February 28, 2013

Tehran and Washington – From Threats To Negotiations?

As expected, on the 13th of February, another, the eighth, round of talks between IRI and IAEA on Iran’s nuclear program, ended to no result in Tehran. IAEA Deputy Director General Herman Nakertst pointed out that due to different points of view on the problem, the participants in the dialogue did not reach a consensus on the "structural plan" of inspections of nuclear facilities, because the delegation of the international agency again was not allowed to visit the Iranian military object in Parchin, which, according to IAEA experts, can be used to create nuclear weapons, although the Iranians deny it categorically.

Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the IAEA Ali Asghar Soltanieh said that the parties have eliminated some of the differences and reached agreements on a number of key questions of the "structural plan". However, he did not specify which questions exactly.

What stood in the way of the IAEA and Iran’s reaching an agreement? The reason is simple - lack of trusting. Tehran does not believe in the reliability and objectivity of the IAEA inspectors. Iranian newspaper “Tehran Times” dated from the 12th February, quoted the words of the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Fereydoon Abbasi Davani that after an inspection of nuclear facilities, as it had already happened before, secret information becomes known to public.

As stated in the IAEA, the agency is ready to continue the negotiations, but it needs some time to coordinate its actions and to develop a line of conduct in solving the problem.

It seems that with Hillary Clinton’s leaving the post of Secretary of State, the USA is ready to change its rhetoric. Thus, President Barack Obama on the 12th of February said that "Iran's leaders must understand that the time has come for diplomatic solutions of nuclear problems, but he will do everything to prevent creation of nuclear weapons by Tehran". John Kerry in his first speech as Secretary of State of the USA, expressed hope that Iran during the upcoming negotiations in the 5 +1 format in Kazakhstan, scheduled for 25 - 26 February, will give a clear account of its nuclear program. And only then, and not a day earlier, Washington “will express its readiness for a diplomatic solution of the problem"!

President of Pakistan A.A. Zardari went even further, having declared on the 11th of February that his country would fully support Iran in case of possible aggression from other states, and is ready to provide military assistance. That's it, no less! According to Zardari, Islamabad will not allow the pressure from Western countries to affect the relations between Iran and Pakistan. He stressed that nobody and nothing will make his country stop importing Iranian oil and gas. Zardari pointed out the importance of implementation of the joint with Iran project of construction of a gas pipeline.

The construction of the pipeline will cost 1.5 billion US dollars, and already in 2015 Iran will supply Pakistan with 7.8 billion cubic meters of gas. Iran, in its turn, is ready to give Pakistan a loan of 250 million US dollars, as well as equipment for the construction of the gas pipeline.

By the way, this statement could be interpreted as a direct response to the introduction in February this year of new sanctions against Iran. Thus, the US Treasury announced the reduction of the list of countries that can buy oil from IRI. Besides, it is stated that the taken measures have complicated Tehran’s access to the funds got from the sale of oil.

At the same time America imposed sanctions on Iranian state broadcaster IRIB. The company, according to the US Treasury, is accused of censoring broadcasts, as well as of broadcasting confessions of political prisoners, received "under pressure."

In a word, America may do it, but the others must not, because they are not America! The sanctions introduced by such an ideal world democratizer as Washington, do not prevent the existence of the prison on the base at Guantanamo, and numerous investigations of tortures and abuse in the CIA. But the USA does it all in its "extremely democratic" way!

So what about Iran? Iran is ready to continue its policy, despite the pressure from the outside, and it looks like a winner. Iran is actively looking for ways out of the situation, and is strengthening ties with its allies.

So, now about everything in order.

Iran's nuclear cycle
Iran's nuclear cycle

Iran announced its independent production of fuel for a research reactor in Tehran from the part of 20% enriched uranium, and confirmed the beginning of mounting new generation centrifuges for Nuclear Research Center in Natanz. Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei on February 16, issued a statement in which he stressed that Iran does not intend to create a nuclear bomb, but if it wanted to make one, no force could prevent the country from making it.

But that's not all! It appears that the 12th of February was originally rich in surprises. On the 12th of February, 2013, Pyongyang tested an ultra-small nuclear weapon of great power. As was stated by Central News Agency of North Korea, tests were conducted within the framework of "practical measures to protect security and sovereignty of the country". It is emphasized that the charge, detonated, was much smaller than in the previous tests, but had more power. Also, representatives of the DPRK said without shade of hesitation that "the explosion in no way affected the ecological situation in the region".

