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Cautious optimism over Iran nuclear energy talks

Niaz Salimi

April 20, 2012

After 13 months of delay, the “Iran Six” aka P5+1—the United States, China, Great Britain, Russia, France and Germany—resumed talks with Iran over its “nuclear weapon ambitions” on April 14 in Istanbul, Turkey.
Considering the history between the US and the Islamic regime in Iran, in addition to the recent increasing tensions over the sanctions and threats of military intervention, the mere fact that this talk took place and a follow up was planned (in Baghdad in late May) is a good sign.
Compromises from both sides
The optimism stems from compromises from both sides. The first progress was that the Security Council did not insist on enforcing United Nations resolutions to bring Iran’s uranium enrichment to a complete stop and to hand over their 20 per cent enriched uranium. In addition, the US also agreed that Iran’s nuclear issue will be resolved within the framework of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which means Iran has the rights to enrich uranium on its soil under the International Atomic Energy Agency inspection.
The other development was the change in Iran’s approach. In the last meeting, Iranian chief negotiator Saeed Jalili’s position used rhetoric without offering a sustainable proposal, while in the April 14 meeting he focused on real issues.
Threats of sanctions and war remain
Despite the cautious optimism, imperial threats could derail the talks. As hardline Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu stated: “I think Iran should take immediate steps: first stop all enrichment, take out all the enriched material and dismantle the nuclear facility in Qom. I believe that the world’s greatest practitioner of terrorism must not have the opportunity to develop atomic bombs”.
This is pure hypocrisy coming from a nuclear-armed Apartheid state that terrorizes the Palestinians, and the great powers are not making the same demands on Israel as they are on Iran.
In addition, it’s not clear whether the West will halt its threats of sanctions and war against Iran as these negotiations proceed. Continued sanctions could undermine negotiations, which could then be used as a pretext for war.

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