Tag Archives: nuclear program

Geneva – Iran presented a new proposal to resolve the nuclear program

Today in Geneva, started the next round of talks between Iran and “six” of international mediators / known as P 5+1 – five permanent members of the UN Security Council (UK, China, France, Russia, US) plus Germany trying to resolve the Iranian “nuclear dossier”. The previous round of talks was held in Alma-Ata in April this year.

What might happen over the next two days ?

These are the first such talks since President Rouhani took office in August. Seen as a relative moderate, Mr Rouhani has said he wants a deal on Iran’s nuclear programme within six months.

In particular, speaking to the 68th session of the UN General Assembly in New York, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, said that Iran’s nuclear program “is intended purely for peaceful purposes”. “Nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction have no place in Iran’s military doctrine – he said. – This weapon is contrary to our fundamental religious and ethical convictions”. According to him, is the national interest of Iran – to remove any suspicions about its nuclear program. However, Rouhani said that other countries should respect the right of Iran to enrich nuclear material.

General view prior to the start of the two days of closed-door nuclear talks on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013 at the United Nations offices in Geneva, Switzerland. (AP Photo/Fabrice Coffrini, pool)

General view prior to the start of the two days of closed-door nuclear talks on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013 at the United Nations offices in Geneva, Switzerland. (AP Photo/Fabrice Coffrini, pool)

The European Union says Iran has opened the latest round of talks with the international community by proposing a new plan to resolve the dispute over its nuclear program. Michael Mann, the spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, made the announcement after the start of two-day talks in Geneva. He particularly noted that the constructive atmosphere is connected, in particular, statements that have made the Iranian side. “We are coming to the talks with cautious optimism and determination, because it’s time for real results – he added. – It is necessary to consider all the details. Hopefully these two days will be productive”. “Our proposals include measures to build trust. We’ll see what has to offer Tehran” – continued Mann. According to him, the negotiation process as a whole should continue as long as necessary to achieve the result.

Mann added that the chief of the European Union diplomacy Catherine Ashton and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, held in Geneva constructive bilateral meeting. “The parties have discussed over dinner existing issues, the meeting was constructive and held in a positive atmosphere” – he said.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, a senior member of negotiating team, said Sunday that Tehran is bringing a new proposal to the talks to dispel doubts about the nuclear program. While offering no details, he told Iran’s student news agency ISNA that the Islamic Republic should “enter into a trust-building path with the West”. In the interest of the negotiation process, the parties do not intend to disclose the contents of the new proposals of Iran.

The Iranian team is led by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, although much of the actual negotiating is expected to be delegated to his deputy, Abbas Araqchi. Catherine Ashton is leading the 5+1 group. Iranian officials say they will present a roadmap aimed at ending the decade-long dispute over the nature of their country’s nuclear programme. No breakthrough is expected in the initial two days of talks in Geneva, but Iran’s foreign minister said he hoped a “roadmap” could be agreed.

On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it would be wrong to ease pressure on Tehran. Speaking in parliament, he said that any move to let up on the Iranian government would only strengthen its “uncompromising elements”, and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei “will be perceived as the winner”.

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The most recent report by the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), says Iran has 185 kilograms of 20 percent enriched uranium and is maintaining this level by converting excess material into fuel rods.

In April 2013, the P5+1 proposed that Iran:

  • Cease enrichment to 20%
  • Ship most of stockpile of 20%-enriched uranium abroad, keeping some for Tehran research reactor
  • Accept comprehensive verification regime
  • Address questions about military research activity

Iran responded by demanding P5+1:

  • Recognise Iran’s “right” to enrich uranium
  • Ease all UN, US and EU sanctions
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What will do Iran with E3+3 proposal ?

During two days (26 -27 February) in Almaty, Kazakhstan, in a new round of talks on the Iranian nuclear file, the so-called P5-plus-1 group offered to slightly ease economic sanctions if Tehran halts production of near-weapons-grade uranium fuel.

Iran in talks on nuclear programAs is well known, the powers — China, Russia, France, Britain, Germany and the United States — fear Iran is seeking the ability to make nuclear bombs, an intent it denies by authorities in Tehran. So, what happened in Almaty, by the rule and line ?

The world powers have proposed allowing Iran to trade in gold and some other precious metals, a change that would ease the sanctions that have largely severed Iran from the world banking system. They also offered to ease sanctions on petrochemical sales and relax some banking restrictions. In exchange, Iran would have to stop producing so-called medium-enriched uranium at its underground plant at Fordow.

