Nuclear Dispute a Political Issue

Nuclear  Dispute  a Political  Issue
Nuclear  Dispute  a Political  Issue

The director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) says the dispute over Tehran's nuclear program is not a "technical issue" and can only be resolved with "political will".

"The western countries have made the nuclear dispute a political issue, while we have answered all their technical questions," Ali Akbar Salehi said in an interview with state Iranian television on Saturday evening, IRNA reported.   

"The P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) has announced that two questions have not been answered adequately, despite the fact that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has almost accepted our responses, but because it is a political issue, it is not sufficient for them," the nuclear chief said, referring to the two questions about alleged high explosives tests and studies that could be relevant for any effort to build nuclear bombs that Iran in May last year agreed to answer as part of the transparency measures it undertook to implement under a cooperation agreement with the UN nuclear agency which was signed in November 2013.

Iran denies its nuclear work may have any military objectives, saying the program is solely for peaceful applications.  Salehi also said, "After (IAEA Director General Yukiya) Amano took office, he raised the alleged studies as a serious issue as part of (an effort to put Iran under) political pressure."

"In view of this approach, Iran's dossier is not technical and is political, so the issue cannot be resolved as long as there is no political will," he noted.

  Deal Was Close in Vienna  

On the talks between Iran and the six major powers which was held in Vienna last November that led to the decision to extend the talks on a comprehensive long-term nuclear accord until June 30, Salehi said, "We were close to concluding a deal and almost reached agreement on general points, but the other side backed off and after two or three days the prime minister of the Zionist regime, Benjamin Netanyahu, announced (Israel) blocked the deal and later (US Secretary of State) John Kerry said they work in close coordination with Israel."

"They see their interests in prolonging the crisis. From the very beginning, the Islamic Republic cooperated in good faith and with political will, answered their questions and showed flexibility, but they still insist on excessive demands," he stated.

"They flagrantly present their demands, but Iran is not a country that easily compromise its interests and national sovereignty because it has paid political costs for 35 years (since the Islamic Revolution)," he said, adding, "The Islamic Republic of Iran does not want anything beyond its rights and is not ready to relinquish them."

Elsewhere, he said Iran now produces 2.5 tons of enriched uranium each year, while it annually needs 30 tons of the material to fuel its only operational nuclear power plant in Bushehr.

"We are ready to go through the process (of increasing the enrichment capacity) in stages over the course of eight years to be able to supply the first unit of the Bushehr plant with the required fuel," he said.

Iran has a contract with Russia, under which Russia is committed to providing nuclear fuel for the Bushehr power plant until 2021.    

Salehi added that Iran is insistent that the duration of a final nuclear deal with the six powers should be less than ten years, while the western countries have called for a 10- to 20-year confidence-building period which would place constraints on Iran's nuclear activities.   

In addition, he said on April 9, which is National Nuclear Technology Day, "good news" will be announced about the production of nuclear fuel for the Bushehr plant.