After months of back and forth between Iran and the United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and Germany – formally known as the P5+1 powers - no real agreement is in sight. The entire sordid enterprise is being revealed as what it always was, a ploy for Iran to gain time in its quest for nuclear weapons and a rationalization for President Obama and his team to justify the removal sanctions they has already pretty much gutted anyway.
As Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif let the West's negotiators and the world at large know, the Iranians are not going to 'kneel' to western concerns about enrichment or possible weaponization.
“As we approach July 20, I feel compelled to warn again that pursuing a game of chicken in an attempt to extract last-minute concessions cannot achieve anything,” Zarif said in a You-Tube message.
This is very much in line with what Iran's atomic energy chief Ali Akbar Salehi announced just last April, that Iran has every right to enrich uranium at weapons grade level.Actually, they don't because Iran violated the NPT Treaty it signed repeatedly as well as a number of UN resolutions demanding it cease enrichment ( which isn;t necessary for energy use or medial treatment, as the Canadians and other countries could tell you) but at this point Iran is used to the west backing down cravenly an dour leaders are happily continuing that tradition.
And speaking of weaponization, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Takhte Ravanchi, a member of Iranian nuclear negotiating team said outright that any questions or negotiation about Iran's ballistic missiles were simply not on the agenda.
"If the talks underway between Iran and G5+1 yield results, the results are definitely observing Iran's intended red lines, and otherwise we will reach no agreement. We will not allow that our country's defense issues be discussed in talks. They have not been discussed and will not be (in the future)."
So, what are those red lines? Aside from the missiles, Iran wants only temporary curbs on enrichment. Or as Reuters reported Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi telling the Iranian media, "any limitation we submit to would be short-term and on a trial basis."
There's also little agreement on any IAEA oversight of Iran's clandestine nuke program. Iranian faculties like Parchin and its heavy water plant at Arak, which has no peacetime application:
Speaking to reporters by phone from the summit, a senior US administration official said that negotiators had agreed an extension of only a few days might be necessary, but that “all eyes” are on the deadline.
Western powers offered “multiple pathways” to Iran to end the nuclear impasse, the official said, adding that the time has come for Iran to choose one of them.
“One can put together different packages” of elements that will prevent the Islamic Republic from acquiring a nuclear weapon, the official said. “The facts are that we are putting down very reasonable positions.”
Nevertheless, the P5+1 powers remain unsatisfied with the degree to which Tehran appears ready to compromise, on virtually every issue before them, ranging from an acceptable cap on uranium enrichment to oversight of research and development, to the degree and pace with which the West should lift sanctions on Iran, and just how long a deal should last.
“Iran has reduced the number of centrifuges it wants but the number is still unacceptably high,” one Western diplomat said on Wednesday, without further detail.
You can say that again. In that now infamous interview with the columnist Jeffrey Goldberg last March, President Obama did some chest thumping about Iran, saying that the Iranians were cooperating because they were afraid of him! To hear President Obama talk, because they're so scared of what he might do, "they've halted their nuclear program, no centrifuges being installed; the 20 percent enriched uranium being drawn down to zero; Arak on hold."
Absolutely none of this is true. The Iranians say flatly that enrichment is continuing, a whole new crop of advanced centrifuges is being installed , and the Iranian heavy water reactor at Arak,which has no peaceful application is not on hold at all.
Right now, Iran has around 19,000 centrifuges installed,many of them the more advanced and more powerful models. With that many centrifuges, Iran not only mains 'breakout capacity' - the ability to quickly convert its enriched uranium stockpile to weapons grade quickly - but the capacity to doit and put together a nuclear bomb secretly without being detected. It's no wonder the Ayatollahs want to hang on to them.
That unidentified official is right, that all eyes are on the deadline. In fact virtually the only thing Iran and the P5+1 agree on is an extension past July 20th, if no progress is made. And why not? If the Iranians need more time to
In future times, men like Barack Obama, John Kerry and UK Foreign Secretary William Hague may very well be regarded by history the way Neville Chamberlain, French Premier Edouard Daladier, and Britain's former Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax are now...as men who refused to look evil in the face and deal with it when it could have been dealt with far more easily, and without the vast carnage that ensued afterwards.