April 4, 2012 Special Dispatch No. 4638

Iran Ahead of Upcoming Nuclear Talks: Majlis Member: We Can Manufacture Bomb, But We Won't; 'Kayhan': The U.S. Has Capitulated

April 4, 2012
Iran | Special Dispatch No. 4638

Ahead of the next round of nuclear talks between Iran and the 5+1, a senior Iranian official reiterated that Iran has the ability to manufacture an atomic bomb, but that, on the instructions of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, it will never do so.[1] In an analysis published on the occasion of the talks, the daily Kayhan, which is close to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, stated that Iran has defeated the U.S. in the nuclear confrontation, and that the U.S. no longer has any real ability to prevent the advent of a nuclear Iran.

The following are excerpts from the Majlis member's statements and from the Kayhan editorial.

Majlis Member Mesbahi-Moqaddam: Iran Can Manufacture a Nuclear Bomb, But Will Not Do So

In an April 6 interview with the Majlis website, Majlis Member Gholam-Reza Mesbahi-Moqaddam said: "Thanks to the resistance waged by the Iranian regime and the Iranian nation on the nuclear issue, the enemy's plots have been thwarted. The nuclear activity continues steadily, and today we have enriched [uranium] to a level of 20%... The distance from 20% [enrichment] to 75% is very short. [In fact,] Iran can easily achieve over 90% enrichment. [However], even through Iran is scientifically and technologically capable of manufacturing a nuclear weapon, it will never opt for this course [of action]. [This,] in accordance with the statements of the Leader [Khamenei], who stressed on several occasions that this course [of action] has no room in the Iranian regime's doctrine, and that making, keeping or using nuclear weapons [are acts that] contravene the holy Islamic shari'a."[2]

Kayhan: The U.S. Has Run Out of Means to Threaten Iran

In an April 8 editorial titled "Lessons from the past for the April talks," Kayhan stated that, for the last ten years, the U.S. has systematically backed down from its positions on the Iranian nuclear program, capitulating to Iran's position, and that today it is completely out of options, because it has played all its cards and because the military option is off the table. The daily argued that Iran is therefore able to enter the talks from a position of strength and does not need to compromise. [3] Kayhan stated:

The US Keeps Backing Down from Its "Red Lines"

"The most important question that has faced and is still facing the Americans is... when will Iran take the decisions that the U.S. expects it [to take on the nuclear issue]?... Examining an entire decade of the conflict between the U.S. and Iran, one can characterize it as a record of [instances in which] the U.S. adapted its "red line" to the Iranian [stance]. The Americans always started out with an extreme [position] and ended up with a nominal one...

"Initially, in the matter of the Iranian nuclear program, the Americans demanded a complete freeze of enrichment activity and all related activities. Then... [they agreed] that Iran would enrich [uranium] but would not expand its [nuclear] facilities. Then, the mechanism of the [uranium] swap was suggested, which tacitly accepted [the existence of] Iran's enrichment program and was merely aimed at removing the enriched material from Iran on some pretext or other. The [suggestion] currently on the table, which is probably the most important issue that will concern the Americans in the upcoming talks, does not include any of these demands. The Obama administration wants to replace all its [previous] demands with a demand to 'stabilize the uranium [enrichment] level' – that is, [it wants] Iran to stop enriching [uranium] to 20% at the Fordow [nuclear plant] and be content with 5% enrichment at Natanz.

"Regardless of Iran's response to this demand, the [pertinent] question is what we can infer from the thrust of the changes in [the American] positions. If we plot [these changes] on a graph, it will show an amazing downward plunge... The American administration... always sets large goals [for itself], and makes a huge fuss over them, but, once it realizes that they cannot be implemented, quietly adapts them [to reality] and replaces them with other, humbler, goals, while continuing to make a fuss. We see that, in this process, the [Americans'] main solutions for the controversy quietly faded away. Originally, the controversy was precisely over the issue of 5% enrichment – recall the Tehran Declaration [issued after the May 17, 2010 meeting of Iranian, Brazilian and Turkish leaders in Iran].[iv] But now it seems that everyone in the West understands that this era is over, [so] they are suggesting ideas that quietly accept the assumption that this key issue [of uranium enrichment] is resolved.

The U.S. Has Dropped the Claim that Iran Has a Military Nuclear Program

"Examining the changes in the U.S. rhetoric vis-à-vis Iran, we [learn an interesting] lesson: The American administration did its best to keep its statements on Iran [unchanged], but their meaning changed drastically within a short period of time. At first, the Americans said that, without a doubt, there are clear indications that Iran's nuclear program has a military purpose. Today they no longer say this so firmly. Even within the Western intelligence services, there is a consensus that stressing the existence of a military nuclear program in Iran will only harm [their] reputation. Consequently, they decided to replace this cliché with a slightly more complicated claim. [Today they say] that Iran has the ability to manufacture [nuclear] weapons, but that the political decision to do so has not yet been taken. In simple [language], this means that Iran is enriching uranium and that there is no way to prevent it...

