New Iranian president Hassan Rowhani

New Iranian president Hassan Rowhani.

GENEVA: The Iranian plan to resolve their nuclear crisis proposes a framework for talks but still needs a lot of work, a source close to the talks here told Breaking Defense.

Iran’s plan presented today to the United States and five other world powers was designed to show Iran’s good will and to lay the groundwork for a breakthrough. It outlines time frames for Iran to meet international demands that it guarantee it does not seek nuclear weapons. The first is what could take place within three to six months. This would include Iran giving up 20 percent enrichment of uranium, which is closer to weapon-grade than uranium enriched for normal power reactor fuel, the source said in exclusive comments to Breaking Defense. During this stage Iran would also agree to provide more information, access and assurances about its work at a reactor being built at Arak. That reactor would be able to produce plutonium.

The overall deadline for Iran to wrap up all issues concerning its nuclear program would be a year, said the source, who asked not to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter.

Obama, as well as Kerry, have stressed that the good will of the Iranians would have to be matched by concrete acts. A senior US official put it in proverb form. “The proof is in the pudding and the devil is in the details,” the official said.

Other key issues to be addressed are Iran possibly limiting its enrichment and reducing the number of centrifuge machines doing it. It was not clear if these or other issues were specifically brought up.

The latest plan continues the string of remarkable developments since Hassan Rouhani took office as Iranian president in August. Rouhani has led a turn away from confrontation over Iran’s nuclear ambitions and towards negotiation. In September, Rouhani spoke directly by phone to President Barack Obama. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif had days earlier at the United Nations in New York sat down for a bilateral talk with Secretary of State John Kerry, the first such high-level meetings since the Islamic Revolution in 1979 turned Iran and the United States into enemies. They marked a surprising rapprochement that has raised hope that the Iranian nuclear crisis can be settled by diplomacy rather than war.

Today’s meeting here was praised by European Union spokesman Michael Mann as “very useful.” But Mann said: “We do need more detail from the Iranian side.”

A senior US State Department official said that for the first time in the seven years of talks between the six major powers and Iran “we had very detailed technical discussions.”

Iranian rhetoric and dogma seem to be yielding to the sort of technical discussion which could lead to an agreement. That is in itself huge progress in a crisis that has frustrated diplomacy since it began in 2002 when Iran was discovered hiding work on both uranium enrichment and possible reprocessing of plutonium, the two main routes to making an atomic bomb.

Diplomats to the Geneva meeting were tight-lipped to the press on Tuesday about the details of the Iranian plan due to the fragility of the new chance for a solution and the need to refine what the Iranians are proposing. The source said the Iranians had stressed that the proposal presented by Zarif at the first of the so-called P5-plus-1 meetings with Iran to be in English, rather having the Iranian delegate’s native Farsi translated, showed what the Iranians were willing to do and how things could be worked out.

Abbas Araghchi, Zarif’s deputy foreign minister who took over from Zarif for the afternoon session, told the Iranian press — according to the Iranian news agencies Isna and Fars — that “the two sides must restore confidence in a mutual way.” Araghchi said the final agreement must use the fatwa (religious decree) of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khameini that Iran will never build or use nuclear weapons.

In addition, Iran must be guaranteed the right to enrich uranium and be able to have a civilian nuclear program. Resolutions against it at the United Nations Security Council, which call on Iran to suspend enrichment, must be canceled.

Iran is to allow UN nuclear inspectors on its territory, as it already does, but it was not clear if Iran would meet international demands that it ratify an Additional Protocol which it has signed which allows for even wider inspections.

And there would be a precise timetable to taking non-proliferation measures, Aragachi said, according to Isna and Fars.

Aragachi also told the Iranian press that measures taken by Iran to rein in its nuclear program and by the United States and its allies to reduce sanctions should be simultaneous and matching in importance.

The talks in Geneva are scheduled to wrap up Wednesday. Diplomats said they did not expect a final agreement. But the Geneva meeting would be a first step in a new process marked by good will and businesslike behavior on both sides.
















