Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mohammad Larijani on legal nuclear capability, including sharing with Saudi Arabia

The Charlie Rose Show, on November 18 featured an interview with Mohammad Javad Larijani, head of Iran’s Human Rights Council and close adviser to the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei that was fairly informative.

Below is the segment regarding the dispute between Iran and the West over Iran's nuclear program. This transcription is at from about 13:50 until about 19:35 in the interview after which Rose moves to the subject of sanctions.
ROSE: There has been an argument, I think, by Graham Allison and I want to be clear about this, in which he suggests you look at this on a football field and if, an American football field, and if you're advancing down the field that Iran is about at the 30 yard line, so it's already advanced 70 yards. It has 30 yards to go to have a nuclear program on explosive devices and you only have 30 to go and that you can take 20% enriched and over a process of a couple of years make it into weapon grade material

LARIJANI: Well, this is not a good similarity. I mean, we are, right now, if you ask in terms of real work in the field, we are 100% away from the military use. If you ask in terms of capability, hypothetically, is Iran capable to do that if it decides, obviously yes. Any country who has nuclear technology is capable of doing that. I mean the Germans can do it in two months. The Japanese in less than a month or others in

ROSE: Is that where you want to be though? Do you want to be exactly where the Germans and Japanese are?

LARIJANI: We want to be beyond them because this is capability here

ROSE: But you want to have the same capability that the Japanese and the Germans do

LARIJANI: It is a natural outcome. If you are advanced in this area of science, then you will acquire this capability

ROSE: But that's an interesting question. If you're saying, yes you want the same capability that Japan and Germany have

LARIJANI: Beyond that. We even want to get more sophisticated then they

ROSE: Then you want to have the capability that would allow you to, if you decided to take the additional step of making a nuclear device, happen within months, that's the capacity you would like to have?

LARIJANI: So what? Should we be punished because we are advanced?


LARIJANI: It is like a man who has faculty of thinking, then you say "Ok, if you are strong in thinking, you may think in the wrong direction. So, close out your thinking." I mean, this is the natural capacity of a nation. How should we be deprived of that? Is there a limit for Iranians for advancement in science and technology?

ROSE: So you're basically saying, we want the capacity to make a nuclear weapon


ROSE: Even though we don't have a program to actually make a weapon we just want the capacity, which is exactly what the Japanese have

LARIJANI: Even that is not the correct wording

ROSE: What's the wording? The ability, the capacity, the materials?

LARIJANI: The correct wording is that we want advancement in science and technology related to nuclear area, not directed toward the weapon area

ROSE: So you want to be at a level where instantly you could turn it

LARIJANI: It's naturally, it comes. If you are advanced in making a good machine then you can make another machine

ROSE: The problem comes in the debate. There is a great fear of Iran having a nuclear weapon. It would destabilize the region and many other reasons are expressed. It violates the NPT and all of that. If Iran violates the NPT, so will other countries violate the NPT as you well know. They worry about that. Do you worry about that?

LARIJANI: Not at all.

ROSE: You don't worry about that?

LARIJANI: Not at all. Instability in the region is not stemming from Iran. Violating the NPT also is not a big problem for the United States.

ROSE: Would you like to Saudi Arabia have a nuclear weapon? Would you like to see, ah?

LARIJANI: Nuclear weapon or nuclear technology? Two things.

ROSE: Ok. Fair. Nuclear weapon. Would you like to see Saudi Arabia, would you like it to have a nuclear weapon?

LARIJANI: We are a signatory of NPT, we are a sincere signatory to the NPT. We think non-proliferation is a benefit of Iran and all of us.

ROSE: Would you like to see Saudi Arabia have the same kind of capability to produce a nuclear weapon that you say, capability, if you decided to go that last distance

LARIJANI: We are an advocate of a Middle East free of nuclear weapons. But in terms of developing nuclear technology for all other peaceful uses, we are even ready to share with them our capability. No problem.

