What Iran Threw Away

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iran ahmadinejad.jpgThis is a guest note exclusive to The Washington Note by Iran expert and well-known diplomatic correspondent Barbara Slavin, author of Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies: Iran, the U.S. and the Twisted Path to Confrontation
What Iran Threw Away
A senior U.S. official Wednesday confirmed that the United States offered the first civilian nuclear cooperation with Iran in three decades under the terms of a deal that Iran walked away from last fall.
Daniel Poneman, Deputy Secretary of Energy, said that had Iran accepted the deal – under which it would have shipped out two thirds of its stockpile of low-enriched uranium for further processing abroad – the U.S. would have inspected a 40-year-old reactor in Tehran to see if it was operating safely.
“We would have been well disposed to be helpful,” Poneman said at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “We were willing in support of IAEA efforts … to help assure that the Tehran research reactor was safe.”
Iran’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Ashgar Soltanieh, told reporters after the meetings with Poneman in October that “one of the aspects in addition to the fuel is the control instrumentation and safety equipment of the reactor” and that “we have been informed about the readiness of the United States in a technical project with the IAEA to cooperate in this respect.”
A U.S. official said on background that the United States would examine the reactor, provided to Iran in the late 1960s when Lyndon Johnson was president and the Shah ruled Iran. However, Poneman’s remark was the first on the record confirmation of this.
This deal sweetener was well received by those close to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and allowed him to cast the package in a positive light.
Iranians much prefer U.S. technology to Russian nuclear knowhow. Some Iranians suggested that U.S. assistance might extend to the Bushehr reactor if a deal could be struck on the LEU. Bushehr, which was begun by the Germans in the Shah’s time, is now a “mess,” one official told me, a “hodge-podge of technologies” that Iran is afraid to run because it might “blow up.”
Ahmadinejad’s numerous opponents within Iran’s complex political hierarchy attacked the LEU deal as a sell-out — in large part because he had undercut their efforts to reach a nuclear understanding with the United States in the past.
Poneman said Wednesday that the offer remained on the table. Beyond the U.S. examination of the reactor, Russia and France would further refine 1200 kilograms of Iran’s low-enriched uranium and turn it into fuel rods for use in the research reactor, which produces medical isotopes for treatment of cancer and other ailments and is due to run out of fuel by the end of this year.
“It has not been formally withdrawn,” Poneman said of the deal. However, he confided later that the U.S. is “not chasing Iran” and that the Iranians know who to call if they are interested in coming back to the table. Otherwise, the United States will keep moving down “the pressure track” to increase the cost to Iran of its nuclear defiance, he said.
— Barbara Slavin

Comments

56 comments on “What Iran Threw Away

  1. Sweetness says:

    Carroll writes: “”I’am concerned with the quotes anti-Semitic
    nature–which your research verifies. I get no kick from Cicero.
    Whether you choose to continue this in-illustrious tradition is up to
    you.”
    …You can pursue you anti semite crusade as you have done for
    years MP. Nadine can pursue her nazis forgeries all she pleases. I
    provided the research I did in response to your tradition of
    pursuing abtri senitism and these particular quotes.”
    Care to put any of this into English?

    Reply

  2. nadine says:

    The Arabs always knew that Israel’s nukes were defensive and would only be used in the last case. Proof? They attacked in 1973 anyway, even though Israel had nukes and they didn’t; and they were content not to proliferate despite Israel having nukes all this while.
    They don’t feel the same about Iran, an aggressive regime that has grown Hizbullah as its foreign legion and does not hesitate to meddle in Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, and even Egypt. Egypt recently arrested a Hizbullah cell of 50 who had planned to close the Suez Canal with bombs.
    Carroll says the US is worried about Iran as an unfriendly hegemon of the Gulf. On this point she is right. So, what’s to prevent it? The American fleet may be there, but it’s only as strong as the man willing to give orders.
    The Mideast is a fairly primordial place, diplomatically speaking. As OBL said, when people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature they like the strong horse. Iran has been looking like the strong horse in the Gulf lately. Obama has been making nothing but weak horse moves.

    Reply

  3. Sweetness says:

    Not sure I’m being that black and white, Paul.
    It’s often argued that Israeli nukes have been a destabilizing
    force and the impetus for an arm’s race in the ME. I think that
    thesis is belied by the time line.
    Israel has had nukes at least since 1970, I believe…
    Beyond that, I don’t think Israel menaced Iran all through the
    1980s and 1990s, despite Iran’s belligerent anti-Zionist
    language. But you’re right, Iraq was doing that job for them in
    the 1980s, so they hardly had the time or resources (I guess).
    My sense is, there are a number of reasons for Iran to want
    nukes, including self-respect, one of Steve’s apparent theses.
    Sure, Israel having them is one impetus. Pakistan…maybe India
    too. Our own belligerence toward Iran. All of these factor in.
    My guess is Iran going nuclear will have a greater destabilizing
    impact on the ME than Israel having gone nuclear.
    But my bottom line position is that even ONE nuclear country is
    destabilizing and dangerous. One begets another, eventually.
    So they ALL have to roll back nukes to keep them from
    spreading. I don’t know if this is TRUE, but it is my belief.

