• 12 April 2010
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • Diplomacy, Nuclear file

Taking “Yes” for an Answer

Image: FAS

Reviving an issue that most observers have declared to be dead in the water, the Federation of American Scientists is calling on the US to accept Iran’s counter-proposal on the Tehran Research Reactor fuel-swap.  In sum, the P5+1 should agree to Iran’s proposal to place 1200kg of low-enriched uranium (LEU) under IAEA seals inside Iran, later to be exchanged simultaneously for fuel assemblies that power Iran’s medical reactor.

We propose the perfect litmus test for Iranian nuclear intentions. The international community should simply say “yes” and accept the terms of Tehran’s exchange proposal…. Leaving the LEU in Iran is not a dangerous concession and would not be a change from the current state of affairs since all of the nuclear material would remain under IAEA safeguards. If the material is shipped to a location outside Natanz, such as Kish Island, this could further alleviate concerns about the possibility of a quick breakout.

The X-factor for the FAS analysts here is Iran’s recent decision to enrich up to 20% — a not insignificant change, since that will reduce by almost half the amount of time it would take Iran to develop weapons-grade uranium.  Reversing this decision, they argue, should be a top priority for the US negotiators.  Fortunately, it shouldn’t be difficult, as Iran has no practical use for 20% enriched uranium, and it is most valuable to them as a bargaining chip.

Under our proposal, Iran would be required to suspend 20 percent enrichment as soon as a fuel deal is made and permanently stop enrichment to higher degrees when the fuel is actually delivered. If we act quickly and the deal is successful, we will set the nuclear clock back by both stopping 20 percent enrichment and perhaps even leave Iran with less than a weapon’s worth of LEU. We will build confidence – for the West, that Iran is willing to cooperate, and for Iran, that the West can provide credible fuel guarantees.

It should be noted that there’s no “perhaps” about it — Western negotiators are unlikely to accept any deal that does not bring Iran’s stockpile below the so-called “breakout capability” of one weapon’s worth of LEU.  Given Iran’s technical problems in its enrichment facilities, this should still be a feasible option.

But FAS’s point is still a valuable one — the P5+1 should not lose sight of its main objectives here: “Our main concern should be to make it more difficult – not easier – for Iran to build a nuclear weapon.” Insofar as Iran’s counter-proposal does that, we should be willing to consider it seriously.

But if our pride gets in the way — if saving face becomes more important to us than stopping nuclear proliferation, then we’re in for a long, tough fight.

Posted By Patrick Disney

    3 Responses to “Taking “Yes” for an Answer”

  1. Pirouz says:

    This is all so obvious- is it not, Patrick?

    You’re up to date on this matter. You know about Dennis Ross and his documented strategy of presenting an offer to the Iranians fully intended to be rejected, in order to garner support for a much heightened economic war to be imposed upon Iran and its people (and maybe even a shooting war just a bit further on in the distance).

    You’re fully aware of Dennis Ross and his Israel-first loyalty. For crying out loud, he’s a co-founder of WINEP.

    So shouldn’t the so-called engagement policy be described for what it really is, so these sensible, well intentioned scientists are adequately clued-in to what is really going on here?

    That’s your job, Patrick (or it should be, anyway).

  2. Iranian-American says:


    I don’t think you are in the position to tell Patrick what he job is or should be. As Patrick works for the National Iranian American Council, his job is to express the concerns of the Iranian-American community regarding US Policy towards Iran and related issues. While on this particular issue your views may be inline with the concerns of the Iranian-American community, it has become blatantly obvious that most of your pro-Islamic Republic beliefs are not only different than most of the Iranian-America community, but actually in stark opposition to the views held by the Iranian-American community.

    You may be able to hide your opposition to a free Iran behind a poll conducted in a country where people can be imprisoned and even tortured for any length of time, on no charge, simply for speaking out against the government (much the same way Sadam was able to hide behind “elections” where he received more than 99% of the vote). But here in America, where we Iranian-Americans have the right to free speech, it is clear your views are not shared by most Iranian-Americans. I should note that it is exactly the same educated and forward-thinking aspect of the Iranian-American community that, I believe, has made Iranian-Americans so successful in the US and has thus made NIAC successful.

    NIAC’s job is to express the concerns of Iranian-Americans; not to be a mouthpiece for the dictatorship in Iran (as much as that may be what you wish for). Thus far, NIAC has done a great job, in my opinion. I know many Iranian-Americans who feel the same way.

    Keep up the good work Patrick.

  3. Eric says:

    THANK YOU IRANIAN-AMERICAN. Pirouz is probably a third cousin removed of the dictator’s little henchman, or is being paid by the dictator’s thugs to post their diatribe on the web. Unsurprisingly, he does not reply to you.

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Sign the Petition


7,350 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.



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