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memri
September 21, 2004 No.
189

Iran's Nuclear Policy Crisis

By: A. Savyon*
Introduction

Iran's nuclear policy enjoys a national political consensus: Both the conservatives and the reform-seekers agree that Iran is entitled to develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, and that the Iranian nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only. [1]Moreover, Iran maintains that it has fully complied with its international obligations regarding nuclear activities.

Yet reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency ( IAEA ) have stated that Iran has failed to cooperate with IAEA inspectors in the field, and that it has not fully reported on its acquisition of advanced P2 centrifuges or on its uranium enrichment activities. [2]Moreover, the IAEA condemned Iran in June 2004 for its "attempts to hide information concerning its nuclear project." Failure to report to the IAEA is considered a violation, albeit technical, of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to which Iran has been a party since 1970.

On September 18, 2004, the IAEA Board of Governors issued a resolution calling on Iran to "immediately suspend all enrichment-related activities" in its nuclear program and setting November 25, 2004 as the date for a full review of Iran's nuclear dossier. [3]

The Board of Governors resolution is a compromise — in language and in demands on Iran and indicates that the American pressures so far have failed. It does not include the U.S. demand that Iran's nuclear dossier be transferred to the U.N. Security Council; and it does not include an ultimatum to immediately halt uranium enrichment, both elements that were included in the European draft resolution. The Europeans apparently backtracked on these demands, leaving the Americans isolated in their insistence on tougher measures.

It is not surprising therefore, that the resolution strengthened Iran’s resolve to continue its nuclear program, as is clear from the latest statements from Iran’s president and from other Iranian senior officials:

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami said in the course of a military parade in Tehran that Iran would continue to develop its nuclear program: “We declare …that it is our legitimate right to acquire advanced [nuclear] technology and that we are continuing to take our country forward towards progress and development. At the same time, we are ready to cooperate. We have chosen our path, and now it is up to the others to recognize our legitimate right and to choose the path of cooperation [with us]. We declare that we are not on the way to [acquiring] nuclear weapons and that we are continuing in a legal manner to the acquisition of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, even if this causes the cessation of the international supervision and cooperation.” [4]

Ali-Akbar Velayati, a senior advisor to Iran’s leader Ali Khamenei, said while addressing a conference commemorating the martyrs of the Islamic revolutionary regime: “Iran is potentially fit for becoming a regional and even an international power … Iran’s power at that level would be quite worrying for the Americans, for the Israelis, and for some European countries.” He acknowledged that Iran might be required to pay a price for its nuclear program, saying “if a nation aims at reaching scientific and technological perfection [i.e. nuclear technology] and at embracing high standards of national development there would be expenses it has to accept…” [5]

In its response to the resolution, Iran called the IAEA demand to stop uranium enrichment activity "unacceptable," stating that it is entitled to carry out such activity as an NPT member state. Supreme National Security Council Secretary Hassan Rowhani, in charge of Iran's nuclear affairs, said that Iran had never committed to halting its uranium-enrichment activities under an IAEA resolution and had done so voluntarily and temporarily in a show of good faith, as a confidence-building measure. He said, "Any resolution which seeks to bind us to suspension [of uranium enrichment] is unacceptable and we will not accept such an obligation.” [6]

In a news conference, Rowhani restated Iran's position: "We will go ahead with confidence-building and will endeavor to build up our [nuclear] technical capability to restore our national rights in the context of the international conventions. This is our diplomacy: to proceed [in] both directions simultaneously." He further said that Iran does not need foreign assistance to produce nuclear fuel for the power plants, and has enough expertise to do so on its own." [7]

In his statement to IRNA, Rowhani also said that Iran was "sensitive" to the section of the resolution concerning uranium enrichment because, he said, this is a right respected by the NPT, and added that "We don't have a program to extend the suspension yet." [8]

He further stressed Iran's perception of Europe's possible role in Iran's plans, saying that Washington was "totally against" Iran's fuel production while the European states agree with [Iranian] fuel producing "at specified degrees."

Stating that Iran "takes pride" in its continuous talks with Europe on its nuclear issue, Rowhani emphasized that Iran could have reached proper accord with E.U. had it not been for U.S. pressure on Europe, and hinted that Iran-E.U. talks had not yet been concluded, and added that there is a possibility of resolving the dispute with the IAEA through diplomatic means. [9]

In order to continue its nuclear program, Iran is proceeding on two parallel tracks: a political-diplomatic track with the E.U., and a belligerent track. Both tracks serve a single strategic goal — obtaining advanced nuclear technology that also enables the development of nuclear weapons.

In its political-diplomatic track with the E.U., Iran sees Europe as a means of obtaining nuclear technology and as a key to achieving legitimization for its nuclear program. [10]

The belligerent track aims at creating a balance of fear with the West by threatening to harm it, and with Israel by threatening to "wipe it off the map of the world." [11]

This paper reviews developments in the crisis in Iran's nuclear policy, in advance of the next IAEA Board of Governors session in November 2004, as reflected in the Iranian media. [12]

Background

In August 2002, the Mujahideen Khalq revealed in the U.S. that Iran had established nuclear plants without reporting them to the IAEA. [13]This revelation placed Iran in the position of being in violation of its international commitment as a member state of the NPT. In the wake of this information, the international community began to apply diplomatic pressure on Iran, and the IAEA launched an investigation of Iran's nuclear program.

