The Iranian negotiators face the delegations of six world powers in Geneva Thursday, Nov. 21, with strict orders not to give ground on the two major sticking points holding up a first-step deal on their nuclear program: The heavy water reactor under construction at Arak for producing plutonium and Iran’s “right” to uranium enrichment. If Iran gains those two points, whatever concessions its negotiators may come up with are worthless, because they will leave Tehran in possession of two optional nuclear weaponizing tracks instead of one – plutonium as well as enriched uranium.
debkafile’s sources report that Tehran is fighting tooth and nail for Six-Power acknowledgement of its “right to enrich uranium” – ostensibly to come away from Geneva with a “historic feat” to show the Iranian people that the economic hardship they suffered under economic sanctions was worth the candle.
But concession of this “right” has a more sinister purpose: It would give Iran’s nuclear aspirations the enormous boost of an international license to keep its uranium enrich facilities, including the underground plant in Fordo and the centrifuge production line, fully intact and ready to go at any time.
The infrastructure already standing, say US intelligence sources, is capable of topping up enriched uranium stockpiles already in hand to the amount needed for five nuclear bombs in less than a month – 26 days is the number often cited.
The second option of plutonium would also be available when the Arak reactor is finished.
US, Russian and British sources are presenting the gap in the resumed Geneva talks Thursday as minor and bridgeable.
debkafile’s sources say they are just playing for time to chip away at a draft accord that by its nature would be a compromise solution which gives ground to Tehran.
And what compromise can be expected when Washington failed to challenge Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s avowal on Day One of the Geneva talks that Iran will not step back “one iota” from its nuclear rights, and his grotesquely barbaric rant against Israel as “the roguish, filthy, rabid dog of the region,” whose regime is “doomed to extinction?”
This degraded language, not heard since the Nazi German era, informed the Obama administration in the harshest terms that for the sake of a deal, Iran will not give an inch under pressure, whether from economic sanctions or from Israel and parts of the American Jewish leadership.
Khamenei also blasted US government as unworthy of trust.
If President Barack Obama was serious in his often repeated commitment to Israel’s security, he ought to have protested in some way against Khamenei’s unspeakable rhetoric, possibly even delaying the proceedings before they started their second day in Geneva.
But the Iranian leader apparently got away with it, judging from the Obama administration’s mild response – a senior US official said it was “uncomfortable,” but did not condemn it as unacceptable like the French President Francois Hollande, and the British Foreign Secretary William Hague declined any comment at all, fearing to rock the boat in Geneva.
Their evasions told Tehran that Washington and London are so hooked on closing a deal at this time that they can be trusted to find some way around the Arak and enrichment hurdles to reach their goal.
The French team alone stood out in Geneva against Iran’s continuing construction of the Arak reactor, arguing that possession of this facility would nullify any other concessions Tehran might offer.