In the same week that President Obama said the window for diplomacy with Iran over its nuclear program was “shrinking” high-level Iranian official Mohammad Javad Larijani has publicly pushed back against claims that Iran wants to militarily harm Israel and has offered major concessions on its nuclear program in exchange for Western cooperation. In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour the usual Iranian revolutionary bluster appears to be overshadowed by Larijani’s proclamations that Iran is seriously willing to negotiate and wants to avoid confrontation. This is an important positive sign ahead of expected renewed talks between Iran and the P5+1. Some of Larijani’s key statements include:
A high-level advisor to Iran’s supreme leader said his country is ready to allow “permanent human monitoring” of its nuclear program in exchange for Western cooperation but also warned Iran is prepared to defend itself against military strikes.
Mohammad Javad Larijani, who serves as Secretary-General of Iran’s Human Rights Council and key foreign policy advisor to Ayatollah Khamenei, said the West should sell Iran 20 percent enriched uranium and provide all the help that nuclear nations are supposed to provide to countries building civilian nuclear power plants. He also said the U.S. and the West should accept his country’s right to continue what Iran calls its peaceful nuclear program. In return for cooperation from the West, he said, Iran would offer “full transparency.”
Should negotiations fail and military strikes against nuclear sites in Iran begin, however, Larijani borrowed a phrase from President Obama’s own policy when he said “every possibility is on the table” when it comes to Iran’s response to such attacks. He did not discount the possibility of closing the strategic Strait of Hormuz or the firing of rockets into Israel.
Asked about an often-quoted statement by Iranian President Ahmadinejad about “wiping Israel from the face of the map”, Larijani said it was “definitely not” Iran’s intent to militarily obliterate Israel, adding that “neither the president meant that nor is it a policy of Iran.”
Larijani also said that financial sanctions, which the White House has said are having a significant impact on the Iranian economy, were a “failure” if they were designed to halt Iran’s nuclear ambitions.