“Iran should not bow to the West” – German journalist
RT has met the journalist ahead of the International Atomic Energy Agency meeting, which is expected to condemn Iran for a lack of transparency in its nuclear program.
RT: What proof do you have that the US and Israel are planning to attack Iran?
Jürgen Elsässer: One proof is that Turkey did not want Israel to take part in a military exercise in October, so Turkey’s Premier Erdogan fears that Israel could use the territory of Turkey for an attack against Iran. In the US Congress, October 2009, 800 million dollars were pushed into a program to develop a super bunker-blasting bomb. This money from Congress was granted after requests from the US Central Command which is responsible for the whole of the Middle East and also for Iran. The Central Command argued that they need this bunker busting bomb for an imminent attack against sheltered bunkers in a highly risky environment. That is kind of describing the Iranian situation.
RT: What lies do you claim to expose in your book?
JE: They say that Iran is trying to build an atomic bomb and use it against Israel. But this is just propaganda. There is no proof for it. It is just a remake of the lies that the US presented against Iraq in 2002 and 2003. It is surprising and shocking that the world believes the same lies as against Iraq. The US is not even trying to prove it. They know there is no proof because the International Atomic Energy Agency has complete control over the Iranian nuclear program and there is nothing to be proved.
RT: What will the war plan be? Similar to Iraq?
JE: There are for sure certain detailed plans. But that is not to be worried about, because these plans exist all the time and every superpower has to write down such plans. But the problem is that what you have in Israel is a highly extremist government that could provoke a war, even without the consent of the American president. In fact, now American President Barack Obama is not the key figure in the situation.
RT: What is the “yes/no” policy of the Obama administration?
JE: If you look at Obama's position, he gave several famous speeches about the situation in the Middle East. Two of them are very moderate. In March 2009, for the Iranian New Year, he said that we need a new chapter in our relations. We need relations based on mutual respect. We do not want to go on with threats anymore. That was moderate. You also have the speech in Cairo in June 2009 about the relations between the US and the Islamic world. There he said we need to find solutions for the questions of the Iran nuclear program, but he said we should not do it by threats and war.
But there is a third speech that no one talks about in the Western media. During his election campaign in summer 2008, he spoke in front of AIPAC, the biggest Israeli lobby in the US. There he said we must support Israel with the most elaborate weapons and that Israel has the right to defend its sovereignty even far outside its borders and that Iran is the biggest threat for Israeli security. It was a very well thought-out speech. At the moment we do not know who is the real Obama – is it the moderate one, or is it the hawk?
RT: How can the press in a country like Germany feel intimidated?
JE: We are under big pressure from the US. Take one of our big media trusts – Springer, which publishes a lot of papers, millions and millions in circulation. Everybody who wants to work there has to sign a declaration that they will not write anything against Israel and the US. So there is a lot of pressure and it is not a free press.
RT: What role can Russia play in settling the problem of Iran's nuclear policy?
JE: Russia can be a good broker. In fact, it already is a good broker. We had the compromise in September and October. Iranians agreed to give away their low enriched uranium to Russia so that Russia can enrich it to about 20% and then give it to France, where it would be turned into nuclear fuel and given back to Iran. That is a good proposal. It shows that Iran is ready to compromise and that Iran trusts Russia and that Russia can be a real broker between the mistrust in Israel and the West and the ambitions of Iran to continue its peaceful nuclear program.
RT: Why did you choose the picture of Ahmadinejad and Chavez as the cover for your book?
JE: On the cover you see that they like each other, they are hugging. That is proof that Ahmadinejad is a Muslim, but he is very intelligent – he tries to make friend with politicians and countries which are not Muslim and that are from a different world. This picture should say more than a thousand words that Ahmadinejad is not a reincarnation of Hitler. He is an open person. We do not have to like him, but we can deal with him.
RT: Should Iran stay firm with its nuclear program?
JE: Iran should not give in, because developing nuclear energy is the right of every state on this planet. And Iran has agreed to the non-proliferation treaty and is following all the rules which come with the treaty. There is no reason for Iran to give in. In fact, it would be bad if they did bow to the pressure of the Western superpowers.
RT: What if Iran comes up with a bomb in a few years – do you agree that you could be proved wrong?
JE: My book and my opinion are based on facts. The facts tell me that in the next five to eight years Iran cannot build an atomic bomb technically. What happens afterwards nobody can know. But politics has to be based on reality, not speculation. If you base your decisions on speculation you end up like the Bush administration, which went to a terrible war with Iraq based on fiction.