Split in 5+1

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ali Ameri

Periodic confrontations between Russia and the West have caused division among Group 5+1 over various issues including Iran’s nuclear program. Diplomats from the six major countries held high-level talks on possibility of imposing new sanctions against Iran but they failed to reach consensus on how or whether to proceed.

US State Department Deputy Spokesman Robert Wood announced that the high-level talks among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — along with Germany, ended without agreement on the time or the substance of another UN resolution on Iran.

The six countries have been discussing Iran’s nuclear program and ways to force Tehran to suspend uranium enrichment over the past two years. They have passed three rounds of sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program at the UN Security Council and have urged the IRI to suspend its uranium enrichment program. Iran has rejected all the UNSC resolutions and announced that it will continue its peaceful nuclear activities.

Diplomats from 5+1 were to hold a teleconference three weeks ago but China had blocked the discussion, apparently in retaliation for U.S. arms sales to Taiwan.

The United States has been trying to resume negotiations among 5+1 as of early October and after the last UNSC resolution was passed against Iran’s nuclear program in September. The latest UN resolution imposes no new sanctions against IRI but urges Tehran to respect the previous resolutions.

On the telephone conference call, Wood said the Group remains committed to the dual-track strategy and will remain in close contact on developments over the coming days and weeks.

The dual-track strategy is the main element of a slow-moving pressure campaign to persuade Iran to give up objectionable parts of its nuclear program. It calls for offering Iran incentives to stop enriching uranium but imposing sanctions if Tehran refuses, which it has thus far done.

The West has offered an incentive package to Iran including supply of light water reactor and in return has an illegitimate and irrational demand for Iran to halt its uranium enrichment.

Russia and China are strongly opposed to imposing new sanctions against Iran. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has announced that new sanctions would be ineffective. China which has huge trade ties with Iran and is in dispute with US over its regional interests, wants a peaceful solution to Iran’s nuclear issue.

Certainly, the Islamic Republic of Iran has never defined itself as a variable dependent on the West over the past three years. Generally what is open to question here is the decision making of the arrogant powers regarding Iran’s nuclear dossier. Although countries such as Russia and China have differences with the United States over their regional issues, nonetheless they have been seeking to trample upon the legitimate nuclear rights of the Iranian nation alongside Washington and the European troika.


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