Excellent analysis here by Robert Naiman in pointing out what is really happening with the recent offer to Iran in search of a solution to the nuclear program in Iran. He says that in the first place, Iran did not reject the offer out of hand.
Tehran did not formally reject the offer… Mr. Mottaki [Iran’s Foreign Minister] said that Iran’s response would depend on how the West responded to Iran’s May 13 proposal calling for international talks on all issues and improved international inspection of Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Was Bush really dissappointed in the rejection (which wasn’t really a rejection) of the offer?
The French and Americans presumed in advance that their new proposal of incentives … would be brushed aside by Tehran, officials and diplomats said, insisting on anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
[Presumably, “sensitivity of the issue” means “because they are not supposed to be quoted on the record saying that the ‘diplomatic’ initiative is a charade.”]
What about the generosity of this offer that is being rejected (not)?
Was it a “generous offer”? That of course is a matter of perspective. Iran is being offered a package of economic incentives to give up what told the Boston Globe on May 31, “This has become an issue of national pride.” As the notes, the same deal was offered in the past, and Iran rejected it.— not just the government, but Iranians generally — regard as a fundamental right — mastery of the technology to enrich uranium. As Iran’s UN Ambassador
Regardless of whether anyone in Washington agrees that Iran has the right to enrich uranium, it is an objective fact that Iranians generally, not just the government, believe that Iran has the right to enrich uranium.
In April, the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland published a poll of Iranian public opinion. PIPA found that 81% of Iranians consider it “very important” for “Iran to have a full-fuel-cycle nuclear program” which would give Iran the capacity to produce nuclear fuel for energy production. Four out of five. Only 5% think Iran should not pursue a full-fuel-cycle program.
So, the United States and its allies made a proposal for Iran to give up something that four out of five Iranians consider to be “very important.” The United States and its allies expected Iran to reject the “offer,” as it has in the past.
So, why the charade then?
But Mr. Bush and the Europeans who formally made the offer want to show that all efforts at dialogue are being taken.
So, “all efforts at dialogue” means restating a proposal that the government of Iran has already rejected — and which Iran is expected, by those making the proposal, to reject again — to give up something that four in five Iranians say is “very important.”
What will this charade lead to?
Who is the audience for this “show”? People who don’t read the New York Times, apparently. These people will be told that “all efforts at dialogue” have been exhausted and there is no alternative to “other punitive moves against Iran that could be taken by a ‘coalition of the willing’ outside the “:
“Officials would not provide details, but analysts suggest those could include a naval embargo of the Persian Gulf or the refusal to supply Western-made technology required for Iran’s oil industry, creating bottlenecks in Iran’s oil production.”
Whoa, did you say “naval embargo?”
For those scoring at home, a naval embargo would be an act of war. If undertaken “outside the United Nations” — i.e. without the authorization of the UN Security Council — it would be a. If you don’t think Iran would retaliate for this act of war, or that it doesn’t have effective means of doing so, then you are, as might say, “naïve and inexperienced.”
Wow, a war crime being planned by our “peaceful” President?
There does appear to be a real viable solution to all of this mess though, one that Bush has not considered apparently:
The same PIPA poll found that 58% of Iranians support the idea of making a deal with the UN Security Council that would allow Iran to have a full-cycle nuclear program while giving the International Atomic Energy Agency “permanent and full access throughout Iran to ensure that its nuclear program is limited to energy production” and not producing . PIPA notes that in a March 2008 poll for the BBC World Service 55% of Americans approved of such a deal.
Indeed, in its May 13 proposal — which the NYT dismisses in a phrase by noting that it “does not mention the key Western demand — that Iran stop ,” Iran proposed “international talks on all issues and improved international inspection of Iran’s nuclear facilities.”
Furthermore, as the Boston Globe reported May 31, Iran’s UN Ambassador said Iran “would consider establishing an internationally owned consortium inside Iran that could produce nuclear fuel with Iranian participation.”
As the Boston Globe noted on June 10, “Thomas Pickering, the US ambassador to the United Nations under , endorsed the idea of such a consortium in a March article in the .” And the plan is “getting increased interest from senior members of both parties in Congress and nonproliferation specialists”:
Senators, a California Democrat, and , a Nebraska Republican, have said publicly that the plan should be explored. , a Malden Democrat, went further, calling the plan “a creative, thoughtful, and productive potential solution.”
And Joseph Cirincione, a “nonproliferation specialist who serves informally as an adviser to‘s campaign,” says the idea is “worth exploring.”
So there is an alternative. But you wouldn’t know it from the “show.”
Naiman then goes on to offer us a link that hooks us up with our lawmakers to encourage them to support the pursuit of this sort of a creative offer:
I signed it. Will you?