Iran responded with a flurry of diplomatic activity directed at the three leading European countries — Britain, France, and Germany — in order to arrive at an understanding with them. This was aimed at keeping U.S. pressure at bay, and at persuading the IAEA to close its investigation of its nuclear dossier. Iran is apprehensive about its dossier being handed over to the U.N. Security Council because the move is likely to culminate in punitive measures against it. Further, in light of the major role played by the U.S. in keeping the international pressure on Iran, Iran is also closely following U.S. presidential race. [14]

At the same time, Iranian President Muhammad Khatami has expressed Iran's determination to obtain advanced nuclear technology. In February 2003, in advance of the Persian New Year, Khatami declared that Iran had begun enriching uranium, and that the country was aiming to attain independent nuclear fuel cycle capability — which would in effect enable it to produce a nuclear bomb. [15]Further, in August 2003, Khatami said that the IAEA must recognize Iran's right to enrich uranium, and added that "Iran is determined to obtain advanced nuclear technology." [16]More recently, in September 2004, Iran's Supreme National Security Council Secretary Hassan Rohani, who is in charge of Iran's nuclear affairs, said, "Iran sees access to the fuel cycle as its legal and logical right, and will not relinquish it. Iran is trying to implement this goal at the most appropriate time and in the best possible way." [17]

Nevertheless, in October 2003, in what was later known as the Tehran Declaration, Iran announced its willingness to sign the Additional Protocol to the NPT, which would give the IAEA the right to intrusive inspection of its nuclear sites. At the same time, Iran also announced its willingness to suspend its uranium-enrichment activity temporarily, in a gesture of good will. [18]Further, in February 2004, Iran agreed to suspend production and assembly of centrifuge parts, in what later became known as the Brussels Understandings. [19]

According to Iranian press reports, the Tehran Declaration and the Brussels Understandings were apparently achieved via secret negotiations between Iran and the Europeans. According to Iranian reports, the three leading European countries undertook to close Iran's nuclear dossier at the IAEA at the June 2004 Board of Governors session. Iranian sources also said that the three would provide Iran with "advanced nuclear technology for peaceful purposes" in exchange for Iran's commitment to suspend nuclear activity and to subject itself to closer oversight of its nuclear facilities by the international community. [20]

Although Iran believed it had reached an understanding with the European three, at the June 2004 IAEA Board of Governors session the latter initiated a harsh condemnation of Iran for its failure to fully cooperate with the IAEA. In September 2004, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw also complained that Iran had not met all its commitments. [21]

In response to this condemnation, Iran complained that even though it had indeed met its commitments, suspended its nuclear activity, and agreed to visits by IAEA inspectors, the three European countries had not fulfilled their obligations to Iran. [22]

At the meeting of Iranian and European delegates, in July 2004 in Paris, Iran rejected the European demand to give up its independent nuclear fuel cycle production capacity in exchange for nuclear fuel to be provided to Iran by Western countries themselves. Iran also refused to commit to a complete halt to its uranium enrichment activity. [23]Further, Iran claimed that it had agreed only to a temporary suspension of activity, and clung tenaciously to its right to enrich uranium and to attain independent nuclear fuel cycle production capability. [24]

In September of this year, Iran announced its intent to enrich 37 tons of "yellowcake" [25]- uranium mined at Saghand, about 200 miles south of Tehran. According to the report, the uranium will be enriched in the Natanz facility, 200 miles southeast of Tehran. [26]

According to Western sources in the IAEA, Iran had recently agreed in principle to renew its suspension of its nuclear activities, with the aim of improving its diplomatic status with the IAEA prior to the Board of Governors' September session, and to prevent the transfer of its dossier to the U.N. Security Council. According to these sources, IAEA Director-General Muhammad El-Baradei was attempting to finalize the details of a deal in which Iran would reinstate its suspension of uranium-enrichment activities, including centrifuge production, assembly, and testing. [27]

Upon his return from the Netherlands, which currently holds the presidency of the European Union, Iran's Supreme National Security Council Secretary Hassan Rohaniconfirmed that sensitive talks were underway with Europe concerning important issues "about which it is too early to talk." [28]

Nevertheless, two days before the IAEA Board of Governors September session, Britain, Germany, and Franceissued a draft resolution for the IAEA session that included an ultimatum to Iran to meet all demands regarding its nuclear activities by November 2004. [29]The European draft resolution called on Iran to cooperate fully with the IAEA and its inspectors, and to immediately halt all uranium enrichment activities. If by November Iran failed to comply, the Iranian dossier would be handed over to the U.N. Security Council. [30]Apparently, this ultimatum came following Iran's announcement of its intention to process 37 tons of yellowcake into uranium hexafluoride, a stage in the uranium enrichment process, within the next two years. [31]

It was apparent from the European draft resolution that the position of the European countries was drawing closer to the policy of the U.S. - that Iran's nuclear dossier should be handed over to the U.N. Security Council with an ultimatum to Iran. However, Europe backed down from its demands and agreed to soften its stance toward Iran.

In a first response to the European draft, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi rejected the ultimatum and emphasized that over 95% of the problematic issues had already been resolved. He added that talks with Europe were held in a good atmosphere, and that efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear technology were fruitless since Iran "had already achieved the technology and have peaceful nuclear technology."

Asefi also hinted that Iran was already using yellowcake, saying, "Yellowcake is not an important issue… The yellowcake issue was not a secret case and we have informed the IAEA about it. We are committed to voluntary suspension [of uranium enrichment, which requires yellowcake], and will inform the IAEA on whatever activities Iran will implement." [32]

On September 18, 2004, the IAEA Board of Governors issued a resolution calling on Iran to "immediately suspend all enrichment-related activities" in its nuclear program and setting November 25, 2004 as the date for a full review of Iran's nuclear dossier. [33]The resolution in its final form was a joint initiative by France, Germany, and Britain, with whom Iran had negotiated in the past two years with the aim of resolving disputes regarding Iran's nuclear program.

The Board of Governors resolution is a compromise — in language and in demands on Iran — among various elements: the U.S. demand that Iran's nuclear dossier be transferred to the U.N. Security Council; the European desire to settle the dispute via dialogue with Iran; and the pressure by the non-aligned countries supporting Iran's claim that it was entitled to obtain advanced nuclear technology.

