by Stephen Lendman
On April 5, so-called P5+1 talks began. They picked up where previous ones left off. Countries involved include America, Britain, China, Russia, France and Germany. Almaty, Kazahhstan played host. It did so for the second time.
Iran participates in good faith. Saeed Jalili heads its negotiating delegation. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton represents P5+1 countries.
Fars News Agency said:
"This morning, (Jalili) presented the opposite side with Iran's specific proposals for the start of a new round of cooperation between the P5+1 and Iran."
His deputy, Ali Baqeri said "proposals have been regulated within the framework of Iran's overall plan presented in Moscow."
"Iran believes that what is referred to as confidence building measure, which includes a set of actions that need to be agreed upon and brought into action by both sides, is part of a comprehensive solution and not an insignificant part of the solution or something alongside it."
"On the very same basis, the proposal that Jalili offered to the representatives of the G5+1 countries this morning presented a specific framework to the opposite side."
Multiple previous rounds failed. It's no surprise. Washington bears full responsibility. So does Israel covertly.
This time's no different. Day one ended inconclusively. Reports said common ground ran afoul straightaway.
An unnamed Western diplomat said Iran's response to P5+1 demands fell short. It amounted to "reworking" proposals made last year.
Both sides remained a "long way apart on substance." State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said no progress was made. Washington won't meet Iran bilaterally.
Ashton spokesman Michael Man added:
"The core issue here is the international community's concern of the very strong indications that Iran is developing technology that could be used for military purposes."
"The confidence building has to come from Iran because it is Iran that is developing its nuclear program."
In other words, Iran must prove a negative. Demanding it doesn't wash.
Israeli hardliners claim Tehran's able to cross Netanyahu's "red line" in four to six months. No evidence whatever suggests it.
Iran's nuclear program isn't at issue. It's red herring cover for regime change. It it didn't exist, another pretext would be invented.
At stake are oil and regional dominance. Washington wants Tehran's government replaced. It wants pro-Western leaders, not independent ones. It wants a client state.
Iran wants its sovereignty respected. It wants peace, not confrontation and conflict. It threatens no one. Its nuclear program is nonmilitary.
US intelligence, IAEA inspectors, and Israel's Mossad say so. False accusations persist. So does stalemate. Breakthroughs aren't forthcoming. Washington tolerates none.
On April 4, Jalili said progress is possible if P5+1 countries "accept the inalienable rights" of Iran to pursue peaceful nuclear power use.
He criticized Washington. He called new talks "a test for American behavior." He did so justifiably. He knows who's friend and foe.
An unnamed US official said:
"How far we get depends on what the Iranians come back with in terms of a response on the substance of our proposal."
It imposes unjustifiable constraints on its legitimate uranium enrichment rights. It requires closing its fortified Fordo facility. Its underground for good reason. It's within a mountain for protection.
Targeting it requires powerful bunker busters. Possibly mini-nukes are needed. Using them won't assure success. Israeli strikes may fare no better.
Washington's demands fall far short of reason. They include letting Iran keep small amounts of uranium enriched to 20% purity. It's so they can be used for medical isotopes.
Tehran wants its legitimate nuclear enrichment rights respected. It has every right to demand them. Deputy Russian Foreign Minister, Igor Morgulov agrees.
He said agreement must recognize Iran's rightful nuclear power use.
"We believe a longterm settlement should be based on the recognition of Iran's unconditional right to develop its civilian nuclear program, including the right to enrich uranium," he said.
Russia's working closely with its Chinese counterparts. "We highly value close dialogue" on Iran's nuclear program, he added. "Our positions coincide in many aspects."
Moscow Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevich added:
"Regrettably, the sides have not yet started to move forward formulating compromise-based agreements."
Gary Samore oversaw White House nuclear arms issues in Obama's first term. He expects prolonged diplomatic wrangling. He has low expectations going forward. He turned truth on its head saying:
"The Iranians use diplomacy in an effort to try to show that there's progress and therefore no further sanctions are justified, and to the extent that it looks like there's progress it helps maintain the value of the rial."
Washington and its partners "use diplomacy in order to demonstrate that Iran is being intransigent and unreasonable and therefore more sanctions are required. That process is going to continue."
On April 6, the Financial Times headlined "No deal in sight at Iran nuclear talks," saying:
"Negotiators failed to narrow their differences." Further discussions are "unlikely to achieve more than a willingness to keep talking."
"With all sides aware that (failure heads things) closer to war, no one in Almaty (spoke) about abandoning diplomatic efforts. But an actual deal seemed as far away as ever."
An unnamed Western diplomat said:
"We had a substantive exchange. But there is still a wide gulf between the parties. We are considering how we move on from here."
Pro-Western International Crisis Group Iran specialist Ali Vaez said "instead of narrowing, the gap between the sides actually widened."
Day two talks ended. Reports say they failed. Catherine Ashton said "(i)t became clear that our positions remain far apart." More talks may follow. No date or location were mentioned.
Imam Khamenei dismisses direct US talks. He calls them "a US tactic meant to deceive the world's public opinion and the Iranian people."
If untrue, America must prove otherwise. "Past experiences and the situation on the ground show the Americans are not seeking to resolve this issue and want it to remain unresolved to have a pretext for exerting pressure on the Iranian nation."
"We have repeatedly stated we are not after nuclear weapons." He added that Tehran never opposed enforcement of IAEA regulations. Iran's nuclear program is peaceful. It's legitimate. It threatens no one.
No matter. Washington makes outlandish demands. Iran wants its legitimate rights respected. It wants illegal sanctions lifted. America wants regime change. Stalemated discussions went nowhere. What follows bears watching.
A Final Comment
According to New York Times/Think, "North Korea Events Complicate Nuclear Talks with Iran."
They're "hanging over the negotiations in unsettling ways."
Comparing North Korea to Iran doesn't wash. Pyongyang has atomic weapons. Iran's nuclear program is non-military. Longstanding New York Times policy suggests otherwise.
Editorials turn truth on its head. On November 9, 2011, The Times headlined "The Truth About Iran," saying:
Tehran "created computer models of nuclear explosions, conducted experiments on nuclear triggers and did advanced research on a warhead that could be delivered by a medium-range missile."
On August 27, 2012, The Times headlined "Iran's Nuclear Quest," saying:
"Iran's continuing activity violates United Nations Security Council demands to halt enrichment…."
"Tehran's nuclear ambitions are clearly dangerous to Israel and the region."
"It is disappointing that recently toughened sanctions and several rounds of negotiations have not produced positive results."
"If there is to be any chance of that, the world is going to have to stay united in enforcing sanctions and isolating Iran."
Haaretz contributor Anshel Pfeffer also suggested get tough policies. Pyongyang's example "is spurring Tehran to persevere with its own nuclear program," he said.
Both "nations have a lot in common, aside from their deep hostility toward the US. Both hold rigid ideologies that grow stronger against the international sanctions and isolation."
"Both maintain a balance of terror with the US-backed neighbors…."
"And of course they both have serious nuclear aspirations." Only their tactics differ. North Korea "trumpets its capabilities."
"Iran still claims to be pursuing only civilian aims. The Korean example is spurring Tehran to persevere."
Why Haaretz reports one-way on Iran, it must explain. It bears repeating. No evidence suggests it's pursuing nuclear weapons.
Annual US intelligence assessments say so. Israeli, American and other Western officials know it. So do media scoundrels. Unjustifiably they claim otherwise.
Iran's nuclear program is red herring cover for regime change. If it didn't exist, another pretext would be found. They easy to invent.
What's ahead bears watching. Obama has lots more death and destruction in mind. He's menacing humanity on his watch.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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