Barbara Slavin reports: US Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif were all smiles after their historic 30-minute meeting on Sept. 26, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
But their optimism could fade quickly if the two sides fail to meet mutual expectations in Geneva next week. The Americans and the other permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) are waiting for the Iranians to table a serious new proposal, while the Iranians expect to learn what they will receive in return, both immediately and at the end of the negotiating process.
Iranian officials in New York for UN meetings over the past two weeks have told the Americans that they are willing to offer significant concessions in Geneva on Oct. 15-16, but need to know “the endgame” before taking the first steps.
European diplomats have told Al-Monitor that the P5+1 are still debating how to respond to various possible initial Iranian concessions.
The crux of a deal is likely to be international acknowledgement that Iran can continue enriching uranium at a low level under stringent conditions. In the short term, Iranians appear to be expecting US President Barack Obama to waive or slow implementation of some punishing sanctions in return for curbing or suspending key elements of their nuclear program; at the end, they envision removal of all nuclear-related penalties on Iran’s oil exports and international financial transactions in exchange for permanent limits on the program and enhanced international monitoring. [Continue reading…]
I certainly hope that these talks produce more than just posturing. I also believe that if Israel is kept out of them, whether their views or demands, that progress can/will be made. That Israel demands total abandonment, while it retains its own arsenal of WMDS, makes a joke of the whole process.
The best way to test Rouhani’s word is to compare it to his past actions. While Rouhani denounces Assad in Syria, Iran continues to be one of Assad’s last supporters, even after he used chemical weapons on his own people. Rouhani has denounced terrorism, yet Iran still supports Hezbollah, and has reportedly resumed its support of Hamas. Rouhani also denounced using proxies to destabilize the region, but what are Hamas and Hezbollah if not just that? Rouhani claims Iran will never develop nuclear weapons, but for 16 years he was secretary of the Iranian Supreme National Security Council, which formulates Iranian nuclear policy. This means Rouhani played a direct and influential role in getting Iran’s nuclear program where it is today. He furthermore claims Iran wants to develop a constructive dialogue, but during his tenure as secretary, Iran assassinated opposition leaders in Berlin, blew up a Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires, and blew up the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, which resulted in the death of 19 American soldiers. On September 1, Iraqi forces killed 52 residents of Camp Ashraf and took seven hostages. In this massacre, ordered by the religious fascism ruling Iran, the attackers’ shot unarmed people while their hands were tied behind their backs .This is a great crime against humanity that should not go unheeded in silence and inaction. Iran needs to be held accountable and sanctions shouldn’t be lifted simply based on promises, but on concrete actions.