The following are excerpts from an interview with Iran's chief nuclear affairs negotiator, and Supreme National Security Council member Hosein Musavian, which aired on Iranian Channel 2 on August 4, 2005. To view this clip visit http://memritv.org/clip/en/805.htm. To view several MEMRI TV clips on Iran's Defense Program, visit http://memritv.org/clip/en/135.htm.
Musavian: "Those [in Iran] who criticize us and claim that we should have only worked with the IAEA do not know that at that stage – that is, in August 2003 – we needed another year to complete the Esfahan (UCF) project, so it could be operational. They say that because of that 50-day [ultimatum], we should have kept [the UCF] in Esfahan incomplete, and that we needed to comply with the IAEA's demands and shut down the facilities.
"The regime adopted a twofold policy here: It worked intensively with the IAEA, and it also conducted negotiations on international and political levels. The IAEA gave us a 50-day extension to suspend the enrichment and all related activities. But thanks to the negotiations with Europe we gained another year, in which we completed (the UCF) in Esfahan.
"There was a time when we said we would not work with Europe, the world, or the IAEA, and that we would not comply with any of their demands. There were very clear consequences: After 50 days, the IAEA Board of Governors would have undoubtedly handed the Iranian dossier over to the (U.N.) Security Council. There is no doubt about it. As for those who say we should have worked only with the IAEA – this would have meant depriving Iran of the opportunity to complete the Esfahan project in the one-year extension.
"Esfahan's (UCF) was completed during that year. Even in Natanz, we needed six to twelve months to complete the work on the centrifuges. Within that year, the Natanz project reached a stage where the small number of centrifuges required for the preliminary stage, could operate. In Esfahan, we have reached UF4 and UF6 production stages.
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"We suspended the UCF in Esfahan in October 2004, although we were required to do so in October 2003. If we had suspended it then, (the UCF) in Esfahan would have never been completed. Today we are in a position of power: (The UCF) in Esfahan is complete and UF4 and UF6 gases are being produced. We have a stockpile of products, and during this period, we have managed to convert 36 tons of yellow cake into gas and store it. In Natanz, much of the work has been completed.
"Thanks to our dealings with Europe, even when we got a 50-day ultimatum, we managed to continue the work for two years. This way we completed (the UCF) in Esfahan. This way we carried out the work to complete Natanz, and on top of that, we even gained benefits. For 10 years, America prevented Iran from joining the WTO. This obstacle was removed, and Iran began talks in order to join the WTO. In the past, the world did not accept Iran as a member of the group of countries with a nuclear fuel cycle. In these two years, and thanks to the Paris Agreement, we entered the international game of the nuclear fuel cycle, and Iran was recognized as one of the countries with a nuclear fuel cycle. An Iranian delegate even participated in the relevant talks. We gained other benefits during these two years as well."
Host: "Mr. Musavian, there is a point that our viewers might find interesting - the comparison between Iran's nuclear activity dossier and North Korea's.
"There is a belief that if we adopted the North Korean model, we could have stood much stronger against the excessive demands of America and Europe.
Musavian: "During these two years of negotiations, we managed to make far greater progress than North Korea. North Korea's most important achievement had to do with security guarantees. We achieved the same thing a year ago in the negotiations with the Europeans. They agreed to give us international guarantees for Iran's security, its national rule, its independence, [and] non-intervention in its internal affairs, [as well as] its national security, and for not invading it."