As Iran and the six world powers are slated to convene in Geneva on October 15 and 16 to discuss the controversy surrounding Iran’s nuclear program for the first time since the election of President Hassan Rouhani, the international community will anxiously and enthusiastically wait to see if the new round of talks can put an end to the decade-long standoff over Tehran’s nuclear file.
The main question ahead of the talks is that whether the new round of negotiations which are being held after a five-month hiatus will finally lead to a negotiated deal and “win-win” solution, as termed by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. And for the Iranians across the globe, the more important question is, “will the inhumane sanctions be finally lifted?”
The election of moderate cleric Hassan Rouhani who pledged during the presidential campaign season to find a solution for Iran’s nuclear stalemate and restore Iran’s international stature by establishing robust ties with the world countries, including the Western states, revitalized hopes among the Iranians that the nuclear controversy can come to a conclusion and their country can breathe a sigh of relief from the hard-hitting sanctions that have troubled their lives.
Finding a way to persuade the West to lift the cruel sanctions against Iran was one of Dr. Rouhani’s main electoral promises. Unquestionably, this should go through the path of confidence-building and engaging in talks with the world powers in a substantive and serious manner. The suspension of the sanctions and the resumption of Iran’s normal trade with the world countries, especially its energy agreements with the European states is something which the Israeli regime is afraid of a great deal. If the sanctions are frozen, Iranian people can experience some more comfortable economic conditions, get access to vital medicine and humanitarian goods which they were denied access to, and also the country’s general economic growth will be invigorated. Since the Israelis always wants a weak Iran, the thaw in the Iran-U.S. relations and the removal of the sanctions will seriously trouble them.
Reuters has reported that the U.S. delegation to the talks will include a sanctions expert who since 2006 has been in charge of regulating the U.S. government’s sanctions policies against different nations.
“The U.S. delegation will include Adam Szubin, the director of the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, and among the U.S. government's foremost experts on sanctions,” reported Reuters on October 12, writing that the decision by the U.S. to sending Szubin to the talks can be “a hint that Washington may be giving greater thought to how it might ease sanctions on Tehran.”
Iran’s overtures to the West and the Western powers’ willingness to show leniency toward Iran has stymied the Israeli politicians and galvanized them into action, but they really don’t know how to put a spanner in the works of Iran and hinder the course of Iran-P5+1 talks.
“We are witnesses to an offensive of smiles and charm by [Iranian president] Rouhani, initiated and orchestrated by [Supreme leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali] Khamenei. It will be impossible to achieve the goal if the sanctions are eased now,” said Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon in a meeting with the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
The hysterical Yaalon added that easing the sanctions on the Islamic Republic now “will cause Rouhani to improve the economic situation on the one hand but not to stop the nuclear program on the other hand.”
There’s no doubt that Israel will be a miserable loser if Iran strikes a deal with the world powers in the forthcoming talks. A possible agreement between Iran and the six world powers, regardless of its quality and details, will leave Israel more isolated than ever, and this is something which even the New York Times writer has confessed to.
“With a series of major speeches — three more are scheduled next week — and an energetic media blitz, Mr. Netanyahu, 63, has embarked on the public-diplomacy campaign of his career, trying to prevent what he worries will be “a bad deal” with Iran... Mr. Netanyahu appears out of step with a growing Western consensus toward reaching a diplomatic deal that would require compromise. But such isolation is hardly new to a man with few personal friends and little faith in allies, who shuns guests for Sabbath meals, who never misses a chance to declare Israel’s intention to defend itself, by itself,” wrote Jodi Rudoren in an article for the New York Times entitled “Netanyahu Takes a Lonely Stance Denouncing Iran.”
So it’s crystal clear to the foes and friends that a diplomatic solution to the nuclear standoff and a probable freeze on at least part of the sanctions which can return Iran to the cycle of global trade will render Bibi Netanyahu and his neo-con friends in the U.S. Congress the sole losers of this bargain.
However, how is that deal going to be achieved? The answer lies in the decisiveness of the Iranian side and the honesty and goodwill of the United States and its partners.
Ahead of the talks, there were some media rumors that Iran has agreed to ship its stockpile of 20%-enriched uranium to a third country and also close the Fordow enrichment facility. These were the allegations that the Iranian officials rejected, because they were seen to be preconditions which the other side was trying to impose on Iran before the commencement of the talks. Moreover, trying to get the upper hand while the two sides have not yet sat down face-to-face and presented their proposals doesn’t seem to be logical.
However, the Iranian negotiators didn’t want to sound harsh or implacable and kill the hopes of a negotiated solution when the talks haven’t started yet. So Abbas Araqchi, the Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister who will be the leading negotiator of Iran in Geneva told IRIB that “of course we will negotiate regarding the form, amount, and various levels of (uranium) enrichment, but the shipping of materials out of the country is our red line.”
Answering a question that what elements can indicate that the talks will lead to a win-win solution, Araqchi said, “the other party has always been claiming that it is not opposed to the peaceful [use of] nuclear energy in Iran, but is opposed to nuclear weapons, and when we assure them in the talks that Iran does not pursue a military program, the win will be achieved for them.”
“If they are honest in their statements and claims, this objective would be achievable for them,” he said.
“And our win would be that we present our peaceful program, and emphasize on our right for the enrichment of uranium,” he added.
Delving on the details of the proposals each side may present in the talks and the “concessions” they will make is not the business of the mass media. What matters is that the concerns of both sides be allayed, and the media outlets and press, especially in the United States and Europe, should simply contribute to the progress of the talks, if what their respective governments say about their concerns about the possible diversion of Iran’s nuclear activities is a genuine claim. Then the Western speculation that Iran intends to produce nuclear weapons can be wiped away if the United States and five other powers sit at the negotiation table on equal footing and based on mutual respect, and the rights of Iranian people will also be respected. This is a win-win solution and can put an end to at least one decade of confrontation and unnecessary dispute.
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