted that the questions that have been raised were perfectly answered. But nevertheless the kept on bringing in other accusations and the so-called ‘alleged studies’, which has to do with missiles [and] warheads and has nothing to do with the nuclear issues so what I can say is that the West is not learning from its past, and it has decided to keep pressure on Iran for no reason.
But the environment in the IAEA has changed, in another words, the majority of the IAEA — because the IAEA destructive IAEA so that you have the board of governors that consist of 35 members, probably one or two more or less but about 35 members, and you have the general assembly or the general conference which embodies all the members which about 150. When you go to the board of governors it is like the Security Council in the UN where the majority is belong to the western countries it is there they do all the cooking and make all the decisions because they have the majority. But when you come to the general conference and the general assembly the picture changes completely and the voices are not heard there and the majority has recognized the right of Iran, and has recognized that Iran has been consistently saying the truth, and that they have been consistently accusing Iran with, I would say, loose reasoning unfounded reasoning. So, I would say the West is keeping the pressure but the overall conscious of the world, the public opinion, is with Iran.
Press TV: Western governments have accused Iran of building a nuclear site south west of Tehran whose size does not correspond to that of a facility to enrich uranium for a nuclear power plant. What’s your response to these accusations?
Salehi: Well, this site is a small site. We have indicated already, over and over — I had said it in my speech when I was in the general conference two weeks ago — that Iran has taken all the precautionary steps to safeguard, its nuclear facilities. There are a number of ways to safeguard your facilities and your manpower, your human resources one is the active safeguarding, for which the military is responsible. And the other one is the passive defense and not active defense — the active defense has a military side, but then we have the passive defense which has a civilian side. And this is a broad issue when you speak about passive defense, it embodies many things; it takes into conversation shelters for your personnel and underground shelters for your instruments, so this is an example as I would say it is a place that would guarantee the continuation of our enrichment activity. In other words, we are telling the world — I mean when I said telling the world l mean telling to those adversaries — that under the no condition Iran will relent. Iran is taking all the necessary steps to safeguard its human resources, its personal and its sensitive instrumentations. So, this is, I would say, a place that would guarantee this, it can withstand any kind of unforeseen attack, because — I would say unforeseen because we are not expecting any kind of attack — we are taking every threats serious. So, in another words, we are a “waken nation,” we are not “asleep” so we are ready for the worse case scenario.
But this does not mean that we believe that the worse case will ever come. I believe that there is minimum of prudency in wisdom, in the mind of our adversaries, because if any wrong steps are taken, then the consequences are – I would say – not very clear. I mean when they start the fire they cannot extinguish it.
So the consequences are unforeseen, I mean you cannot foresee the consequences you cannot guess the consequences. Nevertheless, we take every threat serious and we do our best to safeguard our interests and under no condition we shall relent.
Press TV: Tell us why the west has attacked so ferociously? And whether that was maybe a media analysis that they had prepared before on how they were going to present this, as we saw the in the G20 conference in Pittsburgh when they came and attacked that way.
Salehi: Well I was astonished really because when we declared this facility to the IAEA about more than ten days ago – Monday last week – we were expecting that this will be welcomed by the west. Contrary to our expectation we saw frenzy reaction, agitation, and something abnormal. And I began to think why? What has happened? Because they consistently insisted that Iran never declares its facility on the right time or whatever. This was also one of the other accusations. This time we have declared this facility much ahead of the time that [we were required to] based on our commitments and our rights.