Monday, October 14, 2013

Geneva Talks: Hardening of Iran's Position

By Nader Uskowi

The hardening of Iran’s position on shipping its stockpile of 20-percent enriched uranium out of country, with the deputy foreign minister and senior Iran negotiator calling it a “red line,” is hardly a good omen for the Geneva talks that will begin on Tuesday. 

In May 2010, Iran, Turkey and Brazil issued a joint ten-point declaration on the nuclear swap deal, with Iran agreeing to deposit large parts of its stockpile of enriched uranium in Turkey. Ahmadinejad hailed the agreement as a victory, and now a high-ranking official in Rouhani administration who is a senior member of the negotiating team, albeit with closer links to the hard right than his foreign minister, characterizes the main point of that agreement as a “red line” that cannot be crossed.

The apparent unwillingness of Iran to go even as far as the Turkey-Brazil agreement, at least for now, should serve as a sobering reminder of many obstacles ahead in nuclear negotiations. Only days after the successful visit to New York by Rouhani and Zarif, the supreme leader characterized Rouhani’s phone conversation with Obama and Zarif’s extended meeting with Kerry as “missteps.” 

That single word uttered by Khamenei started a wave of attacks by the hard right on the new government, accusing it of “collusion” with the enemy. The influential editor of Kayhan, Ali Shariatmadari, getting his cue from Khamenei’s “missteps” warning, has continued his relentless attacks on the administration and its supporters, and today extended it to Ayatollah Rafsanjani, the real power behind the moderates.

The growing tensions between the moderate and the hard right inside Iran could well limit Iranian delegation’s ability to strike a deal at Geneva talks. Although this is the best chance in at least 15 years to put an end to the Iranian nuclear impasse, the pressure from the hard right, and on both sides, would make reaching an agreement that much harder. 


Anonymous said...

Mafia thrives on sanctions ?

Anonymous said...

no one cares what the deputy foreign minister has to say and no one negotiating with the Iranians is boing to be impressed by such crap. no one is going to get upset if the Iranians bluster and pretend that they're not ready to make major concessions.

it's not a terrible problem for the world if the Iranian government reveals that it's not going to change it's positions and therefore no deal is made.

it's only a terrible problem for Iran

Nader Uskowi said...

Interesting that for someone who doesn’t care about Iran’s position, you not only read this piece but care to post a comment on it! What would have happened if you cared?

Mark Pyruz said...

This is more complex than "shipments" and "cues".

The phone call had already generated ripples before Khamenei's public remark. His remark, moreover was made iwithin a context of supporting this diplomatic initiative. Really, it was an acknowledgement of the domestic political divisiveness on the issue.

Because the 2010 Tehran Declaration was so stridently rejected by the U.S., the Iranians likely have realized that out-shipments represent a step towards the goal of Iran being stripped of its nuclear rights provided as a signatory to the NPT and are posturing their position accordingly.

It appears the roadmap the Iranians seem to be alluding to is of the spirit of the ill-fated Russian proposal that was also previously rejected by the U.S. Really there have been so many compromise offers made to the U.S., it really comes down to American leadership finally accepting Iranian nuclear fuel cycle technology under the NPT, or again no deal.

Mark Pyruz said...

Brief post by the Leveretts on the subject, click HERE.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe this to be Iran's position or believe that position to be not subject to modification.
I believe this statement to be no more than bluster and an attempt at bargaining in public
I do believe that should it turn out that iran is unwilling to make concessions and that this joker is correct that it's going to be quite a serious problem for the people of Iran and far less of a problem for the rest of the wold.

Anonymous said...

Iranians are over-haggling to their detriment? What a surprise!