Thursday, August 24, 2006

Iran: The Response?

The wires have picked up on a despatch from Agence Global by Abbas Maleki and Kevah L. Afrasiabi. Maleki is described as the Director of the International Institute For Caspian Studies in Tehran and currently a senior research fellow at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. Afrasiabi is a political scientist and author of Iran's Nuclear Program: Debating Facts vs. Fiction. The outline below, as it appears in the article, seems plausible:

Iran has, expectedly, sought clarification on a number of issues, including the following:

• The incentive package mentions respecting Iran's rights under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), yet the only NPT articles mentioned are Articles I and II, pertaining to non-proliferation, and not Article IV, pertaining to a country's "inalienable right" to acquire nuclear technology;

• Iran wants firm guarantees on the proposed offers of nuclear assistance, such as the sale of light water reactors to Iran, as well as a secured nuclear fuel supply;

• Iran seeks clarification on the status of U.S. sanctions which presently prohibit those offers of nuclear and technological assistance to Iran: Is the United States willing to lift some if not all of those sanctions?

• The package's promise of an Iran-EURATOM cooperation agreement needs to be fleshed out;

• The package's brief reference to security and its hint of Iran's participation in a "regional security" arrangement needs further clarification; and,

• The timeline on the promised incentives, including the economic and trade incentives, has to be made specific.

Furthermore, Iran's response indicates that Iran is willing to re-adopt the IAEA's Additional Protocol and to take the steps toward legislating it as part and parcel of a final agreement.

Meanwhile, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, has declared Iran's willingness to use its influence in Lebanon for an Israeli-Hizbullah prisoners' exchange, reminding the world of Iran's stabilizing role. ...

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