    Reply

  4. Carroll says:

    Posted by Sweetness, Mar 20 2010, 3:40PM – Link
    <<<<<<<<<<<<
    Well MP…
    “Nadine is concerned with whether these quotes are authentic,”
    …Since you and nadine is stuck on this I just provided her with the source and background for one of the quotes. She can investigate the rest heself.
    “I’am concerned with the quotes anti-Semitic nature–which your research verifies. I get no kick from Cicero. Whether you choose
    to continue this in-illustrious tradition is up to you.”
    …You can pursue you anti semite crusade as you have done for years MP. Nadine can pursue her nazis forgeries all she pleases. I provided the research I did in response to your tradition of pursuing abtri senitism and these particular quotes.
    “As to your first point, YOUR point seemed to be Israel and how troublesome it is and whether it’s uniquely so among US allies.”
    ….It’s uniqueness is that Israel is client welfare state dependent on billions of yearly US taxpayer aid for it’s security and has over the decades continued to flaunt US interest in the ME and challenge it’s benefactor.
    “It’s entirely possible that other allies–say Turkey and Saudi–are letting Israel do their dirty work for them by objecting to
    Iranian nukes.”
    ….. I think it’s much more likely as I said that “other ME countries” are hoping to get rid of both the Israel I/P and Iran problems and being much more cagey about it than the Israelis.
    Israel and it’s US supporters are doing what they always do, raising hysterics and spreading propaganda to try to influence the public and influence congress. The Saudis on the hand don’t have to do that. The importance of Saudi opinions is understood already within the US gov.

    Reply

  5. Paul Norheim says:

    “Fact is, Steven SEEMED to be saying a few threads
    back that if Iran got nukes, Turkey would press for them, too,
    and then others. In other words, proliferation, something that
    Israeli nukes didn’t seem to spawn.”
    Are you dismissing any possible link between the Israeli nukes
    and Iranian ambitions? Sure, they didn’t get them in the 1980’s,
    when they were busy fighting in the Iraq/Iran war. But if you see
    this with Iranian eyes, I would say that the fact that both Pakistan
    (an unstable and vulnerable regime) and Israel have nukes, would
    be an argument in favor of getting their own nukes.

    Reply

  6. Sweetness says:

    Carroll quotes: “Cicero’s Pro Flacco oration provides a uniquely
    early and clear example of anti-Semitism…”
    Nadine is concerned with whether these quotes are authentic,
    i.e., they were actually spoken or penned by the person in
    question.
    This is important in an historical sense…getting the history
    right.
    I’m concerned with the quotes’ anti-Semitic nature–which your
    research verifies. I get no kick from Cicero. Whether you choose
    to continue this in-illustrious tradition is up to you.
    As to your first point, YOUR point seemed to be Israel and how
    troublesome it is and whether it’s uniquely so among US allies.
    It’s entirely possible that other allies–say Turkey and Saudi–
    are letting Israel do their dirty work for them by objecting to
    Iranian nukes. Fact is, Steven SEEMED to be saying a few threads
    back that if Iran got nukes, Turkey would press for them, too,
    and then others. In other words, proliferation, something that
    Israeli nukes didn’t seem to spawn.

    Reply

  7. Carroll says:

    Nadine/MP
    The subject here is Iran. Israel is very bellicose in demanding the US confront Iran as we all know. Saudi is also relevant to Iran. In ‘trolling’ google for previous Salvin articles I didn’t find anything very different from what she presented here but did see the 1981 article which is pertinent to the current US-Israel stand off.
    If some other subject comes up in which some other country is relevant I might add interesting history on them also if I come across it.
    BTW, I did find the site that the quotes I posted in response to your Arab slurs came from, it’s biblebelievers.com, some Christian group. And as promised I did make a effort to see if they were legitimate quotes and where they came from. I haven’t taken time to do all of them but started with the first one by Cicero. Here’s what I found.
    http://en.allexperts.com/e/c/ci/cicero.htm
    Cicero’s Pro Flacco oration provides a uniquely early and clear example of anti-Semitism; in this speech, Cicero plays upon several stereotypical themes which have been echoed throughout the last two millennia. The case involved the defense of Lucius Valerius Flaccus, a Roman aristocrat, who was accused of (among other things) unlawfully confiscating Jewish funds which had been collected for the maintenance of the Temple at Jerusalem. In defense of Flaccus, Cicero made arguments regarding the public site which had been selected for the open-air tribunal: “Now let us take a look at the Jews and their manna for gold. You chose this site, [chief prosecutor] Laelius, and the crowd which frequents it, with an eye to this particular accusation, knowing very well that Jews with their large numbers and tendency to act as a clique are valuable supporters to have at any kind of public meeting.”
    Here’s a link to the entire speech:
    Cicehttp://searchworks.stanford.edu/view/2828804ro, Pro Flacco 28
    So now you can argue over Cicero’s anti semitism instead of whether or not the quote on the site was legitimate or a Nazi forgery. I also verified Twain’s quote but lost the link to the article that he wrote for a newspaper that it was quoted from. Since you are more interested than I in verifying or debunking the quotes spend some of your own time on it.

    Reply

  8. Pahlavan says:

    Although the reality paints a consistent picture with a history based on occupassion and illegal expansions, Nadine still insists Israel is always showing a commitment for peace! Peace for who?

