Why the UK and France are allowed sovereignty but Syria isn’t

From ASG:

Aside from the shameless hypocrisy of the British and French decision to arm the foreign and local terrorists and executioners in Syria, aka, “Syrian rebels” or “resistance fighters” as they are now officially called, another stomach-churning aspect of this joint announcement is the language French and British leaders used to justify their intent to violate the EU arms ban. When asked yesterday if the UK would be willing to break the ban, David Cameron responded “We are still an independent country. We can have an independent foreign policy…” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius responded to the same question today by asserting that “France is a sovereign nation,” adding that both France and were prepared to “lift the embargo” even if there was no international support for the decision. 

So while the White Man’s sovereignty is not dependent on any international consent for its existence, anti-imperialist nations like Syria do not enjoy a similar right to issue such self-proclaimed professions of sovereignty like France can or chart an “independent foreign policy” like Britain’s.  The sovereignty of insubordinate nations like Syria is not merely dependent on the “international community’s” [shorthand for US and Europe] recognition but can be trampled on with impunity and justified in the most counter-intuitive and morally bankrupt terms. More than this, imperialist powers not only get to dictate and violate other nations’ sovereignty, but also to invoke the term as a legal and political defense when rationalizing their own disputed intent to destroy another nation’s right to remain sovereign.   

One need only look up the concept of sovereignty in the White Man’s very own introductory text-books to see how brazenly hypocritical the western approach to Syria’s sovereignty is. Quoting from Michael Roskin et al’s “Political Science: An Introduction”: “Sovereignty means “national control over the country’s territory, boss of one’s own turf. Nations are very jealous of their sovereignty and governments take great care to safeguard it. They maintain armies to deter foreign invasion, they control borders with passports and visas and they hunt down terrorists.”

Yet bizarrely,  when a state like Syria which still enjoys [international] legal sovereignty and has a seat at the UN,  tries to reassert “control of its territory” and “be the boss of its own turf” by “hunting down terrorists” and foreign fighters, it is not merely denied this right but threatened with invasion and punished with externally funded, armed and trained proxies. But what else can the Empire do when its ultimate aim is not  regime change  but to strip the Syrian state itself of sovereignty by plunging it further into an endless and bloody civil war that can only result in the destruction of Syria the state?


British colonial atrocities

Deny the British empire’s crimes? No, we ignore them

‘Elkins reveals that the British detained not 80,000 Kikuyu, as the official histories maintain, but almost the entire population of one and a half million people, in camps and fortified villages. There, thousands were beaten to death or died from malnutrition, typhoid, tuberculosis and dysentery. In some camps almost all the children died.’


Lies and Truths about Syria

by Thierry Meyssan

Four NATO lies

- 1. According to NATO and its Persian Gulf allies, for eight months mass demonstrations have taken place in Syria to demand more freedom and the departure of President Bashar al-Assad.

Not true. There have been demonstrations against President Bashar al-Assad’s, in some cities, at the call of Saudi and Egyptian preachers speaking on Al-Jazeera, but which rallied only some 100 000 people at the most. They were not claiming more freedom, but the establishment of an Islamic regime. They demanded the resignation of President al-Assad, not because of his politics, but because these protesters adhere to a sectarian strand of Sunni power, Takfirism, and they accuse Assad of being a heretic (he is Alawi) and of usurping power in a Muslim country, which they claim can only be legitimately governed by a Sunni from their theological school.

- 2. According to NATO and its Persian Gulf allies, the “regime” responded by using live ammunition to disperse the crowd, leaving at least 3,500 dead since the beginning of the year.

Not true. In the first place, it is not possible to suppress demonstrations that never existed. Then, from the outset, the authorities realized that efforts were afoot to provoke sectarian strife in a country where secularism has been the mainstay of the state since the eighth century. Consequently, President Bashar al-Assad prohibited security, police and army forces from using firearms in any circumstance where civilians might get hurt. The purpose is to prevent that the injuries, or even death, of a person belonging to one creed or the other, be exploited to justify a war of religion. This prohibition is respected by the security forces at the risk of their own lives, as we shall see later. As for the dead, their number should be cut in half. The majority are not civilians, but soldiers and police, as I was able to observe during my visits to hospitals and morgues, both civilian and military.

