A spokesman for EU foreign executive Catherine Ashton, who heads the six-power group in nuclear negotiations with Iran, reported Monday night, June 11, that Tehran is now willing to discuss high-grade uranium enrichment in the next round of nuclear talks in Moscow on June 18-19.
The claim is false. Tehran consistently refuses to discuss its “right to enrichment” and threatened not to turn up for the Moscow session after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton demanded last week that Iran come to the table with “concrete plans” for curbing uranium enrichment up to 20 percent purity.
Iran has not backtracked: Ashton got nothing new from an hour of tense conversation with senior negotiator Saeed Jalili and had to be satisfied with issuing the noncommittal statement, “The Iranians agreed on the need for Iran to engage on the (six powers') proposals, which address its concerns on the exclusively peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program."
Enrichment remained unmentioned – least of all, any reference to the international inspectors’ discovery that Iran was enriching uranium up to 27 percent – and the “exclusively peaceful nature” of Iran’s nuclear program was endorsed.
From the outset, the talks between the six powers (US, China, Russia, Germany, France and Britain) in Istanbul (April 14) and Baghdad (23.5) and Tehran were falsely presented by the US and the European Union as different from previous diplomacy in that Tehran was now prepared to discuss the controversial aspects of its nuclear program.
This sham presentation of Iran puts diplomacy on artificial life support. Admission of is demise would leave the powers face to face with the only remaining path, i.e., military action – to which President Barack Obama is committed if all other options failed – either by the United States or Israel with US support.
The International Atomic Energy Agency Director Yukiya Amano toed the line Monday, June 11, by denying that IAEA negotiations with Iran had broken down Friday, June 8, of IAEA on inspections of its suspect nuclear sites, particularly the Parchin military complex where nuclear-related explosives tests are believed to have been conducted.
It wasn’t the first time that Amano put a good face on a failure to get anywhere with Iran. On May 2, after coming away from a visit to Tehran empty-handed, he claimed a deal on inspections was clinched and close to signing. It never was. But the next day, the P5+1 were enabled to launch talks with Iran in Istanbul.
Still, Iran made sure that those talks got exactly nowhere. The next session in Baghdad was seriously stalled from the word go by a long-winded harangue by chief negotiator Jalili on the historical connotations of the 30-year old Khorrmanshahr battle, in which revolutionary Islamic Iran trounced Iraq although the world powers and Gulf states solidly backed Saddam Hussein.
Jalili did not mention Iran's nuclear program but, tacitly pointing at the delegations present, he commented: “The weapons that they provided to Saddam's Ba’athist regime included German Leopard tanks, British Chieftain tanks, French Exocet missiles and Super Etendard aircraft, Russian MIG fighter-planes and Scud-B missiles, German and British chemical weapons, American Sidewinder missiles and AWACS aircraft, Saudi, Kuwaiti, and Emirati dollars.
He concluded with a declaration that the Islamic republic would "never be bullied into surrendering" to “illegal and unjust demands.”
The tight lid kept on proceedings at the nuclear negotiations keeps embarrassing disclosures out of the public domain and supports the pretense of progress, when in fact Tehran has adamantly refused to open its nuclear program to real discussion.
Iran’s real attitude toward the current round of diplomacy is summed up by debkafile’s Iranian and intelligence sources in five points:
1. The US has run out of unilateral options for dismantling Iran’s nuclear weapons program and depends now on the cooperation of Moscow and Beijing to achieve any progress. Tehran infers this from Washington’s turn to the Russians for help in resolving the Syrian crisis.
2. The world powers facing Iran at the nuclear negotiations in Istanbul and Baghdad are not united as depicted by the Obama administration but split three ways between Russia, China and the West. It is therefore in Tehran’s interest to keep the talks dragging on for as long as possible and so widen the divisions and isolate America.
3. Tehran is aware of US plans to impose harsher sanctions very soon, including an air and marine blockade, and is not dismayed. In fact, Iranian strategists are busy figuring out ways to get around them. They also calculate that the tougher the sanctions, the higher the price they will exact for every nuclear concession. From this perspective, tougher sanctions will buy Iran more time and a faster route to a nuclear bomb.
4. Tehran regards the staging of the "P7 Talks" as part of a wider picture. A high-ranking Iranian source said: ‘If the negotiations were just about nuclear issues, why bring in the major powers? The talks could have been handled by the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna.
Iran’s leaders are nonetheless capitalizing on those talks as a short cut to broad global recognition of the Islamic Republic’s status as a major world power.
“We are already more than half way to achieving this,” they say in Tehran.
5. In view of the first four points, Tehran believes it is on a winning roll and can afford to stand fast against giving ground on a single one of its nuclear and technological advances.
The question asked by debkafile is why is Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu keeping silent on this charade and even going along with it.