Deadlocked Iran Nuclear Talks
by Stephen Lendman
Interim terms were agreed on last November. Subsequent talks remain deadlocked.
Longstanding US/Israeli anti-Iranian hostility persists. Without just cause. Sabotaging chances for resolving things responsibly.
Hours remain before an agreed on midnight November 24 deadline. Chances for resolving remaining issues by then are virtually zero.
Except perhaps claiming resolution on some things. Agreeing to extend talks on others. More on this below.
Negotiations never should have been held in the first place. Iran's program is entirely legitimate. With no military component. US intelligence says so annually.
Claims otherwise reflect red herring cover for long sought regime change. Washington deplores sovereign independent countries.
Wants pro-Western stooge ones replacing them. Puppet regimes it controls. Taking full advantage.
In Iran's case, controlling its enormous oil and gas reserves. Removing Israel's main rival. Aiding its regional hegemonic objectives.
In 1979, Iranians ended a generation of US-installed repressive Reza Shah Pahlavi rule. Replacing it with participatory Islamic Republic governance.
Washington continues trying to control its policy. Subordinating it to Western interests. What Tehran fundamentally rejects.
Wanting strategic autonomy. Normalized relations with all countries. Mutual cooperation. International peace and stability.
Multi-world polarity. "Neither east nor west," according to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Words carved in stone at Iran's Foreign Affairs Ministry entrance.
More relevant now in today's tumultuous world. Washington and Israel bear full responsibility. Rogue EU states share it.
Key is resolving things peacefully. The alternative risks potential unthinkable consequences.
Things today are more perilous than any time in world history. Either we find a way to end destructive wars or they'll end us.
On November 22, Kerry commented from Vienna. Where talks were held, saying:
"We've been, obviously, having difficult talks here - complicated topic. We're working hard."
"We hope we're making careful progress, but we have big gaps. We still have some serious gaps which we're working to close."
"The good thing is the P5+1 are united and working in concert, and we're simply going to not say anything substantive about the discussions while they're going on."
Kerry's rhetoric is code language for deadlock on key issues. Ones reflecting fairness Iran deserves.
What Washington rejects. Continuing longstanding anti-Iranian hostility. Begging the question whether normalization to any extent is possible.
America needs enemies. Real or invented. Used to advance its hegemonic agenda.
Waging one war after another. Plans readied to attack Iran years ago. Perhaps jointly with Israel.
Last March, Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon ordered preparations for possibly striking Iran. Unilaterally. At an estimated cost of nearly $3 billion.
IDF generals confirmed a clear directive. Targeting Iran's nuclear sites. Regardless of ongoing P5+1 talks.
At the time, Netanyahu said "letting Iran enrich uranium would open up the floodgates."
"That must not happen. And we will make sure it does not happen." Ya'alon is likeminded, saying:
"We think that the United States should be the one leading the campaign against Iran."
"But the US has entered talks with them and unfortunately, in the haggling in the Persian bazaar, the Iranians were better."
"Therefore, on this matter, we have to behave as though we have nobody to look out for us but ourselves."
On Sunday, Obama said "significant" negotiating gaps remain. Code language for Iran not unconditionally acceding to unreasonable US demands.
Key for Tehran is recognizing its legitimate nuclear program. No different from dozens of other countries. Treating it like all Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty signatories.
Lifting lawless sanctions. Quickly. Permanently. Letting Iran enrich uranium. Like other nuclear states. Have enough centrifuges to advance its peaceful program.
The duration of any agreement reached. Terms of IAEA inspections. Iran's program is the world's most intensely monitored one.
Nuclear armed and dangerous US and Israeli programs aren't inspected. Despite posing a grave threat to world peace.
Normalizing Iranian/Western relations as much as possible is essential to avoid conflict. Ending over 35 years of hostility.
Obama categorically refuses. Showing America's intention is sabotaging talks. Maintaining business as usual. Perhaps intending a pretext for war.
