Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Iran Sets The Stage For Negotiations: Demands Right To Enrich Uranium Without Limits

U.S. And Iran Hold Bilateral Meeting In Geneva

Deputy US Secretary of State Wendy Sherman held a meeting Tuesday with her Iranian counterpart Abbas Araqchi on the sidelines of nuclear negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran in Geneva, a State Department official confirmed Tuesday.

The meeting lasted for approximately one hour, according to Israel Radio, and was scheduled in advance amid the recent diplomatic rapprochement between the two nations.

The US official described the talks as “useful,” but did not offer any details regarding the topics covered.

US President Barack Obama is considering letting Iran keep uranium-enrichment facilities in the country, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday, a move that would bring the Washington closer to Iranian demands but likely widen the gap between the White House and American allies in the region, including Israel. The newspaper did not provide a source for the claim.

The report comes as six world powers, known as the P5+1, will meet with Iranian officials Tuesday in Geneva to discuss Tehran’s nuclear program for the first time since the election of Iranian president Hasan Rouhani.

Maintaining enrichment facilities is a key Iranian demand, but American allies in the Middle East, including Israel and Gulf states, oppose Iran being allowed to keep its enrichment capacity. Speaking at the opening of the Knesset Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the international community to keep the pressure on Iran and not compromise on uranium enrichment.

The P5+1 — The US, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany — will meet for two days in Geneva with Iran with the hopes of working out a deal after several years of failed attempts at diplomacy.

 On the eve of nuclear negotiations in Geneva, an Iranian document surfaced that sheds light on Tehran’s likely strategy at the talks: to separate and isolate the United States from its European allies in the P5+1 in order to break the international consensus enforcing strict sanctions on Iran.

The document, titled “Program for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a Rouhani Government,” was released by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on August 7, four days after President Hassan Rouhani’s inauguration. Originally distributed to Iranian media outlets, the diplomatic playbook was later posted on the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s website.

Iran expert and Washington Institute for Near East Policy affiliate Steven Ditto translated the document for English-speaking audiences, and says that the strategy of isolating the US from Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China – the other members of the P5+1 – is “in line with Rouhani’s extensive writings.”

The document describes the “short-medium-term operational strategy” for nuclear talks and says that as part of the strategy, Iran will “change the global security environment” by “breaking the coordination of major powers and neutralizing the Zionist-American efforts to build an international consensus against Iran.” The strategy specifically hopes to “neutralize the leverage of America and the Zionist regime with countries and multilateral institutions vis-a-vis Iran.”

Ditto, who recently published a Washington Institute study examining Rouhani’s previous political positions, publications and rhetoric, believes that such a strategy is consistent with the Iranian leader’s positions in the past. As early as December 2003, Rouhani wrote that a “foundational principle” in Iranian foreign relations is to “prevent compatibility and consensus between America and other world powers — especially Europe, Russia, and China — over Iran.”

Ditto believes that “both Zarif’s August strategy document and Rouhani’s recent and past rhetoric suggest that any new US-Iranian negotiations will be tough, with Tehran focusing on how to gain advantage rather than finding areas of common interest.” Observers, he says, should look for attempts by Iran to divide the P5+1 and isolate the Americans.

The Iranian negotiators arrived in Geneva Tuesday, Oct. 15, armed with inflexible positions verging on all-or-nothing for the talks with the six powers in Geneva on their country’s nuclear program.

The most important step for an accord, said Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, was for the powers to accept the Supreme Leader’s 2006 fatwa banning the development of nuclear weapons.

The Iranian tactic is to use this “edict” to force the six powers (five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) to bow to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s authority and accord him equal status as the leader of a world power.

The Iranian team started the two-day meeting with a PowerPoint presentation, but then said the details of the proposals presented were "confidential."
The other delegations agreed to this, although to say they were disappointed is an understatement. They were bowled over by the four Iranian stipulations:

1. The world powers must accept Iran’s right to enrich uranium without limitations. All the enrichment sites at Fordo and Natanz and the Arak heavy water plant under construction for plutonium production will remain in place.
2.  All sanctions on the Iranian economy whether imposed by the UN Security Council, the US or Europe must be removed at once.
3.  Iran guarantees to provide transparency and accept the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) but rejects snap inspections.
4. Khamenei’s “fatwa” is the first step towards an agreement with the world powers.

At the end of the first day of talks, EU foreign policy executive Catherine Ashton, who chairs the Geneva conference, took the Iranian negotiator Araghchi aside and told him to bring to the table more serious proposals.

Up until Tuesday night, the Obama administration had not relayed a single word on the Geneva proceedings to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who was waiting in Jerusalem for a promised update.

His response to Iran’s arrogant intransigence at the Geneva talks and the fact that he was kept in the dark was not long in coming.
Addressing a Knesset session marking the 40th anniversary of the Yom Kippur war, Tuesday afternoon, the prime minister said: One lesson Israel learned from the Yom Kippur war was “never disallow the option of a preemptive strike a priori.” While this option may not meet all situations, it deserves careful and earnest consideration.

Netanyahu went on to say: The potential international reaction to such an attack is of less consequence than the price in blood Israel is apt to pay from a future “strategic blow” and the necessity to hit back.

1 comment:

David said...

Isn't it awesome how God works......first we have Obama saying that Irans enrichment of uranium must be stopped "at all costs" and now sanctions are being eased and talks of allowing them to continue their enrichment are negotiated behind closed doors...God said that Israel would be alone....and isolated.....and we see his words are accurate and true....I often think of the time that we will be transformed, in that twinkling of an eye.....I am so ready.....let the government collapse, and the default commence....I will trust in the lord.

David P