Right Web

Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

Whither Nuclear Talks with Iran?

The necessary elements of a nuclear deal between the West and Iran have long been clear: submission to inspections by Iran, and an easing of sanctions and recognition of Iran's right to enrich uranium by the West.

Print Friendly

Inter Press Service

On a purely rational view, it is hard not to be optimistic about the upcoming talks with Iran in Geneva (Nov. 7-8), and about what might follow.

On the Iranian side, the negotiations are now under the direction of a very accomplished diplomat who reports to a President who wants to resolve the nuclear dispute once and for all — and the President reports to a Supreme Leader who has authorised a degree of flexibility to secure an agreement. Both President and Leader recognise that Iran has much more to gain by respecting its nuclear non-proliferation obligations than by violating them.

On the Western side, there is a feeling that Iran’s new President has done such a good job of helping Western voters think that he is a decent, moderate and reasonable man, that Western leaders can afford, politically, to be seen to be doing business with him.

The main components of a deal have long been so obvious that negotiators can get down to brass tacks, as people say in the North of England, without much ado.

Iran must allow the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) access to locations, documents and individual scientists and technicians that goes beyond what is required according to conventional interpretations of Iran’s NPT safeguards agreement with the IAEA.

Iran must volunteer limitations on its stocks of low enriched uranium and its enrichment capacity to signal that it has no interest in producing, undetected or uninterrupted, enough highly enriched uranium for at least one nuclear weapon.

And Iran must propose ways of reducing, if not eliminating, the theoretical risk that a new reactor under construction at Arak could be used to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons.

In return the West must reassure Iran that, in wanting the IAEA to shine a light on nuclear weapons research done during the years when Iran had reason to fear Saddam Hussein’s nuclear ambitions, the West is not looking for grounds to impose still more hardship on the Iranian people.

The West must also find a way of protecting from assassination any Iranian researchers whom Iran allows the IAEA to interview. The sad fact is that the IAEA secretariat is so penetrated by certain intelligence services that the risk of at least one unscrupulous state using IAEA data to commission the murder of Iranian researchers cannot be dismissed as fanciful.

The West must also come off the fence and leave Iran in no doubt that at the end of an agreed process it will lift all objection to Iran enjoying the same NPT rights as other NPT parties.

Finally, the West must abandon its reluctance to ease sanctions in reciprocation for the steps wanted of Iran by the West.

For too long Western thinking on sanctions has been flawed by the fallacy that without the pressure of sanctions, Iran will fail to implement whatever voluntary commitments it may offer and will not comply with its non-proliferation obligations. This fallacy stems from an assumption that Iran has no interest in demonstrating that its nuclear intentions are peaceful and in complying with its treaty obligations. In reality, the opposite is true: Iran has a strong interest in signalling that its nuclear program is not a threat to other states, in allaying proliferation concerns expressed by the UN Security Council and in being NPT-compliant. So, Iran does not need to be pressured into honouring its commitments.

The West should also recall that it justified the imposition of the unilateral EU sanctions that have done the greatest damage to the Iranian economy by claiming that these were needed to pressure Iran into engaging, and into doing what the Security Council had demanded. Iran is now engaging; if Iran also offers the desired confidence-building, then logically a commensurate suspension of EU sanctions should follow.

A failure to recognise these two points, and an avaricious hoarding of oil and banking-related sanctions to some undefined point in a distant future, will lead inexorably to the collapse of the talks and to the loss of the best opportunity to end this dispute in a long time.

That is not in the West’s strategic, economic, commercial or humanitarian interests.

So there is much at stake as in Western capitals, in the coming weeks, the battle between reason and politics intensifies. Reason must triumph!

Inter Press Service contributor Peter Jenkins was a British career diplomat for 33 years.

Share RightWeb

Featured Profiles

Established in Baltimore in 1897, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is the oldest Zionist organization in the United States—and also among the most aggressively anti-Arab ones.


U.S. Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis is a retired U.S Marine Corps general and combat veteran who served as commander of U.S. Central Command during 2010-2013 before being removed by the Obama administration reportedly because of differences over Iran policy.


Mike Pompeo (R-KS) is a conservative Republican congressman who was voted into office as part of the “tea party” surge in 2011 and chosen by Donald Trump to be director of the CIA.


Mike Huckabee, a former governor of Arkansas and an evangelical pastor, is a 2016 Republican presidential candidate.


David Albright is the founder of the Institute for Science and International Security, a non-proliferation think tank whose influential analyses of nuclear proliferation issues in the Middle East have been the source of intense disagreement and debate.


The former GOP presidential candidate and Speaker of the House has been a vociferous proponent of the idea that the America faces an existential threat from “Islamofascists.”


Billionaire investor Paul Singer is the founder and CEO of the Elliott Management Corporation and an important funder of neoconservative causes.


For media inquiries,
email rightwebproject@gmail.com

From the Wires

Print Friendly

President Trump and his Iranophobe supporters are itching for a war with Iran, without any consideration of the disastrous consequences that will ensue.


Print Friendly

The war of words and nuclear threats between the United States and North Korea make a peaceful resolution to the escalating crisis more difficult than ever to achieve.


Print Friendly

The new White House chief of staff, retired Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly, is anything but non-partisan or apolitical. For the deeply conservative Kelly, the United States is endangered not only by foreign enemies but by domestic forces that either purposely, or unwittingly, support them.


Print Friendly

The prospects of Benjamin Netanyahu continuing as Israel’s prime minister are growing dim. But for those of us outside of Israel who support the rights of Palestinians as well as Israelis and wish for all of those in the troubled region to enjoy equal rights, the fall of Netanyahu comes too late to make much difference.


Print Friendly

Rich Higgins, the recently fired director for strategic planning at the National Security Council, once said in an interview on Sean Hannity’s radio program, that “more Muslim Americans have been killed fighting for ISIS than have been killed fighting for the United States since 9/11.”


Print Friendly

This is how the Trump administration could try to use the IAEA to spur Iran to back out of the JCPOA.


Print Friendly

President Trump seems determined to go forward with a very hostile program toward Iran, and, although a baseless US pullout from the JCPOA seems unlikely, even the so-called “adults” are pushing for a pretext for a pullout. Such an act does not seem likely to attract European support. Instead, it will leave the United States isolated, break the nuclear arrangement and provide a very reasonable basis for Iran to restart the pursuit of a nuclear deterrent in earnest.


RightWeb
share