Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Iran responded to US offer for talks

The most recent US offer for talks with Iran, the terms of which have not been released to the public, most likely are very similar to the Bush era 2008 Freeze for Freeze proposal, which envisioned talks beginning in phases, with the third phase including an Iranian suspension of enrichment.
Phase III, “Formal Negotiations,” were envisioned as starting with a meeting of Foreign Ministers of all involved countries, provided that 1) The IAEA had verified that Iran had suspended all enrichment‐related and reprocessing activities; and 2) the U.N. Security Council had suspended discussion of Iran’s nuclear program and the implementation of measures adapted under UNSCR 173, 1747, and 1803.
Iran has said it would reject any talks contingent on suspension of enrichment since 2005. Roger Cohen says that the US found the Iranian response to its most recent proposal disappointing.
In early May, Obama sent Khamenei a secret personal letter, as The Washington Times reported. The letter proposed a framework for talks on the nuclear issue (which Khamenei is believed to control) and regional security. I was reliably informed by more than one knowledgeable American that Khamenei had answered in writing, but the reply was disappointing.
I'm sure the answer was more than just disappointing. The answer was "no." But if the requirement for a suspension has been lifted, there is a good chance that progress is being made as we speak.

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