    Reply

  9. Sweetness says:

    Carroll/Nadine…
    Yeah, it’s not as if other US allies don’t make difficulties for the US in lots of ways.

    Reply

  10. nadine says:

    Carroll, your exercises in trolling for mud to throw against Israel are transparent. As if Begin didn’t show his seriousness for peace when he gave the whole damn Sinai back to Egypt for a peace treaty. (He tried to give Gaza back too, but the Egyptians wisely wouldn’t take it.)
    But you will troll for any mud to throw. Because you ARE a troll. And an anti-Semite. But we established that when you posted Nazi forgeries all over TWN.

    Reply

  11. Carroll says:

    While looking at some of Ms Slavins other writings I came across this article from 1981 about President Reagan’s problems with Israel.
    Illustrating once again that almost every president has had this same problem with Israeli trouble making in the ME and the most successful at handling it was Eisenhower. Obama needs to channel Ike.
    NYTimes.com..
    The World in Summary; Israel Makes Golan Heights Part of Israel
    MILT FREUDENHEIM AND BARBARA SLAVIN
    Published: December 20, 1981
    Prime Minister Menachem Begin did it again last week, producing a dramatic coup that pleased many (but by no means all) Israelis, infuriated Arabs and confounded the Reagan Administration.
    In a surprise six-hour power play in the Knesset, Mr. Begin forced through annexation of 500 square miles of strategic, formerly Syrian territory on the Golan Heights that Israel has occupied since 1967. Many of the Golan’s 12,500 Arab Druse residents protested; 7,000 Israeli settlers were delighted. A poll showed Israelis as 70 percent in favor of eventual annexation, but 38 percent objected to the timing.
    The action meant ”a declaration of war,” Syria said, and ”abrogation” of the 1974 cease-fire arranged after Syria’s last attempt to regain the heights. Israel, insisting the cease-fire still held, moved up armored weapons just in case. But there was no immediate sign that Syria, 40 miles down the road, would start shooting.
    President Reagan said the Israeli action ”increases the difficulty of seeking peace in the Middle East.” The United States was ”caught by surprise,” he added.
    The Administration registered displeasure by suspending the strategic cooperation agreement it signed with Israel only three weeks ago and voting at the United Nations for a unanimous Security Council resolution that declared the Golan annexation ”null and void.” The Council said it would take ”appropriate action” unless Israel rescinds the move by Jan. 5.
    Israeli officials immediately rejected the resolution. Defense Minister Ariel Sharon said yesterday that the suspension of the strategic cooperation agreement, which he helped shape, was an attempt to ”harm the heart” of Israeli security and raised ”severe doubts” about the credibility of other American commitments, including the Camp David accords.
    The move put Egypt in a difficult position. Cairo’s Foreign Ministry warned that the annexation violated the United Nations resolutions that underlie Camp David, but President Hosni Mubarak quickly added that it wasn’t ”a slap to us at all.” Egypt is anxious not to upset Mr. Begin before Israel gets out of Sinai in April.”

    Reply

  12. Carroll says:

    I doubt any doors have been closed on Iran. It seems more to me that no one, with the exception of Israel, wants to or can afford to go beyond a point of no return with Iran and Iran is taking advantage of that fact to get their best deal.
    And if I am not mistaken the real offer to Iran has always run along the lines of Iran giving over 2/3’s of their nuclear material in return for either the US or Russia then providing the necessary enrichment and quantities for Iran’s energy and medical use. At least according to what I read in Stratfor. Maybe Iran is afraid once they hand it over they won’t get any back.
    Frankly if they did hand it over there would probably be all kinds of hell raised to try and prevent them from getting any back.
    The only thing the US actually needs for itself as far as I can see is to make sure Iran doesn’t become the unfriendly hegemon of the Persian Gulf.
    Israel’s designs on being a regional power itself, expresed in hysterics over Iran nukes, and the Saudis concerns over the Shia are extracurricular regional politics.
    In a way I can imagine other ME countries who aren’t enthralled with Iran having nukes, even Saudi, dragging their heels on pushing Iran because Iran might be a lever to get I/P settled first before moving on to settle the Iran nuke fear. If I were a ME ruler with the Israel problem and the Iran problem than might be how I would think.

    Reply

  13. Don Bacon says:

    Exactly. The IAEA has been politicized and is acting beyond NPT treaty dictates which limit the IAEA to ensuring the non-diversion of nuclear fuel to weapons programs, which in Iran’s case it has continually done.
    The NPT, of course, is a treaty, and Iran is in full compliance with treaty requirements. All the other extra-curricular speculation and alleged information found on a laptop computer and questions about a heavy water plant are all red herrings fished up by the US warmongers who are trying to placate Israel, which the US has found is a bottomless pit.
    Now if the IAEA were to get after the US for violating the NPT by its giving nuclear assistance to a non-NPT signatory state (India) then I would quote the IAEA. But on the Iran bullshit? Nah. It’s baseless.
    Finally, Iran is under no obligation to accept offers from any other country. It has done nothing wrong in the nuclear area (unlike Israel, for example) and it is quite free to give the back of its hand to any foreign offer, as is the US and other sovereign states, any concocted crisis notwithstanding.