- 3. After we managed to break the wall of silence and got the big Western media to acknowledge the presence in Syria of death squads from abroad, setting up ambushes against the army and murdering civilians in the heart of the cities, NATO and its Gulf allies reported on the existence of an army of deserters. According to them, a group of military (not police) who had received the order to fire on the crowd allegedly rebelled. They apparently went underground and constituted the Free Syrian Army, already 1500 men-strong.

Not true. The deserters are only a few dozen, having fled to Turkey where they are supervised by an officer associated to the Hakim Rifaat el-Assad/Abdel Khaddam clan, famously linked to the CIA. There is, however, an increasing number of young people who refuse to do military service, more often under pressure from their families than by personal decision. Indeed, those soldiers who are caught in an ambush don’t have the right to use their firearms to defend themselves if civilians are on the scene. They have no choice but to sacrifice their lives if they are unable to escape.

- 4. According to NATO and its Persian Gulf allies, the cycle of revolution/repression has paved the way for the start of a “civil war“. 1.5 million trapped Syrians would be suffering from hunger. It is therefore essential to set up “humanitarian corridors” to deliver food aid and allow civilians to flee the combat zones.

Not true. Considering the number and the cruelty of the attacks by death squads from abroad, population displacement has been minimal. Syria is agriculturally self-sufficient and its productivity has not declined significantly. On the other hand, with most of the ambushes taking place on major roads, traffic is frequently interrupted. Moreover, when attacks spring up inside the cities, merchants shut down their shops immediately. This results in serious distribution problems, including food. The real issue lies elsewhere: economic sanctions have wrought disaster. While for the past decade Syria had registered a growth of around 5% per year, it can no longer sell its oil to Western Europe and its tourist industry has been hit hard. Many people have lost their jobs and income, having to save on everything. They are subsidized by the government, which distributes free food and heating fuel. Under such circumstances, it would be more fitting to say that if it were not for the Al-Assad government, 1.5 million Syrians would be suffering from malnutrition because of Western sanctions.

Ultimately, while we’re still in the stage of unconventional warfare, with the use of mercenaries and special forces to destabilize the country, the narrative spewed out by NATO and its Persian Gulf allies has already strayed from reality. This gap will widen more and more.

As far as you are concerned, dear reader, there is no reason why you should believe me rather than NATO, since you are not on the spot. However, there are several elements that should send up a red flag.

Four clues carefully hidden by NATO

- 1. One would think that the charges concerning the alleged repression and the number of victims were carefully looked into. But not at all. They originated from a single source: the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, based in London, whose leaders demand anonymity. What is the validity of such grave accusations if they are not cross-checked and why do institutions such as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights rubber stamp them without verifying their authenticity?

- 2. Russia and China vetoed a draft Security Council resolution meant to pave the way for an international military intervention. NATO political leaders have forlornly explained that the Russians are protecting their naval base at Tartus and that the Chinese will do anything to scrape together a few barrels of oil. Should we accept the Manichean view that Washington, London and Paris are guided by good intentions, while Moscow and Beijing are essentially selfish and insensitive to the martyrdom of the population? How to avoid noticing that Russia and China have much less of an interest in defending Syria than Westerners have in destroying it?

- 3. It is somewhat bizarre to observe who makes up the coalition of so-called well-intentioned states. How can it escape anyone’s notice that the two main sustainers of the Arab League and promoters of the “democratization” of Syria, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, are puppet dictatorships in lockstep with the United States and the United Kingdom? Should not one wonder how credible the West can be – after having successively ravaged Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya and killing more than 1, 2 million people in ten years, thus showing how little value they attach to human life – when it waves a humanitarian banner?

- 4. To avoid being manipulated on the events unfolding in Syria, the best thing is to put them in context. For NATO and its Persian Gulf allies, whose armies invaded Yemen and Bahrain to savagely quell peaceful demonstrations, the “Syrian Revolution” is an extension of the “Arab spring“, perceived by them as peoples in the region who dream of a market democracy and the comfort of the American Way of Life. On their part, the Russians and Chinese, apace with the Venezuelans and the South Africans, recognize the events in Syria as the continuation of Washington’s plan “to remodel the Greater Middle East“, which has already claimed 1.2 million lives and which anyone truly concerned about protecting human lives must strive to put an end to. They haven’t forgotten that on 15 September 2001, President George W. Bush green-lighted a plan to wage seven wars.

