Right Web

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

Whither Nuclear Talks with Iran?

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

The brainchild of Sears-Roebuck heiress Nina Rosenwald, the Gatestone Institute is a New York-based advocacy organization formerly chaired by John Bolton that is notorious for spreading misinformation about Muslims and advocating extremely hawkish views on everything from Middle East policy to immigration.


Conrad Black is a former media mogul closely connected to rightist political factions in the United States who was convicted in July 2007 for fraud and obstruction of justice and later pardoned by his friend President Trump.


David Friedman is U.S. Ambassador to Israel under Donald Trump. He is known for his extreme views on Israel, which include opposition to the creation of a Palestinian state and support for Israeli settlements.


Jason Greenblatt is the Special Representative for International Negotiations for President Donald Trump primarily working on the Israel-Palestine conflict.


The neoconservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies has re-established itself as a primary driver of hawkish foreign policy, especially in the Middle East, during the Trump administration.


Rupert Murdoch is the head of News Corp, the parent company of Fox News, and a long-time supporter of neoconservative campaigns to influence U.S. foreign policy.


Shmuley Boteach is a “celebrity rabbi” known for his controversial “pro-Israel” advocacy.


For media inquiries,
email rightwebproject@gmail.com

From the Wires

A series of escalations in both word and deed have raised fears of U.S.-Iranian military confrontation, either direct or by proxy. It is urgent that cooler heads prevail – in European capitals as in Tehran and Washington – to head off the threat of a disastrous war.


Vladimir Putin excels at taking advantage of mistakes made by Russia’s adversaries to further his country’s interests. Donald Trump’s Iran policy has given Putin plenty of opportunity to do that.


The Trump administration’s claims about purported Iranian threats have been repeated by credulous reporters and TV news programs far and wide.


This is the cartoon that the international edition of the New York Times should have run, at least as regards U.S. policy toward Iran.


The assault on Tripoli by Khalifa Haftar, Libya’s renegade general and leader of the self-anointed Libyan National Army (LNA), has forced an indefinite postponement of key UN peace efforts in the country even as the Trump White House announced that the president recognized Haftar’s “important” role in fighting terrorists.


With all eyes focused these days on Donald Trump and his myriad crimes, John Bolton’s speeches are a reminder that even worse options are waiting in the wings.


Advocates of cutting U.S. aid to Israel rather than using it as leverage must understand how this aid works, how big a challenge it represents for advocacy, and how to make a potentially successful argument against it.


RightWeb
share