    Reply

  14. Pahlavan says:

    “The IAEA reports that Iran has been non-compliant and continues to be non-compliant.”
    This new report is not worth the paper its written on because it grossely contradicts the findings of the former Czar who spent a great majority of his time in office researching and inspecting facilities in Iran.
    The new South Korean Czar (whose home land is practically under US military’s thumb) needs to justify how in less than a month he reached a conclusion that IAEA previous administration was unable to confirm.

    Reply

  15. nadine says:

    “nadine’s link was to a comment from Steve Clemons, who uncharacteristically mis-spoke. ”
    Hello, Don Bacon, are you really unable to read? Steve quoted the IAEA report’s conclusions at length and summed them up, correctly. The IAEA reports that Iran has been non-compliant and continues to be non-compliant.
    Furthermore, as the title of this blog post – What Iran Threw Away – implies, Iran has given all Obama’s offers the back of their hand. The most respectful, undemanding (not to say obsequious) approach ever and they react with insults and open derision.
    Gee, if even your hero Steve Clemons says so, maybe it’s so? Maybe, just maybe, all previous American Presidents since Jimmy Carter never made any diplomatic progress with Iran because of the nature of the Iranian regime, not their own shortcomings?
    Nah, it seems not even Steve Clemons can persuade you. You cling to your fantasy regardless.

    Reply

  16. samuelburke says:

    “US Department of Justice Asked to Regulate AIPAC as a Foreign
    Agent of the Israeli Government
    WASHINGTON, March 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The US
    Department of Justice has been formally asked to begin regulating
    the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) as the
    foreign agent of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A 392 page
    legal filing presented by a four person IRmep delegation in a two
    hour meeting with top officials of the Internal Security Section
    substantiated the following case for AIPAC’s immediate
    registration:”
    http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/us-department-of-
    justice-asked-to-regulate-aipac-as-a-foreign-agent-of-the-
    israeli-government-88190712.html

    Reply

  17. samuelburke says:

    US Department of Justice Asked to Regulate AIPAC as a Foreign
    Agent of the Israeli Government
    http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/us-department-of-
    justice-asked-to-regulate-aipac-as-a-foreign-agent-of-the-
    israeli-government-88190712.html
    Washington, DC – The US Department of Justice has been
    formally asked to begin regulating the American Israel Public
    Affairs Committee (AIPAC) as the foreign agent of the Israeli
    Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A 392 page legal filing presented by
    a four person IRmep delegation in a two hour meeting with top
    officials of the Internal Security Section substantiated the
    following case for AIPAC’s immediate registration:
    1. AIPAC is a spinoff of an organization already ordered by the
    DOJ to register as an Israeli foreign agent. In November of 1962
    the American Zionist Council was ordered by the Attorney
    General to begin filing disclosures as an Israeli foreign agent
    under the 1938 Foreign Agents Registration Act.
    http://www.IRmep.org/1962Order.pdf Six weeks later, former
    AZC employees incorporated the American Israel Public Affairs
    Committee in Washington, DC, taking over the AZC’s lobbying
    activities. http://www.IRmep.org/AIPAC.pdf AIPAC did not
    register as a foreign agent.
    2. AIPAC’s founder Isaiah L. Kenen was the chief information
    officer for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs in New York and
    for a time duly registered in that role.
    http://www.IRmep.org/Kenen.pdf The Justice Department
    ordered Kenen to personally re-register after he formally left
    the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs to head up private
    lobbying and publicity for the Israeli government at the
    nonprofit American Zionist Council. Kenen never complied with
    the order. http://www.IRmep.org/order.pdf
    3. Espionage related FBI investigations in 1984 and 2005
    reveal AIPAC’s ongoing stealth foreign agency activities.
    Declassified FBI files released on the Internet last week reveal
    that in 1984 AIPAC and the Israeli Ministry of Economics were
    investigated for jointly obtaining and circulating classified US
    economic data to obtain favorable trade benefits for Israel.
    http://www.irmep.org/ila/economy In 2005 Pentagon Colonel
    Lawrence Franklin pled guilty and two AIPAC employees were
    indicted for obtaining and circulating classified US national
    defense information to Israeli government officials allegedly in
    the interest of fomenting US action against Iran.
    4. AIPAC’s executive committee consists of the original
    member organizations of the AZC in addition to newer
    members. The Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish
    Organizations, the umbrella group of AIPAC’s executive
    committee, is housed in the same New York office as the World
    Zionist Organization – American Section, a registered foreign
    agent that is heavily involved in illegal settlement expansion
    according to Israeli prosecutor Thalia Sasson.
    According to Grant F. Smith, director of IRmep, the case for
    reregulating AIPAC as a foreign agent immediately is
    compelling. “AIPAC was designed to supplant the American
    Zionist Council as the arm of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign
    Affairs in the United States after the DOJ ordered the AZC to
    register as a foreign agent. As such, Americans should have full
    public access to biannual FARA registrations detailing AIPAC’s
    publicity campaigns, lobbying expenditures, funding flows,
    activities of its offices in Israel and internal consultations with
    its foreign principals-particularly over such controversial issues
    as illegal settlements and US foreign aid.”
    Concerned organizations and individuals who wish to
    supplement the Department of Justice filing or participate in
    future negotiations with law enforcement officials should
    contact the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy, Inc. at
    info@IRmep.org or 202-342-7325. IRmep is a private
    nonprofit that studies how warranted law enforcement and civil
    action can improve U.S. Middle East policy.
    this is on col Pat Lang’s website this morning.