  • PolicyWonk

    That is in itself huge progress in a crisis that has frustrated diplomacy since it began in 2002 when Iran was discovered hiding work on both uranium enrichment and possible reprocessing of plutonium, the two main routes to making an atomic bomb.
    The Iranians made it clear after being the first Muslim nation to condemn the 9/11 attacks, offered aid to the USA, and gave the US huge amounts of actionable intelligence that they were ready to put all issues of the past on the table with the goal or re-normalizing full diplomatic relations.
    The Administration of George W Bush responded by adding them to the so-called “axis of evil” and basically told Iran they were next on the target list (to appease the same right-wing crazies that in many respects are behind the economic/fiscal crisis this nation suffers from to this day, and advised the POTUS while he caused the worst string of foreign policy and national security disasters in history).
    That same administration, made it a point on NOT negotiating with anyone, and NOT talking to anyone, because the neoconservative idea of foreign policy came first through use of the military, with disastrous results by even the most generous of measures.
    I have to ask of Mr. Adler: Who’s diplomatic efforts are you referring to? Because It certainly wasn’t that of the United States.

    • Don Bacon

      One prime example of Washington’s “frustrated diplomacy” was in 2010. First Obama encouraged a Brazil-Turkey-Iran deal on 20% enriched uranium, and then he reneged. The ‘fuel-swap’ deal, whereby Iran’s 20 percent enriched uranium would be converted outside the country into fuel plates, fizzled out when Obama was pressured by Israel to scuttle the agreement, and of course Obama did.
      remembering some headlines–
      Apr 30, 2010-Turkey, Brazil brokering Iran nuclear deal
      May 16, 2010-Turkey, Brazil seal deal on Iran nuclear fuel swap
      May 17, 2010-Israel fears Iran nuclear deal will delay UN sanctions
      May 17, 2010-U.S. Is Skeptical on Iranian Deal for Nuclear Fuel
      May 18, 2010-U.S. outmaneuvered as Iran signs nuclear deal with Turkey and Brazil
      May 18, 2010-Iran’s Nuke Deal Irritates Washington
      May 19, 2010-Brazil, Turkey defend nuclear deal with Iran, urge Security Council to give talks more time
      May 19, 2010-Brazil-Turkey Deal with Iran Undermines Big Power Politics
      May 26, 2010-What Did China Get for Backing Iran Sanctions?
      June 9, 2010-Security Council Imposes Additional Sanctions on Iran
      Aug 30, 2010-Iran atomic chief says fuel swap talks finished

      So of course Tehran doesn’t trust Washington’s “diplomacy” — and who can blame them?

      • PolicyWonk

        Don –
        I know there has been activity *since* Obama took office, and when he offered direct talks with Tehran they turned him down – thereby getting the Europeans, Chinese, and Russians on board to help tighten sanctions. And I am also aware of Israel’s open interference in US diplomatic efforts (not to mention, their obnoxious “false flag” campaign, designed to provoke armed conflict between Israel and the US).
        However, the author claims diplomatic efforts started in 2002. I wanted to know WHAT diplomatic efforts (implied to be on the part of the US) occurred during THAT time frame.

  • Don Bacon

    George W. Bush recently gave a speech to Jewish leaders. Bush, who directed an illegal war against Iraq which resulted in half a million deaths and an unstable country with many additional terrorism deaths, said:

    I will not believe in Iran’s peaceful intentions until they can irrevocably prove that it’s true,” Bush told the 1,200 guests at the gala of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, according to several people in attendance. “The United States’ foreign policy must be clear eyed and understand that until the form of government changes in Iran, it is unlikely that their intentions toward Israel will change.”

    Now Bush knows something about a government which doesn’t promote peace, that’s for sure. But I doubt if he knows anything about Iran. He certainly didn’t provide any evidence that Iran’s intentions are not peaceful. Perhaps Bush thinks everybody’s like him? Perish the thought.

  • IshayJ

    While over the past weeks expectations of a deal with Iran have been running high in many quarters, the first round of nuclear negotiations following the election of Hassan Rouhani has ended with no concrete progress save the promise of another meeting early next month where the Iranian proposal will undergo further scrutiny.

    There were certainly some new features that characterized these talks: they were conducted in English, the Iranian proposal was presented in a PowerPoint presentation and reportedly included a serious and detailed proposal, the Iranians overall demonstrated a much more positive and direct attitude in the talks, and negotiations ended with a joint Iran-P5+1 statement noting that the Iranian proposal will be examined carefully.

    Click here for the full story:

  • SilverSnake

    Unfortunately, this desire to work with the West and others is only a ploy. Obviously our politicians don’t know who they are “dealing” with. This has always been an instrument of islam against the infidel. Their intent is doing whatever it takes to make it look like they are working with us while they get more time to do what they really intend on doing. We are too hopeful to solve this problem, and that is the weakness they prey on.