Iran cannot ignore the fact that U.S. President George W. Bush’s mania for waging war could go to extremes, Iranian Ambassador to Paris Ali Ahani said in an interview with the French weekly Challenges published on Tuesday.
On the possibility of U.S. military action against Iran, Ahani said, “We are prepared to face the worst scenarios. In that case, the U.S. president will have to claim the responsibility for a conflict that will influence the entire world.”
Asked about the U.S. president’s stance on IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei’s recent report on Iran’s nuclear program, he said Bush does not know how to justify his belligerent attitude toward Iran.
“We observe the action plan defined in August by the IAEA, which confirms significant progress in Iran’s cooperation with the UN watchdog. We do not seek to develop nuclear weapons; we seek civil nuclear energy,” he stated.
On the anti-Iran stance of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the envoy observed, “I am convinced that the French president pays attention to public opinion and heeds political figures’ warnings about the trap laid by Bush.”
Paris is expected to play a key role in resolving the Middle East conflict, he said, adding that France has economic interests in Iran and if new sanctions are imposed on the country and if Peugeot, Renault, and Total are forced to abide by them, their rivals will certainly fill their shoes.
Asked about the sharp rises in oil prices, the veteran diplomat said, “The hike does not have anything to do with the level of OPEC output being lifted by 500,000 barrels per day as of Nov. 1,” adding that it is the speculators who are driving the rise and the real price should not exceed 55 dollars.
“OPEC member countries are also very worried, as the situation is not comfortable. At a time that ExxonMobil, Chevron, and Total are earning billions of dollars, the fall of the dollar creates a fall in our real revenues. Machinery and equipment that we buy primarily in euros cost us too much,” he said.
On shifting from the dollar to other alternatives, he said that Iran is seriously thinking about it. “Some countries hesitate to give up the dollar, but Iran and Venezuela are seeking a new basket of currencies, and a committee is studying the project.”