The low level negotiations have largely ignored previous such Iranian overtures
Iranâs Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said TehranÂ recognizes Western concernsabout its nuclearÂ programÂ and is âreadyâ to âremove all these worriesâ if there is reciprocation from Washington.
âIâm optimistic about âŚ the future outcome of the talks of the P 5+1, but we have to be a little patient and be cautious in our rhetoric and reactions and keep our limits,â SalehiÂ toldÂ Al-Monitor. âIâm of the view that there is a way out based on a win-win situation.â
âAlthough we see no justification for the worries of the 5+1 vis-Ă -vis our peaceful nuclear activities, âŚ we recognize their worries and we are ready to mitigate and alleviate âÂ recognize mechanisms internationally to remove all these worries,â he said. âBut at the same time, we expect in return they also recognize our full rights to peaceful nuclear activities including the right to enrichment and thecompleteÂ fuel cycle.â
While the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is again making headlineswarningÂ about an expanding Iranian nuclear enrichment program, âsenior ObamaadministrationÂ officials,â reports theÂ Wall Street Journal, âsay the 2007 National Intelligence Estimateâ which found Iran had dismantled its weapons program in 2003 and had not restarted it, âremains accurate.â
Indeed, experts haveÂ agreedÂ with the military and intelligence consensus that Iran has no nuclear weapons program and presents no imminent threat. Salehiâs statement is yet another diplomatic overture that the Obama administration has failed to capitalize on.
So far, the US-led P5+1 group has made overly strict demands on Iran while continuing aggressive military and economic postures. Iran, on the other hand, has offered a measured proposal which the West balked at and rejected.
In Moscow, the Iranians offered a proposal thatÂ included agreeing to halt uraniumenrichmentÂ to 20 percent, to more fully cooperate with international inspections, and to âoperationalizeâ the Supreme Leaderâs fatwa against nuclear weapons. In exchange, Iran asked for easing economic sanctions and international recognition for Iranâs right to have a peaceful nuclear program under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The proposal from the P5+1 demanded that Iran halt 20 percent enrichment, ship out its 20 percent stockpile, and dismantle the highly fortified Fordo enrichment facility. In exchange, the US-led group offered Iran spare parts for its civilian air planes, a pathetic offer that they must have known would not result in much reciprocation.
After the failed talks in 2009 and 2010, wherein Obama ended up rejecting the very deal he demanded the Iranians accept,Â as Harvard professor Stephen Walt has written, the Iranian leadership âhas good grounds for viewing Obama as inherently untrustworthy.â Former CIA analyst Paul Pillar has concurred,Â arguingÂ thatÂ Iran has âample reasonâ to believe, âultimately the main Western interest is in regime change.â
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