Preparations for the attack on Syria formally began on 12 December 2003 with the adoption of the Syrian Accountability Act in the wake of the fall of Baghdad. Since that day, the president of the United States – today Barack Obama – is under an order from Congress to attack Syria and is dispensed from any further clearance before launching hostilities. Therefore, the question is not whether NATO has found a divine justification for going to war, but whether Syria will find a way out of this situation, in the same way she outmaneuvered all the previous pitfalls and defamatory accusations leveled against her, such as the assassination of Rafik Hariri and the Israeli raid against an imaginary nuclear military plant.

Wadah Khanfar, Al-Jazeera and the triumph of televised propaganda

by Thierry Meyssan, Voltairenet

The Qatari-based Al-Jazeera channel announced the resignation of its director general, Wadah Khanfar, and his replacement by a member of the royal family, Sheikh Hamad Ben Jassem Al-Thani on September 20, 2011.

Sheikh Hamad is a Qatargas executive, and spent a year at the head office of Total in Paris. He is the former chairman of the Al-Jazeera Board of Directors.

This development is protrayed by the Atlanticist media in three different ways: either as a forced resignation and a takeover of the channel by the State, as a revenge on the part of the Palestinian Authority following the release of the Palestinian Papers and, finally, as the result of the Wikileaks leak exposing some of the connections between Mr. Khanfar and the United States.

While each of these interpretations may contain some truth, they nevertheless obscure the overriding factor: the role of Qatar in the war against Libya. At this point, a flash backwards is called for.

Al-Jazeera’s origins: a desire for dialogue

Al-Jazeera was conceived by two French-Israeli personalities, the David and Jean Frydman brothers, after the assassination of their friend Yitzhak Rabin. According to David Frydman [1], the goal was to create a medium where Israelis and Arabs could discuss freely, exchange arguments and get to know each other, considering this was prevented by the war situation thereby frustrating any peace prospect.

For the creation of the channel, the Frydman brothers benefited from a combination of circumstances: the Orbit Saudi company had reached an agreement with the BBC to set up a news broadcast in Arabic. But the political demands posed by the absolutist Saudi monarchy quickly proved incompatible with the professional independence of British journalists. The agreement was terminated and the majority of Arabic BBC journalists found themselves out on the street. They were then recruited to launch Al-Jazeera.

The Frydman brothers were eager to have their television perceived as an Arabic channel. They managed to enlist the new emir of Qatar, Hamid bin Khalifa al-Thani, who with the help of London and Washington had just overthrown his father, accused of pro-Iranian sentiments. Sheikh Hamad bin-Khalifa soon realized the potential advantages of being at the center of the Arab-Israeli discussions, which had already lasted for more than half a century and were likely to drag on even longer. At the same time, he authorized the Israeli Ministry of Commerce to open an office in Doha, unable to open an embassy. Above all, he saw the interest for Qatar to compete with the wealthy pan-Arab Saudi media and to own a media that could criticize everyone except himself.

The initial financing package included both a down payment from the Frydman brothers and a loan from the Emir of $ 150 million over 5 years. A boycott by the advertisers, organized by Saudi Arabia, and the ensuing scantiness of advertising revenues finally led to the modification of the initial plan. Ultimately, the Emir became the donor of the channel and hence its sponsor.

Exemplary journalists

For years, Al-Jazeera’s audience was captivated by its internal pluralism. The channel took pride in giving free rein to opposing viewpoints. The idea was not to tell the truth, but to have it spring from the debate. Its flagship program – the talk show hosted by the iconoclastic Faisal al-Qassem entitled “The contrary view” – took delight in shaking up prejudices. Everyone could find reason to eulogize certain programs and to deplore others. Regardless, this effervescence prevailed over the monolithism of its competitors and changed the Arab audiovisual landscape.