ROSE: All of it?


ROSE: How close are you if you wanted to today, today, to make a nuclear weapon, an explosive device, how close are you if, in fact, you made that decision?

LARIJANI: Well, professionally, I cannot answer that rigorously, only thing, because it depends on a lot of points, but I tell you personally that to build a bomb is not a big deal, I mean from the technological point of view

ROSE: Having the material to build a bomb is a big deal otherwise you wouldn't be engaged in this

LARIJANI: (Nodding no) I mean, you see Pakistan already has a bomb

ROSE: many bombs

LARIJANI: but their technology is far behind us, in nuclear sense. To build a bomb through plutonium, they use a candle-type reactor, but, well, we think the area of science and technology in this area is so interesting. I mean, why would we need a weapon at all? We are so strong in the region. We are capable to deter any eminent threat. Why would we need an atomic bomb?

ROSE: That's a very good question

LARIJANI: We don't need it

ROSE: Ok, but you do need the capacity do to it. You've just said that.

LARIJANI: No. The capacity is natural. When you get strong you can lift heavy weight. I mean, this is obvious.

ROSE: Let's see. I hear you, and I hear you clearly.
I want to highlight this exchange:
ROSE: Would you like to see Saudi Arabia have the same kind of capability to produce a nuclear weapon that you say, capability, if you decided to go that last distance

LARIJANI: We are an advocate of a Middle East free of nuclear weapons. But in terms of developing nuclear technology for all other peaceful uses, we are even ready to share with them our capability. No problem.
The supposed rivalry between Shia Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia goes in only one direction: from Israel against Iran. Saudi Arabia takes Israeli orders transmitted through the United States, but this is not an organic dispute.

When Iran and Saudi Arabia were fellow US colonies with Iran ruled by the Shah, the two countries had good relations. When what we call Saudi Arabia gets, like Iran, a political system that reflects the values and positions of the people governed rather than the instructions from the US embassy, they are going to have good relations again.


Arnold Evans said...

I will say that I wish Larijani had turned the capabilities question around.  I wish he had asked Charlie Rose did he oppose Iran having the capabilities that Japan and Germany have, and why.

I've asked this question to enough Westerners now to see that there is no answer that is compatible with the values Westerners claim to uphold.  The truth really comes down to they feel better with Israel having a regional monopoly.  They will admit what they want is against the terms of the NPT.

They don't want to admit though that they hold a double-standard on Israel's behalf because that goes against fairness, and Westerners, particularly Americans hate seeing themselves as unfair. 

Charlie Rose would tried to change the subject, then raised his voice and probably, if he had to, he would have gotten up and left the stage of his own show before allowing himself to face the fact that he advocates a fundamentally unfair position.

More than it would seem because it is slightly indirect, but the issue of legal nuclear weapons capabilities for Iran exposes the fundamental contradiction between Western proclaimed values and Zionism.

Lidia said...

Maybe L has not asked the question exactly because he knows too well what you know :(

There is another interesting thing about the "fairness" (by the way, fair in English means not only non-biased, but also "blond" and "beautiful" - the telling meanings, I suppose). If in 1911 a typical white American would be asked the question - why Germany (maybe even Japan) has a right and Iran has not, the answer could be - it is not fair for "colored" to have the same right as whites have. So, since than,the idea of Western "fairness" turned even more ridiculous. 

TheDonkeyInTheWell said...

I'm glad that you brought to light this part of the interview.

What struck me as astonishing was how Charlie Rose came off as either a world class liar or a really stupid person--he just doesn't seem to grasp the fact that having the potential ("capability") to do bad is not the same as having the intention of doing bad, let alone any evidence of doing something bad.

I was surprised that Larijani had to explain this repeatedly to Charlie, as an adult explains to a child the fun aspects of logic.

Also, a comment on your comment if I may:

"Westerners, particularly Americans hate seeing themselves as unfair."

I don't know where you were left with that impression, but no history book I've read or contemporary politics I've seen ever indicated this.

Westerners love to see themselves as righteous and "good", and hate to be considered evil (eg just note how that guy on the MSNBC interview with Larijani acted when Larijani brought up, well-documented, US terrorism. The interviewer couldn't have any of it, he *lashed* back. Why? Because Larijani's comments tried to shatter his own self-image of being "the good guy". It wasn't a rational logical response, but an emotional defence mechanism).

The antagonism towards Iran and the nuclear issue could be explained as racist or unfair, but I think the Western position is actually the result of a quite logical process.

You see, Westerners are bombarded 24/7 with the evils of Iranians, and how they (Westerners) themselves are the "good guys". And if Iranians are evil, they do evil things. Conversely, they (the Westerners) can only do good things. This is the overall narrative. Period.

Ie. I don’t even think that Rose and friends are thinking they’re being unfair (or racist), it’s just not possible--you can’t be unfair to "evil", everything you do is justified, especially if you're the "good" guy.

Me thinks, this is why Charlie Rose & Co. have problems. Rationally they have no ground to stand on so they act on emotional basis (me good vs you evil) resulting in these questions and accusations. Although rather comical at times, it does get old. Fast.

George Carty said...

I don't think they'd claim "it's not fair for colored to have the same right as whites".  More likely it would be either "the coloreds are too stupid to make proper use of our technology" or "we need them to work on our plantations".

In my view US blacks were freed from Jim Crow as much by invention of the mechanical cotton picker as by the Civil Rights movement.

David Nelson said...

After this quote (see Arnold's transcription) by Larijani:  "The capacity is natural. When you get strong you can lift heavy weight. I mean, this is obvious."

Immediately after this quote, Charlie Rose says "I hear you and i hear you clearly."  He then goes on to change the subject.  

DonkeyInTheWell, this to me sounds like an admission that Rose is a liar (or at least playing along with the charade) and not a stupid person.  He admits he understands the point, but clearly does not want to overtly acknowledge it.   Weak. 

Arnold Evans said...

I should probably add that line to the transcript, to finish out the subject.

Lidia said...

As a matter of fact a major factor in the "end" of Jim Crow was exactly a difficulty for the USA diplomacy to claim being god-loving democrats against godless communists :) In the world of non-whites being turned from  a mass of  colonies into independent states, the lawful racism against non-white Americans looked not pretty. 

And the machines became needed after too much Blacks were not anymore willing to serve as  chattel.

George Carty said...

Yes, of course the Cold War and decolonization were also major factors in the end of Jim Crow, but another thing I forgot to mention is that many poor whites also picked cotton (and were also the manpower base for the KKK and other violent racist groups).

Lidia said...

The role of "white trash" in USA racism is pictured the best by J. Sakai "Settlers". This book is must to anyone who wants not to be duped about USA and its role in the world. 

By the way, with the end of the USSR and, thus, the Cold War, there is definite trend to re-colonization by the "former" colonial powers. 

Kosovo and Bosnia are just the most clear examples, and it seems that Libya is going to be the next one. Of course, NATO's still could end here with not quite colony but a one more Somalia. 

George Carty said...

I thought that Kosovo and Bosnia were genuinely humanitarian missions to stop a genocidal regime in Belgrade, while NATO intervention in Libya (like the war in Afghanistan) was the West's vengeance against a terrorist-sponsoring regime.

Your citation of J Sakai's "Settlers" however confirms my suspicions that you are of a Maoist/Third-Worldist orientation -- you can find a good critique of such ideology (from an Anti-Revisionist Marxist perspective) here.

Lidia said...

1) have you also "thought" that the well-known serial rapist was  a feminist?
2) It is nice to hear that you have "suspicions" about my humble person. I never was a Maoist, though  :)

And thanks, but I have read a lot of critics of Sakai. Should I cite all the facts about NATO terrorism, and about the reality of Kosovo, Bosnia and so on?