At the end of the meeting, Foreign Minister of UK, William Hague said on his Twitter account that: ”Iran talks in Almaty were a useful first step.We look to Iran to respond positively to E3+3 proposal at next meeting in March.” Also, Michael Mann, chief spokesman for European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who is diplomatic point person for the six powers, described the meetings as “useful”. Iran’s chief negotiator Saeed Jalili described the Almaty meeting as “positive”. In change, a State Department spokesman in Washington declined to comment on whether there had been progress in the talks. There is good to know that Secretary of State John F. Kerry implied this week that time was running out and that Washington could yet turn to military action to prevent Tehran from acquiring a bomb. Israel has also threatened military action.

The parties agreed to hold an experts meeting in Istanbul on March 18, followed by a political directors meeting, again in Almaty, Kazakhstan on April 5-6, negotiators from the P5+1 and Iran announced in a joint statement at the conclusion of talks Wednesday.

So, what will do Iran with such an offer ? Western diplomats say that their expectations are modest (also the expectations about Almaty meeting were minimal !) and that the most they might achieve from the talks is an agreement to have several lower-level follow-up meetings in the next several months. Iran is an year with presidential election. Serious negotiations or an Iranian decision until the fall (when will enter the power next president are unlikely (the election will be held in June, but the new president will not be in office until August). Until then, the parties involved (but mainly Iran, U.S. and Israel) will re-evaluate their options, strategies, ”jokers” and ”aces in the hole”. And, not least, the international community’s increasing concerns about weapons nuclear program in North Korea could change somewhat top of international agenda.

„No one knows how the power structure will ultimately shift in the Middle East“ – interview with Steve LeVine

– Usually (especially after the success of „Putin’s Labyrinth“ book) people tend to associate your name to Russia. However, your experience as correspondent in the Central Asia and Middle East, makes me to focus the discussion on the events in Egypt and Arab world. For Egyptians still is a moment of euphoria. But political analysts are reticent. What would be the major concerns and challenges for world powers and zonal actors? And what should worry Egyptian people?

Steve LeVine

– Analysts are reticent because no one knows what type of governmental system will result from the uprising, and how Egypt will interact with its nei­g­hbors. So that generates a whole series of questions for which unfortu­na­tely there are no answers, and very few clues. They include: Will the Army organize elections that end up reflec­ting the true will of voters, or will they reflect the leadership that its generals believe is „best“ for Egypt, regardless of their popularity? Whatever govern­ment is formed, how will it manage to satisfy the much-raised expectations of the Egyptian people? On foreign mat­ters, will Egypt continue to be a proactive intermediary in Middle East conflicts? Specifically regarding its respective relationships with Israel and the Palestinians – will it continue to be an honest broker between these antagonist parts?
– Most journalists are asking: Who’s next? There will be a domino effect throughout the Arab world? Sure, perhaps with not the same speed of propagation …
– I think it gets more difficult from here. After Egypt, the remaining despots of the region know that Tunisia was not a one-off event – they are all potentially in danger. Mubarak seems not to have thought he was vulnerable. Now they all know they are, and they are preparing. Yet none of that shifts the reality, which is that popular change really has happened in the Arab world. As I write this, the grip of the leaders of Bahrain and Yemen is in jeopardy. The situation in Libya is quite different.
– How interpret in this context the statement of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Israeli army is prepared for anything, depending on how events will unfold in next time? What option has Israel at this point?
– The events in Egypt potentially shake up geopolitics and security for Israel. The Palestinians could arise in a far more aggressive way, with the help of allies in Lebanon and elsewhere, for example. Israel no doubt has its lines of communication open with the Egyptian Army for this very reason. It wants Egypt to continue serving as a mediator with the Palestinians.
– Behind the media uproar of unrest in North Africa, at the Munich Security Conference was put the last piece of the new treaty START 2. Fairly quietly, I would say, given that was a top priority for both presidents – Obama and Medvedev. So, beyond the official rhetoric, there will be a real change in approach to global nuclear programs for military purposes?
– If what you mean is whether the key nuclear states – Russia and the United States – are going to do away with their nuclear arsenals, the answer is No. The first reason is that, even if they do, so many other countries have capability and are gaining it that it would be fruitless. Another reason is that it is a perceived fount of power in both countries that neither will surren­der. (Full text)

Romanian language version – can be read here

Published in Cadran Politic Review, April 2011