The heroic role of its reporters in Afghanistan and in the 2003 Gulf War, as well as their exemplary work in contrast to the propaganda of the pro-US satellite channels, catapulted Al-Jazeera from a controversial channel to a acclaimed media outlet. Its journalists paid a high price for their courage: George W. Bush stopped short from bombing the Doha studios, but had Tareq Ayyoub assassinated [2], arrested Tayseer Alouni [3], and imprisoned Sami al-Hajj at Guantanamo Bay [4].

The 2005 reorganization

However, all good things come to an end. In 2004-05, after the death of David Frydman, the Emir decided to overhaul Al-Jazeera completely and create new channels, including Al-Jazeera English, at a time when the global market was changing and all major States were equipping themselves with news satellite channels. The moment had come to leave the excitement and impudence of the early period behind in order to capitalize on an audience now reaching 50 million viewers, and to position itself as a player in the globalized world.

Sheikh Hamad bin-Khalifa called on an international firm that had already provided him with personal training in communication skills. JTrack had especially targeted Arab and Southeast Asian leaders to train them in the language of Davos: how to project an image that the West wants to see. From Morocco to Singapore, JTrack has trained most of the political leaders backed by the United States and Israel, often mere heredity puppets, turning them into respectable media personalities. The important thing is not whether they have something to say, but their aptness to impart the globalized rhetoric.

However, having been assigned to high government positions in North Africa, the CEO of JTrack had to withdraw before completing the transformation of the Al-Jazeera Group. He handed over the rest of the operations to a former Voice of America journalist who had been working for the Qatari channel for several years and who belonged to the same Muslim congregation as him: Wadah Khanfar.

Both professionally competent and politically safe, Mr. Khanfar strove to give Al-Jazeera an ideological tinge. While giving a voice to Mohamed Hassanein Heikal, Nasser’s former spokesman, he appointed Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi – whom Nasser had stripped of his Egyptian nationality – the channel’s “spiritual counselor”.

The 2011 shift

With the revolutions in North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, Wadah Khanfar dramatically changed Al-Jazeera’s editorial policy. The Group played a central role in lending credence to the “Arab spring” myth, according to which the people – eager to live in a Western-style society – had risen to overthrow their dictatorial regimes and switch to parliamentary democracies. No distinction was made between the events in Tunisia and Egypt, and those in Libya and Syria. As for the popular movements in Yemen and Bahrain, they did not draw enough viewers!

In reality, the Anglo-Saxons tried to take advantage of the popular revolts to replay the same “Arab spring” scenario that they had staged in the 1920s to take possession of the former Ottoman provinces and install puppet parliamentary democracies under Western tutelage. Al-Jazeera’s coverage of the Tunisian and Egyptian revolts was designed to dampen the flames of revolution and to legitimize the governments aligned with the United States and Israel. In Egypt the uprising was harnessed in the interest of a single element of the opposition: the Muslim Brotherhood, embodied by the channel’s star preacher … Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi.

Outraged by the new editorial policy and the increasingly frequent recourse to lies [5], a certain number of journalists, including Ghassan Ben Jedo, walked out slamming the door behind them.

Who’s pulling the information strings?

Nevertheless, it wasn’t until the Libyan episode that the masks started to fall. In fact, the boss of JTrack and mentor of Wadah Kanfhar is none other than Mahmoud Jibril (the “J” in “JTrack” stands for “Jibril”). This friendly, brilliant yet shallow, manager had been recommended to Muammar Gaddafi by his new American friends to pilot the economic opening of Libya after the normalization of its diplomatic ties. Under Saif el-Islam Gaddafi’s control, he was appointed both Minister of Planning and Director of the Development Authority, thus becoming de facto the number two man in the government, having authority over other ministers. At breakneck speed, he forged ahead with the deregulation of Libya’s socialist economy and the privatization of its public enterprises.

Mahmoud Jibril with his friend and business partner, Bernard Henri-Lévy, in conquered Tripoli.

Through his JTrack training activities, Mahmoud Jibril established personal relationships with almost all the Arab and Southeast Asian leaders. He had offices in Bahrain and Singapore. In addition, Mr. Jibril created trading companies, including one dealing with Malaysian and Australian timber in partnership with his French friend, Bernard-Henri Levy.

