Iran's newly-appointed nuclear energy chief is calling for an end to
hostilities between his country and the West, and renewed efforts to
government TV says that the country's new nuclear energy chief, Ali
Akbar Salehi is urging the West to end hostilities with Tehran and to
start building trust.
"Legal and technical discussions about
Iran's nuclear case have finished," he insists, "and there is no room
left to keep this case open."
"We hope," he added, "that more
efforts will be made [by the West] to obtain mutual confidence, instead
of the last six years of hostility."
They were Salehi's first
comments to the media, since being appointed by President Mahmoud
Ahmedinejad, Friday, following the resignation of veteran nuclear
negotiator Gholam Reza Aghazadeh.
The soft-spoken Salehi was
educated at the American University of Beirut and holds a doctorate
from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Salehi is Iran's former
envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency and signed a protocol
allowing for freer inspections of Iran's nuclear sites. His appointment
appears to be something of a gesture to the U.S.
U.S., nor the other members of the so-called Group of five-plus-one, including
the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, plus
Germany, however, are likely to agree with Salehi about the closure of
Tehran's nuclear file.
U.S. President Barack Obama warned
Tehran, during the G-8 summit in Italy, that the world is giving it
until September to comply with U.N. resolutions over its controversial
Iran has persistently refused to stop enriching
uranium, and the West fears that it will use highly enriched uranium to
build atomic weapons.
The Iranian government, however, continues
to insist that its nuclear program is intended for peaceful, civilian
Iran analyst Meir Javedanfar of the MEEPAS (Middle East Economic and Political Analysis) center in Tel Aviv argues that Tehran is hardening its position over its nuclear dossier, in response to Western criticism over its violent crackdown against its own people following the June 12 presidential elections.
"I think Ayatollah Khamenei is sending the message
that the more we are pushed on other fronts, the more we're going to
adjust the balance in our favor, and one area is the nuclear program,
because Khamenei knows how important the nuclear program is to the
West, especially to President Obama," he said.
"So, I think
this is kind of a backlash against what Iran sees as Western
interference in its own affairs. I also think that the Iranian
government still sees the West as divided and there's not much the West
can do at the moment to stop Iran's nuclear program, so they're
toughening their policy and they want to see what the reaction will be,
if the reaction is going to be hard or if the West is going to come up
with an even [better] offer," he added.
believes that those who are seeking a compromise with Iran should not
despair completely, because Iranian leaders are pragmatists, and may at
the end of the day be ready for an agreement.
Minister Manuchehr Motaki said one week ago that Tehran was preparing
to present a "new package" of proposals, concerning what he called
"international, security and political issues," to the West for talks.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has also warned the West that
Tehran would weigh their criticism over its crackdown on protesters
following the June 12 election, in assessing future relations with