On Thursday, Kerry said "(w)e are not talking about an extension. We are driving towards what we believe is the outline of an agreement that we think we can have."
Interim terms freezing much of Iran's program expires Monday night. Last July, talks scheduled to end then were extended.
Justified on progress made to that point. Despite significant disagreements remaining.
On Sunday, an unnamed Iranian negotiator said agreeing on remaining issues isn't possible by Monday's deadline.
On Sunday, Reuters suggested talks would be extended. Western officials named two possible options.
"Stop the clock." Let talks continue in a few weeks. Or formally extend them into 2015. Through midyear or longer.
After around 12 years of futility, it's hard imagining Washington softening its position.
It bears repeating. At issue isn't Iran's nuclear program. Known to be peaceful.
It's regime change. Installing pro-Western stooge governance. Controlling Iran's enormous energy reserves.
Exploiting its people. Eliminating Israel's main regional rival. Advancing America's imperium.
What media scoundrels never explain. What Iran will never accept. Nor should it. Its sovereign independence is too precious to lose.
It made enormous negotiating concessions. Getting little back in return. It blames US-led Western nations for current deadlock. Justifiably.
It won't accede to over-the-top demands. Where things go from here remain to be seen.
Midday Monday Vienna time, Israeli media, AP and AFP said Western diplomats indicated extending talks. Based on weekend progress.
An Iranian source confirmed it. So did China's Xinhua. Saying talks will continue until July 1, 2015.
Negotiations will reconvene in December. Perhaps mid-month. At a yet-to-be-determined location. Possibly Vienna or Oman.
P5+1 foreign ministers discussed terms with their Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif.
He and Kerry held bilateral talks Sunday. Again Monday. Extending negotiations into next year was discussed.
Aiming for broad agreement by March 1. Final details by July 1. Continuing talks through July 15. Maintaining sanctions throughout the period.
Neither side wants failure. For sure not Iran. It's gone all-out to resolve things equitably.
It bears repeating. Washington is the main stumbling block. Along with Israel behind the scenes.
Netanyahu wants Iran's nuclear program entirely eliminated. Or at least reduced to a shadow of its current capacity.
"We must not dismantle sanctions before we dismantle Iran's (ability) to produce a nuclear bomb," he said.
Knowing no program exists to do so. No Iranian intent. Washington and Israel suggest otherwise. Big Lies consistently repeat.
Iran's Expediency Council secretary Mohsen Kezayee blames Washington for failure to resolve things, saying:
"The US and certain regional states are fully responsible in case no results are obtained and talks probably go nowhere."
Tehran tried everything to resolve remaining differences responsibly, he added. Failure shows Washington's real intent.
Unreasonable US demands sabotaged talks. It's hard imagining America changing its position between now and next year.
Iranian officials said they'll turn to Beijing and Moscow if current talks fail. "Of course we have Plan B, one official said, adding:
Details "cannot (be) reveal(ed). (W)e have always had good relations with Russia and China."
"Naturally, if the nuclear talks fail, we will increase our cooperation with our friends and will provide them more opportunities in Iran's high-potential market."
"We share common views (with Russia and China) on many issues, including Syria and Iraq."
Iranian media confirmed Western reports about extending nuclear talks through midyear 2015. Press TV reported "major gaps" remaining between both sides.
Fars News said details on future talks are being negotiated. At the same time, no sanctions relief is expected.
The Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) said Iranian President Hassan Rohani and Vladimir Putin discussed Vienna talks by phone.
Rohani will address Iranians Monday night on national television. Discussing P5+1 talks. Perhaps other issues.
Repeatedly he affirmed Tehran's right to peaceful nuclear development. Including uranium enrichment. Calling nuclear energy and technology inalienable Iranian rights.
What happens in resumed talks remains to be seen. Washington hardliners want war, not peace. Israeli zealots are likeminded.
It's hard imagining reconciliation ahead with extremists in both countries influencing policy. No matter how long talks continue.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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