Aletho News


To NYT, Nuclear Facts Become Iranian Claims

By Peter Hart | FAIR | April 8, 2013

The New York Times (4/7/13) reports that progress on the Iran nuclear negotiations appears rather bleak. But the piece, by David Herszenhorn, passes off a key fact as if it were a mere Iranian claim.

The article presents one take from Iran’s top negotiator, Saeed Jalili–along with a curt response from the U.S.:

“Of course, there is some distance in the position of the two sides,” Mr. Jalili said. But he said Iran’s proposals, which required recognizing “our right to enrich and ending behaviors which have every indication of enmity toward the Iranian people,” were designed “to help us move toward a constructive road.”

A senior American official called Iran’s demands unreasonable and “disproportionate.”

The piece elaborates:

Western countries fear that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons, while Iran has insisted that its program is for peaceful purposes, including atomic energy and medical research, to which it claims a right as a signer of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

We’re accustomed to “Iran says X, the West says Y” in Iran coverage. But despite the evident confidence of the U.S., there is still no evidence that Iran is actually pursuing a weapons program.

But what of this idea that Iran “claims” a right to enrich uranium? That is, as Steve Rendall wrote for Extra! (9/05), a fact:

Under the NPT, non-nuclear-weapons countries agree not to pursue or possess nuclear weapons, while nuclear-armed countries agree to pursue disarmament and to share nuclear energy technology with the non-nuclear countries. (See Extra!, 7-8/05.) Under the agreement, non-nuclear-weapons states may develop nuclear programs, enrich uranium, etc., as long the programs are for non-military purposes and they are disclosed to the IAEA.

Another fact about the NPT that goes mostly unmentioned is that it calls on countries that possess nuclear weapons “to facilitate the cessation of the manufacture of nuclear weapons, the liquidation of all their existing stockpiles, and the elimination from national arsenals of nuclear weapons and the means of their delivery.”

But to the New York Times, Iran’s appeals to the treaty are “claims,” which can be challenged by anonymous U.S. officials (the “official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity,” which has become the State Department’s standard practice at the talks).

And while we’re on the subject of Iran, here’s a pretty revealing exchange from ABC‘s This Week (4/7/13)

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: The nuclear talks with Iran basically failed again. And you have to believe Iran is watching this as well, and says, ‘He’s got nuclear weapons, he has a stronger hand.’

MARTHA RADDATZ: Not only watching it, but I think there’s cooperation between North Korea and Iran. In fact, that’s something else General Thurman and other U.S. officials have told me.

STEPHANOPOULOS: What kind of cooperation?

RADDATZ: Cooperation on a nuclear program. Certainly North Korea wants money. And Iran wants nukes.

Huh. Anything else U.S. officials want you to share with the public, absent even a shred of skepticism?

April 9, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on To NYT, Nuclear Facts Become Iranian Claims

Iran Nuclear Talks: No Breakthrough, But Step Forward

RIA Novosti |  April 6, 2013

ALMATY  – The latest round of talks between six world powers and Iran on its nuclear program has been “definitely a step forward,” although it has ended with no clear breakthrough, Russia’s top negotiator on Iran said on Saturday.

“Definitely, it is a step forward. There is no doubt in this,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters at the end of the two-day talks in Almaty, Kazakhstan, which he said were “detailed” although adding that the sides have failed to “reach common ground.”

“At this time again we have failed to embark on a true search for a compromise,” Russia’s top negotiator said. “But a basis for this exists,” he said adding that Iran has introduced its approach which takes into account some “proposals and considerations” of the group of six international negotiators comprising five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany (P5+1).

Ryabkov also said Russia is against the West’s unilateral sanctions on Iran, calling this stance “unjust and inconsistent with the norms of international law.” He said Iran must be freed from all the international sanctions in case it agrees that its nuclear program will be under full control of the UN nuclear watchdog. “If such a deal takes place, then Iran must be fully freed from all the sanctions,” Ryabkov said.

Iran’s new plan is meant to bring about “the beginning of new cooperation” with its negotiating partners, Ali Bagheri, the deputy head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, said on Friday.

The plan expands on the initiatives presented during last year’s round of talks in Moscow, Bagheri said giving no details of the plan.

At a briefing after the talks Tehran’s chief negotiator, Saeed Jalili, confirmed that the Iranian side has introduced its action plan but the group of six powers was not ready to react and asked for some time to study Iran’s ideas.