The U.S. Has Neither a Military Option Nor an Option of Sanctions

"Another line that the Americans always repeat is, 'We will never officially recognize a nuclear Iran, and all options are on the table for preventing the advent [of a nuclear Iran].' But the point – as recently revealed thanks to the insane conduct of Israel – is that there are no options [that can be used] against a country with abilities such as Iran's, and if there are any, they are not on the table.

"The U.S. has used up its options [for pressuring Iran], namely the oil sanctions and the sanctions on [Iran's] central bank, as a result of Israeli pressure. Its hasty employment of this option in the [present] circumstances, when the West is in a deep economic crisis, quickly placed the Americans in a conundrum, forcing them to choose between improving the economic situation in the World and punishing the Iranian oil [industry] – because it is impossible to realize both options [at once]. Though the Americans are desperately trying to claim that there is no contradiction [between the two goals], a glance at the graph of rising oil prices in the last three months reveals who is telling the truth.

"A decade ago, it was presented as a forgone conclusion that the military option will be used against Iran should it fail to capitulate to Western [dictates]. However, the minute things turned serious, at least on the media level, [that is, the minute] someone like Netanyahu appeared in Israel, who is stupid enough to [talk about attacking Iran], secrets were suddenly revealed that were not [previously] spoken of. A large number of the leaders in the West, including statesmen, army [commanders] and senior intelligence officers in the U.S. and Israel, launched a determined campaign on the highest level to prove the impossibility of an attack on Iran. Obama said that 'those who talk of an attack are braggarts and blabbermouths,' and the former head of the Israeli Mossad, Meir Dagan, stressed that an attack on Iran was the craziest idea he had ever heard... [The option] of a military attack, which [some] hoped would become valid, came off the table. It seems that, according to Obama's outlook, the [threat to attack Iran] is such a big [boast] that the U.S. and Israel will surely choke on it if they insist on repeating it.

"Iran Is Proving that It Has No Need to Compromise with the West in Order to Grow Strong"

Therefore, within a very short time, the West's two main options came off the table... namely [the option] of a military attack and [the option of] sanctions against [Iran's] oil [industry] and central bank. So one might say that the West's hands are completely empty [of means with which] to threaten Iran in the upcoming talks... The simple conclusion... is that the West's distress vis-à-vis Iran, on the strategic [level], has become acute, and it seems that the statesmen in the White House have neither the courage nor the wisdom to extract themselves from this historic dead end... Iran is proving that it has no need to compromise with the West in order to grow strong."


[1] For previous statements by Iranian officials regarding Iran's ability to build a bomb, see: MEMRI Special Dispatch Series Report No.2743, "Iranian Atomic Energy Organization Head: 'We Have the Right to Enrich Uranium to 100%'", January 11, 2010, Iranian Atomic Energy Organization Head: 'We Have the Right to Enrich Uranium to 100%'; MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis Series Report No.342, "Tehran Times: 'A Country That Has... Uranium Enrichment Is Only One Step Away from Producing Nuclear Weapons; This Step Is Not a Scientific or a Technical [One] – But a Matter of Political Decision'", April 13, 2007, 'Kayhan' Editor: "A Country That Has... Uranium Enrichment Is Only One Step Away from Producing Nuclear Weapons; This Step Is Not a Scientific or a Technical [One] – But a Matter of Political Decision"; Special Dispatch Series Report No.1271, "Iranian Statements on the Occasion of the Inauguration of the Arak Heavy Water Plant," August 30, 2006, Iranian Statements on the Occasion of the Inauguration of the Arak Heavy Water Plant.

[2], April 6, 2012.

[3] Kayhan (Iran), April 8, 2012. On the same date, the daily Khorasan stated: "If the Washington Post was correct in its [April 6, 2012] report – which stated that Obama has told Khamenei, via Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, that he would recognize Iran's right to develop nuclear [abilities] for civilian purposes as long as Iran did not pursue an [atomic bomb] – then this represents a withdrawal from statements made by American officials in the Bush era and in the early stages of Obama's term in office. Khorasan (Iran), April 8, 2012.

[4] See MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis Series Report No.610, "The Iran-Turkey-Brazil Nuclear Agreement: In the Iranian Perception, a New World Order Led By Iran," May 17, 2010, The Iran-Turkey-Brazil Nuclear Agreement: In the Iranian Perception, a New World Order Led By Iran.

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