Lacking concrete details about the Geneva talks, can we draw any conclusions at all?
We think we found at least one in a recent tweet from Foreign Minister Zarif himself: “we just started a process to close an unnecessary crisis and open new horizons.”
From the Iranian perspective, then, for some unknown reason the nuclear crisis was thrust upon Tehran – which is just doing its best to sort it outfor the benefit of all concerned.
Iranian-source reports about Foreign Minister Zarif’s powerpoint presentation seem to corroborate this sense by emphasizing the one-sided nature of Tehran’s demands:
- Accepting Iran’s nuclear right for developing, investigating, producing and using nuclear energy.
- Employing truth-finding strategies.
- International cooperation for fulfillment of Iran’s rights.
- Halting all the sanctions imposed on Iran.
- Cooperation in common interests and concerns.
If Iran does not recognize its own responsibility for the current situation the world is in regarding its suspect nuclear program and resulting from years of feet dragging, angry denials and non-transparency,what chances do we have of actually resolving it?
Iran watchers shouldn’t be surprised: more than a hint of this was already included in President Rouhani’s UNGA speech, when he reminded the world that Iran’s “nuclear technology, inclusive of enrichment, has already reached industrial scale. It is, therefore, an illusion, and extremely unrealistic, to presume that the peaceful nature of the nuclear program of lran could be ensured through impeding the program via illegitimate pressures”.
In other words, Rouhani says, Iran has gone too far to stop now. So why not make one-sided demands if you’re Tehran?
Following this line, a few days before the start of the Geneva talks an Iranian representative at the UN in New York challenged the authority of the Security Council – whose permanent members they were about to meet – to enforce global peace and security, including through sanctions. A coincidence? Not at all: Undermining the UNSC is just another negotiating tactic meant to place the blame on someone else.
Our (preliminary) conclusion: if the P5+1 does not convince Iran to recognize its own responsibility for the nuclear crisis, Tehran will grow increasingly confident about its ability to realize most of its demands with minimum cost. In that scenario the crisis will not be resolved, only contained momentarily – until it explodes in the future.
Update from November 6th: Amitai Etzioni suggests a “A ‘Syrian’ Approach – to Iran“.
The P5+1 should handle negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program just as it did with Syria’s chemical weapons program by requesting/ordering Iran to provide (access to) relevant information under a tight schedule:
- Iran should provide within a “few weeks” a list of all nuclear sites including details of all activities that could be related to a nuclear program meant to build a bomb: centirfuges, eniriching, stockpiling etc…
- Within a few more weeks, a “swarm of IAEA inspectors” should visit all (!) the listed sites to inspect and verify the information provided by Iran.
- The inspectors and intelligence organizations should focus on possible “intent” by looking for evidence of nuclear triggering technologies, computer modeling of explosions, test of “implosions” etc…