LONDON, — Iran will help the US stabilize Iraq if Washington sets out a timetable for withdrawing its troops, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator says.
Ali Larijani told Britain’s Financial Times newspaper that if the Americans “have a clear definition of a timetable we’ll help them materialize it“, Alalam.ir reported.
Larijani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, added that US failures in Iraq should deter the Bush government from considering any further foreign interventions and warned the US to stay clear of Iran.
He said any attack by the US on Iran would be like Washington “sticking its hand into a beehive“.
The US should attack Iran only if it wished “to receive Israel on a wheelchair“, he told the newspaper.
Larijani dismissed US accusations of Iran’s negative involvement in Iraq as ’lies’, noting that Iran had asked for names of Revolutionary Guards personnel that the US claimed were involved in arming Iraqi groups but that it had received no response. He said Iran is the only country in the region to have supported the Iraqi government and the democratic process, while US allies provided no assistance and worked against Washington.
He also said Tehran has information that US officials are holding talks with Izzat Ibrahim Ad-Douri, the former Baathist vice president who is said to be leading parts of the Sunni insurgency. “This is a disaster for the Iraqi people,“ he said.
Larijani said the Bush administration should heed the strategy of both the Democrats and the British government on Iraq. The Democrats have called for a timetable to withdraw troops while Britain pulled its troops out of the southern Iraqi port city of Basra and a rough schedule for drawing down its 5,500 personnel completely from Iraq is gradually emerging. The top nuclear official said the Britons are “more intelligent than the Americans“, having made the “necessary adjustments“ to their strategy.
Referring to Iran’s nuclear program, Larijani said it has reached an advanced stage, providing Iran with a “full command of the technology“ that no one could take away. “This status cannot be ignored. I’m surprised to hear (uranium enrichment) suspension is still being talked about,“ he said.
He maintained it is time world powers realized Iran’s nuclear progress could not be reversed and that they should enter into negotiations with Tehran without preconditions. Iran has agreed with the IAEA a “work plan“ in late August, through which it pledged to clear up remaining issues that have raised questions about its nuclear activities.
Larijani said all the issues would be cleared by next month, depending on the speed with which the nuclear watchdog operated. “The more acceleration there is by the agency, the faster it will be completed.“