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News number: 8710231830

19:41 | 2009-01-12

Foriegn Policy

نسخه چاپي ارسال به دوستان

Iran Calls on Obama not to Repeat Bush's Baseless Allegations

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran called on US President-elect Barack Obama on Monday not to repeat the false accusations leveled against the Islamic Republic by the outgoing administration in Washington.



The United States accuses Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons and President George W. Bush has spearheaded a drive to isolate Tehran internationally. Tehran denies the charge.

Addressing reporters during his weekly press conference here today, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hassan Qashqavi also suggested Tehran would respond in an "appropriate and timely" way to any change in US behavior towards the country, which is embroiled in a row with the US-led West over its progress in the field of civilian nuclear technology.

Obama, who takes office on January 20, said on Sunday that he will take a new approach towards Tehran that will emphasize respect for the Iranian people and spell out what the United States expects of its leaders.

"We have to see whether or not this change in orientation (by Obama) is in practice and whether it will bring about fundamental change in the behavior and stance of America in relation to Iran," the Iranian foreign ministry spokesman said.

He said Obama should not "repeat past statements and instances whose falsehood has been demonstrated by Iran," a reference to US accusations about Tehran's nuclear plans and other issues - although he did not mention specific charges.

"This is a very important point and undoubtedly Iran will undertake an appropriate and timely measure proportionate with the new US behavior and action," Qashqavi said.

In a shift from Bush's policies, Obama has said he would seek much broader engagement with Iran, saying he was prepared to offer Tehran economic incentives to stop its nuclear program but also that tougher sanctions could be imposed if it refused.

Political observers believe that the United States has remained at loggerheads with Iran mainly over the independent and home-grown nature of Tehran's nuclear technology, which gives the Islamic Republic the potential to turn into a world power and a role model for other third-world countries. Washington has laid much pressure on Iran to make it give up the most sensitive and advanced part of the technology, which is uranium enrichment, a process used for producing nuclear fuel for power plants.

Washington's push for additional UN penalties contradicts a recent report by 16 US intelligence bodies that endorsed the civilian nature of Iran's programs. Following the US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) and similar reports by the IAEA head - one in November and the other one in February - which praised Iran's truthfulness about key aspects of its past nuclear activities and announced settlement of outstanding issues with Tehran, any effort to impose further sanctions on Iran seems to be completely irrational.

The February report by the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, praised Iran's cooperation in clearing up all of the past questions over its nuclear program, vindicating Iran's nuclear program and leaving no justification for any new UN sanctions.

The UN nuclear watchdog has so far carried out at least 14 surprise inspections of Iran's nuclear sites so far, but found nothing to support West's allegations.

Also in another report to the 35-nation Board of Governors, IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei confirmed "the non-diversion" of nuclear material in Iran and added that the agency had found no "components of a nuclear weapon" or "related nuclear physics studies" in the country.

The IAEA report confirmed that Iran has managed to enrich uranium-235 to a level "less than 5 percent". Such a rate is consistent with the construction of a nuclear power plant. Nuclear arms production, meanwhile, requires an enrichment level of above 90 percent.

The Vienna-based UN nuclear watchdog continues snap inspections of Iranian nuclear sites and has reported that all "declared nuclear material in Iran has been accounted for, and therefore such material is not diverted to prohibited activities."

ElBaradei recently said that Iran remains far from acquiring capabilities to develop nuclear weapons as it is still lacking the key components to produce an atomic weapon.

"They do not have even the nuclear material, the raw unenriched uranium to develop one nuclear weapon if they decide to do so," said the head of the UN nuclear watchdog agency.

Many world nations have called the UN Security Council pressure against Iran unjustified, especially in the wake of recent IAEA reports, stressing that Tehran's case should be normalized and returned to the UN nuclear watchdog due to the Islamic Republic's increased cooperation with the agency.

Observers believe that the shift of policy by the White House to send William Burns - the third highest-ranking diplomat in the US - to the latest round of Iran-West talks happened after Bush's attempt to rally international pressure against Iran lost steam due to the growing international vigilance.

US President George W. Bush finished a tour of the Middle East in winter to gain the consensus of his Arab allies to unite against Iran.

But hosting officials of the regional nations dismissed Bush's allegations, describing Tehran as a good friend of their countries.

Also in an apparent reference to Washington's Middle East policy, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said earlier this year that Isolating Iran and Syria is a misguided strategy.

"Dialogue between countries in the region is better than pressure from outside," he said, delivering an opening speech at the World Economic Forum on Europe and Central Asia.

Nations in the region could likely find solutions to Middle East conflict and tensions in Iraq by working together and without external pressure, Erdogan said.

In August, Turkish President Abdullah Gul said that Ankara would not be influenced by others in its relations with neighbors. Gul described the expansion of regional ties as natural, saying that "for Turkey what other countries think is of no importance."