20 November 2012, 19:31

Iranian nuclear issue: Fruitless dialogue better than war

Iranian nuclear issue: Fruitless dialogue better than war

Top negotiators from the P5+1 group are due to meet in Brussels on Wednesday to discuss Iran’s nuclear energy program. The meeting comes as the P5+1 plans to map out a new strategy related to their talks with Tehran which continues to defy the international community’s demands to stop uranium enrichment.

Three rounds of talks between the P5+1 - the permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany - and Iran have been held since April 2012, with no substantial breakthrough reported. Even so, the negotiators are poised and ready to continue the dialogue because they know full well that their reluctance to do so may prompt “hawks” in Israel and the United States to launch a new war in the Middle East. The exact date of the P5+1 talks with Iran is yet to be defined, which is not the case with negotiations between Tehran and the International Atomic Energy Agency, already scheduled for December 13.

Speaking to reporters after his talks with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov in Tehran late last week, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili signaled his country’s readiness to return to the negotiating table as soon as possible. In an interview with the Voice of Russia broadcast on Tuesday, Iranian Ambassador in Moscow Mahmoud Reza Sajjadi mentioned a spate of fresh steps the Iranian side is currently considering.

"The P5+1 has yet to officially react to a 5-point plan, proposed by Jalili," Sajjadi said. "We proceed from the assumption that the discussion of this comprehensive plan will top the agenda of the forthcoming negotiations."

Some points are related to the Fordu nuclear facility that is seen by Iranians as a bargaining chip during the negotiations, according to Vladimir Yevseyev of the Center for Public and Political Studies in Moscow.

"Tehran says that this facility will be closed if sanctions against Iran are eased," Yevseyev said. "The West, however, insists that Iran should take a whole array of steps before the easing of the sanctions. This is out of line with a stage-by-stage and mutually advantageous principle proposed by Russia, an approach that stipulates both sides reaching a consensus on the matter."

It seems that EU members of the P5+1 group will sit at the negotiating table bearing in mind a mistaken approach on Iran that the West thinks can be further pressed on nuclear activities with the help of economic sanctions. In this regard, the Brussels gathering is unlikely to change the situation, Vladimir Yevseyev said, referring to Washington’s unwillingness to take serious steps.

"Making important decisions ahead of the inauguration of US President-elect Barack Obama is unlikely," Yevseyev said. "I think, the United States will take a passive stand during the Brussels talks," he added.

Remaining downbeat on the results of the impending P5+1 talks with Iran, Yevseyev said, however, that the very fact of their holding is better than the hostilities. He called for the continuation of these talks even though no breakthroughs are expected. The situation may change in September 2013, when Iran will vote in the presidential elections that may be followed by a power transfer. The hope is that by then, the West will get rid of excessive euphoria about its omnipotent sanctions against Iran.

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