Iran will be holding a nuclear disarmament conference with the motto “nuclear energy for all, nuclear weapons for none” on 17-18 April. Iranian Diplomacy has interviewed Ramin Mehmanparast, spokesperson for Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to ask him about the objectives of the conference.
You have told the press that the UN Secretary General and the IAEA chief have also been invited to Tehran’s nuclear disarmament conference. How likely is their attendance?
Tehran has invited delegations from all over the world. In a few days we will know at what level these delegations will attend the conference. As you said, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and IAEA chief Mr. Amano have also been invited. They may have other plans, so we are waiting to see if they visit personally or send representatives.
There is diversity in our invitations. There are high-ranking officials, well-known disarmament scholars, and NGOs specializing in nuclear disarmament. The level of delegations will become clear in the next few days.
Exactly how many countries have been invited for the Tehran conference and how many have accepted the invitation?
Nearly seventy countries have been invited, of which we think about fifty will send envoys to Tehran.
What about China? Any clear response?
A Chinese delegation will certainly attend the conference but we don’t know yet about its level. Typically, these procedures continue until the last days leading to the conference.
An Egyptian delegation will also come to Tehran. Do you think this could be another step towards normalization of Tehran-Cairo ties?
Definitely. We believe there are common grounds which call for serious cooperation between Iran and Egypt. Nuclear disarmament is one case. Egypt, as a member of the Non-Aligned Movement and current president of the organization, has taken an exemplary stance over this matter. Our similar positions over the nuclear issue can help us encourage other countries to take actual steps towards this goal of nuclear disarmament.
The Tehran conference will be held a few days after a similar conference in Washington on nuclear security. How do you see the coincidence?
Tehran believes any nuclear conference, wherever it is held, is a constructive measure. But to be taken seriously by the global public opinion, it needs practicality more than anything else.
How can the Tehran conference demonstrate Iran’s peaceful goals in pursuing a nuclear program?
Tehran believes every country is entitled to enjoy the use of nuclear technology as long as it is responsible, i.e. not moving towards the production and use of nuclear weapons, and as long as it is committed to nuclear disarmament. In fact, Iran supports peaceful use of nuclear know-how, while it strongly opposes any application of this technology in a non-peaceful, military field.
This interview was published by Iranian Diplomacy on 12 April 2010; it is reproduced here for non-profit educational purposes.