May 26, 2012
So the grand Barack Obama administration foreign policy strategy of trying to square the circle between an Iranian nuclear deal and getting the eurozone economy back on the road slouches towards … what exactly? (See War and cheeseburgers Asia Times Online, May 22)
Not even Zeus knows. At least what was on the table this week in both Baghdad and Brussels has kept the ball rolling further on down the road in Moscow and Paris/Berlin.
The story in Baghdad
The much-anticipated meeting of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the US, China, Russia, Britain and France plus Germany (P5+1) with Iran in Baghdad at least produced a result; a third round of negotiations in Moscow next month.
It couldn’t be any other way. A divided P5+1 (the US and the Europeans on one side, BRICS members China and Russia on the other) wanted Iran to totally halt their uranium enrichment to 19.75% – to which it has a right, as it subscribes to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). In exchange, the P5+1 offered a “sanctions-lite” package, allowing the sale of US aircraft spare parts and a vague “assistance” in developing Iran’s energy sector.
Tehran was unmoved; to succeed, this P5+1 package had to be “significantly revised and reformed”, according to the IRNA news agency. Tehran’s ultimate objective in these negotiations is to soften the Security Council sanctions. For the leadership, a schism is very clear between the UN as a whole and the wall of mistrust involving any US government. Both Russia and China support Iran’s position.
Tehran even accepts, in principle, the idea of a foreign supply of 19.75% enriched uranium for the production of medical isotopes at its medical reactor. And it might even agree with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspecting the military base in Parchin (although that is not part of the IAEA mandate).
This article was posted: Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 3:11 am