At the same time, Europe's positions, as manifested by the original draft resolution it submitted, had drawn closer to the position of the U.S. The original draft resolution had included an ultimatum to Iran to immediately halt uranium enrichment for its nuclear program, and if it did not, its nuclear dossier would be transferred to the U.N. Security Council in November.

In its response to the resolution, Iran deemed as "unacceptable" the IAEA demand to stop uranium enrichment activity, stating that it was entitled to carry out such activity as an NPT member state. Supreme National Security Council Secretary Hassan Rohani said that Iran had never committed to halting its uranium-enrichment activities under an IAEA resolution and had done so voluntarily in a show of good faith, as a confidence-building measure. He added, "Any resolution which seeks to bind us to suspension [of uranium enrichment] is unacceptable and we will not accept such an obligation." [34]

However, Rohani explained: "We will go ahead with confidence-building and will endeavor to
build up our technical capability to restore our national rights in the context of the international conventions. This is our diplomacy: to proceed [in] both directions simultaneously." He further said that Iran does not need foreign assistance to produce nuclear fuel for the power plants, and has enough expertise to do so on its own. Stating that Iran is "sensitive" to the section of the resolution concerning uranium enrichment because this is a right respected by the NPT, Rohani added that "We don't have a program to extend the suspension yet." He further stressed Iran's perception of Europe's possible role in Iran's plans, saying that Washington was "totally against" Iran's fuel production while the European states agree with part of the fuel producing. Rohani also said that Iran "takes pride" in its continuous talks with Europe on its nuclear issue, and emphasized that Iran could have reached proper accord with E.U. had it not been for U.S. pressure on Europe. He also hinted that Iran-E.U. talks had not yet been concluded. He said that there is a possibility of resolving the dispute with the IAEA through diplomatic means. [35]

Iran's Nuclear Policy 2003-2004

Iran's conduct in its nuclear matters over the past two years has reflected a policy of ambiguity. While it has denied carrying out any unauthorized nuclear activity and has made no reports of such activity to the IAEA, when its nuclear activity was revealed — either by Iranian opposition groups abroad or following IAEA inspections — it has officially confirmed such information and argued that this activity was in no way a violation of the treaties to which it is a signatory or to international commitments it had taken upon itself. [36]These tactics, and the lack of transparency regarding its nuclear policy, have been criticized within Iran itself as well. [37]

On the other hand, in an attempt to neutralize international pressure and to have its nuclear dossier closed by the IAEA instead of being handed over to the U.N. Security Council, Iran has over the past two years been active in diplomatic efforts with the three leading European countries. According to Iran, the dispute could be resolved via agreement among itself, the three, and the IAEA, with no need for other — i.e. U.S. and the U.N. Security Council — intervention. [38]

The responses and statements by Iran's leaders indicate that decisions are being made in reaction to international pressure, resulting in a policy of reversals. As long as the pressure remained low-key, Iran continued with its declared nuclear activity. However, when the pressure increased, or when there was an imminent threat that Iran's dossier would be handed over to the U.N. Security Council, Iran has taken concrete steps to appease the West.

For instance, following Iranian President Muhammad Khatami's announcement that Iran was enriching uranium, Iran was forced by European pressure into agreeing to join the Additional Protocol. [39]In the same way, it was revealed that at the October 2003 Tehran meeting and February 2004 Brussels meeting that Iran had reached secret understandings to suspend its nuclear activity and accept tighter international oversight of its nuclear facilities. [40]It would also seem that Iran's latest agreement to suspend centrifuge production and assembly came in advance of the September 2004 IAEA Board of Governors session.

Iran's Policy Following the June 2004 IAEA Condemnation

Iran's response to the June 2004 condemnation by the IAEA indicates that it has decided to take a tougher stance with the European three. This is an attempt to signal that it is not hostage to the West and that the E.U. is not its only option. At the same time, it is cultivating its diplomatic relations with Russia and China in order to prevent its dossier from being transferred to the U.N. Security Council. [41]

Iran has employed the following measures in its changing attitude:

  1. Declaring a month-long moratorium on diplomatic meetings with the European three. During July 2004, Iranian delegates again met, in Paris, with European delegates, and rejected out of hand the European demand to completely give up their efforts to arrive at independent nuclear fuel cycle production capacity in exchange for nuclear technology provided by the Western countries themselves. Iran also rejected demands to halt its uranium enrichment activities. [42]
  2. Hardening its approach on its nuclear activity — that is, announcing that it was canceling the obligation it took upon itself to suspend centrifuge assembly and uranium enrichment. At the same time, Iran's leaders made it clear that actual enrichment activities had not yet resumed. [43]
  3. Announcing that it would not ratify the Additional Protocol. [44]It should be noted that the conservative Seventh Majlis (Iranian parliament), which was inaugurated in May 2004, is not supportive of cooperation with the West like the reformist Sixth Majlis.
  4. Making veiled threats that Europe will suffer economic damage and that the oversight of Iran's nuclear facilities would be lost if Europe supports the transfer of its dossier to the U.N. Security Council. [45]

Majlis Speaker Deputy and Parliamentary Foreign Policy and National Security Committee member Akbar A'alami said that if the dossier were to be handed over to the Security Council, "the European countries would lose more than Iran… The European economy is more fragile than that of the U.S., and is oil-dependent… We believe that the Europeans will adopt a wise policy and ensure their national interests." [46]

Alongside these threats, a month later Iran announced its willingness to return to the diplomatic channel with Europe, even meeting in July 2004 in Paris with European delegates. [47]

In order to be able to continue with its nuclear program, Iran is trying to consolidate two parallel tracks: a political-diplomatic track and a belligerent track. It is trying to create a balance of fear with the West, by threatening to harm it, and with Israel by threatening to destroy it.

