Iranian FM invokes American values to state case on nuclear rights

Zarif draws parallels between the Iranian people and Americans to support Tehran's "right to enrich" and call for a peaceful resolution.

November 19, 2013 16:12
2 minute read.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in YouTube address, November 19, 2013.

Iranian FM Javad Zarif 370. (photo credit: YouTube Screenshot)


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Iran continued its "charm offensive" on Tuesday on the eve of the Geneva nuclear talks with a conciliatory YouTube address by Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, detailing Tehran's message of peace and progress in a soothing voice and flawless English.

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Accompanied by calming music, Zarif invokes American values of freedom, equality and human rights principles to state his case.

"What is dignity, what is respect, are they negotiable? Is there a price tag? Imagine being told that you can't do what everyone else is doing. What everyone else is allowed to do. Will you back down? Would you relent? Or would you stand your ground?" Zarif asks, and proceeds to answer his own rhetorical questions.

"We're all endowed with free will, with the ability to determine our own destiny. It's not about stubbornness or refusal to take into account the views of others. Free will is in our being, in our DNA."

Drawing a parallel between the Iranian people and citizens of western countries, Zarif details how Iranians "joined hands to stand up against tyranny, demanding respect for our free will," stressing the Iranian people are no different to other nations.

Addressing the issue of the Islamic Republic's nuclear program, Zarif once again invokes commonality with the American people, noting that for Iran, "nuclear energy is not about joining a club or threatening others" but rather is "about a leap, a jump toward deciding our own destiny, rather than allowing others to decide for us."

"It's about Iranian nation moving forward as an equal in a new realm defined by peace, by prosperity, by progress," he adds.

Touching on the contested issue of whether or not Iran has the "right to enrich," Zarif presents a more determined, yet confident, rhetoric.

"Rights are not granted, and since they are not granted, they cannot be ceased," he stresses.

This, however, doesn't mean Iran has reached a dead end negotiating with world powers.

"There is a way forward, a constructive path towards determining our destiny, to advance, to make progress, to secure peace, to go forward," he says. "The choice is not submission or confrontation."

"To seize this unique opportunity, we need to accept equal footing, and choose a path based on mutual respect and on recognition of the dignity of all peoples," he says, adding that the international community must recognize that "no power, however strong, can determine the fate of others."

Zarif urges dialogue instead of dictation of demands, "we also need the conviction that imposition is not sustainable. A conviction that we cannot gain at the expense of others. A conviction that we either win together or lose together, that balance is key to success."

Assuring that Iranians always keep their promises, Zarif concludes his message by vowing to explore the path of negotiations and peace.

Nuclear negotiations in Geneva between Iran and P5+1 states - that include Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany - are set to resume on Wednesday and continue for three days.

Tehran and the other world powers will try to clinch a "first stage" deal that would freeze Iranian nuclear activity in return for some sanctions relief for six months, to allow time for talks to continue in order to reach a more permanent resolution.

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