Iranian Nuclear Talks: Hold the Cheers
By Stephen Lendman
IOld time US radio hero Lamont Cranston (aka the Shadow) used to ask "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows."
Perhaps he had US policymakers in mind. Duplicity defines their agenda.
For nearly 35 years, Iran has wrongfully been vilified. It remains America's main Middle East bete noire. Just concluded nuclear talks changed nothing. More on that below.
Following two days of talks in Geneva, P5+1 countries and Iran called them positive.
A joint statement said the following:
"Delegations of the E3+3 (Britain, France and Germany + America, China and Russia) and the Islamic Republic of Iran held two days of substantive and forward looking negotiations (on) 15 and 16 October 2013.
"Building on the positive atmosphere of the first ministerial meeting held in New York on 26 September, (Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif) presented an outline of a plan as a proposed basis for negotiation, which is being carefully considered by the E3+3 as an important contribution."
"It was decided to convene the next meeting in Geneva on November 7 and 8."
"The participants also agreed that E3+3 and Iranian nuclear, scientific and sanctions experts will convene before the next meeting to address differences and to develop practical steps."
An unnamed State Department official said:
"Over the past two days, we've had serious and substantive discussions with our P5 counterparts and with Iran."
"We had detailed technical discussions at a level we have not had before."
"And we discussed concrete steps and actions that are necessary for Iran to address the international community's concerns about its nuclear program."
"Although there remain many differences in each area and in what sanctions relief might be appropriate, specific and candid discussions took place."
"There is more work - much more work - to do, as we knew there would be."
"We have always said that there would be no agreement overnight, and we've been clear that this process is going to take some time."
"The issues are complex, very technical, and require sound verification."
"Any agreement has to give the United States and the world every confidence that Iran will not acquire a nuclear weapon."
It bears repeating what previous articles explained. Iran's nuclear program is peaceful.
Annual US intelligence assessments say so. Ongoing IAEA monitoring confirms it.
Washington, other Western countries and Israel know it. They suggest otherwise. They make baseless accusations.
They do it duplicitously. Targeting Iran's nuclear program is red herring cover for longstanding US regime change plans.
It wants Iranian sovereignty eliminated. It wants pro-Western puppet governance replacing it. Sanctions imposed are lawless.
They harm ordinary Iranians most. Doing so is a crime against humanity. Don't expect media scoundrels to explain.
Iran negotiates in good faith. Foreign Minister Zarif expressed hope for "the beginning of a new phase in our relations towards closing an unnecessary crisis and opening new horizons."
He stressed Iran's right to peaceful nuclear activities, adding:
“The right of Iran to pursue nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, including enrichment, can, in fact, be exercised with the necessary political will without any proliferation concerns."
"We feel there is no need for concerns about our nuclear program."
"It is logical to remove any concerns though. I am hopeful that we can reach the mutual objectives. The detailed part is the most difficult part."
"We need to take reciprocal steps, but this is a very important test in our eyes for the 5+1 to win back the trust of Iran. I believe an important step was taken in this round."
All parties agreed to keep Iran's proposal secret for now. What's known is as follows:
Tehran submitted a three-phase approach. It's to be implemented within six months to a year.
(1) Confidence-building measures include Iran's willingness to limit nuclear enrichment, reduce its operating centrifuges, agree to spot IAEA inspections, and pledge not to include plutonium separation capability at its Arak facility under construction.
(2) All parties will implement interim measures.
(3) End game agreement terms under which Iran signs the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Additional Protocol.
It grants IAEA "complementary inspection authority." Its aim is to provide added assurance about "both declared and possible undeclared activities."
It does so by "grant(ing) expanded rights of access to information and sites."
They include all parts of the nuclear fuel cycle: uranium mines, fuel fabrication and enrichment plants, nuclear waste sites, and other locations where nuclear material may be present.
Spot inspections are permitted. Activities may include examination of records, visual observation, environmental sampling, radiation detection and measurement, and application of seals and other identifying and tamper-indicating devices.
Access to non-declared nuclear sites is permitted for purposes of environmental sampling. Satellite and other communication systems may be used.
