By Hamideh Taati, originally published on NCR-Iran.org, April 25, 2022
Enjoying a level of impunity due to being the son of an Ayatollah and a former deputy speaker of the parliament (Majlis), Ali Mottahari made a startling revelation in his interview with ISCAnews.
“From the very beginning, when we started with the nuclear activity, our goal was to build a bomb and reinforce our deterrence powers, but we were unable to maintain confidentiality as confidential reports were leaked by the hypocrites’ group,” Motahari said.
The ‘Hypocrites’ is the regime’s pejorative term for the Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization (MEK/PMOI).
“A country that wants to use nuclear peacefully never starts with (uranium) enrichment, rather it first establishes a reactor and then enters the enrichment field,” he added. “But starting to enrich directly creates the suspicion that we want to build a bomb. If we could build and test bombs clandestinely like Pakistan, it would be very deterrent. Other countries take notice of nuclear power, so I believe we should have ended what we started.”
Expressing pessimism regarding the current nuclear talks in Vienna, the former MP added: “In the past, we have tried to secure some guarantees so that Americans can’t break their promises, but we didn’t have the power to. It’s the same thing as today. If we are going to make a deal, we need to make sure that Americans are bound to it. In the early days when the JCPOA was being finalized and its implementation began, if it was treated properly and if we had allowed all European and American companies to come to invest, Americans would not have been able to undermine everything so easily because they were stuck themselves.”
Offering testimony that Tehran was in breach of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231, Motahari said: “The missile test that was conducted two or three days after the JCPOA was signed, was also one of the behaviors that had a negative message for the implementation of the JCPOA.”
While slamming other Iranian state officials’ rhetoric about a “resistant economy” and “being sanctions-proof”, the former deputy speaker of the parliament said: “The reality is that Iran cannot advance without foreign investment. To say that we don’t care about the JCPOA is wrong. Statements like ‘we don’t care about sanctions and we will bypass them all at what cost’ are just slogans and the cost is going out of ordinary people’s pockets.”
Mottahari also doubled down on the regime’s regional ambitions and said: “The presence of Iranian contractors in Syria was the right thing to do. If we hadn’t interfered in Syria, Hezbollah would have been restricted, and there would have been a high probability that a government in Syria would be able to tie Hezbollah’s hands. We will never stop supporting Hezbollah in Lebanon.”
Even though covering a great variety of domestic and international hot topics, these statements unleashed a stir among state media and were rapidly denied by the Iranian regime’s Atomic Energy Agency Organization.