Iran has dismissed as “politically motivated” a recent IAEA report accusing it of ramping up uranium enrichment. The director of the University of Tehran's Institute for North American and European Studies told RT the report’s timing is no surprise.
Iranian lawmakers were quick to reject the highly critical International Atomic Energy Agency report – released Thursday – which was published just as Tehran was hosting representatives from some 120 nations for the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit. Iranian lawmaker Kazem Jalali said the report was intended to “overshadow the meeting in Tehran."
“It seems that this report is a scenario for psychological warfare, because Iran was able to show its authority and international position at the NAM summit,” Jalali, a member of Iranian Parliament's national security and foreign affairs committee, added.
The IAEA report says Iran’s stockpile of uranium that's been enriched to 20 per cent – the threshold for “weapons-usable” quality – has jumped from 159 pounds to 255 pounds since May.
The report further says that the number of centrifuges at the underground uranium enrichment facility at Fordow, near the city of Qom, more than doubled, from 1,064 to 2,140, in the same period, although the new machines were not yet operational when the report went to press.
The watchdog concluded that "Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation," and that for that reason, the agency was “unable to provide credible assurance" that the Islamic Republic was not engaged in illicit nuclear-related activities.
In many ways the agency represents what Iran’s Supreme Leader called the "overt dictatorship of the United Nations," Eric Draitser, a geopolitical analyst for stopimperialism.com, told RT.
“The IAEA is always led by the US-produced think-tank individuals like [IAEA Director General Mohamed] ElBaradei or his predecessors, who will inevitable execute the agenda of the Western powers regardless of whether it contravenes international law,” he said.
With Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei insisting before the NAM summit on Thursday that acquiring nuclear weapons was a “big and unforgivable sin,” Professor Seyed Mohammad Marandi, who heads the University of Tehran's Institute for North American and European Studies, said the report is just another Western ploy to undermine Iran internationally as the drive to isolate the Islamic Republic economically and politically falters.
RT: So, Tehran believes the report is just another element of psychological warfare waged against Iran. What do you make of the timing?
Seyed Mohammad Marandi: The timing [of the IAEA report] is highly suspicious because the non-aligned movement conference in Tehran has been highly successful. Instead of Iran being isolated, the United States has become isolated, since it opposed senior figures going to Tehran and many major world leaders have come to the country.
In addition, the president of Egypt came to Iran, which is a political earthquake. So the Iranians are saying that this report came at a sensitive time to distract attention away from this Iranian success. And also, the report is misleading in many ways.
RT:The report states there are now more than 2,000 uranium enrichment centrifuges installed in Iran. Do they really need that many if they are simply for peaceful purposes?
SMM: Yes, because the Iranians are producing enriched uranium at 20 per cent, for facilities in Tehran, which then produce medical isotopes. Roughly 800,000 to 900,000 people in Iran need this medicine; many of them are cancer patients. And the fact that the United States and the Europeans tried to prevent Iran from obtaining the fuel in the past meant that they were taking Iranian cancer patients hostage, which was, in the eyes of Iranians, inhuman.
The Iranians felt they were forced to produce their own uranium at 20 per cent. The irony here is that the Iranians at the beginning had no intention to produce uranium at 20 per cent and then produce nuclear fuel. But the Americans and the Europeans, by taking Iranian citizens and ill people hostage, forced Iranians to take that step.
RT: We've seen a rise in Israel's aggressive rhetoric towards Tehran, while Washington has been very cautious when talking of a possible airstrike on the country. So if Israel does decide to attack Iran, do you think the US will help?
SMM: Obviously any attack on Iran would not be in the interest of the United States or the Europeans, and it wouldn’t be in the interest of the Israeli regime, because it would be seen as an aggressor. It would create major harm to the global economic situation – the global economy is not doing well – the countries will blame the Israeli regime for any deterioration of the global economy. There is a possibility that the Israelis will carry out an attack because they are not a rational actor in the eyes of the Iranians, but an Iranian response would be very severe.
If the Americans try to intervene on behalf of Israel, then I believe we will have a major conflict in the Persian Gulf region. Oil tankers, oil installations, gas installations, all of this would probably be destroyed. The Persian Gulf is a small gulf, and the Iranians have very long borders. So the Iranians are prepared to defend themselves, and I think the American know this.