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Senate Hawks Push ‘Zero Enrichment’ for Tehran

By Ali Gharib | IPS | December 9, 2010

WASHINGTON – Five senators sent a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama Monday warning the administration not to offer concessions in upcoming talks with Iran over its nuclear programme. If Obama takes the advice, experts say, it could sink his engagement efforts with Tehran.

The letter, first reported by Foreign Policy’s Josh Rogin, calls for zero enrichment on Iranian soil as a U.S. pre- condition for any negotiated deal to end Iran’s standoff with the West over its nuclear programme.

“[G]iven the government of Iran’s patterns of deception and noncooperation, its government cannot be permitted to maintain any enrichment or reprocessing activities on its territory for the foreseeable future,” said the letter. “We would strongly oppose any proposal for diplomat endgame in which Iran is permitted to continue these activities in any form.”

But the Iranians have placed a high priority on domestic enrichment, and would likely oppose a deal precluding such activity. Iran denies accusations from the West that eventual weaponisation is the goal of its nuclear programme, which is widely considered a point of Iranian national pride.

Even some U.S.-based non-proliferation experts are questioning the wisdom of taking such a hard line as the senators’ letter.

“There are mixed views in the arms control community,” said Peter Crail, a non-proliferation analyst at the Arms Control Association (ACA). “But there seems to be growing sentiment that if we’re looking at a negotiated solution, ‘zero enrichment’ is not going to be an option.”

“This attempt by congress to bind the administration would kill negotiations,” he added.

Signed by Senators Jon Kyl, Mark Kirk, Kirsten Gillibrand, Robert Casey and Joe Lieberman, with John McCain reportedly later adding his name, the letter also called on Obama to “continue ratcheting up” U.S. and international pressure on Iran.

Iran should be squeezed until it freezes enrichment and passes International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections, including submitting to the Additional Protocols, an extended set of safeguards measures, the letter said.

The senators wrote that their positions are “reflective of a consensus among a broad, bipartisan majority in Congress”. Despite Peter Baker of the New York Times’s suggestion that the Senators’ letter was a show of “bipartisan support”, it appeared to instead be a threat of push-back from Congress should Obama pursue a deal that allows any Iranian enrichment.

“[T]he letter makes the point that there will be very strong opposition to any kind of proposal that allows the Iranians to keep some sort of enrichment capability,” an anonymous Senate aide, explaining the “thinking behind the letter”, wrote the Washington Post’s new neoconservative blogger Jennifer Rubin. “This is an extremely dangerous idea that it is important to knock down.”

But experts think the tack – pressure for strict pre- conditions to talks – could be repeating the same mistakes of recent U.S.-Iran relations, where Iran was further isolated as its nuclear programmes continued.

“This again shows that part of the problem in negotiations has been a lack of political space domestically for both sides,” said Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council and a Woodrow Wilson Center fellow. “Obama realises that in order to get a deal, there needs to be mutual compromises on both sides.”

“What you have now is that some members of Congress are adopting the (President George W.) Bush position, that, ‘No, we’re not going to compromise on anything, It has to be maximalist approach,” Parsi said. “That has caused problems in the past because it makes it impossible to have a real negotiation.”

The senators pressed Obama just as the first two-day round of talks between the P5+1 group, which includes the U.S., were getting underway. Little had been accomplished as the negotiations drew to a close Tuesday, but another round is expected in January. Going into the latest round, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hinted in an interview in Bahrain that the U.S. might be willing to accept Iranian enrichment.

“They can enrich uranium at some future date once they have demonstrated that they can do so in a responsible manner in accordance with international obligations,” Clinton reportedly told the BBC.

“During the Obama period, there has been some ambiguity about whether (zero enrichment) is the American red line,” said NIAC’s Parsi, pointing to Clinton’s comments. “The position that these lawmakers are taking (in the letter) is identical with the Israeli and Bush red lines, and seems to be at odds with the Obama red line.”

Rumors are already flying that the second round of the latest talks, to be held in Turkey, could see the U.S. offer a deal whereby a fuel swap agreement – involving sending nuclear fuel to Russia for reprocessing – would allow Iran to maintain domestic enrichment.

While Iran says it has a right to domestic enrichment as a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Crail of the ACA notes that the treaty only guarantees “a peaceful nuclear programme.”

“In the end, there is an implicit understanding that, yes, countries can enrich,” he said, adding, however, that he prefers that the technology not spread and all nuclear fuel production be internationalised.

But Crail emphasised that Iran, too, must be willing to make some concessions: “According to the NPT, in order for Iran to get all its rights under the NPT, Iran needs to cooperate with international inspections.”

