The confidential Iranian document submitted to the US delegation at the Iraq conference in Sharm el Sheikh on May 4 is outlined exclusively hereunder by DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s Iranian sources.
It is composed of three give-and-take sections: Iraq; Middle East-regional and Nuclear.
According to our sources, after handing over the document, Tehran added five oral clarifications, four relating to Lebanon and one on the nuclear question.
These addenda were relayed to US officials by Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki and Iranian deputy foreign minister Abbas Aragchi.
The Iraq section has 10 main points:
- US forces will withdraw from all main Iraqi towns including Baghdad, leaving security to the various Iraqi security services – military, policy, security and intelligence.
They will all operate under the supervision of Iranian military and intelligence officers.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly: Since Iraqi security organizations consist mainly of Shiites, this clause is tantamount to America’s handover of security in Iraq to Iran.
- The US and Iran will not disclose the dates of the US troop withdrawal from Iraq so as to keep the insurgents and al Qaeda guessing.
- Prime ministerial appointments in Baghdad will henceforth be consensual between Tehran and Washington.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly: For the first time, Iran will have veto power over an American choice of Iraqi prime minister.
- In the process of the US military pull-out from Iraqi cities, an Iraqi reconciliation conference will take place in Tehran to pacify the rival Shiite and Sunni Muslim sects.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly: The Saudis staged a similar reconciliation conference in Mecca in mid-2006. It was a fiasco. If the Tehran gathering succeeds, it will be one up for Iran in the Muslim world.
- The constitution will be amended to award Sunni Arabs 40 percent of Iraqi government portfolios and seats in parliament.
- The American proposal for the distribution of Iraqi oil revenues must be amended to rectify what Tehran regards as an unjust share for the 10 million Shiites who populate the Euphrates River region between the Shiite shrine towns of Karbala and Najef and Basra, Iraq’s southern oil city.
- There must be full US-Iranian military and intelligence collaboration in the war against al Qaeda in order to finally stamp out its Iraq presence. Iran will enlist the help of Shiite tribes, in the same way as the Americans have mustered the Sunni Arab tribes of Iraq for this objective.
- Separately, the two Shiite tribes of the middle Euphrates must be mobilized, trained and activated to seal Iraq’s borders with Syria and Saudi Arabia against insurgents, weapons, explosives and funds.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly: The Saudis will certainly stand fast against the stationing of Iraqi Shiite forces on their border.
- The various Shiite militias must be incorporated in Iraq’s security forces.
- Washington must understand that when it comes to operational collaboration between Iran and the United States, no substantial results are to be expected before it has been working for eight months.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly: This proviso will certainly raise wry smiles in the White House and US command centers in Iraq.
The nuclear section
This section consists of two parts:
Part One: The situation in Iraq and its solution are an inseparable element of Iran’s regional basket and nuclear portfolio.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly: Tehran is candidly offering the Americans a straight deal: an honorable exit from Iraq against substantial concessions on the nuclear question, as specified in the next part.
Part Two: Iran offers a period of goodwill gestures on the nuclear issue; but the Americans will not, in the final reckoning, be let off recognizing the Islamic Republic’s right to carry out uranium enrichment.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly: Tehran appears to be willing to enter into understandings with Washington similar to the US deals with Libya in 2004 and with North Korea in 2007.
At the same time, the Americans will have to come to terms with the fact of Iran’s current engagement in uranium enrichment. Since no further Iranian or US steps are specified, everything else is subject to negotiation.
- The United States and Iran will extend the working relations they develop in Iraq to Lebanon and Palestine.
- Tehran offers to second the US demand for an international tribunal to try the suspects in the murder of the former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri -provided the court is not an instrument for ousting the Assad dynasty’s regime in Damascus.
- DEBKA-Net-Weekly: Tehran’s commitment to support this tribunal is binding on the Lebanese Hizballah.
- Implementation must be postponed of UN Security Council Resolutions 1559 and 1701 requiring Lebanon to dismantle Hizballah and other militias.
While undertaking a Sunni-Shiite peace process in Iraq, Tehran also promises to broker an end to the feud between Hizballah secretary general Hassan Nasrallah and the Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, the most active anti-Syrian figure in Lebanese politics.
The US is required to unconditionally end its political and economic boycott of the Palestinian Islamist Hamas and fully cooperate with the Palestinian unity government.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly: In other words, after the US shares its influence in Iraq with Iran, Tehran will reciprocate with sharing arrangements in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s Washington and Tehran sources report that Iranian strategists put this document together after a careful study of the Bush administration’s situation at home, the state of play in Iraq, and the current trends in the Saudi royal house. They are now waiting for Washington to respond, whether by rejection or partial acceptance of the text as a basis for dialogue. Iran’s rulers have no doubt that if it was up to secretary of state Condoleezza Rice they would get a resounding no from Washington. They were therefore not surprised to hear her say Tuesday, May 8, in an interview with Al Arabiya TV:
“The American president will not abandon the military option and I believe that we do not want him to do so.”
A contrasting picture of the prevailing state of mind in Washington is relayed to Tehran by the Saudis and the Europeans. Both confirm that President George W. Bush is open to the notion of talks with Iran. He has also reconciled himself to the eventual retreat from his unbending demand that Iran give up uranium enrichment.