Rowhani Interview: 2012 Edition

A bit late on this, I know, but Frontline’s “Tehran Bureau”:http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/tehranbureau/ published a translation of an “interview”:http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/tehranbureau/2012/05/qa-former-iran-nuclear-negotiator-bush-negotiation-bid-was-rebuffed.html with Hassan Rowhani, the former head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council.

Lots of good stuff…I especially like his account of the internal debate in Iran regarding the suspension of Tehran’s enrichment program. In addition to mentioning that “[m]ost people did not believe” that the IAEA BoG would refer Iran to the UNSC just for restarting the conversion facility at Esfahan, he says that the Supreme Leader initially ordered the conversion facility to be restarted was in April 2005, before Ahmadinejad was even elected. The account, honestly, is a little unclear, especially because Iran didn’t restart the facility until August of that year. Still interesting, though.

He also describes the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran’s attitude regarding the suspension:

bq.. The *AEOI was always in a hurry*, and had its own reasons. They had an organization and staff. They had hired engineers and some technical experts. Thus, when the activity was suspended, it was difficult for them. *Their thesis was that we should finish the job.* There was always a debate as to whether they could finish the job that they had begun. Since we were taking a first step along the nuclear path, and did not have prior experience, *the AEOI wanted to prove that it could finish the job, because it also faced some opposition.* I remember that a group of physics professors met with me and told me that Iran cannot do this [set up the nuclear fuel cycle]. They were saying that those who work on the project were our own students, and we believe this is not doable. The AEOI was also aware that it had opposition. Thus, *it wanted to prove that it could be done and encourage its own engineers.* Thus, naturally, they wanted to end the suspension [of Iran’s nuclear program, which lasted from October 2003 to August 2005]. But they did not want Iran’s nuclear dossier to be sent to the U.N. Security Council.

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