10 Points About Solana's Visit and "Diplomatic Package"

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

EU Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana's visit to Tehran is the latest and most important event related to Iran's nuclear dossier which has received special attention from Iranian and foreign media in recent weeks.

The following are the most important points that can be mentioned in connection with the visit:

1.    The presence of representatives from 5+1 countries in Solana's entourage can be regarded as a message from these countries to Iran. On this basis, the West by adding special representatives who follow the interests of their own countries is launching direct negotiations with Iran. Without doubt, the presence of representatives from Germany, UK, France, Russia and China in these negotiations, in addition to its sensitivity, reminds one of the West's special approach regarding these talks.

2.    Presentation of a new package to Iran under conditions that the West's illogical pressures within the political resolutions of the United Nations Security Council have unsuccessfully continued, demonstrates some basic points. For example, 5+1 have realized that more pressure on Iran would inflict heavy costs on them and for the same reason they would like to restore the diplomatic trend through offering another package. This would also partially revive the West's lost unanimity vis-à-vis Iran.

3.    Although details of the 5+1 proposed package to Iran have not been disclosed but if we relied on what the Western media have published in this respect, the new package has no substantial difference with the previous one presented by the West to encourage Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment. What was offered to Iran in 2006 included the lifting of some trade sanctions imposed by the US, promotion of Iran's political and economic relations with the West, providing foreign technical assistance to Iran in the field of nuclear energy, and supply of required fuel for its nuclear plants in return for Iran's halt to part of its nuclear program such as uranium enrichment and launch of nuclear installations for an unspecified period of time.

4.    The formula applied in the previous two packages offered by the West was that of win-lose against Iran and was rejected by Tehran on the same ground. But it seems what Iran has offered as an "alternative to the former formula" within a new package enjoys considerable potentials in this respect. Undoubtedly, the Action Plan as an effective model which would have resulted in a win-win game was it not for the obstructions of certain Western countries, can also be executed here.

5.    In the two previous cases, Tehran explicitly rejected the packages calling for uranium suspension and stressed that continuation of such a strategy by 5+1 would be fruitless. At the same time, Iran while insisting on the option of "uranium enrichment" has always placed negotiations with all the parties for the cause of confidence building and continued international interactions on its agenda. Based on the argument of Iranian officials, presentation of new packages by 5+1 in case of repeating previous stances would be ineffective. Therefore, Tehran's expectations from the West are something beyond the previous packages.

6.    Another point which should be taken into account within the “diplomatic package” is that the IRI by taking the initiative in offering its own package to the West has practically refrained from playing their pre-orchestrated game and has launched a "bilateral discourse" in the field of "nuclear diplomacy". On this basis, in addition to considering the likelihood of rejecting the 5+1 package it has also prompted the reaction of these countries.

7.    Now we have to wait for the response of the two sides to each other's packages. We have to see whether the 5+1 package would make an opening in Iran's nuclear case or would it just include incentives for Iran to accept the UN Security Council resolutions on the issue. In other words, we should see instances that Solana had stressed upon earlier in the concept of "starting a new trend". Without doubt if the presence of representatives of Europe plus Russia and China in the Tehran talks could be regarded as bypassing – though relatively – the "one-sided dominion of America" in confronting Iran's nuclear case, one could pin hope in the new package though temporarily. But we should first see which part of Bush's recent deliberations with Europe would affect their decision at this juncture: His "course-plotting" or his good-bye to the White House?


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