Crisis Postponed

The talks between Iran and the so-called EU3 – France, Britain and Germany – in Geneva earlier this week was a success in the sense that a collapse and a crisis was postponed. Now, the talks will resume after the presidential elections in Iran.

What was decided is that Iran for the time being will remain within the framework agreed in Paris in November 2004 by complying with all its provisions, including those dealing with the suspension of enrichment- and reprocessing-related activities.

It was also decided that the talks should continue, and the EU3 would make more detailed proposals to the Iranians, if possible at the end of July or early in August. It being understood that these proposals will normally cover all aspects under discussion, i.e. everything regarding security guarantees, economic, technological and nuclear cooperation and also political dialogue.

There was another event in Geneva in the week that wasn’t entirely unrelated – the opening of negotiations on Iran’s membership in the WTO, which was one of the points discussed earlier with the Europeans.

We’ll see what happens. The Iranians continue to insist on their right to the entire nuclear fuel cycle, and the EU3 continues to insist that Iran should abstain from any activities linked to the enrichment of uranium as well as to the reprocessing of spent fuel.

In itself this does not guantee that Iran will not seek to produce nuclear weapons – but it would make the time between a decision and a deployment of such a weapon substantially longer. That’s in reality all that can be achieved.

Further on, another regime in Iran might make it possible for Europe as well as the United States to go into far more collaboratibe relationships, which would be good in itself from every conceivable point of view.

One Response to Crisis Postponed

  1. Björn Hallberg skriver:

    I have to be the pessimist though and point out a few things. It’s a dicey situation with countless factors but the major ones will undoubtedly decide the outcome and those are possible to approximate.

    First something about the ”carrot”, the WTO. Many people are sceptical towards its practises for good reason. I’m not its biggest supporter either. WTO probably has its advantages, mostly for corporations and richer countries. Even though we’re constantly being fed the idea that the WTO, the IMF, World Bank and other institutions are doing everything in their power to help it’s not always so. It’s a classic Orwellian propaganda trick to claim the opposite of what is true. And surprisingly often you get away with it.
    For a country like Iran which is a traditional rural-based society and a semi-industrialized country all at once, the benefits are difficult to assert. But not being in the WTO is effectively like being under an embargo. So it’s a forceful transition that can best be described like a ”pest or cholera” choice. Being on the team is probably still the lesser of two evils, at least for the industrial part of the country.

    It is positive to see Europe take a more active role. Mostly so because it’s the right thing to do. And because we can’t allow the US to run world affairs on our behalf. There shouldn’t be just one international authority made up of one will, just like national politics shouldn’t be run by one man alone.
    It also dispels the notion, perpetrated by the US, that we don’t help and never get involved. And when we do, it’s for the wrong reasons, or so they say. It would have been amusing if the consequences weren’t so dire for the rest of the world.

    Having said that, the US will obviously never leave Iran alone. Nuclear weapons or not. The reasoning behind this being simple. Iran just doesn’t play ball. It’s a bit like the comic book ”Asterix” where the entire European continent is occupied by Roman legions, well except for that little piece of Gaul that is. And such is the situation in the middle east at the moment. Except for Iran, every other state is either cooperative, friendly or even allied. Most have a US military presence even if it’s not something they advertise.
    And this is where we get to oil and gas I suppose. Not that it’s ever as simple as my critics would like to believe that I believe. As for access to Iran’s natural resources the US could do without them for a long time. But as it stands, Iran endangers any project undertaken by the US in the region. Pipelines from neighbouring countries can’t be built or defended as long as Iran is smack in the middle of things. Iran is after all relatively powerful and well functioning. Also, Israel’s safety can’t be guaranteed even though they obviously brought much of the future misery upon themselves. Iraq can’t be controlled. Neighbouring countries could ally with the local power of Iran and dismiss the US. And geo-politically, if you don’t control Iran, you can’t move on. The stepping stone power politics of imperialism will grind to a halt.

    Historically, take a look at Mossadeq and later the Shah. US involvement in this affair is pretty transparent. Ask yourselves why the US went to all this trouble then, and why it will do so again.

    I must say I sympathize with Iran. Essentially they are guilty until proven innocent, which is more than you could say for a certain other country in the region. A country that has NBC capability, or non-conventional weapons if you will (but don’t use the w-word), and can’t bring themselves to admit it. Now that is some double standard.

    Btw. Nice of the US (and Iran to some extent) to effectively torpedo the NPT talks. And calling it a success still. Orwellian.

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