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Is The Iranian Deadlock Permanent

According to the agreement, Iran will receive the first 80 tons of nuclear fuel in March 2007, that is, exactly six months before the commissioning of the Bushehr nuclear power plant (pictured), slated for September 2007.
by Pyotr Goncharov
UPI Outside View Commentator
Moscow (UPI) Oct 03, 2006
The Iranian nuclear problem has been in a deadlock, and, to all intents and purposes, is not going to be resolved for some time. The meeting of EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana and Secretary of the Iranian Supreme National Security Council Ali Larijani has not produced any definite results.

As before, the sides discussed the terms on which Iran would agree to stop its nuclear enrichment program. Earlier, the P5+1 group (five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council -- Russia, the United States, France, Britain, and China -- plus Germany) submitted a package of proposals to Iran, which provide for some concessions for its nuclear program in exchange for cessation of all uranium-enrichment activities.

The meeting showed that Tehran continues refusing to stop these activities, although this is a condition for the beginning of talks on the proposals.

Is there a way out of the Iranian nuclear deadlock? Are the Europeans looking for compromise in the wrong place? Even if official Iranian negotiators give some hope for compromise, the higher circles rule it out. Commenting on the Larijani-Solana meeting, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared that Iran would not stop its nuclear enrichment even for a single day.

There is one more indicative fact. On the eve of the meeting, The Washington Times quoted Bush Administration officials as saying that Solana was going to discuss with Larijani an agreement under which Iran would suspend its nuclear enrichment for 90 days. The deal was supposed to be kept secret for the sake of an opportunity to hold additional talks with several European countries. Deputy head of the Atomic Energy Agency of Iran, Mohammad Saeedi, immediately refuted this report, saying that Larijani and Solana would discuss only the proposals of the P5+1 group.

This is strange logic. Saeedi is bound to know that these proposals envisage substantial concessions in exchange for Iran halting its nuclear enrichment program. If cessation of this program is not discussed, what is there to talk about?

Participants in the P5+1 group have not come to a common stand so far as what to do about Iran. Should it be subjected to sanctions in line with the U.N. Security Council resolution, or should they continue diplomatic efforts? London-supported Washington is unequivocally in favor of sanctions, while Berlin and Paris are less resolute, and do not object to using diplomacy. Moscow and China believe there is no alternative to diplomatic efforts, but it is necessary to remove all concerns over the Iranian nuclear program.

Russia has confirmed its position during the recent visit of AEAI head Gulam Reza Aghazadeh to Moscow. At the meeting with him, Secretary of the Russian Security Council Igor Ivanov said the ongoing talks on the Iranian nuclear program "should produce such agreements which would respect Iran's rights to peaceful atomic energy, while removing all concerns of the world community over non-proliferation."

During this visit Iran and Russia also reached agreement on the terms for the commissioning of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, and supply of the first batch of nuclear fuel to Iran. Importantly, supply of nuclear fuel to Iran and return of waste is the most sensitive issue in the launching of the Bushehr plant.

This is true of any state, which wants to develop nuclear power engineering. All concerns and suspicions about the intention of a country to build its own nuclear bomb without a full nuclear cycle are rooted in nuclear fuel supplies.

According to the agreement, Iran will receive the first 80 tons of nuclear fuel in March 2007, that is, exactly six months before the commissioning of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, slated for September 2007. Tehran insisted on earlier dates, but Moscow prevailed. A number of experts believe that March 2007 may become the deadline for Iran although the U.N. Security Council resolution obliged it to stop uranium enrichment before Aug. 31 this year.

Pyotr Goncharov is a political commentator for RIA Novosti. This story was reprinted with permission from the news agency.

United Press International's "Outside View" commentaries are written by outside contributors who specialize in a variety of important issues. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of United Press International. In the interest of creating an open forum, original submissions are invited.

Source: United Press International

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