    Reply

  18. Don Bacon says:

    nadine’s link was to a comment from Steve Clemons, who uncharacteristically mis-spoke.
    The CIA has reported that there is no Iran nuclear weapons program, the IAEA has consistently reported that there is no diversion of fuel to a weapons program and therefore there is no basis for Steve’s allegation.
    Iran is in non-compliance with Israeli/US dictates that it quit its legal and proper civilian nuclear program which is a violation of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty that Iran signed in good faith: “Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with articles I and II of this Treaty.”
    Nothing. Treaty. Inalienable right. Nuclear energy.

    Reply

  19. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “liz, you are spouting total rubbish”
    Something you are very familiar with, Nadine. If there is anyone in this comment section that consistently offers rubbish, you are the Queen.
    Care to tell us, EXACTLY, with credible sourcing, what Iran’s non-compliance consists of?

    Reply

  20. nadine says:

    liz, you are spouting total rubbish. Even the long-suffering IAEA reported one month ago that Iran is NOT in compliance. I gave the link, which was from TWN.

    Reply

  21. samuelburke says:

    why doesn’t this issue just get put on the table openly?
    what are the top ten truths about iran?
    1) the recent iranian presidential election was not a fraud unless
    you want it to be.

    Reply

  22. Pahlavan says:

    “Can’t wait to hear your complete opinion on Hillary’s performance, if you ever get around to it.”
    Given that Russia is back peddling again, now is as good as ever for this. Please open discussion on Clinton and allow inquiring minds to feed on the comments of your intellectual base, or calibrate on the racist Kool-Aid that some continue to serve for the herd.

    Reply

  23. Don Bacon says:

    Barbara Slavin,
    Obama ran his presidential campaign with repeated false charges that Iran has a nuclear weapons program and that he planned to talk to Iran. The only thing “different” about this approach was that Obama would tell Iran what the US wanted before proceeding on the previous time-dishonored US policies.
    By the way, welcome to TWN, where “news reports” get dissected seven ways to Sunday.
    What Iranians thought of Ahmadinejad has virtually nothing to do with Iran’s nuclear policy, which has wide support in Iran (and in most of the world).
    Iran does desire to improve ties, but not at the expense of giving up their legal and popular nuclear program. Therein lies the rub. The US has had to choose between doing what is right and satisfying Israel, and it has consistently chosen the latter.

    Reply

  24. ... says:

    marcus, you’re joking but it isn’t funny or honest.. try doing the same with the usa… concern about the military empire under usa rule paint a very scary picture that has already been enacted a few times in recent history….and, it isn’t funny… the usa looms large in reason for international problems around the globe… it has a lot to do with it’s desire to enforce it’s agenda while feeding it’s own military empire… that is a sad fact…

    Reply

  25. ... says:

    barbara – you have to admit the title of the piece is one sided.. undoing the years of brainwashing on posters like Livea is not helped along either…

    Reply

  26. marcus says:

    I cannot understand what all the fuss about Iran is about; They have no plans to build a nuclear bomb(they said so)
    They have no plans to build any long range ICBMs
    They have no problems with any of their neighbors
    They have been completly transparent about their nuclear industry
    They embrace the world order specifaccly they love democracies and westerners
    They have never threantened anyone
    They respect human rights and the dignity of all peoples all religons
    They do not believe in provoking any kind of religous war/end of the world as we know it doomsday philosophy
    They are co-operative in finding peaceful resolutions to the conflicts in Iraq afghanistan israel
    I REALLY cannot understand why the west is being so mean to them its so unfair.

    Reply

  27. Barbara Slavin says:

    Wow. What a lot of reaction to a simple news item. Yes indeed in my book I wrote about what the U.S. threw away. But the Obama administration came in with a different approach and it might have worked if Iranians thought better of Ahmadinejad and if the system wasn’t completely fixated on stamping out internal unrest in the aftermath of the June elections. The reason we are “Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies” is because whenever Iran is ready to improve ties, the U.S. is not and vice versa.

    Reply

  28. liz says:

    Nadine — Iran is in FULL compliance with its obligations under the NPT. Iran is not obligated to “prove peaceful” it is the IAEA that is obligate to prove NOT peaceful.
    As Michael Spies of the Lawyer’s Committee on Nuclear Policy has written:
    “The conclusion that no diversion has occurred certifies that the state in question is in compliance with its undertaking, under its safeguards agreement and Article III of the NPT, to not divert material to non-peaceful purposes. In the case of Iran, the IAEA was able to conclude in its November 2004 report that that all declared nuclear materials had been accounted for and therefore none had been diverted to military purposes. The IAEA reached this same conclusion in September 2005.”
    Testimony presented to the Foreign Select Committee of the British Parliament by Elahe Mohtasham:
    “The enforcement of Article III of the NPT obligations is carried out through the IAEA’s monitoring and verification that is designed to ensure that declared nuclear facilities are operated according to safeguard agreement with Iran, which Iran signed with the IAEA in 1974. In the past four years that Iran’s nuclear programme has been under close investigation by the IAEA, the Director General of the IAEA, as early as November 2003 reported to the IAEA Board of Governors that “to date, there is no evidence that the previously undeclared nuclear material and activities … were related to a nuclear weapons programme.” … Although Iran has been found in non-compliance with some aspects of its IAEA safeguards obligations, Iran has not been in breach of its obligations under the terms of the NPT.”

