Friday, October 2, 2009

The Iranian Offer: What Does it Mean?

The news of Iran's offer to allow immediate inspections of it's newly revealed plant as well as to have uranium shipped to Russia for production is being received cautiously by analysts. Here is some of what is being said today in the press:

Q+A: What's behind Geneva agreement on Iran's enriched uranium? (Reuters)
On October 18 there will be a meeting in Vienna led by IAEA experts to work out the details. If the deal is implemented, it would have to happen over the next year and a half, because that is when the current fuel supply, which
Iran purchased from Argentina in the early 1990s, will run out.
Western officials said that it was unclear if the U.N. Security Council or its sanctions committee that oversees the restrictions on nuclear trade with Tehran would have to approve the deal first.
The main risk, Western officials say, is that
Iran will back out of the agreement. Several diplomats close to Thursday's talks expressed skepticism about whether Iran would follow through on the low-enriched uranium agreement or other promises it made in Geneva.
They said that
Iran has made many pledges about its nuclear program in the past that it has failed to keep.

Iran Has Bought Itself Time - But It Has Lots to Prove - Catherine Philp
The most striking observation of diplomats negotiating with the Iranians was the gulf between the belligerent rhetoric pouring out of Tehran in recent days and the intense but more nuanced conversations inside the Geneva villa. Those involved said that last week's public unveiling of the underground plant at Qom was the game-changer - not just for Iran, but also for Russia, which made it clear that it was unimpressed by being lied to. Tehran has much to prove. While foreign reprocessing of its low-enriched uranium stockpiles would slow any sprint towards a nuclear bomb, the centrifuges keep spinning. And without a tougher inspections regime, Tehran's claims that the Qom plant was its only hidden site are hard to prove. The heat is off Iran for now - but it will not stay that way forever. (Times-UK)

Will Talks with West Recoup Iranian Regime's Legitimacy? - Gerald F. Seib
Iran, it appears, was more cooperative than many expected in its talks about its nuclear program. The classic fear about such negotiations is that they become an end in themselves - that the goal of talking becomes continued talking. That's a particularly acute concern now, because of worries that Iran may string out the process precisely so it can keep enriching uranium. There's also a risk that the embattled Iranian regime may hope to use protracted negotiations because Its leaders see talking with world powers as helping them "recoup the enormous legitimacy they've ceded domestically" because of the summer's disputed presidential election, says Karim Sadjadpour, an analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. (Wall Street Journal)

The Clock Is Ticking on Iran - Charles Krauthammer
The Obama administration offered the outstretched hand, and it implied there was a deadline in mid-September for Iran to show its seriousness. What we got in mid-September was a five-page piece of gibberish on which the Iranians said they want to talk about saving the planet, et cetera, and not a word about the nuclear issue. They have declared the nuclear issue closed. Then last week, Obama announces the discovery of this facility in Qom, a secret enrichment site, which is obviously illegal and obviously overwhelming evidence of their desire to achieve a nuclear weapon. What we're getting is the Iranians stalling. And the reason this is not harmless, even though it is sort of a farcical dance, is because with every week that passes, and now over eight months, Iran is approaching the day in whi ch it goes nuclear. And time is short. Everyone knows the clock is ticking. (FOX News)

A Nuclear Iran: The World Was Warned - Uri Dromi
In 1993, when I was the spokesman of the Israeli government, my boss, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, made a dramatic turn in his perception about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Contrary to his previous declarations that the PLO was not a credible partner for peace, Rabin unexpectedly gave his blessing to the Oslo process. I was curious to find out what made him change his mind. He was not a man of elaborate explanations. Sometimes you just had to guess from his body language what made him tick. It was in the middle of an interview when a European journalist mentioned Iran in passing, that Rabin banged the table and said: "Exactly!'' The rest came out during a later interview: We have to mend fences with our closer neighbors (the Palestinians and Jordanians), Rabin said, so that we can brace ourse lves to tackle the bigger challenge rising over the horizon: Iran. (Miami Herald)

Beware of Iranians Bearing Talks - Ray Takeyh
The Western world knows Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the rabble-rouser, the Holocaust denier and the election-rigger. This week, they'll come to know another version of Ahmadinejad - a leader propelled by weakness at home, who will say he is willing to talk but may offer only tantalizing, unconvincing proposals. At this week's talks, Iran's representatives are likely to subtly hint of cooperation to come - but only if the talks continue. However, such gestures do not mean Iran is prepared to offer meaningful concessions and impose any restraints on its nuclear ambitions. With Iran, the U.S. should insist on discussing several issues: the nuclear program, of course, but also Iran's sponsorship of terrorism, its interference in the affairs of its neighbors and its human rights record. It is hard to see how Ahmadinejad could use such talks to relegitimize his tainted rule. Ahmadinejad should not be afforded the luxury of international forums and dialogue with the great powers without being held accountable for his country's flawed electoral processes and its entanglements in terrorism, as well as its nuclear violations. The writer, who until last month served as a senior adviser to the Obama administration on Iran, is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. (Washington Post)

Talk to Iran, But Keep a Plan B - Editorial
Iran's apparent pursuit of nuclear weapons is the gravest security challenge facing the Obama administration. President Obama is running out of time to persuade Iran's leaders to accept safeguards such as outside inspections of nuclear sites and tight controls on enrichment that can keep the country's nuclear program from being used to build weapons. Obama's offer to negotiate with Iran is the right first step, but he also needs a backup plan if Iran refuses to budge. A nuclear-armed Iran would make the Middle East far more volatile. Apart from the risk that Iran might use or transfer nuclear weapons, some of its neighbors would likely seek their own nuclear weapons - multiplying the chance that a device will fall into the wrong hands. Obama must be prepared to impose more stringent sanctions if Iran's leaders continue to refuse to curb their nuclear ambitions. (Boston Globe)

Source: Daily Alert

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