Western Leaders Reject Iranian Proposal for Wider Access for UN Inspectors

Iran also rejected the West's proposal to halt 20 percent enrichment in exchange for small benefits

Western leaders on Thursday rejected proposals by Iranian nuclear negotiators to alleviate concerns about Iran’s nuclear program, while Iran rejected an incentive package from the six world powers.

Iran and the P5+1 – the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany – are in Baghdad for talks about Iran’s nuclear program. While an agreement has not yet been reached, negotiations reportedly “did not appear in danger of collapse.”

The Western offer calls on Tehran to halt the production of 20 percent enriched uranium, which is the highest grade produced by Iran and used for the country’s lone medical research reactor. In exchange, the world powers offered benefits, including delivery of the medical isotopes Iran is creating with the 20 percent enriched uranium, some spare parts for civilian airliners that are needed in Iran, among other things.

But Western leaders rejected Iranian request for an immediate easing of harsh economic sanctions in return for promises to give wider access to U.N. inspectors, among other concessions.

Iranian analyst Hassan Abedini called the Western proposal unfair. “Giving up 20 percent enrichment levels in return for plane spare parts is a joke,” said Abedini. “The package is unbalanced and therefore unacceptable.”

The sanctions that have been heaped on Iran are quite serious and far-reaching. They have already damaged the economy severely, facilitating increased unemployment and rampant inflation. The purpose behind them seems to be to harass and intimidate leaders in Tehran as opposed to being punishment for some unlawful act.

The fact is that the Obama administration, and the whole of the U.S. intelligence community, knows full well that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons and has not demonstrated any intention to do so.

Even the top brass of the Obama administration and military leadership, from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey have publicly declared that Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons.

So despite the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program and despite Iran’s demonstrated cooperation with the international inspections regime, Western powers – led by the U.S. – refuse to ease the sanctions in return for even more access for U.N. inspectors.

Author: John Glaser

John Glaser writes for Antiwar.com.