In return for Iran's cooperation, it want sanctions relief. It wants them all removed. They never should have been imposed in the first place.
NPT signatories aren't obliged to accept Additional Protocol provisions. Doing so is voluntary.
Most countries operating nuclear facilities abstain from doing so. Iran's willingness in return for reciprocal fairness shows its good intentions.
Iranian parliamentary National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Presiding Board member Mohammad Hassan Asafari said:
"Accepting the Additional Protocol depends on (world powers) recogni(zing) all the nuclear rights of the Iranian nation, including (uranium) enrichment."
He stressed Iran's inalienable nuclear energy rights.
"Acceptance of the Additional Protocol needs the parliament's approval, and if the talks take place within this framework and the Iranian nation's rights are respected, this can be studied," he added.
He said parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission will review Geneva talk discussions on Sunday.
"In this session the subjects and topics discussed in the negotiations will go under precise study," he stressed.
"Supervision over the performance of the country's diplomatic apparatus is a duty of the parliament and its National Security and Foreign Policy Commission."
According to Mossad-connected DEBKAfile (DF) "Geneva talks fail(ed) to break (the) standoff on Iran's nuclear program."
All parties will "evaluate whether it is possible to bridge the gaps between Iran's proposals and the American position." They remain "wide."
Western officials "saw nothing more than partial frameworks lacking concrete details." Iran's "partial concessions" are a "last step."
They're in return for sanctions relief. Good faith demands it on both sides. Don't expect Washington to oblige.
It's been hostile for nearly 35 years. Change isn't likely now. At least not enough to matter.
Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister/chief negotiator Sergei Ryabkov was less than upbeat, saying:
Talks went "better than many people thought, but worse than what we hoped for."
Iranian and Western positions remain "wide apart from each other. The distance can be measured in kilometers, while advances forward can be measured in steps - half a meter each."
"(T)alks were difficult, at times tense, at times unpredictable."
In July, US House members passed new sanctions. They targeted Iran's mining and construction sectors.
They expressed commitment to preclude all Iranian oil exports by 2015. They want Iran's economy to scream.
Senate Banking Committee members are expected to consider similar measures this fall. Hardliners demand stiffer sanctions.
On Wednesday, Marco Rubio (F. FL) introduced a resolution for more sanctions, saying:
"No one should be impressed by what Iran appears to have brought to the table in Geneva."
"Tehran has broken its word far too many times to be trusted. Due to its complete disregard for previous international agreements, we must take a firm stand in all negotiations regarding the nuclear capabilities Iran is permitted to retain."
This type duplicitous rhetoric bodes ill. Lies substitute for truth. Despite Iran's good intentions, vilification continues.
China's official press agency Xinhua headlined "Mutual trust needed to carry on Iran nuke talks."
After decades of mistrust, it's time for America and its allies to do so.
Despite positive comments following talks, "scholars and advisers are more cautiously optimistic about the US-Iran rapprochement."
"(D)ecades-long antagonism (remains) a hurdle." US lawmakers are hardline. Netanyahu's toughness is over-the-top.
"(T)rust between Iran and the West, especially the United States is still hard to secure, and the road to a final agreement" may prove illusive.
China's Foreign Ministry Department of Arms Control and Disarmament Director-General Pang Sen headed Beijing's delegation.
He said resolving Iran's nuclear issue requires constructive dialogue. Respecting the interests and concerns of all sides is vital, he stressed.
China is willing to help facilitate a positive outcome, he said. It wants differences resolved peacefully.
Doing so may be a leap too far. America doesn't negotiate. It demands. Its longstanding Iranian position is firm. It's hardline.
It's to assure unchallenged regional dominance. Washington wants it globally. It wants control of world resources. Energy matters most. It's a strategic source of world power.
Iran's proved oil reserves are the world's fourth-largest. It's second to Russia in natural gas resources. It has vast untapped supplies.
America's imperial grand strategy prioritizes controlling them. Doing so requires regime change. It assures no letup in toughness to achieve it.
Hegemons operate that way. America is by far the most ruthless. Expect no substantive letup in anti-Iranian hostility.
AIPAC and other Israel Lobby members demand no less. Expect Congress and administration officials to willingly oblige.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
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