Iran round-up: Tehran re-states its nuclear conditions — will US respond?

SUMMARY: In the category of We’ve Been Here Before, Iran has restated its core proposals for a nuclear agreement with the US and other powers. Western diplomats have told reporters, including Barbara Slavin of Al Monitor:

Iranian officials in New York for UN meetings over the past two weeks have told the Americans that they are willing to offer significant concessions in Geneva on Oct. 15-16, but need to know “the endgame” before taking the first steps.

European diplomats have told Al-Monitor that the P5+1 [5+1 Powers] are still debating how to respond to various possible initial Iranian concessions.

The crux of a deal is likely to be international acknowledgement that Iran can continue enriching uranium at a low level under stringent conditions. In the short term, Iranians appear to be expecting US President Barack Obama to waive or slow implementation of some punishing sanctions in return for curbing or suspending key elements of their nuclear program; at the end, they envision removal of all nuclear-related penalties on Iran’s oil exports and international financial transactions in exchange for permanent limits on the program and enhanced international monitoring.

The Wall Street Journal, citing a “former Western diplomat”, has a similar story.

There is nothing new in this Iranian position — it is roughly the same as the fundamental points set out in June 2012.

The question remains: will the US Government finally recognize an Iranian right to enrich uranium to a level of 5%, in return for an agreed system of inspections and supervision and for Tehran’s halt to 20% enrichment? Is the Obama Administration willing — or politically able — to lift sanctions?

And now the hint of a second question, given that European diplomats told Slavin of the deliberations among the 5+1 Powers: will America’s allies — Britain, Germany, and France — put pressure on the US to shift its position and meet the Iranian conditions?

Blogger Mehdi Khazali Given 6-Year Sentence

Prominent blogger and physician Mehdi Khazali has been given a six-year sentence for propaganda against Iran and actions against national security.

Khazali, the son of a well-known Ayatollah, has been repeatedly detained since the disputed Presidential election of June 2009. He has been on several protracted hunger strikes during his time in prison.

Head of Basij: “We Are in New Economic War”

The head of the Basij militia, Mohammad Reza Naqdi, has declared, “Today we are in a new battle with the enemy, which after their failure to fracture Iran in the security, military, political, and cultural arenas,has become an economic war.”

Naqdi upheld the Supreme Leader’s proclamation of a “resistance economy” as Iran enters talks on its nuclear program with the US and other powers:

If there is no creation of internal strength, there will likewise be no success in negotiations. Therefore, our primary focus must be on the internal strength of the system.

Journalists Faghihi and Asgari Released

Mostafa Faghihi, the managing editor of Entekhab, has been released on bail after his arrest earlier this week.

Journalist and student activist Ahmad Asgari has also been freed after almost four months behind bars.

By EA WorldView


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