Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Baghdad Talks Are Set to Start

Baghdad Talks between Iran and the six global powers are set to start this morning. The talks are the latest of a series of meetings between the two sides on the future of Iran’s nuclear program. But up to now these meetings have been about setting up future meetings and their success or failure have been defined in terms of atmospherics, especially if the American and Iranian delegations were nice to each other or not. Baghdad promises to break away from this trend and offer the first consequential talks between the two sides.

Even before the Baghdad Talks got underway, we witnessed a likely breakthrough in IAEA’s push to have free access to inspect the country’s nuclear and relevant military sites. A so-called framework agreement, defining an additional protocol on IAEA’s access to the sites, nuclear officials and scientists and documents, were hammered out during IAEA director’s visit to Tehran on Monday and is reportedly getting ready to be signed soon. Such access would be key to an agreement in Baghdad to begin the process of ending the decade-old dispute with Iran over the nature of its nuclear program, which has resulted in serious economic sanctions against the country.

If IAEA-Iran additional protocol agreement is signed soon, as expected, then the Iranians, starting later today in Baghdad, will demand easing of the biting sanctions. The demand would create a challenge for the West. There were the sanctions, they would argue, that led Iran to accept the IAEA demands, and lifting them now would take away their trump card to push Iran to stop enriching uranium at purities higher than five percent and stop the operations at Fordo enrichment facility. Not easing the sanctions, however, would not entice the Iranians to make any further concessions. So we should expect an agreement in Baghdad that ties the easing of sanctions, especially delaying the oil-related sanctions that are to go into effect at the end of June, to the signing and implementation of the additional protocol with IAEA.

Such agreement could well lead to a more comprehensive agreement at Baghdad on an end to Iran’s production of 20-percent fuel and a guarantee by the major powers to supply the country the needed fuel for its nuclear research reactor in Tehran. Iran could also accept a swap agreement to exchange most of its five-percent enriched uranium with the higher purity fuel on an on-going basis.   

Baghdad could well become the beginning of an end to the decade-old standoff over the future of Iran's nuclear program.


Mark Pyruz said...

Nader, are you saying the Iranians are going to be put into a regimen where their current 5% LEU will be traded on an ongoing basis until it is exhausted, and that future LEU production will be be stopped?

If so, I think you're misreading the Iranians. They're looking for recognition of their right to nuclear fuel production, ie enrichment.

And you need to also take into account that Iran's success at 20% LEU production has set up the conditions where possibly its fuel production activities (at 5%) are now being considered by the West, as well as Iran's' counter-sanctions which have a bite of their own (we Californians are paying 60 cents a gallon more for fuel, as an indirect consequence of these), providing the West with cause for looking into the existing Russian plan with its roadmap for stripping away sanctions.

Nader Uskowi said...

No, I am saying that. I am saying Iran will continue producing 5-percent fuel and will exchange part of that for 20-percent fuel needed for Tehran reactor. The rest would be used as fuel for the country percent and future nuclear power reactors. In a sense Iran will purchase 20-percent fuel from the West, most probably by swapping some of its 5-percent file for it.

Nader Uskowi said...

Just noticed too many typos in my response, sorry! Let me try again! I am NOT saying that Iran will swap all its five-percent fuel with the higher 20-percent variety. I am saying that Iran could agree to an end to its production of 20-percent fuel, but continue producing the five-percent, and swap part of it for 20-percent fuel on an on-going basis. The rest of the five-percent fuel can be used in present and future nuclear power reactors.

Anonymous said...

Iran will keep the 5% and will keep the 20%.

It will probably not expand the 20% (probably)

It will keep its capacity to produce fuel plates in case the West is again pushed by Israel into blackmailing Iran.

otherwise the whole Iranian endurance of hardships would evaporate into waste.

Azari by fortune,Iranian by Grace of God.
Dariush London

Anonymous said...

I also believe the western countries to be trying to find a way to close this case they kept pushing only to presure Iran.

Kermanshahi by fortune and Irani by Grace of God :)