Iran’s proposals after in multiple rounds of nuclear talks are “non-starters,” said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday while meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel.
“I made very clear that the proposals that we have seen from Iran thus far within the P5+1 negotiations are non-starters,” Clinton said.
“Despite three rounds of talks, Iran has yet to make a strategic decision to address the international community’s concerns and fulfill their obligations under the IAEA and the UN Security Council,” Clinton said.
Mrs. Clinton must not have been paying attention. In Moscow, the Iranians made a proposal that included agreeing to halt uranium enrichment to 20 percent, to greater access for the IAEA, and to a plan to “operationalize” the Supreme Leader’s fatwa against nuclear weapons. This would be in exchange for easing economic sanctions and international recognition for Iran’s right to have a peaceful nuclear program.
The US refusal to recognize valid and viable Iranian concessions indicates a lack of interest in true settlement and a total refusal to make reciprocal concessions.
In principle, the Western aggression against Iran and the talks themselves are illegitimate. There is a consensus in the US intelligence community that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons and has demonstrated no intention to do so.
Still, the sanctions and then negotiations were imposed on Iran. But the so-called diplomacy with Iran has been “predicated on intimidation, illegal threats of military action, unilateral ‘crippling’ sanctions, sabotage, and extrajudicial killings of Iran’s brightest minds,” writes Reza Nasri at PBS Frontline’s Tehran Bureau. These postures have spoiled the chance to resolve this issue promptly and respectfully.
After the failed talks in 2009 and 2010, wherein Obama ended up rejecting the very deal he demanded the Iranians accept, as Harvard professor Stephen Walt has written, the Iranian leadership “has good grounds for viewing Obama as inherently untrustworthy.” Former CIA analyst Paul Pillar has concurred, arguing that Iran has “ample reason” to believe, “ultimately the main Western interest is in regime change.”
Since the peaceful nature of Iran’s current nuclear program is so widely accepted, the only real gripe people have is that Tehran is slightly too opaque on the issue (this, despite all declared enrichment sites being subject to international inspections and having 24-hour video surveillance). Any opaqueness Iran has demonstrated, along with its emphasis on being “nuclear capable,” is merely a defensive posture from a regime that fears US or Israeli aggression.
But there is a simple solution to this which would vastly decrease the geopolitical tensions in the region, yet is seen as out of the question by the US. If Israel, Iran’s main adversary and not a NPT signatory, agreed to dismantling its vast stockpiles of nuclear weapons and to a deal enforcing a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East – a deal Iran has repeatedly proposed – Iran’s defensive posture would probably expire, along with the whole dispute about its nuclear program.