I. The Political-Diplomatic Track: On the one hand, Iran is declaring that it is continuing to cooperate with the IAEA and with Europe. [48]On the other hand, Iran is refusing to commit to a permanent halt to its uranium-enrichment activity and to give up its independent nuclear fuel cycle production capability. [49]At the same time, as a confidence-building measure, Iran is refraining from explicitly declaring that it is resuming uranium enrichment, although it has explicitly stated that it is entitled to enrich uranium and that it is determined to obtain advanced nuclear technology. [50]Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi even acknowledged that Iran already possesses this technology. [51]

Furthermore, in his rejection of the IAEA's resolution to call on Iran to suspend uranium-enrichment activity, Supreme National Security Council Secretary Hassan Rohani stated that Iran does not need foreign assistance to produce nuclear fuel for the power plants, and has enough expertise to do so on its own. [52]

Despite Iran's rage at Europe's position towards it at the June 2004 IAEA Board of Governors session and Europe's role in the September resolution, Iran recognizes Europe's importance as a means of circumventing both international pressure and the U.S. threat to hand its dossier over to the U.N. Security Council. Moreover, Iran sees Europe as a means of obtaining nuclear technology and as a key to achieving legitimization for its nuclear program. [53]

Supreme National Security Council Secretary Hassan Rohani stressed Iran's perception of Europe's possible role in Iran's plans, saying that Washington was "totally against" Iran's fuel production while the European states agree with part of the fuel production.

Rohani also said that Iran "takes pride" in its continuous talks with Europe on its nuclear issue, and emphasized that Iran could have reached proper accord with E.U. had it not been for U.S. pressure on Europe, and hinted that Iran-E.U. talks had not yet been concluded. He said that there is a possibility of resolving the dispute with the IAEA through diplomatic means. [54]

During his early September 2004 visit to the Netherlands, Rohani had said that Iran was "expecting the E.U. to honor the October 2003 Tehran Declaration, which was signed by France, Germany, and Britain." He had also called on the E.U. to provide Iran with advanced nuclear technology. [55]Moreover, he had added ominously that "if the Europeans do not honor their commitments or if they submit a harsh or illogical draft resolution [condemning Iran] to the IAEA, the Iranian reaction is ready. But it is still too early to talk about this." [56]

II. The Belligerent Track: Creating a Balance of Fear with the West and Israel

A. Threats of Attacks on U.S. Interests

Recently, threats to strike at U.S. interests in the Gulf and in the West have proliferated. [57]Iranian Leader Ali Khamenei said that Iran's response to any harm to it would not be limited by Iran's borders. In a speech to the residents of the city of Hamedan on July 5, 2004, hesaid: "We, the Iranian people, within the borders of our country, will cut off any hand that harms our scientific, natural, human, or technological interests. We will cut off the hand that is sent to invade and work against our people's interests. We will do this with no hesitation… If the enemy has the audacity to harm and invade, our blows against it will not be limited to the borders of our country… If someone harms our people and invades [our country], we will endanger his interests anywhere in the world." [58]

Iranian Revolutionary Guards Political Bureau head General Yadollah Javani said: "… Today we have in our possession long-range smart missiles which can reach many of the interests and vital resources of the Americans and of the Zionist regime in our region. Thus, if the enemies show stupidity and make any mistake towards Iran, [Iran] will certainly use all the means and capabilities at its disposal. Today we enjoy high deterrent ability, and if the enemy acts in madness and wants to try his luck, he will, as the leader said, quickly see his black fate, and will regret acting against Iran's Islamic regime." [59]

In an editorial, the July 6, 2004 edition of Kayhan stated: "The entire Islamic Middle East is now a volatile and tangled trap, and will be set off by the smallest bit of silliness — and will reap many victims of the sinful adventurers… Indeed, the White House's 80 years of exclusive rule are likely to become 80 seconds of Hell that will burn to ashes everything that has been built. Iran's counter-response is likely to be called 'sudden death' and 'the Angel of Death suddenly revealed.' That very day, those who resist [Iran] will be struck from directions they never expected. The heartbeat of the crisis is undoubtedly [dictated by] the hand of Iran." [60]

Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani said at a press conference at which he announced improvements to the Shihab-3 missile that it is "obvious that we feel threatened, considering the line of thought of the superpowers. [But] we have prepared ourselves for the worst conditions." He stressed that "anyone attacking Iran will get a suitable response." [61]He also said in an interview with Al-Jazeera TV that "Iran will not sit idly by awaiting a strike against it, and would resort to using the preemptive strike option against Israel and the U.S.… The principle of preemption strike is not exclusive to the U.S." [62]

At a lecture at Tehran University on May 23, 2004, Iranian Revolutionary Guards official Dr. Hassan Abassi said: " We have two million Iranians [in the U.S.]. You can be sure that I will recruit from among them guerillas… If America attacks us, don't worry at all. It won't be like what you've seen in Afghanistan and in Iraq. In Southern Iran, we have a 2000-kilometer coast and 36 islands. The average depth of the Persian Gulf is 45-50 meters. The deepest spot there is 94 meters deep, between the islands of Abu Musa and Tonb. This is a very suitable spot for maritime guerrilla warfare. Our special forces are definitely ready for action there.