    Reply

  29. hass says:

    Iran is already legally entitled to obtain safety inspections and assistance under the Non-Proliferation Treaty. It is not something that Iran should have to bargain for. And the suggestion that Iran should just give away its LEU in the hopes that perhaps one day it will obtain nuclear fuel in return is ludicrious. THis offer by the US to Iran was obviously INTENDED to be refused, so that the US could crow and paint Iran as being the inflexible or intrasigent party. Note that Iran has already offered to open its entire nuclear program to joint participation by the US, only to have that offer ignored even though it was endorsed by the IAEA and other experts. Obviously the US is simply trying to use the nuclear issue as a pretext for regime change and is not really interested in resolving it.

    Reply

  30. nadine says:

    “By instead following the track of inconstant, intermittent engagement with constant high decibel public threats of various kinds of sanctions, the administration has virtually guaranteed that no Iranian leader can climb down to a negotiated solution without looking weak and submissive.” (Dan Kervick)
    Dan, the adminstration hasn’t said a single thing about sanctions that sounds credible to anybody. There was that deadlines last September. Then there was that deadline last December. You see any sign of seriousness about sanctions yet?
    If there is a price to be paid for making threats, there is a higher one for making threats that nobody believes. Now WE look weak and submissive.
    “The administration has pursued a policy that is built for failure.”
    I can agree with that.

    Reply

  31. nadine says:

    Don Bacon, please don’t just make stuff up.
    Iran is not in compliance with the terms of the nuclear treaty it signed, as reported by the IAEA and confirmed by Steve Clemons a month ago: “Bottom line is not surprising: Iran remains in non-compliance and will be a complex challenge.”
    http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/2010/02/iaea_report_ira/
    The IAEA did NOT report “that Iran has not diverted nuclear fuel to a weapons program”, on the contrary it said: “Iran has not provided the necessary cooperation to permit the Agency to confirm that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities. ”

    Reply

  32. Don Bacon says:

    Livea,
    There are no “international laws” regarding nuclear. Iran has been in compliance with the terms of the nuclear treaty it signed, according to the IAEA which has consistently reported that Iran has not diverted nuclear fuel to a weapons program.
    It’s the US which has not complied with the nuclear treaty. So you should direct your attention to the US, as well as the US allies who never even signed the treaty and have developed nuclear weapons with western assistance — Israel, Pakistan and India,

    Reply

  33. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “They are undeniably and intentionally breaking international laws that they agreed too”
    No they aren’t.
    But we are.

    Reply

  34. Sweetness says:

    Bacon: “What the US Threw Away”
    Starting with Ike, yes?
    I think it’s a mistake–not that you are making it–to think that our problems with Iran are merely a function of neocon ideology.
    They started long before that…

    Reply

  35. Livea says:

    Iran is not following that path in the development of their nuclear arsenal. They are undeniably and intentionally breaking international laws that they agreed too. And now the question is what other laws regarding the acceptable use of nuclear technology are they willing to break?

    Reply

  36. ... says:

    ”’What the US Threw Away” is a better title…. and a bitter title for americans to swallow… far better to pass it off on the iranians, rather then to reflect on one’s own involvement…
    looking out, but unwilling to look within is mainly an ingrained american characteristic it seems…..

    Reply

  37. Don Bacon says:

    What the US Threw Away
    “Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies: Iran, the U.S., and the Twisted Path to Confrontation” — Barbara Slavin
    From Publishers Weekly:
    “. . .she demonstrates how decades-old American perfidy continues to color Iranian expectations,. . .Slavin argues that the Bush administration badly misjudged Iran’s leadership; by the time it offered to talk with Iran about its nuclear program, Iran had been so emboldened by other U.S. policies [i.e. sanctions] that it felt little pressure or inclination to accept.”//
    Amazon reviewer K.S. Ziegler:
    “After 9/11 Iran responded with sympathy and held candlelight vigils, unlike other Islamic countries. At that point, the United States had much in common with Iran: Saddam Hussein and the Taliban were both mutual enemies; Iran had fought a war against Saddam and almost gone to war with the Taliban. And, in fact, Iran cooperated with the U.S. aims in Afghanistan and provided assistance to the Northern Alliance in turning back the Taliban. It could have been a perfect time to establish diplomatic relations, but the Bush Administration was too busy exerting its dominance. Bush proceeded to label Iran as part of an “axis of evil”. Then, the Administration squandered an opportunity for peaceful engagement when they rejected an Iranian initiative in 2003. Instead of an ally they now had an enemy. . .”//
    And thirty years of sanctions. And threats that “all options are on the table.” And false charges of nuclear weapons programs. And a funded effort to overthrow the Iranian government, which has included fatal terrorist acts inside Iran.
    What the US Threw Away

    Reply

  38. easy e says:

    Consider the source on this perspective (Barbara Slavin !?!……..please).

    Reply

  39. Don Bacon says:

    Why is it TWN policy to love every country in the world, many of them with some really significant human rights problems, like Cuba and Saudi Arabia, but to hate Iran to the point of fabricating false information about what Iran is doing?????
    Enquiring minds want to know. I don’t get it.

