TEHRAN, 15 Oct. (IPS) As the group of eight most industrialised powers gathered in Washington on Friday 15 October 2004 to decide on a possible united stand concerning Iran’s nuclear ambitions, some hard line officials rejected before hand the latest “carrot and stick” proposal put forward by the European Union.
The strongest warning to both the G-8 came from Mr. Ala’eddin Broujerdi, the Head of the National Security and Foreign Affairs Committee of the conservatives-dominated Majles, or parliament reiterating that Tehran might stop future inspections by international nuclear experts in case Iran’s dossier at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is referred to the United Nations Security Council.
The strongest warning to both the G-8 came from Mr. Ala’eddin Broujerdi reiterating that Tehran might stop future inspections by international nuclear experts in case Iran’s dossier at the IAEA is referred to the United Nations Security Council.
Speaking during a press conference in Moscow, Mr. Broujerdi also repeated that if the international community increases pressures on Iran aimed at stopping its uranium enriching activities, the Majles would refuse ratifying the Additional Protocol to the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) allowing IAEA’s inspectors unrestricted access to all Iranian nuclear-related sites and projects.
The agreement, that also included suspension of uranium enriching was signed by Hojjatoleslam Hasan Rohani, the influential Secretary of Iran’s Supreme Council on National Security (SCNS) signed the Protocol on 20 October last year with foreign affairs ministers of Britain, France and Germany, known as the European Union’s “Big 3” who, in turn, pledged to help Tehran access to advanced nuclear technologies for non military purposes and closing Iran’s file with the Vienna-based IAEA.
The terms of the Agreement soon became the subject of unending controversies between Tehran with both the IAEA and the Big 3 in the one hand and the Trio with the United States on the other as nuclear inspectors found out that not only Tehran had not respected its engagements, but had also introduced more and new centrifuges for treating uranium.
Iran accused the trio of breach of agreement and observed that suspension does not mean stopping and also the measure was “voluntarily and unilaterally aimed at building confidence”.
For its part, Washington that pushes for a firmer stand against Iran, including treats of economic sanctions at the Security Council’s level, criticised the so-called Big 3 on the Tehran Agreement, pointing correctly to the use of the word “suspension” instead of “stop”.
In their last meeting that ended on 18 September, the 35 members of the Agency’s Board of Directors gave Iran until the end of November this year to prove it has ceased all activities related to uranium enrichment, including reprocessing uranium and building centrifuges used to enrich it, underlining that if not, they would sent the affair to the UN’s Security Council for decision, that would include economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Tehran immediately rejected the Resolution. Hard line newspapers, mot of them mouthpieces of Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i, the regime’s orthodox Muslim leader, called on the government of the powerless President Mohammad Khatami to get out of the NPT, as did North Korea and lawmakers said they would refuse approving the Protocol.
At the same time, officials in charge of the negotiations with IAEA and the EU’s Trio while expressing their displeasure at the latest resolution said they would continue cooperation with the IAEA, provided Iran’s “legitimate rights’ of access to nuclear technologies are recognised.
No treaties require Iran to stop enriching uranium and use nuclear technology for civilian uses and Tehran has said it has no intention of halting its work, which it has allowed the IAEA to monitor.
To diffuse a situation that looks more and more going straight to a dead end, the foreign affairs ministers of the 25 members European Union on 12 October came out with a new dish, offering Tehran a melange of carrots and hard bones (sticks) that also pleased somehow the Americans palate: Supplying fuel for Iran’s nuclear-powered electricity plants and the possibility of investing in the country’s future such stations as well as America’s scrapping some of its economic sanctions that cripples Iran’s poor economy, like giving the possibility of buying passenger planes from Boeing and modern technologies for oil industry.
Diplomatic sources said the Washington meeting of officials from United States, Canada, Japan, Italy, France, Germany and Britain plus Russia
aims at send a signal to Tehran that the international community is seriously concerned about the Islamic republic obtaining nuclear weapons.
John Bolton, the State Department's Under Secretary for Arms control and International Security, and Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage are quoted to have said that Washington is open to proposals regarding Iran, but that the matter must be referred to the Security Council unless Tehran comes forward quickly to resolve international concerns.