" Through the Straits of Hormuz, 67% of the world's total energy passes… Take a tanker to the Straits of Hormuz and sink it there… When it lies on the surface, half of it will protrude. It will take five months for it to be salvaged. A rise in oil prices, as you have seen, causes the West fever…" [63]

B. Threats of Attacks on European Interests

Among the threats of attacks on European interests was Iran's announcement of the resumption of the Shihab-4 and Shihab-5 long-range missile project, at the order of Iranian Leader Ali Khamenei — with the strategic target of the missiles declared to be Europe and the U.S. [64]At the same time, Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani stated that Iran is not a threat to Europe. [65]

Also at the same time came statements by Revolutionary Guards Intelligence official Dr. Hassan Abassi regarding a plan to eradicate Anglo-Saxon civilization using missiles and suicide bombers and regarding the 29 weak spots in the West identified by Iranian intelligence agents with the aim of bombing them; the recruitment, training, and dispatch of thousands of Iranian volunteers by the Revolutionary Guards for suicide missions against Western, American, and European targets in Iraq; and a report on the mobilization of suicide bombers to defend the nuclear reactor in Bushehr. [66]

C. Balance of Fear: Iran-Israel

In light of Iran's fear that if its nuclear facilities are attacked the attack will come from Israel, Iran aspires to create a balance of fear with Israel even before it has attained independent nuclear fuel cycle capacity. The main thrust of this balance of fear is a threat to attack Israel's nuclear facilities and to destroy Israel if it dares to attack Iran.

This balance of fear is based on the following elements:

  • Ideology: The Islamic Revolution regime in Iran ideologically rejects Israel's very existence and legitimacy.
  • Strategic Capability — Shihab Ballistic Missiles: According to Iranian sources, the Shihab-3 is aimed at Israel, and its range covers Israel's entire territory. On August 11, 2004, Iran held another test with the improved Shihab-3, and showed the technological innovations it had introduced. Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani said that Iran had attained "effective deterrent power" against its enemies in the region. [67]Iranian commentators added that the Shihab is capable of striking Israel or any other enemy target in the region, and that it is a response to the Israeli Arrow missile.
  • Threat to Israel via Hizbullah in Lebanon: In addition to the Revolutionary Guards officers' training and instructing of Hizbullah activists, it was recently reported that Iran provided Hizbullah, under Syria's protection, with "advanced missiles with a range of 250-350 km. that threaten every point in Israel." [68]
  • Threats by Iranian officials and Revolutionary Guards officials to strike Israel's nuclear facilities if Israel attacks Iran's nuclear facilities, and threats to destroy Israel. The following are several examples:

    • Iranian Revolutionary Guards Public Relations and Publications Office Director Masud Jazayeri warned the U.S. against using its "mad dog" Israel, saying that if the Zionist regime attacks Iran's nuclear facilities "we will wipe it off the map of the world." [69]
    • Iranian Revolutionary Guards Political Bureau head General Yadollah Javanisaid: "All the areas under the control of the Zionist regime, including the nuclear facilities and nuclear arsenal of this country, are within range of Iran's advanced missiles. Thus neither the Zionist regime nor America, will implement their threats" against Iran. [70]
    • Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander Rahim Safavi said, "If Israel is crazy enough to attack Iranian interests, we will strike them as with a hammer and shatter their bones." [71]He added, "The time has come to wipe Israel off." [72]
    • Revolutionary Guards deputy commander Mohamed Baqer Zou Al-Qadr said, "As soon as Israel fires the first missile on Bushehr, it must forget immediately about its nuclear center in Dimona… If Israel attacks the nuclear centers of our country, we will strike at its arsenal of nuclear weapons." [73]
    • Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhanisaid, "If Israel attacks Iran militarily, no place in Israel will be safe for the heads of this regime." [74]

*Ayelet Savyon is Director of the Iranian Media Project.


[1]For more on Iran's goals in obtaining nuclear weapons, see Iran's Armament - A Central Element in Establishing Itself as a Regional Superpower, March 26, 2002: "Iran's Armament - A Central Element in Establishing Itself as a Regional Superpower." Also see the statement by Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani: "Iran is now regarded as an undisputable regional power." ( IRNA, Iran, August 29, 2004)

[2]IAEA Director-General Muhammad El-Baradei said that Iran had not fully complied with the IAEA for the past nine months, and that its nuclear program was not transparent ( Aftab-e Yazd, Iran, September 8, 2004). Iran maintains that the IAEA had accepted the Iranian version of events about the P2 centrifuges, and that the matter was therefore closed. Only technical matters, not essential matters, remained open. Kayhan (Iran), September 4, 2004; Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi's statement, IRNA (Iran), September 12, 2004. At the same time, Iran's Supreme National Security Council Secretary Hassan Rohani said, "The IAEA claims that certain ambiguities remain in the key issues of pollution [as a result of uranium enrichment] and P2, and believes that there are still problems with this issue." Kayhan (Iran), September 8, 2004; Aftab-e Yazd (Iran),September 9, 2004.

[3]See "Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran — Resolution adopted by the Board on 18 September 2004" on IAEA website: "… [The IAEA] considers it necessary to promote confidence that Iran immediately suspend all enrichment-related activities, including the manufacture or import of centrifuge components, the assembly and testing of centrifuges, and the production of feed material, including through tests or production at the UCF…" http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Board/2004/gov2004-79.pdf

[4]Kayhan, IRNA, September 21, 2004. Khatami further said that “the existence of the Zionist regime is a threat not only to the region but to the entire world, and that its territory, though small in size, is entirely dedicated to the production of destructive nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction.”

[5]IRNA, September 20, 2004.

[6]Kayhan,IRNA (Iran), September 19, 2004; Jomhouri-ye Eslami (Iran), September 20, 2004.

[7]Ibid. At the same time, Rohani contradicted himself threatening that Iran would quit the NPT. Kayhan, September 20, 2004; Sharq (Iran), September 20, 2004

[8] Kayhan,IRNA (Iran), September 19, 2004; Jomhouri-ye Eslami (Iran), September 20, 2004.

[9]About two weeks earlier, Rohani had called upon France, Germany, and Britain to "honor the October 2003 Tehran Declaration" to which they were signatories, and had called on the E.U. to provide Iran with advanced nuclear technology." Aftab-e Yazd & Jomhour-ye Eslami (Iran), September 7, 2004.

