• 24 November 2009
  • Posted By Lloyd Chebaclo
  • 4 Comments
  • Diplomacy, Events in Iran, Nuclear file

Iran Prepared to Exchange Uranium on its Soil

AP reports:

“Iran said Tuesday it was ready to exchange its low enriched uranium with a higher enriched material, but only on its own soil, to guarantee the West follows through with promises to give the fuel”

This position is being taken as Iran’s  “official” response to the IAEA-brokered nuclear proposal born of talks among p-5+1 countries in October.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Iran had sent its response on the proposal to the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, saying it wants a simultaneous exchange on Iranian soil.

“Iran’s answer is given. I think the other side has received it,” said Mehmanparast. “The creation of a 100 percent guarantee for delivery of the fuel is important for Iran.”

Another Iranian official, Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran’s atomic energy agency, confirmed the details, saying that in Iran’s view such an exchange was an “objective guarantee.”

Details on the text of the response are forthcoming.

While the response is not quite what the p-5+1 had hoped to get, this development still marks progress with Iran. The deal helps by putting time back on the nuclear clock. The more proliferation-resistant fuel rods Iran would receive in exchange for giving up its raw stockpile of LEU would lengthen the time Iran would need to develop a nuclear weapons.

Now…before any of us get ahead of ourselves, we should caution: if Iran decides in the coming days to alter its response, waffle back and forth, or vacillate in any way–such as requesting the exchange be made over multiple installments–the West would be absolutely correct to excoriate Iran for going back on its word.  It’s bad enough that this entire process–which was intended to build confidence between the two sides–has done nothing of the sort.  Now is not the time to end diplomatic engagement with Iran when it appears that some compromise deal may actually be struck.  After all, such a deal would form the basis for future cooperation and actual trust-building.

***

It was also reported today that the p-5+1 have prepared a resolution critical of Iran’s nuclear defiance for the next IAEA board meeting, calling for more openness about is nuclear activities particularly in light of the revelation of the Fardo facility near Qom. Notably, Russia and China, who have been resistant in the past to confrontational positions on Iran, stifling calls for more sanctions, join in the criticism. Iran’s response today might give pause to delay those considering moving the resolution, in favor of hammering out a more concrete deal.

Posted By Lloyd Chebaclo

    4 Responses to “Iran Prepared to Exchange Uranium on its Soil”

  1. DrS. says:

    How is this an opening? Simultaneous exchange on Iranian soil defeats the entire purpose of the deal, which was to find breathing room to strike a broader deal. Under Iran’s proposal, they can just keep producing additional uranium in the meantime to replace whatever is shipped out. In effect, their response is a no.

  2. Someone says:

    @ DrS.

    I don’t believe the original Geneva proposal required the halting of enrichment on Iranian soil either.

  3. DrS. says:

    I agree, it didn’t, but after taking away 70% of their stockpile, it would take an estimate of a year to replenish that stockpile, giving breathing room to make a long term deal. Iran’s proposal defeats the entire purpose of the deal.

  4. Someone says:

    That was addressed in the analysis by this paragraph:

    […]Now…before any of us get ahead of ourselves, we should caution: if Iran decides in the coming days to alter its response, waffle back and forth, or vacillate in any way–such as requesting the exchange be made over multiple installments–the West would be absolutely correct to excoriate Iran for going back on its word.[…]

    If the same %70 exchange can be agreed upon to be made on Iranian soil then the effect will be the same.

    By the way, are you sure about it only taking a year for Iran to produce that much low enriched uranium? It took years for them to accumulate the current stockpile and last I heard Natanz is working at only partial capacity while Fordoo is currently just “a hole in a mountain”.

    All things considered, I think there exists far more breathing room than is generally being admitted. Even with the stockpile intact the Iranians are no where near achieving a weapons capability (even if the national intelligence estimate is wrong and there still is a covert weapons program). The very fact that they can’t even stock their research reactors with medium enriched uranium should make that clear.

