Ahmadinejad: Iran to Insist on Rights to Civilian Nuclear Program

Little Room for Compromise at Istanbul Talks

by Jason Ditz, April 12, 2012

Speaking ahead of high profile weekend talks with the P5+1, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad insisted that Iran would “not retreat an iota” in asserting its rights to a civilian nuclear program, saying that the “harshest pressure” won’t change their position.

Generally speaking, Ahmadinejad’s influence on Iranian policy is fairly weak, particularly after a blistering defeat for his bloc in the last parliament elections. On the nuclear issue, however, he seems roughly in line with the rest of the nation’s leadership, with the civilian energy program remaining a top priority for the country.

Iran’s position is in line with its rights as a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) and an IAEA member, but far from the US position, which at least publicly is demanding that Iran unconditionally abandon its entire program, and surrender all of its nuclear fuel to the West.

With the two sides so far apart, and with reports that the US has an “understanding” with Israel on not budging on certain demands, there appears to be very little room for compromise between the two sides, and the White House today indicated it is looking beyond the meeting to impose more sanctions on Iran after its inevitable failure.

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