    Reply

  40. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “The administration has pursued a policy that is built for failure”
    One need only look back on Hillary’s “diplomatic” rhetoric to reach that conclusion. Her public comments were not intended to bring Iran to the table, they were instead intended to convince Americans that Iran would not come to the table.

    Reply

  41. PissedOffAmerican says:

    http://original.antiwar.com/smith-grant/2010/02/10/israel-violates-economic-sanctions-against-iran/
    An excerpt….
    The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 as amended by the Symington Amendment of 1976 and the Glenn Amendment of 1977 prohibited US military assistance to countries that acquire or transfer nuclear reprocessing technology outside of international nonproliferation regimes. Israel, unlike Iran, is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The declassified US Army report titled The Joint Operating Environment 2008identifies Israel as a nuclear weapons power in “a growing arc of nuclear powers running from Israel in the west through an emerging Iran to Pakistan, India, and on to China, North Korea, and Russia in the east.” Jimmy Carter became the first former President to confirm in 2008 that Israel had secretly financed, developed, and deployed an undeclared arsenal of nuclear weapons. Israeli Mordecai Vanunu long ago released his damning photos of Israeli nuclear weapons and facilities for which he served 18 years in prison.
    If the President wishes to disburse US taxpayer-funded foreign aid to Israel in compliance with US law, he may do so only by issuing a special waiver, available for public review, as is currently the case with US aid for Pakistan. Yet every president from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama has violated their oath of office — all refused to either withhold aid or sign the short presidential waiver that would make delivering taxpayer funded US foreign aid to Israel legal under Symington and Glenn.
    If US presidents had faithfully executed this US law in order to reign in the Israeli nuclear weapons program since in the 1970s, there can be little doubt that the Middle East would be a vastly better place. Israel is fully dependent on access to the US market, diplomatic cover, and vast military aid. Israel would have been motivated to negotiate in good faith a comprehensive peaceful settlement with its near and distant neighbors, none of which would feel pressure to establish a deterrent to Israel’s nuclear weapons. But in terms of political coercion, Israel’s arsenal is pointed squarely at the US. Back in 1960 the CIA estimated [PDF] that “Possession of a nuclear weapon capability, or even the prospect of achieving it, would clearly give Israel a greater sense of security, self-confidence, and assertiveness…Israel would be less inclined than ever to make concessions…”

    Reply

  42. Dan Kervick says:

    Reading this kind of report makes the foolishness of the administration’s 2009/10 approach to Iran even more dismaying.
    The administration should have dialed down the urgency, expectations, sense of threat and gathering public hysteria about Iran right away upon entering office, and sent the whole thing into the back rooms for at least a solid year of quiet negotiations.
    By instead following the track of inconstant, intermittent engagement with constant high decibel public threats of various kinds of sanctions, the administration has virtually guaranteed that no Iranian leader can climb down to a negotiated solution without looking weak and submissive. The administration has pursued a policy that is built for failure.
    Given what we can tell about how far away Iran still is away from nuclear weapons capability, much less an actual nuclear weapons, there would have been no harm at all it putting the puffed-up Iran “crisis” on rhetorical ice for a year or more. There would always have been plenty of time later to sound the emergency bells and mobilize the public if Iran ever did near the actual possession of a nuclear weapon.
    Instead the administration decided to dial up the intensity, and drive our global partners batty with our bizarre Middle East obsessions and fixations. Some of those partners were more indulgent than others, eager as they were to start over with a new US administration, but they will soon run out of patience. The administration’s only obsession last year should have been on putting the global economy back together on terms as favorable as possible to the United States. They should leave the holy wars, lurid tales, melodramas and grand conniptions to Hollywood, street corner preachers and the writers of graphic novels.
    The actual engagement part of this “engagement policy” seems to have lasted all of a few weeks. Dennis Ross is the architect of this policy, and it is an utter a failure.

    Reply

  43. Tosk59 says:

    “Ahmadinejad’s numerous opponents within Iran’s complex political hierarchy attacked the LEU deal as a sell-out” Including Moussavi, Karroubi, and other “reformers.” Irony alert!

    Reply

  44. PissedOffAmerican says:

    A must read when pondering nuclear proliferation in the Middle East…..
    http://original.antiwar.com/smith-grant/2010/03/11/israels-lobby-imposes-crippling-sanctions-on-america-again/
    Excerpt….
    “The Israel lobby further developed the ethos that “no crime for Israel would be punished in the US” when it allegedly stole and smuggled US weapons grade uranium from NUMEC, “an Israeli operation from the beginning” according to CIA Tel Aviv station chief John Hadden. A secret nuclear arsenal would allow Israel to initiate “The Samson Option” pulling down the entire world if it were ever threatened — a capability judged worth all the stealing and law breaking”

    Reply

  45. Pahalvan says:

    I wonder how well served America (or the poor innocent people around the world whose lives get shattered or destroyed) are when we confuse or label “insiders” as “our experts”.
    Considering that 10 billion dollars (13 to be exact) of Iran’s assets has been frozen by the United States since Reza Pahlavi lost power in 1979, Iran brilliantly flushed our hand with its fuel swap proposal.
    Poneman’s remarks only confirm that either we don’t have any intentions of improving relationship (at least on the surface), or our negotiation tactics are just too elementary for our own good. Both of these scenarios make the offer for safety assistance with the plant in Bushehr completely irrelevant as far as the adversary is concerned.
    At this rate, we may as well plan to see Ahmadinejad on the front cover of GQ magazine before this is all over with.

