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                                        Volume. 12116

Real red lines and fake red lines
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The current round of nuclear negotiations between Iran and the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany) is expected to be the toughest round of talks between the two sides, as July 20 has been set as the deadline for reaching a deal.
 
Given the intensity of the talks in the previous rounds in Vienna and the slow pace of action, the two sides seem to be very interested in finding a solution. However, what is bringing the new round of talks to a boiling point is not the summer heat but the two sides’ emphasis on observing their declared red lines, which is making the situation more problematic. 
 
Iran continues to insist on the real red lines, which are clearly declared in the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and are based on international standards for respecting the rights of nations to development and progress. 
 
However, the other side, especially the United States and the three major European Union powers, continue to insist on unreal, artificial red lines, which are generally based on hypotheses, ifs, and uncertainties. 
 
In a recent article published in the Washington Post, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry clearly declared that Iran has completely fulfilled its commitments over the past few months. He wrote that the country has not increased the number of its centrifuges and seems to have taken no steps for completing the construction of the Arak heavy water reactor. Kerry added that Tehran has also met its obligations in regard to the IAEA while it has also reduced its stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium. Kerry’s remarks show that Iran is fully committed to the Geneva deal, but according to his view, the country must prove that its nuclear activities will not create any concerns in the future. This is what we call an artificial red line.  
 
Iran insists on its right to research and development in the field of nuclear technology and deems enrichment of uranium to a purity of 3.5 percent a non-negotiable right. The Iranian team has shown a good level of flexibility over issues such as the number of centrifuges and the Arak heavy water reactor. The IAEA’s recent reports all suggest that Iran has fully cooperated with the organization in its inspections of the country’s nuclear facilities. All this shows that Iran is pursuing a logical approach in the talks with the major powers, and the negotiating team’s insistence on the country’s red lines can also be interpreted as part of this logical approach. But can the other side’s set of red lines also be described as legal and logical?
 
The presence of William Burns on the U.S. negotiating team, a seasoned diplomat who is expected to play the role of a catalyst in the talks, should be interpreted as a good sign. In addition, the Obama administration seems to be quite determined to resolve the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program. However, the demands made by U.S. officials and certain European governments are the same things the Zionist regime says to Iran. And Kerry’s equivocal tone in the Washington Post article is another sign of the Israeli-inspired rhetoric toward Iran. 
 
According to some pundits, the current round of talks in Vienna is the finale of the breathtaking nuclear negotiations between Iran and the major powers. Iran believes that it is time for the other side to verify their claims, prove that it respects the Iranian nation’s nuclear rights, and lift the illegal sanctions imposed on the country. 
 
Iran also expects China and Russia to go beyond their usual supportive tone and to play a more constructive role, based on a win-win formula. 
 
MS/HG

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