Americans, More Reliable than Russians

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Interview with Dr. Ahmad Naqibzadeh
International Affairs Analyst

How do you see Iran’s response to IAEA draft proposal?

Active ImageIran’s dexterity in negotiations could give it what it wants. But the other side is losing its patience and is not ready to discuss any new proposals. The failure of talks may lead to new sanctions.

Why do Americans believe that Iran’s reply to the proposal is unsatisfactory?

The initial agreement was that Iran would hand its 5% enriched uranium stockpile and receive nuclear fuel. This was West’s plan to defer the threat of an Iranian nuclear bomb for at least one or two years. On the other side, Iran has labored for years to produce this uranium stockpile and is not ready to yield it up easily. We used to think that Iran’s nuclear dossier is a lose-lose situation. Within the recent days it gave the impression that it could be a win-win case. However, a few days had to pass for us to understand that nothing has changed. Both parties are willing to wield time in their own favor. West, for its part, categorically rejects the existence of a nuclear Iran.

Some observers state that Iran’s decision to transfer its uranium to Russia and other countries step by step is justifiable, since Russia may renege on the agreement after a few years. What is your opinion?

Legally speaking, yes. Iran is right. But West has serious concerns and that is what leads to such demands. On this special case, I think it is better for Iran to enter into talks with the United States instead of Russia. We can never trust Russians. They have been always playing, and will continue playing, with Iran’s card. Russians are never reliable. On the other hand, we can seal a deal with the Americans, especially now that Obama is in power.

What policy we should adopt to advance our goals?

Opening the doors of our nuclear facilities to IAEA inspectors, and explicating our nuclear activities. That is the only way and it is a must. If there used to be any nuclear secrets, they have definitely leaked out up to now. So there is no need for concealment.

You believe that Iran should engage in talks with the United States. At what level?

Face-to-face talks have been held by minor officials so far, but high-level negotiations appear as a better option. I think that the negotiations should start as soon as possible, and directly. Giving the other side guarantees should be the outcome of these talks.

Could the U.S. be a reliable partner for Iran?

Active ImageWhatever they are, they will be much more reliable than Russians. At the end, all roads lead to Washington. That is the lesson learnt from the Bay of Pigs crisis. Soviet Union and Washington held unmediated talks to solve the issue; otherwise, it could have turned into a catastrophe. Iran’s story is the same, and to foil further mistakes, direct talks seem to be a necessity.

IAEA is weighing Iran’s proposal. Do you think they will finally accept it?

No. they will reject it. Of course Iran has played the game quite well so far. It sidestepped the deadline and that saved it even more time.

Of course Javier Solana seems to be satisfied with Iran’s proposal package.

Solana is orchestrating one part of the Western project. His mild tone saves the opening for future talks. But ultimately, the three major European powers, France, Britain and Germany that have the final word. EU is not a single political entity yet and Solana is not its representative. His statements are just part of the diplomatic game.

Some Western media believe that Solana’s remarks indicate that Iran has stepped back. Is that what you also believe?

No I don’t’ agree. Iran has not, and will never, lose this game. How can Iran surrender that easily when it is always the criticized because of its inflexibility?

Your prediction of Iran’s nuclear future?

It is unclear. Iran may find better chances, and it may be acknowledged as a nuclear state. If it fails to find or grasp such opportunities, and West gets rid of some of its current problems, there would be no possibility of Iran going nuclear. All the games going on are in fact Iran’s endeavor to buy more time.

And the last question, some Western media have claimed that Erdogan’s visit to Tehran was in order to broker a deal between Iran and West. Do you think the same?

That is unlikely. Turkey enjoys warm ties with the West, but not with Russia. Turkey can only mediate messages between Iran and West. The visit was just to reinforce bilateral ties. Besides, Turkey is following its own national interests.

Source: Iranian Diplomacy

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