Iranian Ambassador Golamreza Bageri Mogadam: World Doesn't Believe Double Standards, Lies about Iran's Nuclear Program
An exclusive interview of Novinite.com (Sofia News Agency) and Novinite.bg with Iranian Ambassador to Bulgaria Golamreza Bageri Mogadam.
Golamreza Bageri Mogadam was born on March 29, 1956, in the city of Hoi, Northwestern Iran. He has a master's in public government. He has been holding different positions at the Iranian Foreign Ministry since 1982, including Ambassador to Turkey (2006-2008), Turkmenistan (1991-1995), and Kyrgyzstan (2001-2005). He speaks English, Russian, and Turkish. He is married with 3 children. His term in Bulgaria started on December 3, 2009.
Iran's international situation is increasingly tense because of the nuclear program and other issues. In this situation, what would you say Bulgaria's attitude towards Iran is? What the Bulgarian-Iranian relations like presently?
First, I would like to thank you for this opportunity to discuss for your readers the topics that are currently important for my country. The relations between Bulgaria and Iran have been founded on historical friendship. They go all the way back to the common roots of the two nations, which can be likened to the branches of a single tree.
It is precisely because of these common roots that we can say the people of Bulgaria and Iran have a lot of common features. I would like to stress only one of these features – the tolerance they possess, which provides for the peaceful coexistence between various ethnic and religious communities.
Our nations are against any kind of wars or animosities. They are very welcoming people with a high threshold of tolerance. Both nations tolerantly accept all cultures, without believing that a certain culture can be considered to be dominant. The people in Bulgaria and Iran desire the development of their own nations, believing that what is good for them is good for the others as well.
The common roots that I mentioned are a valuable capital that helps the development of our relations in the new period of ties between Bulgaria and Iran. Iran was not only the first Asian nation to have recognized Bulgaria's independence after its liberation but it is also one of the few nations that can boast 115 years of diplomatic relations with Bulgaria.
Also, Bulgaria was one of the first sovereign countries to have recognized the Islamic Revolution in Iran. All of that shows the friendship between our nations. Regardless of what is imposed on them from the outside, Bulgaria and Iran are looking forward to the development of their future relations.
Iran claims that its controversial nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. If the Iranian nuclear program does not have a military character, why do you think it causes so much concern with the West, the USA and Israel in particular?
Iran's activities in the field of nuclear energy are solely for peaceful purposes and are in accordance with international law, and the rules of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). We don't have any activities outside the framework of our agreements and the commitments that Iran has made to the IAEA.
All of our activities are performed under supervision with video cameras placed by the IAEA and under regular IAEA inspections. The last inspection was a couple of weeks ago, with the Deputy Chief Secretary of the IAEA visiting Iran and having fruitful meetings with the Iranian authorities.
If these meetings are protected from the political intentions of some nations, they will lay the foundations for future talks. From a legal and technical point of view there are no issues between Iran and the IAEA, and anything that is alleged about the Iranian nuclear program stems from the political goals of certain countries.
The concerns that you mentioned are artificial and fake. I can only say that policies that have been based on imperialistic goals in principle cannot exist without creating an outside enemy. In this sense, since Israel is an illegitimate regime, it is better not to talk about it.
As for the USA, this principle is precisely applicable – they need to have an enemy for their development; this is the policy that America follows. This way America justifies its unjust policies towards nations such as Iran. We don't seek any conflict with any nation, with any legitimate government in the world. We respect all peoples, and at the same time we expect that the others will view us the same way. Unfortunately, some of the statesmen in the USA are incapable of comprehending this truth.
How is the tension affecting Iran's position in the Middle East? Is Iran concerned that, in addition to targeting the nuclear program, Western powers are seeking regime change in Tehran?
Iran is a nation of extreme geoeconomic, geopolitical, and geostrategic importance in its region. Because of its location, it is always the center of events. For example, 150 ago the change from a dictatorship to parliamentary rule started in Iran. It was called Mashrutiyyat, which means conditionality. After that, other nations decided to seek parliamentary rule too, following Iran's example.
33 years ago, the Islamic Revolution in Iran became the pioneer in fighting totalitarianism and repressions against nations. After that, you now witness that the other peoples in the Middle East and North Africa are following the Iranian revolution's example.
With its historical, cultural, and natural richness and capacities, Iran has always been a target of the imperialists. We have seen a lot of actions of the imperialist states in Iran's new history. The regime of the Shah symbolized a government created by these imperialists. They received their orders from Washington, and carried them out in Tehran.
With its rich culture and history Iran's people could not bear such humiliation. They rebelled, and took their government in their own hands. This is something the imperialists cannot accept – losing such a tasty dish as Iran. It is very hard for them to take it so they are exerting all of their efforts to bring to power a regime similar to the Shah's in Iran so they can resume their dominance over Iran. In this context they have planned and developed various means such as conspiracies, terror, even a war against my nation.
The claims about Iran's nuclear energy are among those. Let's first clarify that Iran does not does not pursue nuclear energy for military purposes. Neither from the point of view of logic, nor from the point of view of our religion do we believe that the nuclear bomb would bring security for us, or that it is legitimate.
Our religious leader has expressed it very clearly that the creation and possession of nuclear weapons is prohibited in our religion. And you know very well that the Islamic Republic of Iran is a theocratic republic, and that it plans its action according to its religion. If we look at the fundamentals, the claims about nuclear energy for military purposes in Iran are unfounded. But I would like to pose a different question – why don't all of those who are concerned about the proliferation of nuclear weapons look among themselves? Why do those who accuse Iran of deviations in its nuclear program invest dozens of billions of dollars in their nuclear arsenals every year?
