Messages sent to Tehran by 3+3 before Istanbul II made Iranians optimistic that the west is serious in negotiations and is ready to consider Fatwa and Step by step approach. Consequently, Iran agreed to begin negotiations with nuclear issue. In Istanbul II all sides agreed to enter into a negotiation process that was supposed to be sustained, substantial, step by step, reciprocal, balanced, and based on NPT. Latter proposals presented by 3+3 in Baghdad and Moscow demonstrated that they are neither serious nor capable enough to solve the problem. Visiting Israel After any meeting is a clear proof.
3+3 asked for cessation of enrichment at 20% level; cessation of all activities at Fordow nuclear site; and sending 20% enriched Uranium to a third country under IAEA supervision. Instead, they promised that 5+1 will facilitate providing fuel for Tehran Research reactor and the US will provide spare parts for civil airlines.
3+3 demands and promises show who serious they are in negotiations. Cessation of 20% enriched Uranium is contrary to NPT and many other international regulations, including documents of NPT review conference, documents of 77 group, disarmament agreements, and international procedure during the past decades. 3+3 cannot ask for cessation of peaceful activates which have clearly mentioned as inalienable rights of NPT member states.
Fordow nuclear facilities are under IAEA supervision and all its activities are not related to enriching Uranium at 20% level. It also includes enriching at 5 percent. Such a request is contrary to NPT that all sides had agreed upon to be the basis of negotiations. IAEA director general has also confirmed the peaceful activities there in his reports. These facilities were created because of Israeli Military threats that 3+3 members have failed to condemn and prevent. If they had done so, Iran did not need to build them.
Sending enriched uranium to a third country is another demand 3+3 has requested. 20%enriched Uranium is under IAEA supervision. It makes no difference where they are. They made such a request about 5% enriched uranium in 2009. Finally, after mediation by Turkey and Brazil, Iran accepted the swap proposal. It was the US that rejected the deal and some in the congress asked for punishment of Brazil and Turkey. During the past three years they remained in Iran under IAEA control. What Iran has done with them? Iranian behavior in this regard demonstrates that it is rational and responsible player and has peaceful intentions. It has not created any threat for anyone.
In exchange for above-mentioned concessions, 3+3 has promised to facilitate providing fuel for Tehran Reactor that Iran no longer needs. When Iran needed, the US refrained from providing and rejected Tehran Declaration, that then Brazil president, holding Obama letter, negotiated and signed it. How Iran can trust the US again? Another concession that the US has suggested is providing spare parts for civil Airlines. This is among the responsibilities of the US not to endanger the life of civilians. Linking it to nuclear issue and other bilateral political problems has been wrong from the beginning.
3+3 has demanded concrete concessions and made vague and trivial promises. It is contrary to principle of “reciprocity” that they had already agreed upon. Reciprocal concessions should be “balanced”.
Israeli officials everyday ask for redlines to be defined by Obama. NPT has already defined a redline for all countries. Iranian redline is “having its legitimate rights according to NPT without any discrimination” and 3+3 redline is “no nuclear weapon for Iran”. NPT has brought the two redlines together and both sides has agreed to negotiate according to it.
Iran detailed proposal in Moscow proved that it is serious in negotiations and looks for a solution. Although Iran does not agree with 3+3 requests, however as a confidence building measure and in order to end the long term impasse Iran has not rejected them. What Iran has asked for is developing a framework for dialogue and cooperation that does not fail easily and no one can violate that.
Iran believes that negotiations should be comprehensive, long-term, and sustainable, mutually agreed, constructive, and have tangible reciprocal results. From Iranian point of view, the negotiations should follow clear and measurable objectives. Some of them include normalization of Iranian nuclear file; termination of all sanctions; guaranteeing Iranian rights according to NPT in exchange for implementing safeguards; sustainable nuclear cooperation with 3+3; and comprehensive agreement in economic, political, security and international cooperation. If Iran were not interested in serious negotiation and believed in hostility toward the West, it would not make such a proposal for long term comprehensive cooperation. Iran cannot look for nuclear weapons and long term cooperation with the West at the same time.
