Thursday, July 28, 2011
The victim of last week’s fatal shooting in Tehransupported the preparation of high-voltage switching systems critical for activating detonators to initiate a nuclear weapon’s fission reaction, the Associated Press on Thursday quoted international officials as saying (see GSN, July 28).
(Jul. 28) – Demonstrators rally in support of Iran’s nuclear program outside the nation’s Natanz uranium enrichment facility in 2005. Iran will not “stop or go back” on its atomic research, the nation’s top diplomat said in an interview (Majid/Getty Images).
Iranian state media originally described the victim as neutron physics specialist Dariush Rezaei, butTehranquickly withdrew those reports and asserted the attack had in fact killed an electronics student named Darioush Rezaeinejad.
International officials confirmed Rezaeinejad’s name, but added he was a scientist and not a student.
The Associated Press said it viewed a document co-written by Rezaeinejad that adds credibility to the assertion. While the switching technology has civilian applications, the document’s title indicates “an explosive application,” according to an unidentified one-time U.N. nuclear inspector (Associated Press/Washington Post, July 28).
Iranhas said it could allow tours of its atomic sites by specialists fromSaudi Arabia, the nation’s Fars News Agency reported on Wednesday
TheUnited Statesand other countries suspectIran’s nuclear program is intended to support weapons development, butTehranhas maintained its atomic ambitions are strictly nonmilitary in nature.
“Iranhas no problem for allowing Saudi experts to visit its nuclear facilities in order for further clarity in its nuclear drive,” Iranian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Mohammad Javad Mahallati said. “Irandoes not intend to achieve nuclear weapons due to its religious beliefs and political aspects of the issue,” he told the Saudi newspaper al-Watan.
At a previous summit of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah called for firsthand engagement aimed at resolving questions and concerns over Iran’s nuclear activities, the envoy said. Riyadh’s former envoy to the United Stateslast month also reportedly warned that his nation would develop nuclear weapons if Tehranobtained such armaments (see GSN, June 30).
“Bilateral relations need efforts to ease misunderstandings. There are different countries trying to deepen presumptive disputes and conflicts between the two countries,” Mahallati said. “Steps taken by authorities of the two countries are on a correct path and will help settle disputes” (Fars News Agency, July 27).
Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi in an interview said his country would not “stop or go back” on its atomic research, Russia Today reported.
Asked aboutU.S.and European efforts to curbIran’s uranium enrichment program, Salehi said, “Iranhas reached a point in its nuclear research where it is impossible to stop or go back, since Iranian nuclear technology has gone beyond that point.”
Uranium enrichment can produce civilian nuclear fuel as well as bomb material.
“Nuclear technology has developed into a domestic industry inIran, spreading all across the country and becoming a fact of life for many Iranians. Now that we have educated and trained thousands of nuclear scientists, how can the West or the entire world stop us from enriching uranium? This has become a fact of reality,” the minister said.
“As for how the situation is going to develop, there is no limit to discussion, dialogue and negotiation. We see it as a test for ourselves, for our patience and endurance. Throughout our history, we have managed to prove to the world thatIrandoes not give up in the face of suppression and hostility. No threats and no pressure can shake our sovereignty and independence. We are ready to pay any price and withstand anything,” Salehi said.
“We are convinced thatRussiawill keep supportingIran’s position. We have no worries about that,” the official later added.
Potential exists for relations betweenTehranandWashingtonto improve, Salehi said.
“We have stated time and again thatIranwants to have good, reasonable relations with all countries except for the Zionist state,” he said, referring toIsrael.
“As for our relations with Washington, they will depend upon U.S.actions toward Iran. If they remain hostile, there will be no relations, period. However, if Washington changes its attitude toward Iran, and replaces hostility with a sense of equality and respect for Iran’s sovereignty and independence, then the essence of our relations will change,” Salehi said (Russia Today, July 28).
Meanwhile, a Russian diplomat on Thursday saidIranposes no missile threat toEurope, ITAR-Tass reported.
“We are actively upholdingIran’s efforts to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. We know exactly thatIranhas no nuclear weapons that can threaten any country, includingRussia,” Russian Ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said.
The envoy said his country possessed extensive knowledge of Iranian missile activities. “Any view thatIranwill attackPolandorNorwayby using its missiles is delirious nonsense,” he said.
Some NATO member states have expressed concern about potentialIranmissile attacks on the Balkans, Rogozin said. “But I doubt that quite a few inIranknow anything about these countries. That is why all this is speculation,” he said.
“An attempt to diabolize Iran and represent it [as] ‘such a bad boy’ seems like Hollywood, but it has nothing [in] common with the real situation,” the official said.
European antimissile measures could pave the way for military action againstIran, he said. “I don’t hide that this aspect is being discussed by NATO. One cannot delude oneself into the concept ‘missile defense.’ This is not an element of defense in its pure form. The shield always covers the sword. Certain Russian and European experts believe that these plans can be the preparation of an attack onIran.”
“Defense and attack elements are linked to each other genetically,” Rogozin added (ITAR-Tass, July 28).