Iran rejects big powers proposal for resumed nuclear talks, Peres threatens military strike

debkafile‘s Iranian sources report two key developments in the standoff over Iran’s nuclear drive: Tehran effectively rejected the latest offer by the five UN Security Council permanent members plus Germany of nuclear negotiations with direct US involvement. This shut the door on US president Barack Obama’s first diplomatic gambit for direct dialogue with Tehran.
Sunday, Israeli President Shimon Peres told an Israeli radio interviewer that if President Barack Obama’s diplomatic efforts to prevent Iran from going nuclear failed, “We’ll strike him,” referring to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Our Iranian experts note that Ali Larijani, speaker of the Iranian parliament (Majlis), was chosen for his government’s rebuff as a mark of unity in the regime’s top ranks on the nuclear question.
Later, senior Iranian negotiator, Jalili phoned EU official Javier Solana to correct the impression by saying Tehran “welcomed the talks”, but he did not contradict the conditions laid down by Larijani, his superior.
As a former nuclear negotiator himself, Larijani projected the image in the West of a pragmatic, moderate diplomat. As radical as any of his colleagues, he now said: “The Iranian government will only conduct international negotiations on the nuclear issue that are approved by the parliament and the legislature will closely monitor all such talks.”
He then added: “The proposal by some members of the 5+1 group calling for more intrusive inspections of Iran’s nuclear activities is not legal” – a direct snub of US secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s demand on April 9 for Iran to ensure that the UN nuclear watchdog be “a source of credible information.”
In making negotiations contingent on Majlis approval, the Speaker invoked the 2007 measure which banned the cessation of uranium enrichment and prohibited concessions on Iran’s nuclear program. Larijani thus informed the six world powers that Iran’s stipulation for taking up their proposed talks is that uranium enrichment and all other aspects of Iran’s nuclear program be excluded from the agenda.
Obama’s planned dialogue with Tehran received another setback Saturday, April 4, from Moscow. Shortly after the six powers published their proposal, foreign minister Sergei Lavrov told the Russia parliament: “Relations between Russia and its neighbor Iran are expanding at high speed.” He added that his country was sparing no effort to remove “remaining ambiguities in the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear activities….after their removal,” said Lavrov, “Iran will enjoy equal rights with other members of the NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty).”
According to debkafile‘s Moscow sources, Lavrov underlined a dramatic turnabout in Moscow’s approach to Iran’s nuclear activities. He downgraded the enormity of Iran’s violation of the NPT terms as “ambiguities,” indicating they were too petty for the fussing Russia’s fellow powers, the US, France, Britain and Germany were making over them and advising them to accept the Iranian program as a fait accompli.
And talking of “ambiguities,” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Thursday, April 9, opened a plant for producing uranium fuel in industrial quantities and said Iran is testing two new high-capacity enrichment centrifuges.
According to Israeli and Western intelligence sources, this would also put the Arak heavy plant on the fast track for the manufacture of plutonium, alongside the weapons-grade enrichment of uranium.

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