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01 Oct 2009 06:121 Comment

Iran Nuke Deal Details

The Daily Beast | Oct. 1, 2009

Michael Adler reports that the "steps to build confidence" announced today are more concrete than Obama revealed. Iran has agreed to ship 1,200 kilograms of enriched uranium to Russia to process for medical purposes.

President Obama's statement about a confidence-building measure from Iran this afternoon left out the key detail: In a breakthrough agreement at talks in Geneva, Iran has agreed to send 1,200 kilograms of enriched uranium to Russia for further processing, two diplomats told the Daily Beast, noting this would mean Iran no longer has enough uranium to make a nuclear weapon.

Same as It Ever Was: Talking Head in Pittsburgh

The Nation | Oct. 1, 2009

Both Iran and the United States were planning a disclosure schedule matching their political needs. Iran's letter of notification to the IAEA was probably timed to strengthen the theocracy's domestic position and Iran's hand in the upcoming Geneva talks. Claims that Iran violated its obligations under the nonproliferation treaty and subsequent annexes are questionable at best and will give international legal experts plump incomes for decades. One of the United States' tactics has been to rearrange the legal requirements of the treaty, then to insist that each new arrogant stipulation is retroactive. Iran naturally objects to this and responds with dense legal barrages, some depending on whether or not the Iranian Parliament ratified the successive amendments to the treaty. Its case is pretty good--certainly a hundred times stronger than Obama's wild accusations, dutifully echoed by his equerries, Sarkozy and Brown. The most persuasive outline of the legal issues comes from Los Angeles-based Muhammad Sahimi, on the (anti-theocracy) site for Frontline's Tehran bureau. [N.B. Tehran Bureau is not an anti-theocracy site.]

Iran Accepts More Talks, IAEA Site Inspection

WaPo | Oct. 1, 2009

A senior U.S. diplomat held a rare bilateral meeting Thursday with his Iranian counterpart, and officials said Iran agreed to further talks with six major powers on its nuclear program.

Western diplomat sources said preparations were also underway for the International Atomic Energy Agency to visit Iran's newly disclosed uranium enrichment facility near Qom before the next meeting takes place.

Burns of US and Jalili of Iran meet

Huff Post | Oct. 1, 2009

The U.S. says senior American and Iranian delegates have met one-on-one on the sidelines of a high-stakes gathering on Tehran's nuclear program.

U.S. spokesman Robert Wood says U.S. Under Secretary of State William Burns met with Saeed Jalili, Tehran's chief negotiator.

Western diplomats said the two discussed issues during a lunch break at Thursday's seven-nation talks in Geneva. Wood, and two Western diplomats who demanded anonymity for discussing the confidential information, declined to elaborate.

It is the first known direct high-level meeting between Washington and Tehran in years of attempts to persuade Iran to freeze its uranium enrichment program. Iran says the program is peaceful, some western nations fear it could eventually produce nuclear weapons.

Iran Again: Is Everyone Bluffing?

NYT | Oct. 1, 2009

So, are we on the verge of further sanctions, or of bombing Iran -- either by the United States or by Israel with the tacit consent of the United States? I don't think so. I think what is happening is a gigantic bluff by all and sundry.

Let us start with Iran. I have always agreed with the U.S. right and the Israelis that Iran intends to achieve the status of a nuclear power. My difference with them has simply been that this seems to me normal, inevitable, and not at all a geopolitical disaster.

From Iran's point of view, there are three nearby nuclear powers -- India, Pakistan and Israel -- who not only have never signed the nonproliferation treaty but actually have nuclear weapons, many nuclear weapons. They are not, however, being accused of violating the norms of the "international community."

So, the Iranians say, why pick on Iran? Iran has, unlike these three nearby countries, signed the nonproliferation treaty, and has up to now not violated its specific provisions. Nonetheless, it is being denounced for a far lesser violation of international norms than that of the three other countries. President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil points out that Brazil is also enriching uranium and sees nothing wrong with Iran doing that.

Waltzing with Tehran

Guardian | Oct. 1, 2009

The circumstances for the first direct talks between the US and Iran since the Shah kissed Elizabeth Taylor could hardly be less auspicious. As the Guardian's Julian Borger notes, tensions were high enough without the recent exposure of the nuclear enrichment facility in Qom and Iran's missile tests last weekend. With them, the talks become a serious high-wire act.

In international discussions like these, countries' negotiators all arrive at the summit from within a particular political context at home that largely governs their gambits and decisions.

This is a fascinating question as pertains to Iran. What is the internal political situation? Does Mahmound Ahmadinejad have a firm hold on power now -- is it as if the fradulent election and the uprisings after them never happened? Or is his position weaker among the mullahs than it was?

Talking with Iran: a Geneva score card

POLITICO | Sept. 30, 2009

Who: Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns is leading the U.S. delegation, accompanied by Robert Einhorn, State Department special adviser on arms control and nonproliferation, Steve Mull, an arms control adviser to Burns, and Puneet Talwar, the National Security Council's senior director for Iran, Iraq and the Persian Gulf. White House spokesman Tommy Vietor and State Department spokesman Robert Wood are also accompanying the U.S. group.

The Washington delegation will be joined in Geneva by their counterparts from the rest of the so-called P Five Plus One - France, Germany, Britain, Russia, and China, as well as European Union Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana. The Iranian delegation will be led by hard-line nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili and Ali Bagheri, the foreign policy chief of Iran's Supreme National Council.

Where: Talks are expected to take place at the Hotel de Ville, slightly outside town. The Swiss Foreign Ministry has set up a press operation in the Intercontinental Hotel, up the street from the United Nations and the Iranian mission, where both the Iranian delegation and at least part of the U.S. delegation plan to stay. The shared venue suggests that some of the more interesting tête-à-têtes may be those that take place outside the seven-nation official gathering.

Hajjarian out on bail

AP | Oct. 1, 2009

Iran has released one of the country's most prominent pro-reform figures on bail after jailing him for more than three months on charges of inciting the country's postelection unrest, state media reported Thursday.

Saeed Hajjarian is considered a top architect and ideologue of the movement pushing for more social and political freedoms in Iran. He is among more than 100 opposition politicians and activists who have been on trial since August to face charges of fomenting the street unrest that broke out after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election in June.

The state-owned IRAN newspaper reported that authorities released Hajjarian Wednesday on $200,000 bail after he spent 110 days in jail.

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1 Comment

Last night Bush's former Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte intimated, in a private speech to the Yale Club in NYC, that the Israelis depiction of Iran as an existential threat may just be "bravado".


RG22 / October 2, 2009 7:03 PM