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World supports new nuclear talks with Iran Wednesday, 30 July, 2008

Posted by Farbod in Interviews.
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By Afshin Rattansi, Press TV, Tehran

Solana’s spokeswoman Cristina Gallach

The following is Press TV’s exclusive full-length interview with Cristina Gallach, the spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, ahead of Saturday talks in Geneva between Iran and world powers over Tehran’s disputed nuclear program:

Q. What is different about the talks in Geneva?

A. What is different is that about a month ago the international community presented a very generous offer to the Iranian leaders and they now have had enough time to look at these (offers) and we would like very much tomorrow to hear their response and how they evaluate the offer and whether they are ready to start talks. And, of course, the talks that we would like to lead to negotiations.

Q. Has there been any change in the EU position and the Iranian position regarding the Geneva talks?

A. The EU position and the position of all the countries that Mr. Solana represents is that we want very much to have a very solid relationship with Iran, one that encompasses all areas including the nuclear issue, political relations, and economic relations. For that, we would like very much to enter the process of negotiation on the basis of the package, while we have the intention to hear from the Iranian side led by Mr. Jalili on how they assess the proposal of the international community. And we would like very much to be able to create an atmosphere for further negotiations.

Q. Condoleezza Rice has said that the US has changed its diplomacy on Iran. Whose idea was it to invite US State Department Under Secretary William Burns to the talks?

A. Mr. Solana has always represented five permanent members of the Security Council – which includes the United States – plus Germany as well as all the European Union countries. Now on this occasion, for these upcoming talks, the United States has decided to not only fully support Mr. Solana, but also to send a senior diplomat to accompany Mr. Solana in the talks.

We hope that the Iranian side understands that this is a major step and that we all understand that the United States as well as the whole delegation in Geneva will want very much to solve this issue through negotiation and dialogue.

Q. I understand that Mr. Solana spoke with William Burns just in the past few hours. What is behind these talks with Burns?

A. Mr. Burns dropped by in Brussels to see Mr. Solana and prepare for the talks tomorrow. That shows the delegation accompanying Mr. Solana will be fully supportive of the generous offer. I cannot talk on the behalf of the US delegation.

What matters is that everyone in the delegation is fully behind the objective which is to create an appropriate condition and framework to start negotiations with Tehran.

Q. Mr. Solana in his recent visit to Tehran was very keen not to make the slightest criticism of the White House. Some say this is a matter of war and peace. Do you think Mr. Solana is beholden to Washington?

A. Well I’d say that there is no need, there is no objective and there is no point on the question of Iran to make any criticism of the White House. Why? Because Mr. Solana represents the United States as well. He’s representing the talks tomorrow of the United States, as you know well, the European Union member states, China and Russia. Senior diplomats of sixty four countries are going to be present tomorrow in Geneva. This is an offer which is fully backed by the key members of the international community.

Q. But Christina Gallach you know as well as I do that we’ve had reports of imminent military attacks on Iran, of the US financing of terrorists in Iran to overthrow the Iranian government here. Do you believe that the US or its proxy, Israel, will attack Iran in the near future and do you think this is related to those talks in Geneva that your boss will be at?

A. What I do believe firmly and sincerely is that tomorrow’s meeting and in particular the presence of a very senior diplomat in the delegation of Mr. Solana, a diplomat from the United States, signals the willingness, the desire of the United States as much as all the other representatives tomorrow to solve these extremely important issues through negotiations and dialogue.

Q. You began by saying the international community, what about the African Union or the Arab League? Could they send people to that meeting in Geneva just as easily as the United States could send someone to meet with Javier Solana and Saeed Jalili?

A. You know that the package that has been offered to the Iranians is signed by the five permanent members of the Security Council and you know that there have been enormous amount of talks in the United Nations Security Council and in the IAEA about the Iranian nuclear issue. Therefore, it is true that the signature of the package on the side is done by the six important countries of the whole European Union. But the countries that you mentioned, the other group of countries, we are absolutely convinced, that they want to see as we do a negotiated solution to this important issue.

Q. I mean the United Kingdom has announced plans for 8 new power plants, John McCain, the presidential contender, a hundred nuclear power plants. Mohamed ElBaradei who as you said you have complete faith in as part of the UN process said he would resign if there were strikes on Iran. Why do you think he felt the need to say that he would resign and would your boss resign if there were any strikes military or otherwise on Iran?

A. It will be absolutely inappropriate for me to answer that question precisely in the moment when the international community, important countries of the UN and the European Union are making an offer to Iran which clearly states the willingness to cooperate on many areas from the development of Iran, economic, political, regional stability, nuclear power plants and state-of-the-art technology. Therefore, I think today what we have to do in regard to tomorrow’s meeting is to concentrate on efforts to ensure that we can move the negotiating process forward.

Q. Christina Gallach, as I said, Mohamed ElBaradei felt the need to say that he would resign. What if Iran continued to enrich uranium for its own peaceful nuclear energy program?

A. Well, you know very well that it would contravene the United Nations Security Council resolutions passed unanimously on several occasions for already a couple of years and one very recently in the month of March. The Security Council resolutions are based on reports that have been approved by the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna and they say that Iran has to suspend and based on reports that Mohamed ElBaradei has put forward in which he clearly states that there are areas of the Iranian nuclear program which cannot be fully clarified on the basis of the information he’s been able to obtain. Therefore, if there is a continuation of the activities, the ones that you mentioned, these would contravene the United Nations Security Council resolutions.


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