Experts Comment on Iran’s Response to West’s Proposed Package (1)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Former Deputy Defense Minister of Iran, Dr. Ali Reza Akbari has underlined the need for negotiations over the proposed package by 5+1group and believes that through interaction Tehran could safeguard a substantial deal of its interests and at the same time neutralize attempts by those who want to make the situation more critical.

Dr. Akbari’s evaluation of the 5+1 package is independent of the time-related conditions and expediencies, and he says: “In other words, one can have a different evaluation of the West’s package in a different situation. Although one can hardly find the minimums about the nuclear rights as well as economic, political and security rights in the West’s general proposal.”

Akbari who was formerly in charge of international security defense studies at the Center of Strategic Research (CSR), added: “Undoubtedly, the Iranian government and nation deserve much more than what the (West’s) package offers.” He stressed however: “We must see at what time and conditions we are offered this proposal. It seems that we should consider the change in our conditions and the international environment as a necessity.”

Regarding the conditions created for resumption of nuclear talks with the West, Akbari cited the rules for the change of conditions and said: “We must accomplish these rules about negotiations with the West. But under the current conditions, the West’s proposal and the Iranian initiative could act as factors paving the way for dialogue and negotiations.”

He noted: “Today, the need for negotiations with Iran is clearly felt in the West but there are certain elements and incentives which are trying to block the way for dialogue because this would serve their interests.”

Akbari said the Zionist regime is concerned about an understanding between Iran and the West, adding: “In the United States of America too, there is a blend of different views in this respect. A group considers these talks for the next 6 to 9 months useful and demands understanding and closer interaction. Another group in the US believes that more pressures on Iran are tantamount to their victory. Yet there are certain incentives in the region which are worried about Iran’s eye-catching achievements. This set of factors is therefore trying to prevent an understanding from taking place.”

Stressing that Iran’s vital interests required it to create a special opportunity at a certain time to deliver its strength, Akbari said: “This is an important requirement because you would always have time for confrontation and opposition but you would not always have a chance for interaction and cooperation. This is something understood by most of the European countries, China and the wise people in the United States. This concept is also appreciated in Iran.”

Akbari pointed out: “Irrespective of the West’s proposed package and the conditions explained above, the situation requires us to utilize the two factors of Iran’s proposal and West’s proposed package with due attention to the conditions of environment, as well as bilateral, multilateral, international,  and foreign diplomacy trends and open the way for interaction.”

About the line of policy Iran should adopt to keep the doors of negotiations open, the former deputy defense minister said: “Iran must put emphasis on a series of principles: it should target fundamentally the balance between itself and the regional environment on the one hand and the balance between itself and trans-regional rivals on the other; as well as the regional balance with the global environment. And in taking this course, Tehran should think of medium- to long-term interests.” He also said the short-term interaction should be such that Iran could take control of the opportunities in the medium and long terms.

Akbari said direct talks between Iran and 5+1 foreign ministers would result in mutual understanding, adding: “We should not deprive ourselves and the West of this opportunity but there are delicate points which must be observed.”

“In this course, we should reduce the expenses and the start of the talks must be properly managed by the Iranian side. The conditions for Iran should return to a year ago, i.e., the restrictions imposed on Iran over the past one year must be lifted.”

“They (West) must lift the restrictions and restore the conditions in words and practice, to a normal situation. In return, Iran should contain the air and tone of its qualitative and quantitative growth of enrichment in a reliable angle: In other words, the policy of voluntary quantitative containment of enrichment in return for lifting of the obstacles and restrictions imposed on Iran over the past one year.

Noting that this would be a sign of goodwill, Akbari said: “In such a climate, the two sides would have a chance for interaction at bilateral and multilateral ministerial levels and think of a more stable model.”

The political analyst noted that the two sides should agree on opening talks based on the common points in the Iranian package and the Western proposal. “The two sides should take some steps: Iran should go for voluntary control of qualitative and quantitative expansion of enrichment and the other party should take action towards normalization of conditions at the level of one year ago. This can serve as an introduction for continuation of the talks.”

Otherwise, Akbari concluded, the course would become more difficult and if the two sides decide to create a more complex condition the situation would become unpredictable.


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