Iran Nuclear Watch: Uranium Enrichment Halt Not a Precondition to Negotiations
Javad Vaeedi, deputy head of Tehran’s national security council and of its nuclear negotiating team, speaks to the students of Tehran’s universities at the Bahman cultural center in Tehran February 14, 2006. Iran could stop enriching uranium at best only as a result of negotiations with big powers, but not as a precondition for such talks as they demand, Vaeedi said on Thursday.
Reuters: Iran could halt fuel work only after talks: negotiator
Iran could stop enriching uranium at best only as a result of negotiations with big powers, but not as a precondition for such talks as they demand, a senior Iranian official said on Thursday.
It appeared to be the first time Tehran had hinted at the possibility of suspending nuclear fuel enrichment the West sees as an atomic bomb risk. But the insistence that this could only happen after negotiations was likely to be rejected by the major powers.
Iran would never renounce its “legitimate right” to civilian atomic energy under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, said Javad Vaeedi, deputy head of Tehran’s national security council and of its nuclear negotiating team.
Vaeedi also said Iran was taking its time to reply to an offer of economic incentives to halt nuclear work — prompting U.S. accusations of stalling — in order “to maximize the chances of success of this proposal.”
“Iran considers a suspension of uranium enrichment not as a precondition for talks, rather in the best case as a result of talks,” he said in a speech to a rightist political foundation in Vienna, headquarters of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency.
“Negotiations without preconditions are the only way to a peaceful resolution of this crisis,” he said. Vaeedi spoke in Farsi and his remarks were translated into English and German.
Iran continues to be in a hard place diplomatically, as a result of Condoleezza Rice’s gambit. A uranium enrichment halt will always be a pre-condition for any Big 6 initiative. But, Iran, even should they wish to accept the Big 6 offer will have to “save face” with its own people and the other Arab/Islamic states.
Let Flap help them out of their dilemma.
What if Iran were to propose a plan to halt the enrichment of uranium for ten years (along with full IAEA inspections), coupled with all of the other incentives offered by the West (e.g. light water reactor, trade aid, direct talks with USA, technology transfers from USA, including airlines and airplane parts, etc.)? The face saving part would be that Iran continues its soverign right to enrchment but as a matter of expedience/benefit of Iran and in the face of world concerns is willing to accept a brief moratorium. Flap is positive this will be acceptable to the West.
But, if Iran wants to continue uranium enrichment to build nuclear weapons, they won’t accept this modified offer either.
So, this statement by Vaeedi and the continued stalling by Ahmadinejad means Iran has not yet worked out a game plan. Iran will need to act soon or face the United Nations Security Council.
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The Natanz uranium enrichment complex in Natanz is pictured in this January 2, 2006 satellite image.
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