Mahmoud Jibril started his university studies in Cairo, where he met and married the daughter of one of Nasser’s ministers. He later continued his studies in the United States, where he assimilated the libertarian views that he tried to inject into al-Gaddafi’s anarchist ideology. But, more importantly, in Libya Mr. Jibril joined the Muslim Brotherhood. It was in this capacity that he placed his coreligionists, Brothers Wadah Kanfhar and Yusuf al-Qaradawi, in Al-Jazeera ..

During the first half of 2011, the Qatari channel became the preferred instrument for pro-Western propaganda: it went to great lengths to obscure the anti-imperialist and anti-Zionist aspect of the Arab revolutions and, in each country, it picked the actors it intended to support and those it decided to deprecate. Not surprisingly, it supported the king of Bahrain, a student of Mahmoud Jibril, who had his people gunned down, while Al-Jazeera’s spiritual counsellor, Sheikh al-Qaradawi, was calling for a Jihad over the air against al-Gaddafi and el-Assad, falsely accusing them of murdering their own people.

With Mr Jibril as prime minister of the rebel government of Libya, the height of duplicity was reached when a replica of the Green Square and Bab-el-Azizia was built in the studios of Al-Jazeera in Doha, where footage of false images was shot portraying pro-US “insurgents” entering Tripoli. Need I mention the insults I received when I denounced this manipulation in the columns of Voltairenet.org? Yet Al-Jazeera and Sky News broadcasted these false images on the second day of the Battle of Tripoli, sowing confusion among the Libyan people. It was actually only three days later that the “rebels” – almost exclusively from Misrata – entered Tripoli, devastated by NATO’s bombs.

The same goes for the announcement by Al-Jazeera of Saif el-Islam Gadhafi’s arrest and the confirmation of his capture by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Luis Moreno-Ocampo. I was the first, through Russia Today, to warn against the manipulation. And again, I was ridiculed by some newspapers, until Saif el-Islam turned up in person to wake up the journalists holed up at the Rixos Hotel and led them to the real Bal el-Azizia square.

Questioned about such lies by channel France24 in Arabic, the president of the National Transitional Council (CNT), Mustafa Abdul Jalil, chalked it up to a war stratagem and said he was delighted to have thus accelerated the fall of the Jamahiriya.

What future for Al-Jazeera?

The conversion of Al-Jazeera into a propaganda tool for the recolonisation of Libya was not achieved without the knowledge of the emir of Qatar, but indeed under his leadership. The Gulf Cooperation Council was the first to call for an armed intervention in Libya and Qatar was the first Arab country to join the Contact Group. He funneled weapons to the Libyan “rebels” before sending in his own ground troops, especially during the Battle of Tripoli. In exchange, he obtained the privilege of controlling all the oil trade on behalf of the National Transitional Council.

It is too early to say whether the resignation of Wadah Khanfar marks the end of his mission in Qatar, or if it heralds the channel’s desire to recover the credibility that took 15 years to build and only 6 months to lose.


[1] See interviews with the author

[2] “The war on al-Jazeera“, by Dima Tareq Tahboub, The Guardian, 4 October 2003.

[3] “The Arab press in the firing line”, Voltaire Network, 15 September 2003.

[4] See our dossier on Sami al-Hajj

[5] For example: “Al-Jazeera staged huge rally in Moscow against Bashar al-Assad”, Voltaire Network, 4 May 2011.


‘Silence in other high places allows this moral travesty. Across the arts, literature, journalism and the law, liberal elites, having hurried away from the debris of Blair and now Obama, continue to fudge their indifference to the barbarism and aims of western state crimes by promoting retrospectively the evils of their convenient demons, like Saddam Hussein. With Harold Pinter gone, try compiling a list of famous writers, artists and advocates whose principles are not consumed by the “market” or neutered by their celebrity. Who among them have spoken out about the holocaust in Iraq during almost 20 years of lethal blockade and assault? And all of it has been deliberate. On 22 January 1991, the US Defence Intelligence Agency predicted in impressive detail how a blockade would systematically destroy Iraq’s clean water system and lead to “increased incidences, if not epidemics of disease”. So the US set about eliminating clean water for the Iraqi population: one of the causes, noted Unicef, of the deaths of half a million Iraqi infants under the age of five. But this extremism apparently has no name.’

