Friday, June 12, 2009

Opportunity for Iranian Diplomacy

Washington has accepted Iran’s legal right to enrich uranium. Now, how about Iran accepting its obligation to provide complete transparency?

Although I am delighted that Kerry has accepted one of the points I have reiterated in this blog concerning nuclear policy toward Iran, namely, that it has the legal right to enrich uranium, I wonder why it took so long for him to work up the courage to so state in public. Perhaps he read this blog, or perhaps Obama’s gentle change of tone is finally persuading Washington insiders that it is finally politically safe to think before they speak. It has been a long, cold decade (nearly) since 9/11. Whatever that sad experience taught us about Islam, it certainly taught us about the timidity of our so-called “leaders.”

Nevertheless, it was nice to hear Kerry acknowledge the facts:

“The Bush administration [argument of] no enrichment was ridiculous . . . because it seemed so unreasonable to people,” said Mr Kerry, citing Iran’s rights as a signatory of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. “It was bombastic diplomacy. It was wasted energy. It sort of hardened the lines, if you will,” he added. “They have a right to peaceful nuclear power and to enrichment in that purpose.”

The sound of politicians acknowledging inconvenient facts has been so rare this century...

Now, Mr. NEW PRESIDENT OF IRAN, whomever you turn out to be, why don’t you just say, “Thank you. That’s all we ever wanted. As a peaceloving country, we would like to set an example for everyone else by opening our doors to IAEA inspections without restrictions. Come whenever, go wherever. As a peace-loving country, we have no secrets. That being settled, about Dimona…”


Another diplomatic opportunity for a new Iranian regime interested in putting the nuclear issue behind them:

[Iran's] ratification of the CTBT might be made part of a negotiated agreement that would end opposition to their fuel cycle facility development provided they enact Additional Protocols to ease concerns about diversion. Iran can convincingly argue that they have a right under the NPT’s Article IV to develop a fuel cycle infrastructure to support the nuclear power plant they have under construction at Bushehr, and in the realm of isotopic separation medical technology as well as fuel cycle arguments apply. ... if their intent is truly the peaceful use of nuclear energy and medical isotope development as they have said, they should have no objection to prohibitions on testing.

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