Steps proposed by Iran are another proof of its peaceful and constructive intentions. As the first step Iran has emphasized on its commitment to NPT and opposition to nuclear weapons (Fatwa) in exchange for official recognition of enrichment activities by 3+3. It is not a big concession that Iran has requested. 3+3 are committed to NPT and they have already recognized such a right for all countries. What they need to do is to repeat such recognition within the framework of an agreement with Iran. Iran could ask for bigger concessions as the First step. It makes easier for the other side to take step forward.
As the second step Iran has accepted to cooperate with IAEA on the issues of “possible military dimensions” if 3+3 terminate unilateral and multilateral sanctions. Military dimensions of Iranian nuclear program has been the main concern of the US and EU3. When Iran clearly mentions that it is ready to fully cooperate, it means, Iran is sure about its past activities. If it is really the main reason behind all sanctions against Iran, naturally after such a step, they must accept to remove the sanctions. Iran does not want that it goes step by step forward and 3+3 take step bye step backward. The lessons that Iranians have learned during the past 200 years of interaction with global powers is that: do not trust any global power. That’s why Iran emphasize that everything should be clear and is not ready to accept vague promise.
The Third step that Iran has suggested is that it will cooperate with 5+1 in the field of enriched fuel for TRR; in exchange for removal of Iranian nuclear file from UNSC agenda. It is a logical step. It is not also a big concession that Iran has asked for. When there is no concern about Iranian nuclear program, there is no reason that the file remain in UNSC. If UNSC wants to behave according to UN charter, it is their responsibility not a concession.
Iran has putted the main concessions to the last two steps. As step four, Iran and 5+1 will cooperate on building nuclear power plants, nuclear safety and security. And as step five, Iran and 5+1 will cooperate on regional and international issues. The reason that they have putted these important issues to that last maybe is that they want to be realistic and build enough trust between the two sides.
As IAEA reports verify, Iranian nuclear program has been peaceful and pose no threat to anyone. Tehran detailed proposal proves that Iran is serious in negotiations and has no intention of producing and using nuclear weapons. Fatwa is also a clear indication of its intentions. Iran has already achieved what it has been looking for and does not need any time to buy. Sanctions, military threats, terror of scientists, and cyber-attacks are in violation of NPT and will not contribute to more transparency. NPT has already defined the redlines for all sides and it must be the basis of any agreement. Acceptance of Iranian enrichment rights is key to success and no discrimination will be acceptable. Linking the nuclear issue to Israeli issue and domestic politics in other courtiers makes the situation more complicated.
Iran seriously believes in Dialogue and cooperation process. But, fields of cooperation should be clearly defined through negotiations and Iran needs enough guarantees. Iran is ready to take positive steps but it should be responded by equally important steps. Comprehensive Dialogue and cooperation on economic, political, security and international fields should be defined as the endgame.
How serious are Western countries? It does not seem that they are serious enough. They are divided and week. Till after presidential elections, there is no one in the Whitehouse to decide. Obama has already demonstrated that cannot keep its commitments and reaching to an agreement with Tehran is beyond his capability. Is there anyone who is capable to decide on behalf of the US? As far as Israeli pressures and interventions in the US politics goes on, no one will be able to solve the problem with Iran.
The situation in EU is not better than the US. Merkel is thinking about Euorcrisis, next year election and Arab spring. In France Sarkuzi just left lots of economic and security problems and the new government is thinking about how to deal with them. UK also faces many challenges and undermined its position by severing diplomatic relations with Tehran. That’s why Iran faced a divided negotiating team from the West in Baghdad and Moscow that did not have anything to present. Actually Iran was negotiating with 3-3.
Iran seriously is looking for finding a solution but it should not be miscalculated by western countries as a sign of weakness. Such miscalculations have repeatedly led to loss of important opportunities since 2003. A new opportunity can be seen in horizon, if they miss it, they have to wait till 2014 after Iranian presidential election and establishment of a new government in Tehran. Till then all important factors at national, regional, and global levels that are contributing to a new opportunity will change in the volatile Middle East and global security environments.