Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Iran Nuclear Talks: Disaccord Over Venue

Crucial nuclear talks due to start on 13 April between Iran and the six major world powers are in a state of confusion already as Tehran today said it no longer wants Istanbul as the venue. Instead, according to Iraq's foreign ministry, Iran has asked Baghdad to host the talks. Iran’s state-owned TV said on its website that Iran is also ready to hold talks in China.

Iran's sudden about-face on Istanbul is a serious indication of the worsening relations with Turkey over its position on Syria. Turkey has called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a key Iranian ally, to step down to end the year-long bloody crisis in his country.

"Turkey is now excluded," said Aladin Borujerdi, the chairman of the Iranian Majlis foreign affairs committee, referring to the venue for the nuclear talks. "That is the position of parliament and the government.

"Taking into account the extremist and illogical position of Turkey on Syria and the recent conference on Syria, Turkey has de facto lost any competence to host the meeting," Borujerdi added.


Mark Pyruz said...

I'm not sure how these potential talks could be characterized as "crucial".

The Iranians are not going to fully suspend enrichment, no matter what.

And the United States president does not possess the political capital to accept Iranian enrichment, nor does his executive branch have the capacity to strip away sanctions on its own.

About the only result we could hope for is Iran being allowed to purchase nuclear fuel in exchange for its 20% LEU but even that is a total long-shot.

So I don't see where "crucial" enters into this.

We've known since 2007 the Iranians are prepared to stand their ground, even under seemingly imminent attack of its nuclear power infrastructure. Iranian intelligence was aware of VP Cheney advocating war in '07, and that the WH had an attack under serious consideration. The Iranians didn't blink, and resumed work at Fordo in response to an anticipated attack.

As for the Iranian decision not to have these potential talks hosted in Turkey, obviously they don't want the deck further stacked against them, which is where Turkey stands right now after it has accepted the NATO ABM site that serves to undermine its deterrence against Israeli attack, conceded on anti-Iran oil sanctions and is now seen by Iran as being in the anti-Syria camp.

It will be interesting to see if Baghdad (!) or Beijing is acceptable to the West.

Nader Uskowi said...


The talks are crucial in the sense that some progress, such as serious talks and consideration of proposals for fuel exchange of 5% for 20%, as you have referred to, could be regarded serious progress toward an eventual agreement and thus minimizing the chance of hostilities by actors like Israel. Waiting until after November elections in the US to engage in serious talks is not prudent. Obama administration as well as the senior leadership in Iran need to see serious engagement now as an alternative to a possible disaster in the making.

Anonymous said...

But how iranial ppl will accept to stop 20% uranium enrichment? All mentioned nuclear activities going on under IAEA. I dont believe great civilized iranian ppl could allow to govt to compermise.

Nader Uskowi said...

@ 12:49

Enriching uranium to 20% purity or beyond is a matter of national policy, and can be based only on what the country wants to do with the enriched product. Drawing up national policy cannot based on concepts such as the great civilization of the Iranian people as you seem to suggest.

Compromise is the essence of international relations. The Iranian government, like all other governments in the world, constantly gauges the realities on the ground and accordingly revises its policies to get an acceptable outcome. Enriching to less than maximum level for a country that has time and again announced that it does not want to build a nuclear weapon could indeed be an acceptable solution.

Equating compromise and moderation with surrender can have disastrous effects and hiding behind concepts like the great civilization of Iran cannot absolve one’s responsibility to prevent conflict and hostility within an acceptable policy framework.