Currently Browsing

Posts Tagged ‘ US-Iran negotiations ’

  • 22 September 2011
  • Posted By Loren White
  • 0 Comments
  • Diplomacy, Election 2012, Human Rights in Iran

Diplomacy with Iran and Political Theatre

Though Iran is poised to be a major foreign policy issue (or political football) in the 2012 elections, Obama’s speech at the U.N. only mentioned Iran in passing.  And Ahmadinejad’s predictably controversial speech at the U.N. today will hardly provide for political openings to engage for U.S.-Iran engagement.  Yet the immediacy of the need to dialogue with Iran to address issues of concern remains, and several potential opportunities to make progress have recently cropped up.

The outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mullen, has made clear in his recent call that the U.S. should be opening “channels of communication” with Iran:

We are not talking to Iran so we don’t understand each other.  If something happens it’s virtually assured that we won’t get it right that there will be miscalculations, which would be extremely dangerous in that part of the world.

Meanwhile, Iran has made apparent attempts to renew negotiations with the P5+1.  One came in the form of a letter to E.U. Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton, which reportedly drops preconditions for talks, and the other was a public statement expressing Iran’s potential willingness to allow “full supervision” of Iran’s nuclear program by the IAEA.

At the same time, Ahmadinejad’s trip to New York comes at a time when he is severely weakened back at home and may be looking to discuss negotiations to increase his political clout ahead of upcoming Majles elections.  Evidence for this comes in the noticeable softening of his recent tone and with his claim that Iran would stop enrichment of 20 percent uranium if the West would sell Iran fuel plates for the Tehran Research Reactor.

Collectively all these things seem to indicate that the timing is right to lay the ground work for negotiations, right?

Not so fast.  Even with these positive indicators, the deck seems stacked in the opposite direction.

  • 12 April 2010
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • 3 Comments
  • 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.

  • 9 October 2009
  • Posted By Artin
  • 0 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Mottaki: In talks, we will not buy expensively nor sell cheaply

IRNA has an interview with Manouchehr Mottaki about US-Iran relations. Policymakers will be interested to know how he frames the issue. He denies an alleged meeting with US congressmen, contrary to what Iran’s own al-Alam network has reported. From IRNA:

In a statement that appears simple but in reality is laden with meaning, Iran’s Foreign Minister said: “Since we are a nation that is very business-minded, it’s obvious that we pay complete attention so that we do not buy expensive things or sell our own products cheaply.”

He said, “We are observing the American government to see if the actions of Barack Obama’s government match with the stated policies of the American government in relation to regional issues and issues exclusive to the Islamic Republic.”

“Albeit, we believe that the measure of the compliance between this government’s stated policies and its actual policies is currently not large enough to be worth paying attention to.”

“MY TRIP TO WASHINGTON IS NOT A SIGN”

In another portion of this interview with IRNA, Mottaki talked about his surprise visit to Washington September 30: “Although the US gave a positive response to an Iranian Foreign Minister’s request to visit Washington, this cannot be taken as a sign of the state of our relationship.”

“I went to Washington to take care of business relating to the Interests Section — problems and affairs of Iranian living inside America – and nothing else.”

Mottaki denied reports that he met with two Congressmen on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

  • 7 October 2009
  • Posted By Lloyd Chebaclo
  • 0 Comments
  • Diplomacy, Events in Iran, Nuclear file

Iran Fields Third-Party Enrichment Offers

According to the IRNA news agency, Iran has received offers to provide it with uranium enriched to nearly 20 percent for nuclear reactor fuel use, pursuant to recent proposals outlined in talks for third party enrichment. Western diplomats said Iran had agreed in principle at October 1 talks in Geneva to send about 80 percent of its stockpile of low-enriched uranium to Russia and France for processing to then be returned to Tehran towards reactor use in the production of medical isotopes for cancer care.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has reportedly said:

“There have been some proposals by individual countries and groups of countries. We are ready to hold talks with anyone interested. Our experts will soon start talks with those sellers,” Ahmadinejad said.

“We want to buy fuel. We can buy it from anywhere and America can be a seller,” ISNA news agency quoted him as saying.

In other news, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has accused the U.S. of involvement in the disappearance of nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri during a pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia in late May 2009. Mottaki has alleged documentation of U.S. involvement in the incident. Amiri was a researcher at Tehran’s Malek Ashtar University reportedly working on medical applications of the nuclear program.

  • 25 September 2009
  • Posted By Artin
  • 0 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Nuclear file, Sanctions, US-Iran War

Insight into Iranian Government’s Thinking

Iranian government media are quoting Mehdi Mohammadi, a “nuclear expert” inside Iran, in statements that are likely to come to reflect the official government line.

Here are snippets of IRNA’s article entitled “The News of Iran’s new Enrichment Installations has left the West Confounded:”

“In the past years, the Westerners have repeatedly said that Iran has secretly hidden its work in Isfahan, Natanz, and Arak. In reality Iran notified the IAEA of Isfahan in 2000, 4 years before the making that site fully operational, Iran announced Natanz to the IAEA in February 2003, exactly 180 days before introducing radioactive materials, and Iran has given IAEA inspectors access many times to Arak, where radioactive material has not been introduced and which is not subject to safeguards.”

Mohammadi said: “The Westerners have been completely surprised. They expected that by announcing their deal with the Russians – which has not been completed yet – on the threshold of October negotiations, they would successfully bluff that they are ready for new, harsh sanctions, and that they would embarrass Iran. Iran, by announcing its construction of new uranium installations, showed the West that it can create surprise on its own, and left no doubt as to who has the initiative in negotiations, and who needs to compromise.”

He concluded by declaring: “The construction of these installations proves that all paths for stopping Iran’s nuclear program have reached a deadlock, and that the West has done nothing here except invent some new material for newspapers.”

Note: this translation is courtesy of the New York Times Company. Please do not use without asking for permission.

Mohammadi: The News of Iran’.s new Enrichment Installations has left the West Confounded

Mehdi Mohammadi, an expert on nuclear energy, has emphasized that the controversy of officials and news media in the West about the new nuclear energy installations of Iran have two goals: (1) Polluting the atmosphere and (2) Making it seem like the West has failed in stopping Iran’s nuclear program

In respodnign to IRNA’s question about why the West has chosen to accuse Iran of hiding this nuclear facility, Mohammadi said: “The Westerners know that secrecy is not currently a part of this project and was never a part of this project.”

He continued, “Yesterday the IAEA announced in an official message that it was aware that Iran was building new nuclear enrichment facilities, and Iran had told the IAEA about this situation before the official stamp was put on the message.”

He continued, “Iran is obligated under the law to inform the IAEA 180 days before the introduction of radioactive materials into nuclear installations.  Iran declared the new installations to the IAEA before its legally required timeframe, and the Westerners know this better than anyone.”

Mohammadi continued: “Of course, this has been true for all other uclear installations inside Iran. In the past years, the Westerners have repeatedly said that Iran has secretly hidden its work in Isfahan, Natanz, and Arak, while in reality Iran had notified the IAEA of Isfahan in 2000, 4 years before the making that site fully operational, Iran announced Natanz to the IAEA in February 2003, exactly 180 days before introducing radioactive materials there, and Iran has given IAEA inspectors access many times to Arak, where radioactive material has not been introduced and which is not subject to safeguards.”

This expert alluded to the strategic issues, implying that “The Nervous Anxiety of the West is Understandable, said: “The Westerners have been completely surprised. They expected that by announcing their deal with the Russians – which has not been completed yet – on the threshold of October negotiations would be a successful bluff that they are ready for new, harsh sanctions, they would embarrass Iran. Iran, by announcing its construction of new uranium installations, showed the West that it can create surprise on its own, left no doubt as to who has the initiative in these declarations, and who needs to compromise.”

He concluded by declaring: “The construction of these installations proves that all paths for stopping Iran’s nuclear program have reached a deadlock, and that the West has done nothing here except invent some new material for newspapers.”

From the National Review Online

Over at The Corner:

Red Meat Takes on Iran [NRO Staff]

Why are negotiations with Iran doomed to be fruitless? How might the administration use military force against Iran? What does the return of the Clinton team to our foreign policy bode for our relations with Iran? Special guest Mario Loyola, a former adviser in the U.S. Senate and at the Pentagon (and a frequent NR contributor), outlines the history — and future — of our Iran policy with Jim Geraghty and Mark Hemingway.

[vodpod id=Groupvideo.2162112&w=425&h=350&fv=%26rel%3D0%26border%3D0%26]

Consider this an open thread…

  • 7 January 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • 1 Comments
  • Diplomacy, Nuclear file, Persian Gulf, Sanctions

Sources confirming Dennis Ross appointment as Iran envoy

dennis-rossAccording to Marc Ambinder, transition officials are confirming now that Dennis Ross will be appointed as the chief envoy to Iran under President Obama.

Though it’s not official until the administration announces it formally, this is looking like a done deal.  Ross is best known for his work as chief negotiator on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict under President Clinton.  But for many Iran analysts, the choice of Ross as special envoy is very concerning.

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,

[signature]

Share this with your friends: