Iran's Chief Nuclear Negotiator: 'We Welcome New Sanctions'

Jalili: That is not meant at all ironically. We've declared this year a year for saving energy. We want to use our resources carefully. Anything that curtails consumption and promotes the development of our self-sufficiency is useful for us. And besides, sanctions don't have a role to play in this world any more. They primarily harm the ones who impose them against us. The West always meets us with a carrot and a stick, but that's the wrong method and one which is degrading for us Iranians. We count on the strong support of our people, which they showed in the last election.

SPIEGEL: Excuse me? What about the millions of people who took to the streets, people who shouted, and are still shouting: "Where is my vote?"

Jalili: Differences of opinion are part of democracy. We are a free society. We experienced a campaign between different politicians. Twenty-five million people voted for the incumbent, 14 million for his opponent.

SPIEGEL: But it's a fact that your prisons are full of opposition supporters, who are being given show trials.

Jalili: That isn't true. Forty million people voted, but only hundreds were arrested.

SPIEGEL: Does that mean all the people in the West who see Iran as an oppressive state and fear an Iranian nuclear bomb are just paranoid?

Jalili: I didn't say that. There are also many observers in the West who have a differentiated view of Iraq and who arrive at other conclusions which are fairer and more balanced.

'All Nuclear Powers Must Disarm'

SPIEGEL: Leading Israeli politicians are talking about the possibility of a military strike against your nuclear facilities. How would you react to that?

Jalili: Israel has repeatedly made threats of this sort. Why has no one in the West condemned that?

SPIEGEL: Doesn't Israel have every reason to be concerned when it comes to Iran? President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wants Israel wiped off the map, and denies the Holocaust.

Jalili: Doesn't Israel possess nuclear weapons? Shouldn't the world be afraid of that? All nuclear powers must disarm. That needs to be monitored by the IAEA, whose decisions everyone would have to accept.

SPIEGEL: You want to grant further power to UN weapons inspectors. Yet you refuse to follow the IAEA's demands and ratify the additional protocol which would allow more extensive, unannounced inspections.

Jalili: There are many other countries who have also not signed the additional protocol. It's a voluntary matter. Nonetheless, in the past we, in parallel to the suspension of uranium enrichment, accepted the stricter inspections of the IAEA's additional protocol -- without this being recognized.

SPIEGEL: Could you imagine ratifying the additional protocol, if the talks in Switzerland go well?

Jalili: We once arranged confidence-building measures and did not achieve any results. Now it's the West's turn to take such measures.

SPIEGEL: You are not reading the situation correctly. At the talks on Oct. 1, people are expecting compromises from you, or at least a gesture. Aren't you passing up a big opportunity?

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