Sources said Washington is not likely to seek a more open dialogue with Tehran on the matter until after the November 2 presidential election here, rather than risk a political storm as voters head to the polls.
The United States is "open to all ideas" to prevent Iran from developing nuclear arms, Armitage said Wednesday in Tokyo, warning that Washington is prepared to press for punishment if Tehran does not act.
"We hold the view that Iran needs to be brought to account, and we would like to move to the U.N. Security Council after the November board of governors meeting, but we're open to all ideas that people have", he told newsmen.
The G 8 is meeting as Russia announced that is has completed the first phase of the US Dollars 800 million electricity project it is building on the Persian Gulf port of Booshehr and that an accord has been reached with Iran over the repatriation of the spent fuel, assuring the international community that the technology would not be turned for military uses, as Washington and Israel insists that the Boohehr deal could help Tehran build nuclear weapons.
The G 8 is meeting as Russia announced that is has completed the first phase of the US Dollars 800 million electricity project it is building on the Persian Gulf port of Booshehr.
"All the external (construction) work has been finished and the main equipment shipped", Vitaly Nasonov, spokesman for Russia's Federal Atomic Energy Agency, told The Associated Press, adding that Atomic Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev is scheduled to travel to Iran next month to sign agreements on shipping nuclear fuel to Iran and returning the spent fuel back to Russia.
International nuclear experts have expressed doubts the agreement will be signed before the United Nations resolves foreign concerns over Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program.
Both Democrats and Republicans increasingly believe that Iran will be the next big foreign policy flash point -- and that action may prove necessary soon after the U.S. presidential election next month, no matter who wins, the Washington Post said on Friday.
The Bush Administration has agreed to look at trio’s last plan for Iran. "Iran is definitely the next big issue. It's the number one issue that any administration, be it Kerry or Bush, will have to face immediately because of the intelligence assessment that predicts Iran could have the know-how and capability as early as the summer of 2005", the Post quoted a senior State Department official, who requested anonymity because of the sensitive diplomacy.
"That's a disputed intelligence claim," the official said. "But any capability in the hands of a rogue nation with a long record of supporting terror and a clear interest in challenging the U.S. and Israel makes that the clearest threat facing U.S. interests in the next administration", the official added.
The new initiative emerged from talks on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly last month between G-8 foreign ministers and Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. The G-8 ministers outlined a two-step proposal with a deadline pegged to the next meeting of the IAEA, in Vienna on Nov. 25, U.S. and European officials said.
Given that Britain, France and Germany did not win Iran's compliance, European members of the G-8 are seeking a broader front. That would take away Iran's ability to play one country off another and undermine Tehran's contention that the three nations were operating under U.S. pressure, U.S. officials said, according to the Washington Post.
The Washington meeting of the G-8
aims at sending a signal to Tehran that the international community is seriously concerned about the Islamic republic obtaining nuclear weapons
"We want to make clear to Iran that it has to comply immediately, and everyone agrees we should go to the Security Council [if it does not]. If they do, we might start talking about what we might be able to offer -- in comprehensive ways, not just economic", said a European envoy who has seen the proposal.
The plan has some support within the State Department, but the Bush administration is not eager to put its name on an offer that could help Iran avoid censure by the Security Council. While it has continually suggested that the council needs to discuss Iran's nuclear intentions, the administration has held back on stating that sanctions or other punitive measures should be placed on Tehran.
In Tehran meanwhile, lawmakers bitterly attacked the Big 3’s “cowardice”, saying one can no more relay on them.
“We shall not give the European’s a role more than what they are in reality and their policy of stick and carrots is only under American and Zionists pressures”, said Mr. Manouchehr Mottaki, a member of the National Security and Foreign Affairs Committee, speaking at a round table organised by the hard liner’s-controlled Television.
Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran’s former Envoy at the IAEA said the new incentive is both “unrealistic and illogical”. “Using nuclear energy saves a lot of oil, a source that is dwindling down every day”, he told the same debate explaining why Iran its needs for electricity be satisfied with atomic power.
“We are on a cross roads. Either we stand firm (to the West and the IAEA) and we win, or we give in and we loose every thing”, he warned. IRAN NUCLEAR 151004