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Iran weary of possible Israeli strike -

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Iran weary of possible Israeli strike

The World Today - Wednesday, 2 July , 2008 12:35:00

Reporter: Eleanor Hall

ELEANOR HALL: As Israeli military exercises fuel speculation that Israel is preparing to launch an
attack on Iran. Iran's former deputy foreign minster has warned that such an attack would lead to
bloodshed in the Middle East for half a century.

The speculation about Israel's intentions was bolstered by a warning from a former head of Mossad
this week that Israel has a window of under a year to knock out Iran's nuclear facilities.

And at the same time the international community is urging Iran to consider another offer of
incentives for it to curb its nuclear program.

Dr Gholamali Khoshroo was Iran's deputy foreign minister from 2002 to 2005 under the reformist
government of President Mohammad Khatami.

He is in Australia this week for a conference on Islam and he joined me in The World Today studio
earlier today.

Dr Khoshroo, thanks for joining us. If I could first get your reaction to these Israeli military
exercises that have fuelled speculation that Israel may be preparing for an attack on Iran within
months. Do you think an Israeli attack on your country is likely?

GHOLAMALI KHOSHROO: I see no reason that such action take place and if this happens then Iran will
not remain silent, as I understand. Then Iran will retaliate, and this retaliation may find it's
very different ways.

Then our region needs more peace and security and stability not another war or another act of
aggression.

ELEANOR HALL: Now you were part of a reformist government in Iran three years ago. There were
reports now from the United States that the Bush administration has increased funding for covert
operations to bring about regime change in Iran.

As a reformer yourself, what do you think of this strategy by the US, of funding opposition groups
and what do you know about any increase in that lately?

GHOLAMALI KHOSHROO: Unfortunately America's intervention in our region and also in Iran is always
against any reform or democratic movement. Because of this unilateral action in Iran, they have
toppled the national government in Iran 50 years ago, Dr Mosaddegh and after that they installed
the Shah and then revolution took place in Iran.

And now if they do any act like that, it will have negative effects on relationship between Iran
and America for coming centuries. This is not, American intervention at no time has been in favour
of democratic process, reform process in the region. They are supporting dictators; they are
supporting those who are in favour of the American policy, not in favour of democracy.

ELEANOR HALL: Well there is this new offer from western countries including all members of the UN
Security Council to fully recognise Iran's right to a civilian nuclear program in exchange for it
giving up enrichment. If you were still Foreign Minister, is that an offer that you would accept?

GHOLAMALI KHOSHROO: If they want Iran to suspend or stop its activities then they should provide
solid evidence that why Iran should do that.

Because if Iran is a member of NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty), it is on the inspections by the
agency, then why he should waive his own rights - on what base? This is from the legal point of
view, they are not right.

They are insisting Iranian people think that they are imposing their own ideas against Iran while
others who are not member of NPT and have produced bomb are in our region, and these countries have
good relationship with them. This is double standard that Iranian people cannot understand.

ELEANOR HALL: And yet you say that you hope that negotiations might be successful. What would you
like western countries to offer Iran?

GHOLAMALI KHOSHROO: There are ample opportunities for negotiation and for finding a solution to
this issue. Iranian rights should be observed and Iran also will provide solid ground, will provide
guarantees that its program will not lead or will not divert to non peaceful purposes.

These can be find. Europe or America, or Europe has concern that Iran's program goes to non
peaceful and Iran's concern is that his own right be denied. I think it is possible to find a way
that these two be balanced.

ELEANOR HALL: Why is a nuclear program so important to Iranians, when Iran has the world's second
largest reserves of oil?

GHOLAMALI KHOSHROO: Okay Iran's this oil can be finished in 30, 40, 50 years. It has been reserved
to millions of years, but now we'll be finished in less than 30, 40 years. And Iran should have its
own advancement in this regard.

ELEANOR HALL: So just finally Dr Khoshroo, do you have confidence that Iran and the United States
will avoid conflict in the future?

GHOLAMALI KHOSHROO: I hope so. I hope so. If there is another war or conflict in our region, look
to our neighbours Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Arab countries, Iran is the only stable country
between Afghanistan and Iraq.

If Iran also turned to turmoil then all the Middle East and Muslim countries will face, also Europe
will face challenges that will not be solved easily.

ELEANOR HALL: Dr Khoshroo, thanks very much for joining us.

GHOLAMALI KHOSHROO: Thank you very much.

ELEANOR HALL: And that's Dr Gholamali Khoshroo who was the deputy foreign minister of Iran from
2002 to 2005 and who is in Australia for an international conference on global dialogue at La Trobe
University.