How to End US-Iran standoff

A03990241.jpgTEHRAN (FNA)- US policy toward Iran is stuck; It is more a holding game than a policy, The International Herald Tribune reported.

The third sanctions resolution at the UN Security Council, passed on Monday, will not add much to the pressures on Iran and is likely to be the last such resolution the United States can get.

Continuing to try to sanction Iran has not made life difficult for some Iranians and will not coerce Iran to change its commitment to a nuclear program.

Nor will sanctions result in regime change. US diplomacy has proven that there is world opposition to Iran having nuclear weapons, but not having a civilian nuclear program. Actually Iran has announced frequently that it itself is opposed to nuclear proliferation. Meantime, Iran has shown much determination in defending its rights and the US efforts have not prevented Iran from continuing to build large numbers of centrifuges to enable them to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes.

While the Security Council has been tightening the screws, Iran has moved from having a single cascade of 164 centrifuges in 2006 to approximately 3,000 centrifuges today, and the number is rising.

Like in any other country, Iranian scientists may come up with technical problems as they are developing a home-grown technology, but every new centrifuge that Iran builds – whether it works or not – creates new facts on the ground. Iran will eventually perfect the technology very soon.

The US-sponsored Security Council sanctions effort worked but with little fruit for Washington. The key UN member states negotiating the next round of sanctions were seeking a US commitment to talk directly with Iran before they voted for the 1803 resolution.

The Chinese and Russians continue to seek commercial arrangements with Iran and doubt that sanctions will be effective in heading off the Iran nuclear program. Iran continues its diplomatic course in the Persian Gulf, is more cooperative in Iraq and is carrying out a constructive dialogue with the International Atomic Energy Agency. All of these developments have weakened the sanctions approach.

Face-to-face US-Iran talks on the nuclear program are blocked because Washington will not agree to talk until Iran suspends nuclear enrichment. Iran says it will never suspend. The US insistence on zero enrichment on Iranian soil grows less viable with every newly constructed Iranian centrifuge.

“Within the growing number of American leaders calling for direct talks with Iran, not one has yet made a concrete proposal on what to say to Iranian officials other than to tell them to stop enrichment. The United States needs a new strategy soon on how to structure direct talks on the nuclear issue,” Herald Tribune said.

“In the current issue of The New York Review of Books, we (the Herald Tribune) propose that Iran’s efforts to produce enriched uranium and related nuclear activities be conducted on a multilateral basis, jointly managed and operated on Iranian soil by a consortium including Iran and other governments” – that is actually what Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad proposed long ago.

“We propose the institution of a rigorous and broad monitoring regime over Iran’s nuclear program. Turning Iran’s sensitive nuclear activities into a multinational program will enable the international community to have closer monitoring and inspections as well as joint management and operation of the program,” Herald Tribune said.

This approach would assure West of Iran’s peaceful drives and create the basis for a broader discussion of the two sides’ serious disagreements and of their common interests.

“We are convinced…that if the nuclear issue would become a subject of constructive negotiations, Iran and the United States would be able to open up discussions on the broad range of issues,” Herald Tribune said.

The National Intelligence Estimate’s conclusions on Iran’s peaceful nuclear program offer a serious opportunity to turn around this long standing hostile relationship.

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