WASHINGTON - Iran is proposing to set up an international system to scrap and prohibit nuclear weapons worldwide, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's senior adviser said in an interview published Thursday.
Mojtaba Samareh Hashemi told The Washington Post that the Iranian package of proposals submitted Wednesday to the United States and other powers calls for the elimination of existing weapons and measures to prevent countries without weapons from acquiring them.
The revelations come as US non-profit investigative journalism group Pro Publica said it obtained a copy of Iran's secret five-page proposal package, in which Tehran said it was prepared to hold "comprehensive, all-encompassing and constructive negotiations."
The talks would address nuclear disarmament as well as a framework for the use of "clean nuclear energy," according to the document published on Pro Publica's website.
In the Post, Hashemi stopped short of promising that Iran would bow to international demands and halt its uranium enrichment program, which Washington fears is aimed at building a nuclear bomb but Tehran insists is for the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
"The methods of preventing development of nuclear weapons and a widespread system for preventing the multiplying and the proliferation of nuclear weapons are a part of the package," Hashemi said.
"Since nuclear weapons are an international threat, with the cooperation of all countries we can design an international framework that, basically, prevents research, production, multiplying and keeping nuclear weapons and also moves toward destruction of present nuclear weapons," he was quoted as saying.
"Iran is ready in this path to offer any and every kind of cooperation and effort. No country must be exempt from this international framework against nuclear weapons," Hashemi told the daily.
Iran has long called for Israel to abandon a stockpile of nuclear weapons it is widely believed to possess.
Hashemi gave no direct reply when asked repeatedly if the Iranian package contains a promise to stop uranium enrichment.
He appeared to reply affirmatively when asked if the proposal for a new framework aimed not only at eliminating existing nuclear stockpiles but also at clearing up doubts that countries like Iran aimed to build such weapons.
"Since today the threat of nuclear weapons comes from countries that have them, and to be secure and safe from future activities of countries that in the future will join the nuclear club, this framework must be widely implemented from now on," he said.
He suggested Iran's goal -- rather than trying to build a nuclear weapon itself -- is to establish an international system in which nobody will be allowed to make such weapons.
"Iran not only does not want to make nuclear weapons, but is actually intensely against nuclear weapons," Hashemi told the newspaper.
"In all truth, Iran is trying to establish a new regime to prevent nuclear weapons worldwide, which are an international anxiety," he was quoted as saying.
His statements dovetail with the reported Iranian document, titled "Cooperation for Peace, Justice and Progress," which said Tehran was "prepared to enter into dialogue and negotiation in order to lay the ground for lasting peace and regionally inspired and generated stability for the region and beyond."
But it stressed that "drawing lessons from the past mistakes and not insisting on futile and pointless paths that have proven to be of no avail is the prerequisite for the success in the upcoming negotiations."
The document points to several security, international and economic issues that could set the tenor for the negotiations, including efforts to combat "common security threats" including terrorism, drug-trafficking, illegal migration, organized crime and piracy.
It also said the talks should "help the people of Palestine to achieve all-embracing peace (and) lasting security." The document does not mention Israel.
The document cites a need for reform of world bodies including the United Nations and its Security Council, as well as the International Atomic Energy Agency which it said should "create the required mechanisms for use of clean nuclear energy in agriculture, industry, and medicine and power generation."
Among the economic issues Iran wants addressed, according to the document, is a commitment to finding the root causes of the global financial crisis and "designing new and just mechanisms" to prevent a recurrence.
Iran insists it has the right to develop nuclear technology, which it says is aimed at generating energy for its growing population.
Israel is the only country in the Middle Ease that actually has nuclear weapons.
Observers say due the strong Jewish and pro-Israel lobbies in the US and some European countries, these countries have taken a hypocritical stance in relation to nuclear issues in the region.
To add to the double standards, countries accusing Iran of seeking to make nuclear weapons are themselves in hold of atom bombs.