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Nuclear proposal leaves Ahmadinejad on the sidelines


03 Nov 2009 13:201 Comment
irna633746115772500000.jpg[ comment ] Iran's judiciary chief Sadeq Larijani has become the latest high-ranking Iranian official to express skepticism about an international proposal to send the country's nuclear fuel abroad for further enrichment.

To Larijani's mind, the proposal was "not in the interests of the country."

"Based on the NPT, the advanced nations are obliged to provide to Iran the necessary uranium," he told a group of top judiciary officials.

What, if anything, the judiciary, currently busy issuing sentences to post-election detainees, has to do with Iran's nuclear program is an open question. But at a time when nothing less than Iran's relationship with the rest of the world is at stake, back at home, there is political hay to be made.

"If we approach talks with the United States without care and precision, and we make superficial statements we cannot be successful," Larijani said in a barb directed squarely at President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

In recent days, the president has been trumpeting loudly what he considers to be Iran's triumph in being recognized by the West. On Thursday, he told a rally in the holy city of Mashhad that "conditions for international nuclear cooperation" had been met.

Quite rightly, the western media have paid less attention to this than to the subsequent, more skeptical noises coming from deeper within the establishment.

While Ahmadinejad was still in Mashhad, as usual with his entire cabinet in tow, the Head of Iran's Parliamentary National Security Council, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, told reporters that Iranian negotiators had told of Iran's "broad distrust" of western states during talks with the 5+1 powers in Vienna last month.

"There is no confidence that they will give us 20% enriched fuel in exchange for 3.5% enriched fuel," Boroujerdi said.

Though the Majles itself has no direct say in Iran's nuclear policy, it's Security and Foreign Policy Council has the ear of the Supreme Leader, and thus Boroujerdi's comments are a more credible barometer of Iran's stance than Ahmadinejad's crowd-pleasing schtick.

For four years, the president's have been directed west, never north across the Caspian Sea. But the proposed main partner to the international deal, Russia, has not been spared in complaints from within the country's decision-making organs which should make it clear that Iran has no real reason to believe that "conditions have been met."

"Our expectation with the Bushehr plant was for it to have started operating by now but the Russians did not respect their contract with Iran," Boroujerdi said.

Russia agreed to aid the construction of Iran's only nuclear power plant in the southern city of Bushehr in 1995. The plant is slated for completion later this year -- two years later than scheduled -- after what the Iranian government considers to be foot-dragging and a string of broken promises.

It would seem that such grievances as this, and the nuclear contract left unfulfilled by France over the last three decades ($1 billion unreturned) are less easily wiped off the slate than all the rhetorical plots, sedition, and greater and lesser Satans which Ahmadinejad now seems prepared to forgive and forget.

There is an almost pitifully colonized attitude evident in Ahmadinejad's glee at Iran's suddenly gaining the upper hand in these nuclear talks. All that time he was berating the West for its imperialism, it's oppression and its opposition to Iran's progress -- it seems that, secretly, his most fervent desire was to sit with them at the negotiating table. Setting off prematurely on his victory lap, he has revealed how peripheral he himself is to the real decision-making process.

Copyright © 2009 Tehran Bureau

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1 Comment

This is all utter nonsense. Larijani's comment was a generic one line concern, NOT an outright opposition of the deal. Show us some actual quotes! Second, this standard assumption that "factionalism" is blocking Iran's acceptance of the deal is just absurd. Who really believes that Iran sent off a negotiating team to Vienna free-lance? Sure Khamenei and Iran's SNSC, with all its different parts (from Kharrazi to Velayati) were surely involved in detail, long before Vienna. Ah, but received wisdom now has it that somehow A/N was freelancing it. again, utter nonsense -- even as it's become standard mantra among the beltway bandits here in the us)

Picard / November 4, 2009 5:46 PM