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Iran Is ‘Serious’ About Negotiating Nukes

Here is the preposterous Iranian obfuscation position on nuclear development, via South Africa’s Business Day:

Iran offers a face-saving solution

Abbas Maleki and Kaveh L. Afrasiabi
Posted to the web on: 24 August 2006

AFTER months of delay in responding to the package of incentives offered by the United Nations (UN) Security Council’s permanent five plus Germany (P5+1), Iran has submitted a detailed and comprehensive response that puts the diplomatic ball squarely back in the court of the P5+1. While rejecting the UN demand for an immediate halt to its uranium enrichment, Iran’s response leaves the door open for serious talks and perhaps an acceptable resolution of the nuclear showdown for all parties. By agreeing to put the issue of suspension of enrichment activities on the table and to commence the talks immediately, Iran has sent a strong signal that the internal debate between power centres in Iran’s leadership has ended in favour of voices of moderation seeking a mutually satisfactory resolution of the nuclear standoff with the west. It will be a pity if Washington overlooks this opportunity for a fair negotiation with Iran, especially considering the details of Iran’s response.

Iran has, expectedly, sought clarification on a number of issues, including the following:

The incentive package mentions respecting Iran’s rights under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, yet the only treaty articles mentioned are articles I and II, pertaining to nonproliferation, and not article IV, pertaining to a country’s “inalienable right” to acquire nuclear technology.

Iran wants firm guarantees on the proposed offers of nuclear assistance, such as the sale of light-water reactors to Iran, as well as a secured nuclear fuel supply.

Iran seeks clarity on the status of US sanctions that prohibit those offers of nuclear and technological assistance to Iran: is the US willing to lift some if not all of those sanctions?

The package’s promise of an Iran-Euratom co-operation agreement needs to be fleshed out;

The package’s brief reference to security and its hint of Iran’s participation in a “regional security” arrangement needs further clarification; and,

The timeline on the promised incentives, including the economic and trade incentives, must be specific.

Further, Iran’s response indicates that Iran is willing to readopt the International Atomic Energy Agency’s additional protocol and to take the steps toward legislating it as part and parcel of a final agreement.

Meanwhile, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, has declared Iran’s willingness to use its influence in Lebanon for an Israeli-Hezbollah prisoners’ exchange, reminding the world of Iran’s stabilising role.

Clearly, given the tight interplay between the nuclear issue and Iran’s political identity, no one should be surprised that Iran’s leaders have opted against committing political suicide by giving in to international pressure and suspending the nuclear fuel cycle. But, far from rejecting this demand, Iran’s response makes clear its feasibility as a result of the proposed talks, which Iran is willing to commence immediately, particularly if Iran’s abstract rights under article IV of the Non-Proliferation Treaty are explicitly recognized by the P5+1.

In the light of the rights-sensitive Iranian public, Tehran will seriously entertain suspending the fuel cycle if and when it feels vindicated as a matter of principle, in a manner that creates conditions conducive to the idea of suspension. A face-saving solution appears in which Iran could decide against implementation as an abstract right hitherto thwarted by the P5+1.

And now the UN Security Council, which had given Iran until the end of this month to halt its nuclear fuel cycle, has a unique role to play either as spoiler or catalyst with respect to the opportunity afforded by Iran’s response — to put the genie of Iran’s nuclear crisis back in the bottle. Already, departing UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is directly involved in intense negotiations with Tehran, and, indeed, resolving the nuclear row may turn out to be one of his enduring legacies.

Should the US and its UN envoy, John Bolton, decide to ignore this opportunity and push for UN sanctions against Iran, despite the positive dimensions of Iran’s offer, the stage will be set for a full-scale international crisis. Agence Global

Abbas Maleki is the director of the International Institute for Caspian Studies in Tehran and currently a senior research fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Kevah Afrasiabi is a political scientist and author of Iran’s Nuclear Program: Debating Facts vs Fiction.

Do they want fries with that?

I sure hope no one takes this seriously.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, August 24th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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