Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani took a hard-line position on the nuclear issue
“Our government will not give up one iota of its absolute
rights,” Rouhani said, ahead of a new round of talks between Iran and the IAEA
set for September 27.
The Iranian leader’s statement, reported by AFP,
casts a pallor on prospects for a negotiated settlement to the dispute over
suspicions the Islamic Republic is in the process of developing nuclear
Rouhani took office last month, and his election led some to
believe that compared to his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a more moderate
policy would be pursued.
Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Muhammad
Javad Zarif plans on holding a meeting with EU foreign policy chief Catherine
Ashton in New York on the sidelines of the upcoming UN General Assembly meeting
on September 22.
Iraq Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Hussain
al-Shahristani said in a meeting with Zarif earlier this week that his country
was ready to help Iran develop its nuclear program, the Iranian Students’ News
Agency reported on Tuesday.
Iraq’s Shi’ite leadership has long been
suspected of being close to Iran.
The two men also discussed energy
cooperation and the talks between Iran and the West over the country’s nuclear
The Student’s News Agency also quoted Zarif as saying that Iran
and the US have exchanged messages on Syria.
“The West must understand
that it will not achieve success through sanctions and pressures against the
Iranian nation…. If the West uses the language of logic, reason and mutual
interests on an equal footing, the Iranian administration is also ready to
respond in the language of wisdom, prudence and logic,” Rouhani said, according
to the Iranian Fars News Agency.
He also warned that an attack would
cause the attackers great suffering.
“Our entire efforts have been
focused on preventing war, and this idea has gained momentum this week thanks to
efforts and initiatives of some countries. We hope there will be no war, but if
there was one, the warmongers would have to pay dearly for it,”he said,
according to the Iranian Tasnim News Agency.
A senior Iranian cleric,
Ayatollah Seyet Hashem Hosseini Bushehri, told Tasnim on Tuesday that wars are
easy to start but difficult to end.
“It is easy to start a war. All it
needs is to fire a couple of missiles. But continuing with it and bringing it to
an end are very difficult issues,” he said.
He added that an attack could
spread insecurity throughout the region and put “the bases of the US and its
allies in harm’s way.”
The possibility of a deal that would avert a
US-led attack against Syria has led to Iranian boasting and
Hojjatollah Souri, an Iranian lawmaker and a member of the
important National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, said on Tuesday that
Iran’s military power deterred a US attack.
“One of the elements which
has made the US dubious about its decision for attacking Syria is Iran’s
military assistance to the resistance line,” he said, according to
“Certainly, the Islamic Republic’s military equipment is as good as
the foreign states’ weapons and sometimes outpaces them, and this progress will
definitely increase security in our country and the region,” explained
Another lawmaker, Muhammad Javad Karimi Qoddousi, a fellow
member of the commission, similarly told Fars on Saturday that Iran was
responsible for the delay in the US attack.
“We have studied the most
important cause of the delay in the US attack on Syria and understood that the
revolutionary and effective positions taken by the Islamic Republic [and] of
Iran’s officials have caused the delay,” he said.
Iran supports Russia’s
offer to work with Syria to put its chemical weapons under international
control, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.
Barack Obama said on Monday he saw a possible breakthrough in the crisis with
Syria after Moscow proposed that its ally hand over chemical weapons for
destruction, offering a path that averts US military strikes. Syrian President
Bashar Assad’s government has welcomed the Russian proposal.
Republic of Iran favors that initiative, and we find this to be within the
framework of putting a halt to militarism in the region,” Foreign Ministry
spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham told a news conference carried live on state
Iran has staunchly supported Assad against rebels seeking to
oust him, and has said the rebels, whom it calls “terrorists,” were responsible
for the chemical attack.
Afkham said any action on chemical weapons
should ensure they are not available to the rebels.
“There are concerns
regarding possession of an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in the hands
of terrorists,” Afkham said. “We think that any kind of initiative should
actually cover terrorists.”
Syria has also signed “major contracts” with
Iran that would cover its needs for food, medical and other supplies, state
television said on Tuesday.
A protracted civil war has left Syria divided
and displaced millions of people. The country has struggled to buy food in
recent weeks, issuing tenders to buy sugar, flour, rice and wheat, citing
extreme urgency yet failing to make any purchases.