US should offer Iran carrots as well as sticks - former Clinton official
VIENNA (AFP) Sep 21, 2004
The United States would have an easier time dealing with Iran if it were as willing to reward Tehran for cooperation in coming clean on an alleged nuclear weapons program as it is to punish the Islamic republic for not cooperating, a former senior US official said.
"The United States would have a much easier time getting Russian and Chinese (support at the UN nuclear watchdog) . . . if the US administration would show it was prepared to put carrots on the table and not only sticks," Robert Einhorn, a former under secretary of state for non-proliferation issues in the Bill Clinton administration, said in a phone conference interview Monday.
The interview in which AFP and nine other news organizations took part was conducted from Washington and organized by the Jerusalem-based Access/Middle East journalist services organization.
Einhorn said the United States is now stressing only putting pressure on Iran, after Washington pushed at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna on Saturday for a resolution that called on Iran to immediately halt all work on the nuclear fuel cycle and set a November 25 deadline for a review of the Iranian program.
Russia and China, which are both members of the IAEA's 35-member board of governors that passed the resolution, only signed on reluctantly to the US position.
The resolution was drafted by Britain, France and Germany, which have moved closer to the US stance after Iran broke an agreement with the so-called Euro-3 for a full suspension of uranium enrichment, the process which makes fuel for nuclear reactors but also the explosive material for atomic bombs.
Einhorn said the Euro 3 and Washington should reverse their "good cop/bad cop" roles with Europe becoming tougher and the United States more conciliatory.
Einhorn said that if the administration of US President George W. Bush was willing to show it was ready to meet cooperation from Tehran with "carrots," such as transfers of peaceful nuclear technology, this would give it more weight with IAEA members who favor constructive engagement rather than confrontation with Iran.
Russia has a huge financial interest in Iran since it is helping Tehran build its first nuclear reactor in Bushehr.
The United States "has to indicate that if Iran is ready to give up its uranium enrichment, the United States will drop its opposition to Bushehr," Einhorn said.
He said the United States, which has had Iran under economic and security sanctions for decades, has to show it is "prepared to engage Iran bilaterally," something the Iranians desire.
If the Iranians did not cooperate with all these carrots, then the Russians and others would be more willing to back a tough US line on Iran, Eihnorn said.
He said "Russia and Putin are sceptical of Iran's intentions" and have told Iran privately "that unless the (alleged atomic weapons) issue is resolved, Bushehr won't go ahead."
"Russian cooperation is absolutely critical in getting a positive result to this crisis," Einhorn said.
The United States wants the IAEA to send the Iranian file to the UN Security Council, which could then impose punishing international sanctions on Iran.
Einhorn said that "the readiness of the United States to (constructively) engage with Iran" will give the United States a better chance of winning Russian backing on the Security Council if Iran does not cooperate.
"The United States may be paradoxically having a better chance of taking Iran to the Security Council if it shows a balanced approach to dealing with Iran," Einhorn said.All rights reserved. © 2005 Agence France-Presse. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presse.