7 years and counting….

‘Operation Enduring Occupation’

Truthout contacted renowned journalist and filmmaker John Pilger for his views:

‘Like Afghanistan, the occupation of Iraq is more a war of perception than military reality. I don’t believe the US has the slightest intention of leaving Iraq. Yes, there will be the “drawdown” of regular troops with the kind of fanfare and ritual designed to convince the American public that a genuine withdrawal is happening. But the sum of off-the-record remarks by senior generals, who are ever conscious of the war of perception, is that at least 70,000 troops will remain in various guises. Add to this up to 200,000 mercenaries. This is an old ruse. The British used to “withdraw” from colonies and leave behind fortress-bases and their Special Forces, the SAS.

Bush invaded Iraq as part of a long-term US design to restore one of the pillars of US policy and empire in the region: in effect, to make all of Iraq a base. The invasion went badly wrong and the “country as base” concept was modified to that of Iraq indirectly controlled or intimidated by a series of fortress-bases. These are permanent. This is also the US plan for Afghanistan. One has to keep in mind that US foreign policy is now controlled by the Pentagon, whose man is Robert Gates. It is as if Bush never left office. Under Bush there was an effective military coup in much of Washington; the State Department was stripped of its power; and Obama did as no president has ever done: he brought across from a previous, discredited administration the entire war making bureaucracy and gave it virtually unlimited power. The only way the US will leave is for the resistance to rise again, and for Shiites and Sunni to unite; I think that will happen.’

The New ‘Forgotten’ War

The Western world that slaughtered Iraq and Iraqis, through 13 years of sanctions and seven years of occupation, is now turning its back on the victims. What has remained of Iraq is still being devastated by bombings, assassinations, corruption, millions of evictions and continued infrastructure destruction. Yet the world that caused all this is trying to draw a rosy picture of the situation in Iraq.”

Hype over Iran nuclear case all but ‘legal misunderstanding’

The following is a rush transcript of Press TV’s interview with Iran’s Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Ali-Asghar Soltaniyeh on the West’s reaction to Tehran’s recent announcement that it is constructing a nuclear enrichment facility near the central city of Qom.

Press TV: Thank you very much for being with us this evening. Let’s first of all listen to [US President] Barack Obama’s announcement yesterday (Friday). Let’s have a listen to that.

“We are here to announce that yesterday in Vienna, the United States, the United Kingdom and France presented detailed evidence to the IAEA demonstrating that the Islamic Republic of Iran has been building a covert uranium enrichment facility near Qom for several years. Earlier this week, the Iranian government presented a letter to the IAEA that made reference to a new enrichment facility, years after they had started its construction,” Obama said.

Press TV: What would your response to that be Ambassador Soltaniyeh?

Soltaniyeh: Well, first of all I regret that the president of the United States is not informed, assuming that he has a good intention and he is not trying to mislead the public. Because we have given a letter — in fact a letter that I signed and handed over it to the director general on September 21. And according to this letter we have informed that: Bearing in mind the security concerns of course now we are informing publicly and announcing that there is a new site of enrichment. And then after that I had a meeting the deputy director general and other officials to arrange for verification and inspection to be conducted and implemented in Iran.

While we were working smoothly on [making] an arrangement, like any other arrangement and inspection in the country and in other countries of the world, unfortunately we all were surprised and discouraged by this political show off in Pittsburgh. Therefore, I categorically reject that there have been any concealment or any deception. We didn’t have at all any obligation to inform the agency according to the document 153, which is an INFCIRC document. And it is a pity that none of these three leaders have legal advisers to inform them that according to the Comprehensive Safeguard [Agreements], we are only obliged to inform only six months before we put nuclear material and this site does not have any nuclear material at all now.

Press TV: You are saying that you categorically deny that there has been any concealment. Obama there said, on the sound bite, we heard the term “covert”, that was a sentiment echoed by the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown lets listen to what he has to say on this issue of secrecy and then we’ll come back to you.

