TV International interview with Hamid Taqvaee
Maryam Namazie: Some have said that secular Iranians who might have been opposed to the Islamic regime of Iran having nuclear weapons in the past, are now supportive of it because they believe it is needed defensively vis-à-vis the US’ reckless imperialism.
Hamid Taqvaee: I don’t think that is the case. The fact of the matter is that a majority of Iranians are against the Islamic regime of Iran. They know very well that nuclear weapons in the hands of the regime will be a tool for it maintenance in Iran and the Middle East. Political Islam will clearly benefit from the regime’s securing of nuclear weapons. I think, in general, people are against the Islamic regime having nuclear weapons as they are opposed to any government having it. This is the principled position.
Maryam Namazie: When it comes to the ‘third world’, you often see the people living there being given the same opinion as the government of that country whereas that wouldn’t be the case in the west. For example, if the British government has nuclear weapons, it doesn’t automatically mean that it has a right to them or that the British people agree with its having such weapons. Why does that happen, especially when it comes to political Islamic groups or the Islamic Republic of Iran?
Hamid Taqvaee: The problem is that public opinion in western countries or to be exact the media and the government in western countries, categorise people in the ‘Third World’ in this way. They want to make people believe that whatever happens there and whatever the regimes do there are what people there want. And automatically this implies that governments in the Middle East or in Third World countries are representing their own people. Add to this cultural relativism and you can see what is going on. As a result, they say that Iran is an Islamic country; whatever the Islamic Republic says is what people think and so automatically they conclude that the people of Iran support the Islamic Republic’s securing of nuclear weapons. But the real situation in this case and almost every political issue is the exact opposite. The people of Iran automatically oppose what the Islamic regime says and wants because the people of Iran despise this government. Their position on the nuclear issue is opposite of what the government says.
Maryam Namazie: You also hear about the ‘right’ to nuclear technology, nuclear weapon and so on and so forth and again that’s another interesting thing because it is really a negative ‘right’. Isn’t it? It is like saying the right to honour killings or the right to domestic violence.
Hamid Taqvaee: It is not about rights; it is about right or wrong. Is it beneficial to the people if a government has nuclear weapons? Is it a good thing for the people of the world everywhere? Or is a negative factor which is against humanity? That’s the question. It is not a legal question.
All governments have the ‘right’ to have nuclear weapons. Apparently governments have the right to many things! They have the right to have jails. In many countries they have the right to execute people; they have the right to have police; they have the right to go to war and kill civilians! Israel has a ‘right’, everybody says, to raid Lebanon and kill more than 1,000 people. It is ridiculous to talk about rights. As if we are in a court! This is not the case. In politics, you must examine and judge politics by the criteria of whether it is beneficial to the population at large. Do people benefit from it or is it against people? That is the question. If you gauge it by that criteria, you can see that nuclear weapon in the hands of the Iranian government and any government in the world is against humanity, is against peace, is against people and so we have to be against it.
Maryam Namazie: Another issue that comes up all the time is the issue of double standard and again it is referred to in a negative sense; they don’t talk of double standards of the status of women but of nuclear weapons!
Hamid Taqvaee: Yes I agree. But then it should mean that no government in the world should have nuclear weapons. That is the way that we can solve double standards not the other way round. If all the people who commit murder are not prosecuted, then one who is can say there are double standards and therefore they should not be prosecuted and anyone who wants can kill!
We need to put aside these assertions which are not the main issue. The main issue is that having nuclear weapons in any country in the world is wrong. It is a nightmare for our world that someday, somebody can push a red button and destroy the world. It is everybody’s nightmare. If that is the truth, which is the truth of our era unfortunately, then we must come to the conclusion that no government in the world should have the ‘right’ to use or develop or have nuclear weapons. If that’s everyone’s position, then we can talk about double standards, the ‘rights’ of the governments and so on. Even if they don’t use it, it is there; it is always there. It is a nightmare for everybody in the world.
Maryam Namazie: What would you say to those who say opposing Iran’s ‘right’ to nuclear technology is giving the US administration ammunition to isolate and possibly attack Iran?
Hamid Taqvaee: We are against attacking Iran and against US policies as a whole in the Middle East and especially in Iran. Also, we are not only saying that the Iranian regime has no right to nuclear weapons, we also are saying that the US has no right to attack Iran, or to impose economic sanctions. So I don’t buy that logic. If you attack a regime, it does not mean you automatically have the same position as everybody else who attacks that regime. That is not the case. We are against political Islam so does that mean we are supporting the USA; we are also against US policies in the Middle East and everywhere in the world, so does that mean we are supporting the Islamic Republic of Iran?! We are against both. You can’t just look at an aspect of our position on issues and then come to the erroneous conclusion that we are ‘with this or that camp in the world’. That’s not the case.
Maryam Namazie: One last question. Some say that the Islamic regime has a right to nuclear technology under the nuclear proliferation treaty (NPT) and that is what they want not weapons.
Hamid Taqvaee: The first thing is that nobody trusts that the Islamic Republic of Iran will use nuclear technology for peaceful means. But even if we do that is not the issue. We are against using nuclear energy in any industry, for any purposes because the technology in itself is very dangerous. Nuclear technology should be abandoned everywhere in the world because it is against the environment, it is against the people, it is , especially in hands of governments like very dangerous, especially in places with low standards and controls.
Transcribed by Arash Sorx.