Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Iran Nuclear: Not So New Incentives

On Sunday, Ayatollah Khamenei rejected new offers to Iran by the six major powers and made it clear that Iran’s uranium enrichment program will continue. Khamenei’s remarks had an angry and disappointing tone, “Have you not tested the Iranian nation?”

The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had insisted that they were asking for only a temporary halt to suspension of enrichment activates to allow negotiations over the new incentive package to start. Khamenei did not want to hear that.

Although the details of the new incentives have not been made public, it is becoming clear that they offer no “new’ incentives, only a repackage of the old proposal offered to Iran by EU-3 in 2006. Iran had rejected that package, which might explain the angry and disappointing tone of Khamenei after receiving a similar offer, this time by allies in Moscow and Beijing.

The condition for the Islamic Republic to accept any incentive package tied to the suspension of its nuclear program is a guarantee for a US policy of regime-tolerance as opposed to regime-change in Iran.

US and its closest allies could not tolerate the regime until it stopped its nuclear program and changed its behavior in Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine. A classic Catch-22 situation!

Iran seems to be buying time at least until the result of US presidential election is known. If they had to cut a deal, they would prefer doing it with a new administration. They’ve done that before.

Meanwhile, the tensions in US-Iran relations will grow and the new incentive package will not bring us any closer to resolving the nuclear standoff with Iran.

No comments: