Is Iran Ready to Compromise? (Page 2 of 2)

Presumably, finding answers to those questions, and exploring whether Iran is ready to sit down and talk concretely about a solution to the nuclear standoff, is the point of negotiations. But the Obama administration hasn’t responded positively to Iran’s overtures, dismissing them as rhetorical flourishes and part of a ‘charm offensive’ by Iran at the start of the UN General Assembly session. Indeed, at a recent IAEA session, US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, accusing Iran of ‘provocative behaviour,’ unleashed a stream of vitriolic rhetoric of his own in regard to Iran’s programme. ‘Iran,’ he said, ‘has continued to engage in a long-standing pattern of denial, deceit and evasion, in violation of its non-proliferation obligations.’

Iran, of course, has worries of its own about provocative behaviour. In recent years, several of its top nuclear scientists have been assassinated or wounded in terrorist attacks inside Iran, actions that bear the trademarks of Western or Israeli intelligence services. On top of that, a virulent computer worm, Stuxnet – reportedly a US-Israeli joint effort – crippled some of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges. Just last week, it was widely reported that the United States had agreed to provide Israel with extremely powerful bunker-buster bombs that, presumably, could be used against Iran’s fortified nuclear research installations. And, echoing US officials, including Obama, that military action is an option in response to Iran’s programme, President Sarkozy of France warned ominously that Iran’s ‘military, nuclear and ballistic ambitions constitute a growing threat that may lead to a preventive attack against Iranian sites.’

Iran, which hasn’t fully explained its nuclear programme, may or may not be serious about talks. It’s possible, analysts in Washington say, that Iran is either seeking to acquire a military nuclear capability as soon as it can, or to get as close as possible – the proverbial one-turn-of-the-screwdriver away – from such a capability, and that all of its rhetoric about negotiations is merely a stalling tactic. But even the best informed analysts say that it’s impossible to read Iran’s intent, and there are huge questions about how fast Iran is proceeding toward a military nuclear capacity, if that’s what it wants. Still, to find out, it’s better to talk than not to talk, and so far the Obama administration hasn’t pushed very hard to break the diplomatic stalemate.

There’s time, of course. Although in the broadest sense Iran has enough enriched uranium for a bomb or two, not an ounce of that uranium is enriched to the level needed for a weapon – and if it did so, it would either happen in full view of the IAEA inspectors who closely monitor Iran’s programme, or Iran would have to expel the IAEA and quit the Non-Proliferation Treaty. On top of that, no one can say with certainty that Iran has the know-how to turn even highly enriched uranium (more than 90 percent grade) into a bomb. Nor does it appear that Iran has the ability either to produce a missile or other delivery device for such a weapon, or the ability to squeeze what would likely be a bulky weapon into a warhead. And, of course, there’s no reason to believe that Iran’s calculating leaders are suicidal, in that using such a weapon would likely provoke a catastrophic response from Israel – which is said to own more than 200 bombs – or from the United States.

But even if there’s time, the clock is ticking. Whether a nuclear-capable Iran is two years away, as some analysts estimate might be possible, or five years away, there’s no reason why talks shouldn’t be restarted immediately. For Obama, seeking re-election in 2012 against a Republican candidate who’s likely to make an issue of any US concessions to Iran, there might be a political price to pay. But next year’s vote in the United States will revolve almost entirely around the economic downtown, unemployment, and the government’s debt and deficit, meaning that Obama will actually have a relatively free hand when it comes to foreign policy. Let’s hope he takes advantage of it.

Comments
10
Tyron
October 21, 2011 at 09:52

Well said, Liz. Onslo, do a simple math, who brought more hell to the Middle East in the past 100 plus years? And who has more capability to bring more hell to the Middle East: Iran or Israel? Look at their modern histories; has Iran invaded a single inch of any one of their neighboring countries? Has Iran dropped cluster bombs and high-incendiary (phosphorus) rockets? And look at the crazy nut-jobs in Israeli parliament and the fascist racist extremist civilians with Uzis on their shoulders walking in the streets. Look at the the fascist rabbis that preach that killing Arabs are sanctified.

Liz
October 7, 2011 at 23:23

I think you have Iran confused with the Dispensationalist Evangelical Christians who support Israel in order to bring about the End Times – which is why AIPAC regularly invites the anti-semitic Rev. Hagee to speak at their conferences.

Onslo
October 5, 2011 at 04:03

Iran wants to nuke Israel so that the Mahdi will return.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahdi

Jamie
October 4, 2011 at 12:51

No matter what Iran does it will not be good to satisfy Israel that by its own admission controls America and they now it.Iran will do what needs to be done to stop a war that most likely will turn into WW3.If I was Iran I would do the same but the sad thing is it leaves them without the best deterent of a illegal war followed by an illegal occupation.I just hop[e Russia and China stand strong against any illegal war by America and Israel.Americas government is stupid and so is Israels so we will be lucky to live the next 20 years without a nucular WW3.If it happens no one wins but its better to live free with your sovernty than die giving it up to criminals.I’m 33 and have a 5 year old son that means the world to me but if it happens and we don’t make it his mom my wife that I love to will be in GODs hands at least it will be fair.

Duglarri
October 4, 2011 at 07:25

The real question is whether Av Leiberman is ready to compromise, because he pulls Netanyahu’s strings, and Netanyahu controls Obama, at least insofar as Iran is concerned. Obama would not dare so much as even read a message from Iran unless Netanyahu says it’s okay first. And Netanyahu has far, far too much to gain by using Iran as a distraction away from Israel’s increasing isolation to ever give up Iran-Is-Evil-and-means-to-destroy-us as a stick to hit the international community with.

The only offer Netanyahu would accept would be for Iran to give up nuclear power entirely, disband their armed forces, pay reparations to Israel for the bullets Israel were forced to expend to kill Lebanese civilians, and make Hebrew the official language of the country besides.

So one should not hold one’s breath.

David K.
October 3, 2011 at 23:57

To all of those pro US/Israel pundits pointing fingers at Hezbollah…giver you nefarious hypocrisy a rest. Hezbollah was founded in order to remove the Israeli terror machine from Lebanon after it illegally attacked and murdered twenty-thousand Lebanese in 1982. Furthermore, Irans concessions in the face of Israel’s illegal nuclear weapons stockpile are quite generous. Iran has never attacked anyone, note would they if they had nukes. Nukes deter imperial powers like the US and NATO from launching illegal and criminal intrusions upon non-threatening countries like Iran and North Korea. Unfortunately the fabricated hype/propaganda from the US media would have you believe otherwise.

Yonatan
October 3, 2011 at 22:05

No matter what Iran does, the US and Israel will move the goalposts. Just look at what happened when Iran accepted a deal to have nuclear material enriched outside Iran. This is a reapreat of the process that happened with Hussein in Iraq. The aim of theUS/Israel is the same as with Iraq – regime change and destruction of Iranian civil society. But don’t mention the oil.

hass
October 3, 2011 at 15:29

Give it a rest Ali. We’re sick and tired of you repeating this. Iran’s nuclear program is not about the hezbollah. It started under the Shah, with the encouragement and support of the United States. It is the sovereign right of the Iranian people and nation, not any regime. In your blind frustrations over the regimes longevity you seem to overlook that.

hass
October 3, 2011 at 15:27

I’m sorry but Dreyfuss has no idea what he’s talking about. He mischaracterizes Iran as the party that has refused to talk thus far, when in fact Iran has been making compromise offers for many years now, including offers to ratify the Additional Protocol, to cap enrichment, and to open its nuclear program to joint participation with the US. They even went as far as to voluntarily suspend enrichment for over 2 years and allow “anytime, anywhere” inspections, as a good faith gesture. The only reason they started enriching to 20% in the first place is because the US-inspired sanctions has made it impossible for Iran to acquire the reactor fuel necessary for the TRR (a reactor that the US gave to Iran in the first place) which is used to make isotopes for cancer victims. The reactor has absolutely no weapons proliferation possibility and yet we prevented even that deal. The Iranians were even willing to ship out their uranium overseas and the Obama administration killed that deal at the last minute by imposing yet more demands that IRan totally give up enrichment. Dreyfuss is blissfully unaware of this history, apperently. As 6 former European ambassadors to Iran have written, it is the US that has created this standoff by demanding that Iran give up the sovereign right to enrich uranium for even entirely peaceful purposes. This excessive demand is intended to keep the standoff alive, because ultimately, the US is merely using this alleged threat of nuclear proliferation in Iran as a pretext and justification for regime change – something even former IAEA head Elbaradei said is the real goal of the US. This has nothing to do with nukes or any Iranian refusal to talk – it is about regime change and justifying aggression against Iran.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jun/09/iran-nuclear-power-un-threat-peace

Ali Mostofi
October 3, 2011 at 00:20

The use of the word “Iran” is wrong Richard. Iranians are more than willing to act. The Hezbollah Party does not.

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