Jalili stressed that Iran has a right to enrich uranium and Tehran will use this for peaceful civilian energy needs. He added however, that the issues related to Iran’s cooperation with the international community may be discussed at further talks.

“We have offered this initiative and today we also announced our readiness to speak of these ideas and further study them. And these ideas may become the beginning of a new round,” Jalili said.

Meanwhile, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton told reporters on Saturday the negotiations between Iran and six world powers showed that their positions “remain far apart on the substance.”

Iran insists on its right to a peaceful nuclear program, but the P5+1 group says the country may be in fact on track to develop its own nuclear arms.

The international group, active since 2003, initially pushed for Iran to abandon its nuclear program.

But it softened its stance at the previous round of talks in Almaty in February, where it proposed to accede to Iran’s right to nuclear research if Tehran manages to prove it would not enrich uranium to above 20 percent, which is sufficient for medical, but [not] military purposes.

Another demand was to close a nuclear plant known since 2009 to operate in the village of Fordo in northern Iran.

Tehran’s nuclear program resulted in international sanctions against the country, which left its oil-dependent economy flagging.

However, the public opinion in Iran is generally considered to be supportive of the nuclear program – which is a major factor for the official Tehran position, given that the country goes to the polls in June to elect a new president.

April 7, 2013 Posted by | Economics | , , , | 1 Comment

Iran Conference: Setting the Stage for Dialogue in Syria

By Elie Chalhoub | Al Akhbar | August 9, 2012

A “Consultative Meeting on Syria” in Tehran aims to promote a Syrian political solution and establish a counterweight to the self-styled “Friends of Syria.”

Iran’s position on Syria is unchanged: the crisis can only have a Syrian solution, based on dialogue between the warring parties. It aims to persuade as many countries as possible to support that option, and establish an alternative to the coalition of states complicit in the bloodletting in Syria.

Iran is looking ahead to the aftermath of what it expects to be the Syrian regime’s “victory” in Aleppo. Once that is achieved, Tehran believes, the powers backing the rival sides in Syria will have no alternative but to negotiate.

Turkey’s position is crucial in this regard, as it would clearly have a major impact if it opted to intervene directly in the battle for Aleppo. This in turn explains the sudden and sharp deterioration in relations between Ankara and Tehran, with the latter threatening to freeze trade with the former.

The Iranians have been preparing for today’s “Consultative Meeting on Syria,” hosted by the Foreign Ministry, for around two weeks, according to Iranian sources. Their contacts focused on states that are “not directly complicit” in the Syrian crisis, in addition to Turkey, which was also invited.

The sources said outgoing UN/Arab League envoy Kofi Annan was invited too, in the hope that he could be persuaded not to abandon his mission, but decided, apparently under pressure from various parties, not to attend.

On the eve of the conference, 20 countries were due to send delegates to the gathering, including Russia, China, Turkey, Pakistan and India, and seven Arab states (Iraq, Algeria, Tunisia, Mauritania, Kuwait, the UAE, and Oman). Eight countries were to be represented by their foreign ministers, the others at a less senior level.

Lebanon decided not to take part in line with its policy of non-involvement in Syrian affairs. Iraq was to send high-level delegates other than Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, who “represents the American face of the Iraqi regime,” according to the sources. But Iraqi diplomatic efforts led to an agreement that would have Zebari attend along with the minister of national security. The sources added that many of the countries invited had – like Annan, who initially agreed to attend – come under heavy pressure to stay away, or at least to lower the level of their representation.

The Iranian sources said the principal objective of the conference is to “bring the Syrian opposition and regime together around the negotiating table, with the aim of arriving at a Syrian solution to the crisis in Syria.”

They said Iran had obtained undertakings from “a fair number” of Syrian opposition groups to support such talks, as well as the endorsement of President Bashar al-Assad, who conferred in Damascus earlier this week with the secretary of Iran’s National Security Council, Saeed Jalili.

“We want this conference to be a counter to the Enemies of Syria (Friends of Syria) group, which has been promoting militarization, violence and sectarianism,” they said. “The hope is to persuade the maximum number of states to encourage and take part in an intra-Syrian solution.”