Like after the first ballistic missile tests on the 12th December, 2012, which alarmed all the political elite, now it is again worth recalling the possible involvement of the Iranian missile and nuclear specialists in these events, which fact has been confirmed more than once. Is this not a way to test their own designs on someone else’s ground in the face of pressure from the outside?

North Korea conducted a nuclear test


Just think, what has happened? Is this just a coincidence or a well-planned action of demonstration of capabilities? It seems that jihad is ready to come out onto a higher quality level of struggle!

On the 19th of February, Iranian news agency «IRNA» published an interview of Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast, in which he expressed the hope that the upcoming talks in the 5 +1 format in Kazakhstan "will be a good chance for Washington to show its good will and to establish confidence-building measures for resolving nuclear issues”.

Commenting on the words of the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei, that direct talks with the United States are currently unfavorable to Iran because "some American officials don’t have enough rationalism and goodwill," Mehmanparast said that Tehran's position is very clear, while positions of the USA and some Western countries remain unchanged. "The continued USA’s interference in Iran's internal affairs is nothing more than an expression of hostility to the Iranian people, policy of increasing tension in the region", he said.

The Deputy Commander of the IRGC Brigadier General Hossein Salami on the 13th of February in an interview to the Iranian «Sepah News» bluntly stated that in response to attacks on Iranian nuclear facilities, Iran is ready to respond in the same way. As if to confirm his words, the IRNA agency reported on Iran's plans to build a new naval base in Pasabandar, in the Gulf of Oman, right at the entrance to the Persian Gulf, 30 kilometers from the Pakistani port of Gwadar.

More so, during his visit to Cairo, the President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in his interview to “Al-Ahram” said that the Iranian nuclear program is entirely peaceful, but Tehran has defensive nuclear capabilities. He even advised the international community to treat Iran as a nuclear power, as the Islamic Republic is just that! What is this? Another bluff or an official confession? Most likely the latter.

The next day, on the 7th of February, the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei announced about Iran's refusal to negotiate directly with the United States, until Washington has cancelled all sanctions against Tehran.

After fruitless negotiations with the IAEA, the Iranian weekly newspaper of the Revolutionary Guards “Sobhe Sadegh” on the 17th of February published the material in which political analyst Qasem Ghafouri answered the question: "Why did Washington begin talking about diplomatic options, and did not threaten with military actions again?"(Source: iranmilitarynews). In particular, as evidence of Washington’s giving up the strategy of threatening, he gave the following:

1. Growing political and military influence of Iran in the region has made Washington realize that to resolve issues with Iran by military methods is impossible. Moreover, regional problems also cannot be solved without the participation and assistance of Tehran.

2. The internal situation in the USA, when about 70% of Americans are against using force against Iran, does not help Washington in its desire to put an end to Tehran either.

3. Some analysts and economists believe that sanctions against Iran will do the job and a military action will not be needed.

4. "The Arab Awakening", or clearer to the Europeans, "Arab Spring", which  Iran sees no other way than as the "export of the Islamic revolution", has strengthened the anti-Israeli coalition and created a number of serious problems to the US allies in the region.

5. US strategic doctrine continues to undergo significant changes, at the moment Washington needs to take urgent means to maintain its influence in the world and another war will only disrupt these plans. Washington should give up the policy of frightening and focus on diplomacy.

6. In order to strengthen his political status, President Barack Obama needs a diplomatic solution of the Iranian nuclear issue. This explains the appointment of John Kerry Head of the State Department, because "he can behave diplomatically".

The Israeli did not miss the chance to predict possible development of the situation. The former Head of Israeli Military Intelligence, now the Director of the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) Amos Yadlin said that Iran needs 4 to 6 months to get the nuclear bomb. According to him, Iran already has all necessary components to create a nuclear bomb. Now, if you remember the close cooperation of Iranian and Korean missile and nuclear scientists, it turns out that the test was carried out in North Korea and now little is left to be done.

Time will show who was right and will put everything in its place, but so far, in the situation of tightening of sanctions, Tehran is trying to bypass them and to get closer to Russia. On the 12th of February, National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) addressed Russian companies with an invitation to participate in the development of new oil and gas fields in Iran. Tehran is even ready to amend its legislation to allow foreign companies to develop fields. Until now it was prohibited.