December 11, 2010 - Posted by | Wars for Israel

14 Comments »

  1. The only engagement the “hawks” want with Iran is a carpet of bombs.
    You know it, I know it, they know it, and best of all Iran knows it.
    ww

    PS…wow, Katy Perry could turn me into a jingo with one lick. Tee he he…

    Comment by hybridrogue1 | December 11, 2010 | Reply

  2. The U.S. has proven irreparable harm from the time they bombed Japan. Some say we have ‘freedom’ because they did this. HOGWASH! Our ‘freedom’ was NEVER at risk. It was an ‘opportunity’ to go to WAR! FREEDOM was NEVER an issue to declare war.. it has always been greed and the acquisition of more power. The elitest just can’t get enough of either. The U.S. has virtually destroyed Iraq, and is now working on the Afgans. Depleted Uranium. We amerikans don’t give this a second thought. Millions of ‘occupied’ peoples of this earth have first hand evidence of what it does. Not only to first generations, but the ones to follow. My question is this.. WHO has Iran occupied? They are a peaceful nation. I hear the blatherers condemn them about their stoning of those who break their law. Perhaps ‘civilized cultures’ would do well to stone the pedifiles, the adulturers, the liars who ruin countries, etc, etc, it might deter others who love evil. Iran respects borders. Does the U.S.??????? Come on crooks.. open borders and now with the DREAM ACT, you may as well run for the cliffs right now, or you will later.. The U.S waged war on Iran through Iraq. Iran laid seige on the amerikan embassy to stress to the world they rejected amerika’s imperialism. They were also protesting the fact that amerika broke their word to them. Not the first time amerika has done that to other nations. It will all be exposed soon. Iran has repeatedly said they don’t want to use nuclear power for bomb purposes. They WILL use it if further provoked. Iran has said they have OTHER means of protecting their nation, if provoked. They mentioned chemical warfare.. oh yeah, we know about that don’t we… the Palestinians KNOW TOO.. white phosporous.. yeah… israhell and amerika/babylon.. what a pair. Together they think of the most effective ways to ‘wage war’ on the innocents. Great Brit. owns 35 countries. The U.S. has military bases in OVER 135 out of 195 nations in the worldNow WHO IS THE OCCUPIER?? Who is the world ogre? My admiration is for IRAN. They have patiently waited for the ‘appointed time’. There is nothing arrogant about them. I am talking about the leader: Prs. Ahmadinejad. He loves GOD.. can that be the rub to the U.S.? We can go back to Helen Thomas, how she has been maligned since her brave comments.. which happen to be THE TRUTH! Ooooooh my…. anyone can find the truth.. God was so right when HE said of this earth…. they would rather believe lies than the truth… I think I’ll just sit back and watch.. this is a whole lot of work.. and emotion.

    Comment by Joyce | December 11, 2010 | Reply

  3. AND BEST OF ALL IRAN KNOWS IT!!!! Right on….
    Rogueman…. you’re giving away your age… she is a little honey, but you have a ton of competition… maybe she wouldn’t be faithful, with so much attention???????? and who, may I ask were you replying to…. I’m pretty sure NOT to Atheo…..ahhhhh the young and their hormones…..funny…..

    Comment by Joyce | December 11, 2010 | Reply

  4. AH Joyce ifn ya only knew…I am an ancient magus from another era, and have “known” many a beauty as she in this long long life.

    I was replying to you before you even posted my dear.

    ~Magus Maverik

    Comment by hybridrogue1 | December 11, 2010 | Reply

  5. Rogueman….You are a great guy, ifn I knew the truth..Are you Irish? I was in Ireland when I was 16, sailing on the Dansk ship ‘the Simba.. if you are, it is a beautiful land, but plagued with trouble.. isn’t everything.. … well… you are too good to waste on a young thing that offers only the hope of you being a jingo for a second… all with a single lick…. I could tell you were magus with a single glance.. I wonder how we could ‘talk’/email, otherwise.. if you would want to…????

    Comment by Joyce | December 11, 2010 | Reply

  6. Joyce,

    Scot/Irish indeed. From the House of Whetin…yes blue blood, but hold thee naught that again me, for I am a true lover of Liberty.

    And ye shall find that surname lettered so variously that you’ll never catch mine…
    lesson I tell ya.

    stampfever1@gmail.com
    You are invited my dear Joyce for a conversation fear not conversion \\ll//

    Comment by hybridrogue1 | December 11, 2010 | Reply

  7. Joyce, receive emails, responded.
    Nothing back yet–tell me here if you don’t get through again.
    ww

    Comment by hybridrogue1 | December 11, 2010 | Reply

    • I have gotten them all, and sent many back, I was wondering if you went to bed it’s almost 4 a.m. there.. you will more than likely get them all at once…I’m glad I ckd here first.. I LOVE THIS.

      Comment by Joyce | December 11, 2010 | Reply

  8. I am going to keep sending you messages.. they will all get to you at once… when you start getting them, let me know..the UNIVERSE HATES this!!!!! So keep it up!

    Comment by Joyce | December 11, 2010 | Reply

  9. It’s just the golem dear. Not to worry.
    ww

    Comment by hybridrogue1 | December 11, 2010 | Reply

  10. The beast wants to destroy the sacred nation of Iran & you want to play licky lick.

    That’s why the West is hated; you put your genitals before your love………….

    To destroy the beast yo\ou must cut off the head…

    Comment by kim | December 12, 2010 | Reply

  11. Yea Kim? Well call up “yo\ou” and see if he’s at the shoe shop today I’d like to order a couple of fresh heads and a taosted blinkie muffin.
    It’s snowing here and the wollipops are snoring. I can see the drift sorta dancing from my window.
    Maybe soon you’ll have that desperately needed movement of the bowels.
    click click sad one.
    ww

    Comment by hybridrogue1 | December 12, 2010 | Reply

  12. The same day as the next false flag to invade Iran is the day America will be annihilated by the SCO. News here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/16612974/War-News

    Comment by AntiLieGuy | December 12, 2010 | Reply

  13. Hey rogueman.. can you translate please?? My computer was haywire

    Comment by Joyce | December 12, 2010 | Reply


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