Are you at least aware WHO were the godfathers of Bin laden?

By the way, in Libya USA is doing the same as it did in Afghanistan  - putting to power known terrorists. Nice way to fight terrorists, of course.

George Carty said...

I doubt either the Libyan rebels or the anti-Taliban forces ever launched terrorist attacks against western countries though (unlike al-Qaeda, or the Libyan-funded and -armed IRA).  That's what matters from a Western POV.

And why do you speak of "USA" actions in Libya.  It was Britain and France which were most eager to depose Gaddafi, because of IRA Semtex and UTA Flight 772 respectively.

Lidia said...

Anti-Taliban?What does this mean? In 1992 there were the same Reagan's "founding fathers" winners in Afghanistan who then did 9/11. Not mentioning others. 

And some Libyan "rebels" were send by USA to Libya as "rendition" deal. They were official terrorists for USA and now they are "democrats" I guess. 

Lidia said...

Now, GC C does not only not know about the direct link between USA anti-USSR intervention in Afghanistan and 9/11. He also does not know about USA role in rape of Libya. I wonder, was he living on the moon till yesterday?

GC reminds me strongly of Cole. It seems that they both do not really care about the terrorism and war crimes as far as non-westerners are only victims.  Cole just said that Americans should be grateful for no one American killed while ousting Qaddafi. I would not comment of the shamelessness of his disregard for all Libyan victims of NATO bombing and NATO lackeys-aka-rebels crimes. But I could note his utter stupidity in claiming it. 

 "Some stirred-up Moslems? But it has been said and repeated: Islamic fundamentalism represents a world menace today.B: Nonsense! It is said that the West had a global policy in regard to Islam. That is stupid. There isn't a global Islam. Look at slam in a rational manner and without demagoguery or emotion. "B here  is being Brzezinski the godfather of al-Qaida. He said this wise words in 1998. Do your own math, because  I am not sure that the first Americans killed as a result of Libya "liberation" would be after 3 years of Cole's Thanksgiving list for 2011.  

Lidia said...

Arnold, I am sorry for misusing your hospitality, but I just cannot help waning to amend GC "doubts" :)

So, a bit about USA and Libya "rebels"

"The twists and turns of Belhaj’s career demonstrate the utter cynicism of the bogus US-led “war on terrorism” in which yesterday’s “terrorists” become today’s “freedom fighters”, and vice versa. Belhaj joined the CIA-sponsored jihad against the Soviet-backed regime in the late 1980s when Al Qaeda was formed and links between thousands of foreign fighters were forged. Returning to Libya, he became the emir of LIFG, that was fighting to overthrow the Gaddafi regime in the 1990s, and was branded by the US State Department as a “terrorist organization.” Now, along with other ex-LIFG members, Belhaj is playing a prominent role as commander of the Tripoli Military Council in the US-backed puppet regime in Libya."

BughouseWW said...

I would highlight Charlie's statement just before he asked the question, "Do you worry about Saudi Arabia . . ." because, in my opinion, it reveals Rose's dishonest intent, present in subtle and not so subtle ways, throughout the interview.

Specifically, Rose SAID:
"There is a great fear of Iran having a nuclear weapon. It would
destabilize the region and many other reasons are expressed. It
violates the NPT and all of that. If Iran violates the NPT, so will
other countries violate the NPT as you well know. They worry about that.
Do you worry about that?"

 Notice what went on here: Rose makes declarations as if they were accepted and proven facts -- that "there is great fear of Iran having nukes," that Iran having nukes "would destabilize the region," that Iran "violates NPT therefore others will violate NPT."

Then, Rose implicates Larijani in an assent to those assertions:  "As you well know."

The question was NOT what Rose was interested in; rather, the question was an attempt to force Larijani to respond to assertions other than those that were made.  The question was a distraction, a red herring.  It was dishonest. 

Larijani evaded the trap and cut to the chase: "Iran is not the cause of instability in the region, Israel is the cause of instability in the region.