    Reply

  46. John Waring says:

    My take is that a deal is still possible, and that’s the reason for this post.
    1. The US never formally withdrew the Offer.
    2. High administration official is stating for attribution that the Offer is still on the table.
    3. We’re not chasing Iran, but maybe the above indicates we are taking a couple of baby steps in that direction. “What Iran Threw Away” — what a lovely, coy, come-hither line.
    4. Yes, Mom didn’t raise a fool, and our first offer maybe did put the trust/escrow onus solely on Iran. So? If Iran decides to give us their eye teeth, who are we to object?
    Good. We are negotiating like Iranians, not like Americans. Just like them we will try to get as much as possible for as little as possible in return. Now they know we are serious. The diplomatic track is still on. That’s very, very good.

    Reply

  47. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Damn Steve, I wish ya woulda fixed my typos while you were at it.
    Can’t wait to hear your complete opinion on Hillary’s performance, if you ever get around to it.

    Reply

  48. Paul Norheim says:

    I think DonBacon nailed it in his comment above.
    Isn’t this a bit like expecting that Israel would want to make a
    similar arrangement with, say Syria? Wouldn’t that be a brilliant
    idea? The former shipping out low-enriched uranium for further
    processing in Syria, who of course also could be helpful
    inspecting Israel’s reactors at Dimona to see if they were
    operating safely…
    And if not: threat of sanctions, or bombing the facilities. Say
    what you want about the mullahs in Tehran, but they are not
    fools, and neither are the readers of TWN. This is an obvious
    trap.
    I am not sure, but suggesting that, say the Russians (or some
    other more or less competent country not regarded as an enemy
    of Iran) could process some of this stuff – and continue to let
    the IAEA do the inspections – could perhaps be a different
    matter, and perceived in Tehran as a serious suggestion to
    solve this issue.
    What do you think, Steve?

    Reply

  49. Steven Clemons says:

    POA — the error in the title was mine. I was rushing and posted
    incorrectly….best, steve

    Reply

  50. erichwwk says:

    What I’d be interested in is how they addressed Iran’s concern (so well stated by Elbaradei in his Charlie Rose interview- transcript inc. http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/10701)
    that ALL the trust/escrow issues be borne by Iran.
    Normally, in developing trust one trades in incremental units, each party “letting go” simultaneously with “receiving” the compensating part to the trade. Was this proposed here?
    It sounds as if this legitimate concern of Iran was NOT met, ie rather than receive fuel rods at the same time it gave up its low-enriched, Iran was expected to wait until that was enriched and formed into fuel rods, rather than receive an equivalent amount of OTHER enriched fuel. WHY????
    Hasn’t Iran suffered enough “i gotcha’s” ?
    Anthony and Don seem to get it. Does Barbara?

    Reply

  51. ... says:

    another set up in the news…..am i the only one who finds this content predictable??? as others have said, the info that isn’t being shared would be more interesting to know…

    Reply

  52. ... says:

    is there any reason the usa is not trusted?? clearly there is…

    Reply

  53. Don Bacon says:

    If only Iran would throw away most of its enriched uranium then the US “would have been well disposed to be helpful.”
    “We were willing in support of IAEA efforts … to help assure that the Tehran research reactor was safe.”
    Hi, I’m from the US, and I’m here to help you. We’ve got this UN agency doing our bidding, in all sorts of areas that are outside of treaty legalities, and we want to support what we’ve told them to do. So ship out your nuclear fuel and let us snoop around your nuclear facilities — that’s not too much to ask, is it?
    Oh, and don’t let all those sanctions we’ve had on you for thirty years lead you to believe that we’re not being helpful. After all, you are the only remaining member of the “axis of evil” that we refuse to seriously negotiate with. It doesn’t matter that most of the world supports you.
    Your policy of “nuclear defiance” is the main problem. Full compliance with treaty obligations don’t cut no ice with us. We want more.

    Reply

  54. Anthony says:

    What about this latest offer by Iran?
    Iran Offers to Exchange Low Grade Uranium but on Iranian Territory
    http://www1.voanews.com/english/news/middle-east/Iran-Offers-to-Exchange-Low-Grade-Uranium-but-on-Iranian-Territory—88232472.html

    Reply

  55. JohnH says:

    Instead of selectively dribbling out information to cover the negotiators’ backsides, they should reveal everything that was offered along with conditions attached. Only then the world can judge the real intent of US proposals…

    Reply

  56. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Gads.
    “Through”???
    Oh jeez. But hey, there’s hope, after all, she’s an “Iran expert”.
    Gotta love it. I mean, look at the favor the “Iraq Experts” did for America. That was a real exercise in “expertise”, was it not?
    I’m curious what an “Iran expert” thinks about just sticking to the terms of the NPT? Wouldn’t that simply make the “Iran problem” go away? I mean, she’s an expert and all. Perhaops she xcan elighten us as to what aspects of the NPT Iran is in violation of. Or, not.

    Reply

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