Even in the region of the Middle East the illegitimate Zionist regime of Israel possesses hundreds of nuclear weapons. Why don't they ask the Zionist regime to allow inspectors of the IAEA to its nuclear installations? Instead, it is Iran, the country with the largest number of inspections of its nuclear installations, which is criticized of deviations in its nuclear program. And people are asking this question – if the nuclear bomb is such a bad thing, why do those countries spend billions on the modernization of these weapons? Who were the ones that used atomic weapons for the first time? Which nations are threatening the Islamic Republic of Iran with nuclear weapons?
The people witnessing these double standards don't believe their lies. It is because of that that at the moment the American regime is one of the most hated governments in the world.
Since a preemptive attack on Iranian could materialize on part of the USA or Israel – is Iran worried about such a possibility? How would Iran react in the event of such an attack?
I would like to pose this question – what reason is there for such an attack on Iran? Does Iran intend to attack another country, or is it greedy for the riches and territory of the others? Is Iran threatening the global peace and security? This is ridiculous! Why doesn't the world say anything against the statements for a war against Iran? Why don't those circles who seek freedom, and the independent media condemn these statements? People in the world wish to live and develop in peace.
This propaganda at the moment in favor of a war against Iran is the kind of propaganda that people around the world hate. Smart people know that nothing can be resolved through war. In a war, no nation can be considered a winner. We believe that the world has not remained without wise and smart people.
It is only natural that when there is such a strong propaganda effort for a war against my nation, Iran will come up with the best possible measures in order to survive event the hardest scenarios. And, on the other hand, the enemies know, too, that if they commit a mistake against Iran, they will pay dearly.
Bulgaria is a close US ally, has close ties with Israel, and a NATO member. There have been concerns that in the event of such a military confrontations, Iran's medium range ballistic missiles could target objects in Bulgaria – perhaps the military facilities used jointly with the USA. Is there such a possibility – of Iran targeting sites in Bulgaria?
There is no reason for the Bulgarian people to be concerned. As I said at the beginning, the Bulgarian people are a nation that only seeks peace and stays away from conflict. On the topic of a war against Iran – I am sure that the Bulgarian nation will be among those raising the banner of disagreement with the war. The Bulgarian nation will never allow its territory to be used again my country under the pretexts that it is a NATO member state or an ally of various countries.
Going to the energy topics and Iran's relations with the EU – what do you think the way out is of the current situation in which the EU has imposed an oil embargo on Iran, and Iran terminated its oil exports for its members? What Iran's position on the Nabucco gas transit pipeline project?
We are convinced that, unfortunately, the EU has taken a wrong path in its attitude towards the Islamic Republic of Iran. We don't have any problems with the various nations in Europe, but we do have a lot of common things that we can work on together. The wise decision would be – instead of using our power and energy for artificial disagreements among us – to use them for the benefit of our mutual development.
It is more than clear to me that Europe will soon express self-criticism about its wrong attitude towards Iran. We wish to see a strong and independent Europe, and Iran does have a great capacity for cooperation with Europe – I underscore – with a strong and independent Europe.
We are ready to use this capacity for the development and well-being of the people – including what you mentioned, the Nabucco project. Iran is first in the world in terms of oil and natural gas resources. We are ready to use this capacity of ours in the interest of both sides within the framework of a mutually beneficial cooperation.
Unfortunately, Europe is only working to the detriment of the Europeans' interests. We hope that it will correct its mistake as soon as possible, and that it will to Iran with a desire for cooperation, and for clearing all issues.
During a recent visit in Bulgaria's Varna on the Black Sea you said Iran wanted to build an oil refinery there. What are the conditions for such an investment? Is it real?
As far as Iran is concerned, there is no problem for realizing this project – whether from the point of view of science, technology, capital, or management. Iran has the needed capabilities. Keeping in mind the historic friendship between our nations, we are ready, in the framework of our mutual interests, to set this project on the table. Now it is up to the Bulgarian authorities to use this capacity. If the Bulgarian statesmen demonstrate a desire, we are ready to discuss with them this form of cooperation.
Talking more generally, what is needed to boost the economic cooperation, investment and trade between Bulgaria and Iran?
Based on the latest data of the IMF, Iran is the 18th largest economy in the world, with a GDP of USD 930 B. But Iranian experts believe the real figure is USD 1.5 T. Keeping in mind its capabilities, Iran is ready to develop and expand its cooperation with Bulgaria.
Even though the Bulgarian state is observing the sanctions imposed on Iran, the bilateral trade is developing very well. In 2010, the bilateral trade reached USD 150 M, and this figure was achieved in a strong international embargo and sanctions against Iran. If these sanctions are removed, there will be a great desire for development of the bilateral ties.
It is nonetheless clear that the trade with Iran has one of the highest levels among Bulgaria's non-EU trading partners. This shows that the nations are unhappy with the sanctions, and that they are seeking ways to surmount them.
You protested formally after the May 20 incident at the Sofia Mosque. How does Iran view the condition of the Bulgarian Muslims? What are your ties with the Bulgarian Muslim community?
As I said in the common framework, our two nations have a great desire to connect and cooperate. And it is natural that the Bulgarian Muslims as part of the Bulgarian society would be included in the framework of desire to develop our relations.
Our relations with the various communities in Bulgaria are followed in the framework of our understanding and agreements between the two states. We are ready to develop cooperation and interaction with all parts of the Bulgarian society in the fields of science, education, trade.
When it comes to education, religious, science, and culture, Iran is a nation of great riches, and it has the opportunity to develop cooperation in these fields as much as the Bulgarian nation desires it.
From the point of view of geopolitics and culture Bulgaria also has opportunities that we would like to utilize.
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