"Washington's approach to the world is: "don't bother us with facts." Israel, for example, possesses some 200 nuclear weapons, which Washington ignores as it ignored India and Pakistan as they made nukes. Iran's problem is its disobedience; it does not do what Washington dictates and therefore the word goes out to the media that it is a danger to US security," said Saul Landau in an exclusive interview with Fars News Agency.
Saul Landau has written 14 books and his articles and commentaries widely appear on different publications across the world. He is a Professor Emeritus at California State University and a senior fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) in Washington D.C. Saul Landau's films are distributed by Round World Productions. His latest film is "Will the Real Terrorist Please Stand Up" which narrates the history of almost half a century of hostility between the United States and Cuba.
Ahead of the sensitive nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 (Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States), Fars News Agency conducted an interview with Saul Landau to discuss the West's skepticism on Iran's nuclear program, the sanctions imposed on Iran by the United States and its allies and the prospect of talk between Iran and the world powers. What follows is the text of the interview.
Q: The United States and the other world powers have usually sat at the negotiation table with Iran while resorting to force and using the instruments of coercion and intimidation. They impose sanctions and issue war threats and then demand Iran to make nuclear concessions during the talks. Is this kind of negotiation going to bear fruit?
A: Sanctions worked to weaken the apartheid government of South Africa because the majority in that country did not support the government, Sanctions don't work with countries like Iran and Cuba where the population supports the government. Sanctions make people dig in their heels and resist. Similarly, threats do not frighten legitimate governments. Washington policy-makers live in a fog of unreality about the nature of the Iranian government, which is stable and has support, as they have lived in a similar fog over Cuba.
Q: The Western mainstream media are pretending that negotiations with Iran will not be helpful and the solution to controversy over Iran's nuclear program is a military confrontation. They are laying the groundwork for a possible attack against Iran like what they did to Iraq in 2003. What do you think about their propaganda campaign?
A: The same neo-conservatives and unbridled hawks who assured the world that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction have risen again to demand war with Iran. Their information has no basis in reality and their arguments are foolish and dangerous. Negotiations and diplomacy can resolve disputes far better than sanctions and threats.
Q: The United States and its partners have so far failed to present credible evidence confirming their claims that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, and the 2007 NIE report shows that Iran does not have the intention to produce nuclear bombs. So, all the pressures and sanctions against Iran are predicated on allegations and accusations. Why do they put such an enormous amount of pressure on Iran while knowing that their claim is not true?
A: Washington's approach to the world is: "don't bother us with facts." Israel, for example, possesses some 200 nuclear weapons, which Washington ignores as it ignored India and Pakistan as they made nukes. Iran's problem is its disobedience; it does not do what Washington dictates and therefore the word goes out to the media that it is a danger to US security. Instead of asking: "What did Iran do to us?" Or have they ever tried to overthrow a US government as the US did to Iran in 1953, the media acts as White House stenographers. Another problem Iran faces in Washington is the Israeli lobby, more aggressive than the National Rifle Association and arguably more powerful. This lobby presents Iran as a threat to Israel and then demands the US defend Israel.
Q: The IAEA and Group 5+1 have asked Iran several times to be allowed to inspect the Parchin site near Tehran. They had inspected Parchin in 2003 and 2005 and found no evidence of suspicious nuclear activities there. Parchin is a military site and no country allows an inspection of its military sites without a reasonable justification. What's your viewpoint?
A: The demand reflects world power's curiosity. Imagine the IAEA [was] run by Brazil, Argentina and Vietnam. It would not make such a demand. The US doesn't need facts or reason to insist that other nations follow [its] orders. It simply flexes its muscles. It wants to humiliate and weaken Iran, compromise its sovereignty, and reduce its world and regional importance.
Q: Israel has never signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, never allowed any inspection to its nuclear sites and never complied with its international obligations under the UNSC resolutions. However, it enjoys impunity because it's a US ally. Don't you consider this hypocritical?
A: US-Israeli relations give hypocrisy a bad reputation. Not only does a group of rabid neo-con Jews run this hideous lobby, but fundamentalist Christians also adhere to the nonsense that Israel merits its special place in US relations because of its religious role in bringing forth the Kingdom of the Apocalypse. Israel receives US impunity for all its misdeeds.
Q: What's your viewpoint regarding the sanctions imposed on Iran by the United States and the European Union? Are these sanctions going to help the course of Iran-G5+1 negotiations? Don't the sanctions make the Iranian people more pessimistic and suspicious about the West?
A: The sanctions will not work. They never do when people have basic faith in their government. They temporarily mollify the war-mongers, however.
Q: How should Iran and G5+1 approach the upcoming nuclear talks in Kazakhstan? What confidence-building steps should the West take in order to show its sincerity to Iran? What should Iran do in order to ease the tensions and demonstrate to the West that its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes?
A: Iran's spiritual leader has publicly declared that nuclear weapons are evil. Iran might ask the US President if he agrees with that evaluation. Then, Iran can offer to have an independent review of its nuclear program by nations like Brazil and Turkey to demonstrate the veracity of Tehran's position. The Iranian government could also invite a group of independent nuclear experts and scientists for a conference to examine its program.
Interview by Kourosh Ziabari