“The level of deception by the Iranian government, and the scale of what we believe is the breach of international commitments, confronted by the serial deception of many years,” Brown said.

Press TV: A concealment of many years, how would you respond to that? You just said that you categorically deny it but the build has been taking place for a few years now.

Soltaniyeh: Well first of all, is the construction of a civil facility considered as “deception” if you are not informing the agency or Mr. Brown? This is not a “deception”. A “deception” is if we put nuclear material in contravention with the obligation under the Safeguard and do not inform the IAEA, then that could be a question. But at this stage I’m very sorry that they would not understand even the spirit and the letter of Statute [of the IAEA] and the Comprehensive Safeguards [Agreements] and in many years I have already reflected that and no body has been to challenge me in the IAEA. This allegation that ” Iran had in the past concealment and deception” I categorically reject, and I [can] prove [my view] according to the regulations of the IAEA. and now I challenge the United States or the UK or France to come to Vienna and talk with their top legal experts and prove to me that we have had “concealment”. Until 2003, we had not implemented or signed and ratified the Additional Protocol and the 3.1 code, which is the modified code of the Subsidiary Arrangements. They do not understand these legal terms that we did not have any obligations before 2003.

And also after the issue was conveyed to New York at the [UN] Security Council, our Iranian Parliament (Majlis) passed a law that suspended the voluntary enrichment Additional Protocol. Therefore, since then we are not implementing the Additional Protocol anymore, and do not have any obligation to report to any project from the scratch when we start construction and civil construction.

That is why we are the victim of the negligence of those who claim to know the international law. They are talking in the UN but they are not aware of very principles of the Statute of the IAEA and also the Comprehensive Safeguard Agreements.

Through you I challenge them to come to Vienna and prove that we have made “concealment” or “deception”. I want to draw your attention to the fact that those three countries have violated the article 6 of the [nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty] NPT for the past 40 years. When the United Kingdom has a secret [nuclear] program — the so-called Trident nuclear submarine with over GBP 30 billion [in costs] — and the people of the world and even the British people are not well aware of it, this is a real deception that Mr. Brown has to answer for to the international community, because this is a shocking threat to the international peace and security — to improve and further continue [working on] nuclear weapon programs.

And also France is working on nuclear weapons programs continuously, and they have not withdrawn from the “first-use” option that they have. And the Americans are [also] working hard on Nuclear Posture Review (NPR). These are all deceptions and concealments, and very soon in New York in the 2010 review conference, all non-nuclear armed states including Iran will challenge all of these nuclear armed states — particularly the three — to respond to the international community about their non-compliance over the last 40 years.

Press TV: You say those three are non-compliant but of course it is these countries that came out — yes they’re all nuclear states — But they are saying that your country Iran is not working whiten the legal framework. You’ve given us some explanation that you are working within the Statute let’s hear their accusations of illegal activity before I come to you. Let’s listen to that.

“The existence of this facility underscores Iran’s continuing unwillingness to meet its obligations under UN Security Council resolutions and IAEA requirements. Now, Iran’s decision to build yet another nuclear facility without notifying the IAEA represents a direct challenge to the basic compact at the center of the nonproliferation regime,” Obama said.

” what has been revealed today is exceptional. Following the enriching plant of Natanz in 2002, it is now the Qom one which is revealed. It was designed and built over the past several years in direct violation of resolutions from the Security Council and from the IAEA.” French President Nicholas Sarkozy said.

Press TV: You said, in part there, that you feel these countries have not looked the Statute of the IAEA and they are not really giving the right information but in laymen terms we are still hearing that everyday on the news. What’s your side? What is it clearly in the Statute that says that you have actually done nothing wrong?

Soltaniyeh: Very simply I’ve already said again and again, no country party to NPT and signatory to the Comprehensive Safeguard – all your distinguished viewers can go to IAEA.org and look for document INFCIRC 153 and they can read that there is only one obligation: Only 180 days before a country puts nuclear material in a facility are they obliged to inform the IAEA where the facility is located and what are its specifications.

Since we are not going to put [nuclear materials] in the facility in the next 6 months — as our President [Mahmoud Ahmadinejad] and Dr. [Ali Akbar] Salehi, Director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran have said — we have been too cooperative to inform them in advance, sooner than we are obliged to inform. Therefore, it’s a pity that they are alleging that I ran was going o build this facility without informing the IAEA.