[10]As Rowhani put it, "any time Iran makes progress with Europe on its nuclear program, the Americans disrupt the process." IRNA (Iran), September 19, 2004.

[11]Mehr Persian News Agency, ISNA (Iranian Students News Agency), July 26, 2004.

[12]A review of the Iranian media with extensive quotes will be published separately.

[13]In an editorial opposing the European demand for Iran to suspend its nuclear activity, the conservative daily Kahyan pointed out some Iranian nuclear plants involved in fuel production: "The production of uranium ore [at Saghand, near the central Iranian city of Yazd]; the conversion of yellowcake to UF6 at the Isfahan facilities; injection of UF6 gas into centrifuges, at the Natanz facilities; the heavy water production project, at the Arak facilities; the assembly of centrifuges and the parts required for them; and so on…" Kayhan (Iran), August 5, 2004.

[14]In an editorial, the Iranian reformist daily Sharq wrote that John Kerry is similar to President George W. Bush and that no policy change towards Iran should be expected if the Democrats win the election ( Sharq, Iran, July 19, 2004). Expectations in Iran are that Iran's situation will become clear only after the U.S. elections. The fundamental assumption was that a Bush win would be very bad for Iran because it would mean increased pressure on it. See article by Ebrahim Yazdi in Sharq (September 11, 2004), which states that if Kerry wins, Europe and the U.S., along with Japan, China, and Russia, will shift their policy in favor of Iran's nuclear program.

[15]IRNA (Iran), February 13, 2003; Aftab-e Yazd (Iran),September 6, 2004.

[16]Aftab-e Yazd (Iran), August 29, 2004.

[17]Kayhan (Iran), September 8, 2004; Sharq (Iran), June 20, 2004.

[18]See for example the statement by Chris Patten, E.U. Commissioner in charge of External Relations,in IRNA, Iran, August 11, 2004. The Additional Protocol (93+2) allows the IAEA to carry out snap inspections at nuclear sites and facilities. Report on the secret agreements, Aftab-e Yazd (Iran), July 1, 2004.

[19]Kayhan (Iran), June 27, 2004; Aftab-e Yazd (Iran), June 30, 2004; Jomhouri-ye Eslami (Iran), September 7, 2004.

[20]Kayhan (Iran), September 4, 2004; Aftab-e Yazd & Jomhouri-ye Eslami, (Iran),September 7, 2004. Editorials in the Iranian press complained about how the understandings were concealed from the relevant Majlis (Iranian parliament)committees and from the editors of Iran's leading conservative newspapers that are close to the Iranian regime heads. See editorials in the reformist daily Aftab-e Yazd (Iran), June 30 and July 1, 2004, and criticism by r eformist political activist Ali Akbar Mokhtashemi-Pour,Aftab-e Yazd (Iran), July 1, 2004. Iran later stated that its agreement to suspend its uranium enrichment activities was only a temporary one. See statements by Iranian Expediency Council Chairman and former president Hashemi Rafsanjani, Aftab-e Yazd, Iran, June 30, 2004; and Iranian Supreme National Security Council Secretary Hassan Rohani's statements in Sharq (Iran), June 20, 2004, Kayhan (Iran), September 8, 2004.

[21]Kayhan (Iran), September 4, 2004.Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said in response that when Iran and Europe were conducting sensitive negotiations, statements of this kind were not constructive ( Aftab-e Yazd & Jomhouri-ye Eslami, Iran, September 6, 2004). Also, IAEA Director-General Muhammad El-Baradei said that Iran had not fully complied with the IAEA for the past nine months and that its nuclear program is not transparent, Aftab-e Yazd (Iran), September 8, 2004.

[22]IRNA (Iran), September 8, 2004.

[23]Kayhan (Iran), August 5, 2004.

[24]See, for example, statements by Expediency Council Chairman Hashemi Rafsanjani ( Aftab-e Yazd, Iran, June 30, 2004), and by Iranian Supreme National Security Council Secretary Hassan Rohani ( Sharq, Iran, June 20, 2004; Kayhan, Iran, September 8, 2004).

[25]Yellowcake is a stage in the uranium enrichment process, which is basically refining raw uranium prior to processing it in a UF6 facility for enrichment purposes.

[26]This quantity is sufficient to produce five nuclear warheads. These statements were made by the site's work director and Iranian Atomic Energy Organization member Qassem Suleimani during the first visit by an Associated Press representativeto the Saghand uranium mine. The mine will be able to produce 132,000 tons of raw uranium annually. Suleimani said it would be possible to produce uranium ore by early 2006, and that 77% of the work had already been completed. He added that if the Iranian leadership wanted to push the project forward, uranium could be produced beginning in mid-2005. Saghand project director Mahdi Kabirzade said that at this point 220 Iranian engineers and workers were on site and that "today we are completely independent" ( Kayhan & Aftab-e Yazd, Iran, September 6, 2004).

[27]Western diplomats in the IAEA have reported on a deal, but have noted that the details on the content, duration, extent, and timing of the suspension remain unknown. It was also said that the deal was still unsigned and that the Europeans were following the talks closely. ( Kayhan,Aftab-e Yazd, Iran Daily, Iran,September 8, 2004.) In response, the U.S. and the U.K. have said that this deal was strictly a "tactical step" on Iran's part. ( Aftab-e Yazd, Iran, September 9, 2004.) Kayhan, Iran, September 8, 2004. See editorial by Kayhan editor Hossein Shariatmadari calling the European demands for Iran to halt nuclear activity — that is, uranium enrichment suspension and a freeze on centrifuges activities — a "red line." ( Kayhan, Iran, September 8, 2004).

[28]Kayhan (Iran), September 8, 2004.

