MR
23.01.11
Obama Continues to Repeat Bush's Failures on Iran's Nuclear Program
by Cyrus Safdari

As we watch the media spin the outcome of the latest round of negotiations in Turkey over Iran's nuclear program, it is a good time to remind the public that we've been down this path before.

In the past, Iran has repeatedly made several compromise offers over its enrichment program that exceeded the current proposal for a uranium swap, only to have the offers thrown back in its face by the US, which keeps on moving the goalposts.

Included amongst these was a previous offer by Iran to have the bulk of its uranium enriched overseas.  As the former IAEA head ElBaradei noted in 2006, Iran offered to allow the bulk of its enrichment program to move entirely overseas, with Iran keeping only a small-scale and symbolic R&D enrichment program subject to more intrusive inspections:

Iran has publicly insisted on its right to enrich uranium on its soil.  Yet ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), suggested Tehran's position was more flexible.

"The Iranians, as far as I know, agreed in principle that for a number of years (uranium) enrichment should be part of an international consortium outside of Iran," he said.

He said the Iranians told him that once negotiations resumed on their nuclear programme, they were ready to apply the "additional protocol" to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty aimed at tightening inspections.

This, despite the fact that the Iranians had already been cheated under a similar foreign enrichment arrangement.

And what happened?  Well, ElBaradei explained later:

I have seen the Iranians ready to accept putting a cap on their enrichment [program] in terms of tens of centrifuges, and then in terms of hundreds of centrifuges.  But nobody even tried to engage them on these offers.  Now Iran has 5,000 centrifuges.  The line was, "Iran will buckle under pressure."  But this issue has become so ingrained in the Iranian soul as a matter of national pride.  (emphasis added)

So what did the US accomplish by refusing to accept Iran's compromise offer?  More centrifuges.  And what happened when the US prevented Iran from buying IAEA-monitored fuel for a civilian nuclear, an IAEA-monitored reactor that made medical isotopes?  Iran had to increase its enrichment levels to make its own fuel.  And on top of that, several countries have explicitly acknowledged that Iran has a right to enrich uranium, and the people of Iran themselves support their nuclear program now more than ever too.

So, I have to ask, how's that "zero enrichment" demand left over from the Bush years working out for you, Mrs. Clinton?

Why is the US insisting on this policy despite the fact that it obviously isn't limiting Iran's nuclear program to any appreciable extent?  Because the nuclear dispute is pretextual anyway.  The continued US demand that Iran should be totally deprived of all enrichment know-how, a demand that violates the NPT, conveniently enough torpedoes any potential resolution to the conflict, ensuring that the US can continue to use the nuclear issue as a pretext, just like phantom WMDs in Iraq.

As for the current negotiations and the latest "uranium swap" deal: as I said before, Iran already accepted a proposal to ship its uranium overseas in return for promises of receiving nuclear reactor fuel, but at the last minute the US killed the deal: the US pulled the rug out from under the Brazilians and Turks who had negotiated the deal, by inserting a last-minute demand that Iran also cease enrichment.

So, as I keep saying: the US demonstrates a consistent pattern of moving goalposts and ignoring the facts because it does not want to resolve the issue and instead needs to keep the nuclear pretext alive.

But is there any actual evidence of nukes in Iran?  Not according to the IAEA's former head, and not according to the IAEA's current head, and in fact the IAEA has complained -- repeatedly -- that US assertions and "intelligence" tips on Iran's nukes have proven to be bogus.  Not according to the "experts," not according to the CIA, etc., etc. -- though none of that has ever stopped all the rolling predictions about an imminent Iranian nuclear weapons program or the adulatory talk of the Obama administration's "success" for having supposedly "slowed down" Iran's "nuclear weapons program."


Cyrus Safdari is an independent Iranian analyst.  Visit his Web site Iran Affairs: IranAffairs.com
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