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Der Spiegel interviewed Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi regarding Iran’s reported nuclear weapons program and its deteriorating relations with the U.S. and Israel. In refuting the International Atomic Energy Agency report, Salehi cites Ayatollah Khamenei’s fatwa on nuclear weapons that declared them ‘haram’ or forbidden according to Islamic law. Yet Der Spiegel does not relent, citing again the IAEA report that indicates Iran is moving towards the possession of nuclear weapons. Iran asserts that the IAEA is basing its conclusions on scant evidence and risks its reputation by making such bold claims. Further, Salehi alleges that the IAEA is under pressure from certain countries, like the United States, to produce a report that demonstrates Iran’s drive for nuclear weapons. Der Spiegel asks if economic sanctions and embargoes are a willing price to pay for such a program, whether it exists or not, and Salehi brushes off this concern, stating: “With 3,000 years of history behind us, 30 or even 50 years spent in an embargo are a mere footnote. We won’t give up our independence and we will continue our civilian nuclear program.” Salehi also relies upon his country’s right under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to enrich uranium. He also asks Der Spiegel why countries that use computer viruses and the assassination of nuclear scientists can call themselves humanitarian? Der Spiegel reminds him that Israel sees nuclear weapons in Iran as an existential threat and reminds Salehi of the recently leaked plans of an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Der Spiegel even goes so far as to accuse Iran of intentionally escalating the situation between itself and Israel in order to draw the Israelis out into a direct attack. With respect to the Quds force plot against the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Salehi points to the circumspect nature of the evidence surrounding that conspiracy and relays that Iran’s internal investigations show that the story is contrived.  Further, the U.S.’s request for Gholam Shakuri has been denied as there is no extradition treaty between the two nations and again intimates the Iranian assertion that the U.S. story is false.

 

[Der Spiegel]