[29]Prior to the IAEA Board of Governors' September 13 session, there had been reports in the Iranian press that the resolution on Iran's nuclear dossier would be postponed until the November session. Aftab-e Yazd (Iran), September 5, 2004.Report in the Iranian press that IAEA Secretary-General Muhammad El-Baradei announced that the decision regarding Iran would be postponed to the November session, Kayhan, September 8, 2004. Iran's National Security Council Hassan Rohani said that the E.U. and particularly the temporarily president the Netherlands opposed pressures and threats against Iran, IRNA, September 8, 2004; editor of the daily Kayhan, Hussein Shriatmadari, in an editorial, explained that the postponement was due to U.S. presidential elections in November, Kayhan (Iran), September 6, 2004. See also reports according to which Europe was divided on the question of the pressure on and additional condemnation of Iran, with Britain supporting it, France hesitating, and Germany opposing it. Kayhan (Iran), September 8, 2004; Aftab-e Yazd (Iran), September 9, 2004.

[30]IRNA (Iran), September 12, 2004.

[31]Kayhan & Aftab-e Yazd (Iran), September 6, 2004.

[32]IRNA (Iran), September 12, 2004.

[33]See "Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran — Resolution adopted by the Board on 18 September 2004" on IAEA website: "… [The IAEA] considers it necessary to promote confidence that Iran immediately suspend all enrichment-related activities, including the manufacture or import of centrifuge components, the assembly and testing of centrifuges, and the production of feed material, including through tests or production at the UCF…" http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Board/2004/gov2004-79.pdf

[34]See "Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran — Resolution adopted by the Board on 18 September 2004" on IAEA website: "… [The IAEA] considers it necessary to promote confidence that Iran immediately suspend all enrichment-related activities, including the manufacture or import of centrifuge components, the assembly and testing of centrifuges, and the production of feed material, including through tests or production at the UCF…" http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Board/2004/gov2004-79.pdf

[35]IRNA (Iran), September 19, 2004. About two weeks earlier, Rohani had called upon France, Germany, and Britain to "honor the October 2003 Tehran Declaration" to which they were signatories, and had called on the E.U. to provide Iran with advanced nuclear technology." Aftab-e Yazd & Jomhour-ye Eslami (Iran), September 7, 2004.

[36]As happened for example with the reveal of the existence of plants connected to the nuclear industry, acquisition of centrifuges of an advanced generation, and uranium-enrichment activity.

[37]Aftab-e Yazd (Iran), March 16, 2004, June 30, 2004, July 1, 2004.

[38]IRNA (Iran), September 5, 2004. See also Kayhan editor Hossein Shariatmadari's criticism of the assumption that Europe will stand with Iran and act against the U.S. ( Kayhan, Iran, June 27, 2004, August 5, 2004; Aftab-e Yazd, Iran, March 16, 2003).

[39]See editorial in reformist daily Aftab-e Yazd (Iran), March 16, 2004.

[40]IRNA (Iran), September 5, 2004.

[41]Iran's Supreme National Security Council Secretary Hassan Rohani said: "Iran must maintain relations with all the IAEA Board of Governors member states and must continue its political activity with China, Russia, and the NAM [countries], alongside its activities with Europe." Aftab-e Yazd (Iran), September 9, 2004.

[42]Kayhan (Iran), August 5, 2004. Statement by the rapporteur of the Parliamentary Committee for National Security and Foreign Policy Kazem Jalaliin Kayhan (Iran), August 15, 2004.

[43]Sharq (Iran), June 20, 2004; Tehran Times (Iran), June 20, 2004; Jomhouri-ye Eslami (Iran), June 22, 2004; Iran announced the resumption of centrifuge assembly activity which is an important stage in the uranium enrichment process, Sharq, June 30, 2004. Expediency Council Chairman, Hashemi Rafsanjani, Aftab-e Yazd (Iran), June 30, 2004, IRNA (Iran), Sept 5, 2004.

[44]See statements by the chairman of Iran's Parliamentary Committee for National Security and Foreign Policy 'Alaa Al-Din Boroujerdi to the German Ambassador to Tehran: "The atmosphere is completely unsuitable for the ratification of the Additional Protocol. Europe must first change its positions towards Iran" ( Sharq, Iran, July 1, 2004; Aftab-e Yazd, Iran, September 7, 2004). See also statement by Iranian MP Elham Amin-Zade that Iran could not be forced to ratify the Additional Protocol (Resalat, Iran, September 5, 2004) and statements by Iran's Majlis Speaker Haddad 'Adel ( Jomhouri-ye Eslami, Iran, September 6, 2004). Threats of quitting the NPT like North Korea have also been voiced (Kayhan, Iran, August 5, 2004, June 27, 2004; Aftab-e Yazd, Iran, May 31, 2004).

[45]Supreme National Security Council Secretary Hassan Rohani, Kayhan (Iran), September 8, 2004. See also Iranian commentary in Kayhan (Iran), September 6, 2004.

[46]IRNA (Iran), September 12, 2004.

[47]Sharq (Iran), July 14, 2004. Kayhan editor Hossein Shariatmadari, who is close to Iran's Leader Ali Khamenei, criticized the Iranian decision-makers' haste to ratify the Additional Protocol in exchange for a renewed commitment by Europe to close the Iranian dossier at the September IAEA Board of Governors session ( Kayhan, Iran, July 20, 2004).

[48]Supreme National Security Council Secretary Hassan Rohani, Aftab-e Yazd, Jomhouri-ye Eslami, (Iran) September 7, 2004. Majlis Speaker Haddad 'Adel, Aftab-e Yazd, (Iran) September 7, 2004.

[49]Seereports on the Iranian intent to enrich uranium within two years, Kayhan & Aftab-e Yaz d, (Iran) September 6, 2004. Also see statements by Supreme National Security Committee Secretary Hassan Rohani that "Iran sees access to the fuel cycle as its legal and logical right, and will not abandon it. Iran is trying to implement this goal at the most appropriate time, in the best possible way." ( Kayhan, Iran, September 8, 2004).