    Ultimately, the only real way to allay fears of a weapons program is for increased inspections through Iran’s acceptance and implementation of the additional protocol of the non-proliferation treaty. Iran on the other hand desires an end to its economic and political isolation and recognition of its weight in the region (which is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore). That exchange is the real holy grail of these negotiations. The current one is just a confidence and trust building exercise and if it’s going to succeed, both sides will need to accept a few compromises and take a few chances. Hopefully that will be the case because there really doesn’t seem to be any other solution to this problem.

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Sign the Petition

 

7,349 signatures

Tell Google: Stop playing Persian Gulf name games!

May 14, 2012
Larry Page
Chief Executive Officer
Google Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, California 94043

Dear Mr. Page:

It has come to our attention that Google has begun omitting the title of the Persian Gulf from its Google Maps application. This is a disconcerting development given the undisputed historic and geographic precedent of the name Persian Gulf, and the more recent history of opening up the name to political, ethnic, and territorial disputes. However unintentionally, in adopting this practice, Google is participating in a dangerous effort to foment tensions and ethnic divisions in the Middle East by politicizing the region’s geographic nomenclature. Members of the Iranian-American community are overwhelmingly opposed to such efforts, particularly at a time when regional tensions already have been pushed to the brink and threaten to spill over into conflict. As the largest grassroots organization in the Iranian-American community, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) calls on Google to not allow its products to become propaganda tools and to immediately reinstate the historically accurate, apolitical title of “Persian Gulf” in all of its informational products, including Google Maps.

Historically, the name “Persian Gulf” is undisputed. The Greek geographer and astronomer Ptolemy referencing in his writings the “Aquarius Persico.” The Romans referred to the "Mare Persicum." The Arabs historically call the body of water, "Bahr al-Farsia." The legal precedent of this nomenclature is also indisputable, with both the United Nations and the United States Board of Geographic Names confirming the sole legitimacy of the term “Persian Gulf.” Agreement on this matter has also been codified by the signatures of all six bordering Arab countries on United Nations directives declaring this body of water to be the Persian Gulf.

But in the past century, and particularly at times of escalating tensions, there have been efforts to exploit the name of the Persian Gulf as a political tool to foment ethnic division. From colonial interests to Arab interests to Iranian interests, the opening of debate regarding the name of the Persian Gulf has been a recent phenomenon that has been exploited for political gain by all sides. Google should not enable these politicized efforts.

In the 1930s, British adviser to Bahrain Sir Charles Belgrave proposed to rename the Persian Gulf, “Arabian Gulf,” a proposal that was rejected by the British Colonial and Foreign offices. Two decades later, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company resurrected the term during its dispute with Mohammad Mossadegh, the Iranian Prime Minister whose battle with British oil interests would end in a U.S.-sponsored coup d'état that continues to haunt U.S.-Iran relations. In the 1960s, the title “Arabian Gulf” became central to propaganda efforts during the Pan-Arabism era aimed at exploiting ethnic divisions in the region to unite Arabs against non-Arabs, namely Iranians and Israelis. The term was later employed by Saddam Hussein to justify his aims at territorial expansion. Osama Bin Laden even adopted the phrase in an attempt to rally Arab populations by emphasizing ethnic rivalries in the Middle East.

We have serious concerns that Google is now playing into these efforts of geographic politicization. Unfortunately, this is not the first time Google has stirred controversy on this topic. In 2008, Google Earth began including the term “Arabian Gulf” in addition to Persian Gulf as the name for the body of water. NIAC and others called on you then to stop using this ethnically divisive propaganda term, but to no avail. Instead of following the example of organizations like the National Geographic Society, which in 2004 used term “Arabian Gulf” in its maps but recognized the error and corrected it, Google has apparently decided to allow its informational products to become politicized.

Google should rectify this situation and immediately include the proper name for the Persian Gulf in Google Maps and all of its informational products. The exclusion of the title of the Persian Gulf diminishes your applications as informational tools, and raises questions about the integrity and accuracy of information provided by Google.

We strongly urge you to stay true to Google’s mission – “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” – without distorting or politicizing that information. We look forward to an explanation from you regarding the recent removal of the Persian Gulf name from Google Maps and call on you to immediately correct this mistake.

Sincerely,

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