The thinking in Tehran is that the Syrian regime is bound to prevail in the battle of Aleppo, and that “after that, the time will come for negotiations between the forces that wanted to destroy the Syrian state and bring down the regime, and the states that want to make a political solution succeed and find a Syrian way out of the crisis.” Thursday’s conference is part of a process of “preparing the ground for such negotiations.” […]

It is significant that close US allies and supporters of the Syrian rebels – Turkey, Kuwait, Oman, the UAE and Tunisia – were to attend the Tehran conference. “That is the strongest evidence of the opposition front cracking, and of its willingness to enter into a dialogue once the dust has settled on the Battle of Aleppo,” they said. However, it seems that diplomatic pressure succeeded in the end in keeping Kuwait and UAE from participating. … Full article

August 9, 2012 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , | 1 Comment

US negotiator at P5+1-Iran talks to visit Israel for ‘consultations’

Press TV – May 25, 2012

The senior American negotiator present at the recent talks between the major world powers and Iran in Baghdad has traveled to Tel Aviv.

US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman is due in Tel Aviv on Friday “to reaffirm our unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security,” read a statement by the US Department of State.

The report did not elaborate on details pertaining to Sherman’s agenda during her visit to Israel other than stating that she would consult with the Israeli regime on regional issues.

The development comes following harsh criticism by top Israeli officials against Baghdad talks between Iran and the P5+1–Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States plus Germany.

Iran and the P5+1 wrapped up their meeting in Baghdad on Thursday evening after two earlier negotiation sessions on Thursday and Wednesday.

The Iranian negotiating delegation was headed by Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Saeed Jalili, and the delegations of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany were headed by the European Union’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier this week that world powers “must show determination, not weakness” and toughen their stance against Iran.

“They do not need to make concessions to Iran. They need to set clear and unequivocal demands before it: Iran must halt all enrichment of nuclear material. It must remove from its territory all nuclear material that has been enriched up until now and it must dismantle the underground nuclear facility in Qom,” he said.

May 25, 2012 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

5+1 group fails to reach agreement on Iran’s proposals

Mehr News Agency – May 24, 2012

BAGHDAD – The six major powers known as the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) failed to reach an agreement between themselves on a package of proposals which had been presented by Iran in the meeting on Wednesday.

Sources close to the meeting have blamed the U.S. for the failure of talks between the major powers, the Mehr News Agency correspondent reported from Baghdad.

Iran had presented a five-point proposal which included “nuclear and non-nuclear issues”.

Diplomats close to the talks say the major powers have reneged on their promises of reciprocal steps which had been agreed upon in the Istanbul talks on April 4.

In the meeting negotiators from the 5+1 group especially the U.S. used a language similar to those of Israeli officials and this caused a hurdle in the talks, diplomat said.

According to our correspondent, the 5+1 group is suggesting another place for a next meeting. However, the Iranian side is seeking a tentative agreement in Baghdad before setting a date for the next meeting.

Iran’s lead negotiator, Saeed Jalili, and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who represents the major powers in the talks, held bilateral talks late on Wednesday and early Thursday.

The two top negotiators plan to brief reporters about the results of negotiations later today.


May 24, 2012 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

IAEA to pen nuclear agreement with Iran: Amano

Press TV – May 22, 2012

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief says Iran and the UN nuclear agency have made a decision to reach an agreement aimed at resolving issues related to the country’s nuclear energy program.

“A decision was made by me and [Iran’s top nuclear negotiator] Mr. [Saeed] Jalili to reach an agreement on the structured approach,” Yukiya Amano said in Vienna on Tuesday after returning from his visit to Iran.

“At this stage, I can say it will be signed quite soon, but I cannot say how soon it will be,” he added, describing the agreement as an “important development,” AFP reported.

The UN nuclear agency chief, accompanied by the IAEA Deputy Director General for Safeguards Herman Nackaerts and the agency’s Assistant Director General for Policy Rafael Mariano Grossi, arrived in Tehran on Monday for talks with senior Iranian officials.

“We had very good talks with [Yukiya] Amano today and, God willing, we will have good cooperation in the future,” Jalili said after his meeting with Amano in Tehran on Monday.

Amano’s remarks come as Iran and the P5+1 (Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States plus Germany) are preparing to resume the second round of talks in Iraqi capital, Baghdad, on May 23.

The last round of the negotiations was held in the Turkish city of Istanbul on April 14.

Both sides hailed the discussions as constructive.

May 22, 2012 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | Comments Off on IAEA to pen nuclear agreement with Iran: Amano