[50]Statement by Iranian President Muhammad Khatami, Aftab-e Yazd,Kayhan (Iran), August 29, 2004. Recently, the Majlis determined that the resumption of uranium enrichment would be discussed in the near future, with intent to implement resumption. Former Iranian Ambassador to the IAEA 'Ali Akbar Salehi, said that "issue of resuming uranium enrichment is special, and the authorities should announce their position on it. The[y] will make their decisions in light of the current developments and changes which may take place in the future…and will depend on the current developments and also on the reactions adopted by the IAEA and Europe" ( IRNA, Iran, September 1, 2004.) Iranian Ambassador to Moscow Gholam-Reza Shafei told reporters that the production of a nuclear fuel cycle is Iran's legitimate and legal right and that Iran "is still interested in producing nuclear fuel for providing energy for our nuclear plants… Producing centrifuges is the right of every country capable of building such apparatuses" ( Kayhan, Iran, September 4, 2004). See also the statement by Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi, Aftab-e Yazd (Iran), September 6, 2004, and the statement by Rohani, Kayhan (Iran), September 8, 2004. Apparently, Iran is trying to pressure Europe, and is using the argument that the conservative Seventh Majlis is the authority that must ratify Iran's joining the Additional Protocol ( Kayhan, Iran, July 31, 2004).

[51]IRNA (Iran), September 12, 2004.

[52]IRNA (Iran), September 19, 2004.

[53]As Rohani put it, "any time Iran makes progress with Europe on its nuclear program, the Americans disrupt the process." IRNA (Iran), September 19, 2004. Earlier, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi had said that Iran was at the height of "highly sensitive" talks with Europe, and that "serious and sensitive" negotiations on "ways of closing Iran's dossier with the IAEA" were underway, and added that Iran "understands that the E.U. is under heavy pressure from the U.S." Aftab-e Yazd & Jomhouri-ye Eslami (Iran), September 6, 2004. Asefi also said, "We have agreed to take some steps in response to the sensitivities of the E.U. regarding certain matters." Iran Daily (Iran), September 6, 2004.

[54]IRNA (Iran), September 19, 2004. About two weeks earlier, Rohani had called upon France, Germany, and Britain to "honor the October 2003 Tehran Declaration" to which they were signatories, and had called on the E.U. to provide Iran with advanced nuclear technology." Aftab-e Yazd & Jomhour-ye Eslami (Iran), September 7, 2004.

[55]Aftab-e Yazd & Jomhouri-ye Eslami (Iran),September 7, 2004.

[56]Rohani added, "The closer Iran has gotten to [uranium] enrichment [capability], the more sensitive the Europeans have become, and any time we have suspended [uranium] enrichment activities, their tone has become moderate and they smiled." Kayhan (Iran), September 8, 2004.

[57]The Internal Debate in Iran: How to Respond to Western Pressure Regarding Its Nuclear Program: The Internal Debate in Iran: How to Respond To Western Pressure Regarding Its Nuclear Program, June 17, 2004, and Iran Threatens the West, July 13, 2004: Iran Threatens the West.

[58]Kayhan (Iran), July 6, 2004. See also broadcast of the July 5, 2004 speech on Iran's Channel 1, Kayhan (Iran), July 6, 2004. See also broadcast of the July 5, 2004 speech on Iran's Channel 1, MEMRITV Clip No. 140, 'Iranian Leader Khamenei: If Someone Harms Our People... We Will Endanger His Interests Anywhere In The World', July 5, 2004.

[59]Kayhan (Iran), July 8, 2004.

[60]Kayhan (Iran), July 6, 2004.

[61]Kayhan & Aftab-e Yazd (Iran), August 8, 2004. See also statements by Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander Rahim Safavi on Iran's good ballistic-missile deterrent capabilities ( IRNA, Iran, September 12, 2004). Iranian Intelligence Minister Ali Younesi said that if the U.S. or any other country intends to endanger Iran's security, "its own security would naturally be at risk" ( Aftab-e Yazd, Iran, September 1, 2004).

[62]Kayhan (Iran), August 19, 2004, Akhbar Al-Khaleej (Bahrain), August 19, 2004.

[63]Ibid.

[64]Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), June 14, 2004.

[65]"I clearly announce that we pose no threat to any European country." Kayhan & Aftab-e Yazd (Iran), August 8, 2004.

[66]See The Internal Debate in Iran: How to Respond to Western Pressure Regarding Its Nuclear Program: The Internal Debate in Iran: How to Respond To Western Pressure Regarding Its Nuclear Program, June 17, 2004,; and Iran Threatens the West, July 13, 2004: Iran Threatens the West. See also audio recording of Dr. Hassan Abassi's lectures at Tehran University, May 23, 2004, www.memritv.org, Clips No. 251 and 252. See also reports of thousands of Iranian volunteers who registered for suicide operations against Western attacks on Iran at the Bushher nuclear plant, Kayhan & Aftab-e Yazd (Iran), September 9, 2004.

[67]Jomhouri-ye Eslami (Iran), August 31, 2004; Kayhan (Iran), July 31, 2004, August 16, 2004.

[68]See Kuwaiti Daily: Iran Delivered Missiles to Hizbullah in Lebanon via Syria, August 19, 2004, "Kuwaiti Daily: Iran Delivered Missiles to Hizbullah in Lebanon via Syria."

[69]Mehr Persian News Agency, ISNA (Iranian Students News Agency), July 26, 2004.

[70]Kayhan (Iran), August 12, 2004.

[71]Ibid.

[72]Al-Zaman (London and Baghdad), September 1, 2004.

[73]Kayhan (Iran), August 16, 2004, August 18, 2004.

[74]Kayhan (Iran), July 29, 2004, August 8, 2004.