Monday 11 March 2013

Nuclear Challenges Will Not Be To Our Detriment

Rooz Online

Just a few days after the conclusion of nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 powers in Kazakhstan, Iran’s top leader ayatollah Khamenei announced that the West had not in fact given Iran any special rights or privileges in the talks. At the same time, the representative of the country at the IAEA called the demands of the nuclear watchdog “unlawful.”

In a meeting with members of the Assembly of Experts on Leadership, who jointly monitor and constitutionally are charged with electing the country’s new supreme leader, Khamenei commented on the recent talks in Almaty and said, “The West did not do anything special that could be constituted giving a right at these talks. They only made a small acknowledgment of the right of the Iranian nation.”

He also said, “To make a judgment on the sincerity of the West at the last meeting, we have to wait for the next gathering.” “The nuclear issue is apparently the excuse for the sanctions, but the real reason for that is a long-term one pursued by the West. The main goal of the sanctions is to make people confront the Islamic state. The West hoped that by applying pressure on people, the nation would rise against the regime, something that the Bahman 22 anniversary (the celebrations for the 43th anniversary of the 1979 revolution) disproved.” Khamenei acknowledged that talks over the nuclear issue were a challenge for the Islamic regime, but added, “This challenge will not be to our detriment.”

At the end of the two-day talks in Almaty, Kazakhstan between Iran and the P5+1 powers (permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany) last week, it was announced that both sides had agreed to continue to meet again following the technical talks in Istanbul and those in Almaty. And while no official announcement has been made on the results of the talk, it is said that sanctions against Iran will not be lifted.

At the same time Khamenei publicly presented his views on the recent talks, Iran’s representative at the IAEA Ali Asqar Soltanieh accused the agency of being responsible for the inconclusiveness of the talks on the country’s nuclear program, and added that Iran had done its utmost to cooperate with the agency.

Iran’s official news agency, IRNA, recently published three letters that Soltanieh had apparently sent to IAEA director general Yukiya Amano in which the director’s reports are strongly criticized.

Earlier this week after Amano was reelected as the director by the IAEA board of directors, Soltanieh publicly announced that the reason why talks between Iran and the IAWA had not succeeded was because of the “performance of the secretariat of the agency and the remote management of the talks.” In his criticism of Amano and the agency, Soltanieh’s letters specifically criticized what they called pressure on Iran to implement the provisions of what are known as the additional protocols for further nuclear safeguards, leakage of Iran’s classified information to Western intelligence agencies, and absence of pressure on the West to implement its obligations under the IAEA treaty.

These letters were published last week after Amano had called on the Islamic republic to provide IAEA inspectors access to Parchin military base. Amano had said that the provision of access to the installation would help indicate Iran’s determination to cooperate with the agency over international concerns. Amano also said that there had been no progress in the talks with Iran since 2012. Last month a group of IAEA inspectors visited Iran but were denied access to visit the Parchin base.

Among the West’s responses to the lack of progress in talks between Iran and the P5+1, US representative to the agency Joseph Macmanus said, “I must insist that we will not accept any more delays by Iran regarding its obligations to the agency and the diplomatic process can no longer replace this.”

Prior to him, the new US secretary of state John Kerry had also said that Iran’s chance to cooperate with the international community over its nuclear program is approaching its end. He added that there was now an opportunity for Iran to present a serious proposal. He also restated the US president’s announcement that the US was ready to engage Iran in talks regarding serious proposals to promote peace.

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