INSS Insight – Asculai, Ephraim: The Istanbul-Baghdad-Moscow talks on Iran’s nuclear program are over. As expected, they did not achieve anything of significance, besides deciding on further, lower level talks. Indeed, the P5 1 and the Iranian delegations shared one objective: they did not want the process to end, thereby necessitating a decision on different tracks. The Iranians are successfully playing for time, as they have done for so many years, and the members of the P5 1 group are also trying to delay any inconvenient decisions, each group member for its own reasons. Most noticeably, the US delegation would like to postpone any major decision until after the November 2012 presidential elections. For their part, the Iranians need time to advance their nuclear program and produce as much enriched uranium as possible. Although according to many reports the sanctions are hurting Iran, they are still not hurting Iran badly enough, and the Iranians are able to bear them.
The ultimate aims of both sides are, of course, diametrically opposite. The Iranians want to retain the capability to enrich uranium to military-grade levels and to gain the ability to produce several nuclear weapons in short order, should the Islamic Republic’s authorities so decide. The Iranian strategy is very simple: they want the world to recognize the legitimacy of the Iranian uranium enrichment program. Even under limited conditions, such recognition would enable Iran to retain its technical capabilities, to perfect the enrichment process, and to leave them a potential for a breakout (defined as the start of the process to produce military-grade enriched uranium), whenever they decide to do so. In addition, the Iranians could well construct concealed facilities and secretly produce enriched uranium to whatever levels they choose to achieve.
The P5 1 want to prevent this possibility, but their remaining options are few. It is nearly impossible to envision the Security Council taking any further action against Iran, because Russia and China would likely vote against it. The first and most probable option for the West (the P5 1 minus Russia and China) is to impose the July sanctions on oil and hope for the best. The next option is to increase the sanctions considerably and wait for the Iranians to blink. The third option is military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities.
What would the Iranians do? Although the present sanctions have hurt Iran considerably, there are those who think that Iran can shoulder them indefinitely and will therefore continue with its present tactics of preventing a showdown while enriching uranium. Continue reading
Dr. A.Q. Khan’s designed the centrifuges loosely based on Zippe-type gas centrifuges. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A selection of the latest news stories and editorials published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by Ali Alfoneh, Ahmad Majidyar and Michael Rubin.
(E) = Article in English
- Ahmadinejad addresses newly elected parliamentarians:
- “The cabinet never intervenes in the work of the legislature… Tomorrow you will enter the parliament and you will appoint the committees. The chairman, deputy and other positions are all within your capability. We believe in this. We do not have an egoistic, politicizing view attempting to recruit and mobilize or to engage in factionalism… There is a division of labor… Why did the revolution take place? Was the purpose to elect some executives from the southern [poorer] parts of town, the villages and distant places to come to live in northern Tehran? When these people came to office, they did not have any money for their daily needs, but they have become billionaires, factory owners and merchants. Was this the purpose of the revolution…? The head of the chief inspectorate does nothing but shouting insults against the cabinet. And when it comes to the parliament, it is not answerable to anyone but God Almighty. This is also apparent in our constitution, which may be a fault… God forbid the day when people say about elected officials: ‘Such a pity; what we wanted and what we get.’”
- Hojjat al-Eslam Hassan Khomeini, grandson of the founder of the Islamic Republic, says he will not run for president in 2013. He said this while participating at the funeral of brother of Mohammad Mousavi Khoeinihain Tehran
- Fars News releases the names of some prominent individuals who participated in the commemoration ceremony.
Military and Security
- In an interview with France 24, Ahmadinejad http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13910311000367 “>dismisses claims that the Islamic Republic delivers arms to the regime in Syria.
- Ahmadinejad in an interview with France 24:
- “There is lack of trust on both sides and in order to achieve the desired result, both parties need to cooperate within the framework of justice and law. We have good suggestions which we will present when the time is ripe… Production of 20% enriched uranium is our legal right. We were not inclined to use this right. We told the agency about our needs, according to the regulations. States engaged in production of 20% enriched uranium are obliged to give us the uranium without any conditions, but they did not do so and they made political conditions prior to delivering it to us. We had no choice but investing in it and produce the 20% enriched uranium ourselves.