An I want to inform you that even with respect to the advanced centrifuge machines we didn’t have any obligation to inform the agency, but when the Director General [Mohamed ElBaradei] paid a visit to Iran as a matter of transparency and cooperation — you can check with him and confirm that he appealed to us for information about the new generation of centrifuges after he met the president, and the Leader of the Islamic Revolution [Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei], in order to prove to him that if we are requested and appealed in a cooperative environment we will show flexibility and cooperative spirit — we took the director general and his deputy and I was accompanying them and showed them all the new generation centrifuges [that we possessed at the time].

That is the problem; these Western countries, [which] echoed negatively and showed anger without any justification and spoiled that environment, do not have in-depth knowledge about our culture. If they use a language of threat and intimidation, the result would be counterproductive! But if they appeal with mutual respect, then we will be trying to cooperate.

Press TV: But Barack Obama is consciously talking about mutual respect.

Soltaniyeh: Well he is consciously talking about mutual respect, but unfortunately what he did in Pittsburgh is contrary to what he said, because he should not make any judgment before the director general reports to the Board of Governors [of the IAEA]. I have given the letter to the director general [and] we have been making arrangements for visits and inspections. Mr. Obama should have waited until the November [meeting of the Board of Governors], then he could have started talking.

What happened in Pittsburg was a hasty, unjustified and hostile reaction by the US, the UK and France. It is a clear indication that either they have an incapability to deal with their war issues, and a lack of elaborative foreign policy, long-term strategy and in-depth understanding of realities on the ground in Iran; or they want to jeopardize and destroy this spirit of cooperation between Iran and the IAEA, in order to find an excuse and pretext for further sanctions and other measures.

Moreover, they have a hidden agenda to jeopardize the credibility of the integrity of the IAEA, and I believe that, that is in fact one of the reasons that they are taking these steps. Because a couple of days before that they passed a resolution n the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), for the first time, in which they looked at ways how to manipulate the IAEA, and dictate to the IAEA what to do.

I assure you that soon in Vienna, all member-states will be mobilized to put an end to such gestures, which is contrary to the letter of the Statute.

“Are they going to go down the path of giving up the acquisition of nuclear weapons and abide by international standards in their pursuit of peaceful nuclear energy, or continue going down a path that will lead to confrontation?” Obama said. “Iran repeatedly says that it’s pursuing nuclear energy only for peaceful purposes, and its actions contradict its words,” he added,

Press TV: What has Iran done to provide assurances that is nuclear energy program is actually peaceful and not for the creation of a nuclear bomb?

Soltaniyeh: Let’s ask what we have not done, that these questions are still posed? For two-and-a-half years we were voluntarily implementing the Additional Protocol. For over two years we suspended all enrichment activities, because, unfortunately, we trusted that the EU 3 — Britain, France and Germany — really had the determination to open a new chapter of cooperation. But we found out that by suspension they meant the broad concept of cessation. Later on, we noticed that the more we cooperated with them, with the IAEA, much beyond our obligation under the Comprehensive Safeguard [Agreements], even went further than the Additional Protocol — you can check with the officials of the IAEA and look at the records. The more we cooperated with them, the tougher resolutions they passed.

And finally they raise this issue in New York. There is a serious confidence deficit. We don’t trust that they really have the political will to put these issues aside. And while Iran is cooperating with the agency, let us do our work without any interference, and let’s look at the other global and regional issues. Iran has great potentials and can work with these countries for the settlement of global and regional issues and problems.

Unfortunately, what happened yesterday (Friday) in Pittsburgh, proved that the change that the new president (Obama) had promised has not been translated into action. To the contrary, we have done so. For example, we could have give this letter and inform [the IAEA] about this site later on, because we still have time according to the regulations of the IAEA, but we did it before the October 1 meeting, in order to show our political will that we want to show that we are fully transparent with the IAEA, and that the IAEA and the nuclear issue is nothing to talk about, nothing to worry about [and saying that] let’s concentrate on other global issues and regional issues.