No evidence Iran is seeking to build nuclear weapon
“There is no evidence, not from the IAEA (the International Atomic Energy Agency), not from the Americans… There is no evidence that they (Iranians) are involved in building a bomb,” Straw said at a Thursday TV panel discussion at the British state-run broadcaster, the BBC.
Straw, who served as acting shadow deputy prime minister of the United Kingdom in 2010, also referred to the 2007 US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) that verified Iran was not after nuclear arms.
The NIE report, prepared by 16 US intelligence agencies, confirmed with “high confidence” the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program. A similar report was also published in 2011.
At one point during the discussion, Straw struck back at a fellow panelist, who was insisting on the unfounded allegation about Iran’s nuclear energy program, and asked her, “Have they (the Iranians) got a nuclear bomb?” and then posed the rhetorical question to the defiant panelist, “Where is the evidence?!”
Straw welcomed the election of Hassan Rohani as Iran’s next president in the July 14th vote, saying, “What I have been urging the government is that we do our best to reengage with Iranians, because there is a chance now that we can.”
Rohani, who was Iran’s former chief nuclear negotiator from October 2003 to August 2005, won Iran’s 11th presidential election, garnering 50.7 percent of a total of 36,704,156 ballots.
The US, Israel and some of their allies falsely claim that Iran is pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program, with Washington and the European Union using the unfounded claim as a pretext to impose illegal sanctions on Iran.
Tehran strongly rejects the allegation over its nuclear energy activities, maintaining that as a committed signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the IAEA, it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Straw underscored the importance of Iran’s role in regional developments, calling for Iran’s involvement in resolving the Syrian crisis, including the need for Tehran’s participation in the upcoming international Geneva conference on Syria.
“Critically, we have got to get Iran to this peace conference that is planned at some stage in Geneva,” Straw said.
The Syria crisis began in March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of government forces, have been killed.