Thursday, March 5, 2015

Full Interview With Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

    Thursday, March 05, 2015   No comments

Iran's Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, spoke with NBC News' Ann Curry Wednesday. Below is the complete interview:

ANN CURRY: Foreign minister, thank you so much for being here.

JAVAD ZARIF: Happy to be with you.

ANN CURRY: We've noticed a sudden flurry of meetings - is this a sign that things are getting-- bogged down or moving forward?

JAVAD ZARIF: Well-- it's a sign that we are very serious. And we want to reach a conclusion. We suggested that we needed to raise the level of technical discussions. And so we had our head of an atomic energy organization and United States for-- the secretary of energy, both-- very well known nuclear physicists-- in order to reach-- some sort of a technical understanding. And that proved to be a-- very important, useful-- step. And we have been able to move forward with a good number of-- issues dealing with the-- with the technicalities. Because we were-- said all along that our nuclear program is exclusively peaceful. And when we have experts sitting together they can ascertain that, rather easily. And I'm-- I'm very happy that that has gone well. Of course that doesn't mean that we have resolved all the issues. We have a number of issues, both technical as well as political, that still need to be resolved. But we-- we've made good progress. But long way to go.

ANN CURRY: Where's the area of the major stumbling block?

JAVAD ZARIF: Well-- as we have been saying for the past, I think, year and a half-- nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. This is a puzzle. And all pieces of this puzzle should come together in order for us to have a picture of what lies ahead. But I think the major stumbling block-- is a political decision that needs to be made. And-- and that is that we have to choose between-- either pressure or an agreement. And it seems that there is a lot of pressure-- particularly within the United States, from various courses, and we've seen some recently-- not to have an agreement. And-- there are those who simply see their-- hopes-- and-- their political future in conflict, tension and crisis. And as-- as long as that is the case, it's a very difficult environment to make political decisions.

ANN CURRY: Some of the pressure against the deal has come as recently as Tuesday from Ira-- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He caused quite a stir in Washington on Tuesday when he told Congress that this deal paves the way to war, not peace, as it would allow Iran to eventually procure nuclear weapons.

JAVAD ZARIF: Well-- Mr. Netanyahu has been-- proclaiming, predicting that Iran will have a nuclear weapon with-- within two, three, four years, since 1992. He has been on the record time and again that Iran will build a nuclear weapon within two years-- since, as I said, 1992. In 2012, he went before the General Assembly and said, "Iran will have a nuclear weapon within one year." It seems that he wants to stick to his one year-- forever. Iran is not about building nuclear weapon. We don't wanna build nuclear weapons. We don't believe that nuclear weapons bring security to anybody, certainly not to us. So-- it's important for everybody to come to the realization that-- this is about nuclear technology, this is about scientific advancement, this is about pride of the Iranian people. It's-- it has nothing to do with nuclear weapons. And once we reach that understanding, once this hysteria is out, one-- once this fear mongering is out, then we can have a deal, and a deal that is not gonna hurt anybody. This deal will help ensure that Iran's nuclear program will always remain peaceful. We have no doubt in Iran that our nuclear program is peaceful, will remain peaceful. There may be people who have concerns. There may be people who-- who may have been affected by the type of-- hysteria that is being fanned by people like Mr. Netanyahu. And it is useful for everybody to allow this deal to go through. As you know, Iran has been under more inspections over the last ten, 15 years than any other country on the face of the Earth, probably with the only exception of Japan. And we have less than a tenth of Japan's nuclear facilities. But we have gone almost through as many inspections. And over the past ten years, time and again, The IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the nuclear watchdog of the United Nations, has come out and said, "There is nothing that is going on behind-- public attention in Iran." And we are confident that, with an agreement, where we will have even more monitoring and more scrutiny-- it will be clear to the international community that our nuclear program is exclusively peaceful. I don't know why some people are afraid of that. I don't know why some people do not want to work to see that all of this hysteria that has been found over the past many years, as I said, since 1992, when we have been at-- one or two or three years away from the bomb and it hasn't materialized, I don't know why they the audacity to continue to-- to make the same statement and nobody questions them, under many times that they have been wrong.

ANN CURRY: You've mentioned the IAEA. As you know-- it says that Iran has been stalling on answering certain questions about past nuclear activities, specifically about whether or not Iran was involved in trying to develop a weapon. So why is Iran stalling on these questions?


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