Alexander Lukashevich. Photo: RIA Novosti
In an interview with the Voice of Russia aired on Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said that the use of force against Iran was impossible without an appropriate resolution by the UN Security Council.
An IAEA report on Iran provoked a scandal ahead of its publication. Israel was quick to signal its readiness to refer to the use of force rather than a diplomatic solution. Is this scenario possible? What is Russia’s position on the matter?
Israel’s officials have repeatedly said that they are not ruling out the possibility of a military strike on Iranian territory. We proceed on the assumption that similar actions in international relations are unacceptable because use of force can only be sanctioned by the decisions of the UN Security Council or the UN Charter and its 51st clause which provides for the right of self-defense. Neither of these options have ever been discussed at the UN Security Council. This is why even theoretically, we cannot think about such a horrendous scenario being put into practice. And we believe that those politicians who hypothetically speculate on the matter are making a serious mistake because they speculate on this in real time. The implementation of such plans would be fraught with regional and global implications. We would like to reiterate once again that the Iranian nuclear program has no military solution – something that is also the case with any other problem in modern-day international relations. Both the Russian Federation and many other countries are calling for the use of a whole array of international instruments, including political, diplomatic and intermediary tools, which contribute to the potential and peacemaking efforts of the UN and the ability of the international community to resolve any problem effectively and through diplomatic means.
Now several countries prefer employing military means to solve regional conflicts which has happened in Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya. This adds to the fact that the Libya-like scenario is completely unacceptable, it violates international law and the world order based on rules and regulations set in the UN Charter.
Russia has proposed and will stick to its plan that unfortunately wasn’t accepted by the Big Six mediators (Russia, China, the US, France, the UK and Germany) as a collective strategy to solve the Iranian problem. It’s still on the negotiation table and we hope that it will be gradually incorporated in the joint actions by the global community aimed at finding a peaceful solution to the problem that is, obviously, a matter of common concern.
The issue cannot be solved either by militarily means or by attempting to isolate the country. We believe these actions are inefficient and have no prospects.
France’s Foreign Minister has already backed calling up a Security Council session on the Iranian problem and urged tough sanctions on the country.
Russia believes that the sanctions have already run their course when the UN adopted a very tough Resolution 1929 that was to show Iran that the global community expected it to ensure the transparency of its nuclear program.
The Big Six is putting stakes on resuming talks with Iran and sorting out all the related issues which pose concern to the IAEA.
I believe that these problems should be resolved via a direct dialogue between Tehran and Vienna with the involvement of the Big Six and any other parties concerned.
Based on Russia’s experience in the Big Six, the UN and the Security Council in particular, we urge our Big Six colleagues and non-UN members that are now pushing for sanctions to seek diplomatic ways to find a solution to Iran’s nuclear problem.
According to the media, Russian scientists also contributed to Iran’s nuclear program. They name Vyacheslav Danilenko who allegedly revealed nuclear secrets to Iran. Do you consider such statements as accusations?
Russia had been forced to comment on these leaks even before the IAEA report was officially published. Given all the fuss created by the media around this issue, we had to mention several questions which will be asked by the IAEA members but they should be asked by professionals, in a civilized way without the influence of the media.
Russia also has a lot of questions for the IAEA chief with regard to the sources on which the Agency based its conclusions about the military nature of Iran’s nuclear program. We want to know precisely what information made the IAEA accuse Iran’s government of a military intent to its nuclear program. I also question its data verification methods. Now we are being asked to blindly trust the Agency without being given any answers.
As for the speculations in the mass media about a Russian scientist’s alleged involvement in the Iranian nuclear program, I would like to point out the following. First and foremost, we reiterate, once again, that we handed over all the information on this matter to the IAEA a long time ago. The fact that confidential information has been leaked to the media makes us question the future of our cooperation with the IAEA. The fear is that any information may then be passed over to mass media outlet.
Secondly, the report contains no new or sensational facts pertaining to the former Soviet scientist’s involvement in the Iranian nuclear program. Actually, he is an ethnic Ukrainian. Having read the report, we found no new facts that could add to what has already been revealed by the IAEA’s Director-General. The allegations about the Russian scientist’s key role in the Iranian nuclear program reflect the incompetency of those experts who compiled the report and mirrors the bias of the media’s coverage on the subject. Let this be a matter for their conscience. I would like to say that they are accused by Russia of a political bias and pursuing aims which have nothing to do with the task of allaying concerns over the Iranian nuclear program.