In an exclusive interview with the Voice of Russia aired on Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Alexander Lukashevich warned against a military strike on Iran.
Some of the extracts from the IAEA’s report on the Iranian nuclear program were made public well ahead of its official publication. According to the report, Iran secretly worked on developing a nuclear weapon until 2003. Israeli President Shimon Peres was quick to signal Tel Aviv’s readiness to launch a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities rather than sit down at the negotiating table. Russia is fiercely opposed to such a stance, Alexander Lukashevich stressed:
“The use of force can only be sanctioned by the decisions of the UN Security Council or the UN Charter and its 51st clause which provides for the right of self-defense. Neither of these options have ever been discussed at the UN Security Council. This is why even theoretically, we cannot think about such a horrendous scenario being put into practice. And we believe that those politicians who hypothetically speculate on the matter are making a serious mistake because they speculate on this in real time.”
Resolving the Iranian nuclear problem through the use of force would be fraught with regional and global implications, Lukashevich said, citing Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. The Libyan scenario is an expression which is hardly Greek to anyone, he said, adding that that the use of force rides roughshod over international law norms:
“Russia remains committed to its own plan which sadly failed to turn into a collective initiative of those involved in the six-party talks on the Iranian nuclear problem. Even so, the document is still on the table and we do hope that the international community along with Iran will be able to find a peaceful solution to the problem, which remains a major source of discontent in the region and beyond.”
Isolating Iran is hardly an option as far as its nuclear program is concerned. The French Foreign Ministry has already called for convening an early UN Security Council session on the Iranian nuclear program. Paris also called for the imposition of tough sanctions against Iran, which Lukashevich said is unlikely to defuse tensions:
“Russia, he says, believes that the sanctions over the Iranian nuclear program have already run their course when the UN adopted a very tough resolution 1929 in 2010 which was to show Iran that the global community expected it to ensure the transparency of its atomic program. The Big Six is putting stakes on resuming talks with Iran and sorting out all the related issues which pose concern to the IAEA,” Lukashevic concludes.
The IAEA’s report on Iran contains no new facts, Lukashevich said:
“We have a whole number of questions with regard to the report’s allegations about the military nature of the Iranian nuclear program,” Lukashevich says. “We would also like the IAEA Director-General to clarify his far-reaching conclusions pertaining to the Iranian nuclear program. We would like to know more on the instruments the IAEA used to verify the relevant information. We would also like to hear concrete answers, based on the facts rather than allegations.”
The reports about a Russian scientist’s alleged involvement in the Iranian nuclear program have receivwed wide coverage, but no publicity was given to the fact that Russia handed over all the information on this matter to the IAEA a long time ago, Lukashevich said:
“The IAEA’s report, he says, contains no new or sensational facts pertaining to the former Soviet scientist’s involvement in the Iranian nuclear program. Actually, he is an ethnic Ukrainian. The allegations about the Russian scientist’s key role in the Iranian nuclear program reflect the incompetency of those experts who compiled the report and mirrors the bias of the media’s coverage on the subject. Let this be a matter for their conscience,” Lukashevich concluded.
The very fact of the confidential information being leaked questions the IAEA’s competency on the matter. The leakage will hardly contribute to the resolution of the Iranian nuclear problem.