Transparency, the Most Important Achievement of Moscow Talks

Monday, June 25, 2012

Hassan Beheshtipour
Expert on International Affairs

The most important achievement of the latest round of nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 group – the United States, France, China, Russia, Britain and Germany – was bringing more transparency to positions of two negotiating parties. Baghdad talks, which preceded Moscow negotiations in late May, failed to create this degree of transparency on either side. During negotiations in Moscow, Iran offered its package of five proposals to the West and for observation by the global public opinion and the Western negotiators, on the other hand, put their own proposals on the table.

Iran's Proposals

Iran's first proposal was that negotiations should be purposive and the first and last goals should be determined with clarity. Therefore, Iran argued, it is necessary to design a framework for negotiations in addition to formulating their exact principles and goals.

The second proposal was that reciprocal steps should be taken if negotiations are expected to have any effect.

Iran's third proposal urged that a clear framework should be set for negotiations in order to determine with precision when negotiations will reach their end, how they should be carried out, and how the two sides should go through the entire course of negotiations.

Iran's fourth and fifth proposals were related to rights and obligations of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Tehran insisted that the opposite party should recognize Iran's right to enrich uranium within framework of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Iran also argued that nothing should be reduced from Iran's nuclear rights, nor new obligations should be imposed on the country.

West’s Proposals

The Western negotiators put three proposals before Iran. Their first demand was total suspension of enriching uranium to 20 percent level by Iran. Of course, the Western countries did not explicitly demand full suspension of uranium enrichment because they knew that enrichment is Iran's red line in nuclear talks.

The Western countries also urged Iran to transfer all its stock of 20-percent enriched uranium out of the country. Their third demand was shutdown of Fordow nuclear site in south Tehran.

Irrational Demands

The West’s demands are, however, bugged with major flaws which should be totally and transparently analyzed in expert meetings.

The first question about their demands is why Iran should stop all its activities at Fordow nuclear site because, as put by Iran's Ambassador to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the site is under full and round-the-clock supervision of IAEA's cameras.

The Western countries have always expressed concern about Iran's “undeclared” nuclear activities. Now they should be reminded that Fordow site is under 24-hour surveillance of IAEA; so, on what basis Iran should stop its nuclear activities there? On the other hand, even if Iran accepted to halt enriching uranium to 20 percent, it would be still allowed to enrich uranium to 5 percent at Fordow. So, once again, why Iran should have to halt all nuclear activities at Fordow?

The second question is why Iran should transfer all its inventory of 20-percent enriched uranium to another country? It is quite logical for Iran to consume its highly enriched uranium stock at Tehran Research Reactor which was built by the American technicians before the Islamic Revolution and is also under constant oversight of IAEA. Actually, what problem will this amount of uranium, which has been produced to meet that reactor’s need, may cause for the West? This question should be answered clearly.

On the other hand, another issue related to stopping uranium enrichment by Iran should be also carefully elucidated here. It should become clear what services will the International Atomic Energy Agency provide Iran in return for the country’s decision to stop enriching uranium to 20 percent? Will countries with nuclear technology be ready to invest in producing Iran's needed uranium? As for Iran's proposals, we must also make it clear what we mean by asking for recognition of Tehran’s right to enrich uranium. Which authority is going to make that recognition: the P5+1 group, or the United Nations through an official document?

The third point is impossibility of sudden lifting of all anti-Iranian sanctions en bloc. These sanctions have been adopted and enforced gradually over the past six years. Therefore, specific arrangements should be set in gear which will lead to removal of unilateral sanctions by the United States and European Union which go beyond the Security Council’s resolutions as a first step. Later, sanctions which have nothing to do with Iran's nuclear activities should be lifted before the entire sanctions, both related to nuclear and non-nuclear issues, should be abrogated.

However, if both sides try to have their own say, no result will come out of any talks. In reality, a middle solution should be sought by the two negotiating parties. Such solution should also form the basis of the forthcoming expert meetings in Istanbul in order to enable negotiating parties achieve a final agreement on the basis of step by step plan which has been already proposed.

Media Diplomacy

As for the propaganda hype launched by the Western media both before and after negotiations between Iran and the P5+1, one may say that Iranian media often neglect that part of the media work which is used to good effect by their Western counterparts. Iranian media usually focus on the nuclear issue and its various dimensions for a few days that negotiations are going on. Actually, they must follow up on all aspects of negotiations over a long period of time.

Iranian media should follow a tri-phasic diplomacy with regard to such negotiations. This means that the country’s media diplomacy should proceed hand in hand with its nuclear diplomacy before, during and after negotiations.

The Western countries have made extensive plans on this issue and the entire media hype surrounding negotiations is in line with those premeditated plans. They want to realize their goals to a maximum extent. Therefore, they create a suitable atmosphere which will help them to achieve their goals by publishing true and false news.

Key Words: Moscow Talks, Transparency, Iran and P5+1 Group, Iran's Proposals, West’s Proposals, Irrational Demands, Media Diplomacy, Beheshtipour

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