Eye on Iran: US Wants ‘Concrete Steps’ from Iran over Nuclear Program

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AFP: “The White House on Monday said Iran needed to take ‘concrete steps’ to assure the United States and the international community that it was not pursuing nuclear weapons. ‘We’re looking forward to these talks creating a conducive environment for concrete progress,’ Jay Carney, spokesman for President Barack Obama, told reporters ahead of key meetings this week between Tehran and world powers. ‘We are very clear-eyed about what Iran needs to do in order to fulfill its international obligations and be able to reassure the international community that it is not pursuing nuclear weapons. We need concrete steps taken by the Iranians to assure that they will forsake their nuclear weapons ambitions,’ said Carney, as he welcomed talks set to take place in Istanbul later this week. President Obama, added Carney, has already ‘made clear that the window is closing on Iran, that they need to treat these talks seriously because there is great concern around the world about Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.'”http://t.uani.com/HpC3rg 

NYT: “A senior Iranian official hinted on Monday that Iran would consider limits on its home-grown stockpile of enriched uranium, offering what seemed a modest compromise to partly meet Western concerns ahead of the planned resumption this week of nuclear talks with a group of six global powers. The senior official, Ferydoon Abbasi, the head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, was quoted by Iranian news agencies as saying that Iran was prepared to enrich uranium to a maximum 20 percent purity just to meet the needs for a medical research reactor. Mr. Abbasi was further quoted as saying that other uranium enrichment activities would be restricted to much lower levels of purity needed to fuel power generation reactors. But in what appeared to be another set of mixed signals from Iran ahead of the talks, another high-ranking figure, Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, said Iran would not accept preconditions.”http://t.uani.com/IyHLFC

AP: “Iran is signaling a possible compromise offer heading into critical talks with world powers deeply suspicious of its nuclear program: offering to scale back uranium enrichment but not abandon the ability to make nuclear fuel. The proposal – floated by the country’s nuclear chief as part of the early parrying in various capitals before negotiations get under way Friday – suggested that sanctions-battered Iran is ready to bargain. But this gambit, at least, appeared to fall short of Western demands that Iran hand over its most potent nuclear material and ease a standoff that has rattled nerves and spooked markets with seesaw oil prices and threats of Israeli military strikes.”http://t.uani.com/HuH0D2

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Nuclear Program

AFP: “Iran will defend its rights and has enough cash to survive Western economic sanctions, a defiant President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday, ahead of crucial talks with world powers over its disputed nuclear drive. ‘Whoever wants to violate the rights of the Iranian nation will be dealt a blow to the mouth so bad they will forget the path to their homes,’ he said to the cheers of thousands in the southern province of Hormuzgan in a televised speech.” http://t.uani.com/HyyDmt

Sanctions

AP: “Ahmadinejad claimed on Tuesday as Tehran cut off oil sales to Greece, the third European nation to be hit by an Iranian retaliatory measure ahead of EU’s oil embargo… Oil Minister Rostam Ghasemi announced the halt in sales to Greece on Tuesday, saying that ‘for the time being, Iran is not selling oil to Greece.’ … Meanwhile, Ahmadinejad lambasted international measures against Iran. ‘They – the West – intend to impose an embargo on our oil,’ he said during a visit to southern province of Hormozgan. ‘We have as much hard currency as we need and the country will manage well, even if we don’t sell a single barrel of oil for two or three years,’ he insisted. The speech was carried live on state TV.” http://t.uani.com/IsD8Cs

Reuters: “Japanese trading houses will cut Iranian crude imports from April, industry sources said on Tuesday, in the latest sign that Western sanctions are curbing the flow of Tehran’s oil to its biggest customers in Asia. Insurers are showing growing reluctance to cover tankers carrying Iranian oil and a senior official at a unit of Chinese refiner Sinopec Corp said it was increasingly wary of crude from Iran due to the supply threat posed by sanctions.” http://t.uani.com/HyvH9v

Reuters: “Japanese trading houses are reducing Iranian crude imports from April, industry sources said on Tuesday, joining the country’s refiners in deepening cuts even after the United States said Japan had done enough to support sanctions against Iran… Between them, Japan’s trading houses and refiners will reduce Iranian crude imports by about 60,000 barrels per day (bpd) in April, industry sources said… Japan’s trading houses are reducing imports by at least 20,000 barrels per day from April, industry sources said. Mitsubishi Corp. has allowed a contract to import around 15,000 bpd to lapse, sources said. The deal was due for renewal from April, they added. Mitsubishi declined to comment on the volumes or status of its contract. Toyota Tsusho Corp. has failed to renew a contract for 5,000 bpd, sources said.” http://t.uani.com/IAxQTr

Human Rights

AFP: “Millions of Internet users in Iran could soon be permanently cut off from the Web, social networks, and e-mail. In a statement released last week, Reza Taghipour, the Iranian minister for Information and Communications Technology, announced it plans to establish a national intranet within five months in an effort to create a ‘clean Internet,’ according to an International Business Times report. ‘All Internet Service Providers (ISP) should only present National Internet by August,’ Taghipour said in the statement. Web sites such as Google, Hotmail, and Yahoo will be blocked and replaced by government-administered services such as like Iran Mail and Iran Search Engine, according to the report. The government has already begun a registration process for those interested in using the Iran Mail that will verify and record user’s full name and address.”http://t.uani.com/Hxgg5i

Opinion & Analysis

David Ignatius in WashPost: “As Iran prepares for talks about its nuclear program on Friday with the U.S. and other major powers, it faces an economic squeeze that is growing tighter by the month. Iranian oil exports fell by about 300,000 barrels per day in March, according to Foreign Reports, a leading industry newsletter. The reason for this export decline is the refusal of some longtime customers to purchase as much Iranian crude, due to U.S.-led sanctions, and Iran’s inability to find alternate buyers. Countries that are cutting back imports of Iranian crude include Turkey, Japan, Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, India and Turkey, according to Foreign Reports. Additional reductions are likely this summer, as new European Union sanctions take effect. Another potential chokepoint for Iran is the insurance market. The EU will decide next month whether to ban its financial companies from offering reinsurance on Iranian cargoes after July 1. This insurance cutoff would be ‘the most draconian feature’ of European sanctions, according to Nat Kern, editor of Foreign Reports, because international tankers would probably refuse Iranian cargoes unless the risk could be pooled through reinsurance syndicates, nearly all of which are in Europe. Adding to the insurance squeeze, a major Chinese insurance provider, known as China P & I Club, said last week that it, too, would stop indemnifying tankers carrying Iranian oil, according to a Reuters report from Singapore. Iran faces a sharp loss of revenues even if some exports get through the sanctions net. That’s because Iran will have to offer discounts to get customers to purchase its crude in the face of coordinated U.S., European and Asian cutbacks. To limit the market impact of the loss of Iranian oil, Saudi Arabia has promised to increase production to its 12.5 million barrel peak capacity. The Saudis have pledged, specifically, to supply any needed oil to China, a decisive swing vote when it comes to sanctions.”http://t.uani.com/Iwky7F

Michael Singh in WashPost: “The United States holds a strong bargaining position going into Friday’s scheduled nuclear talks with Iran. An Israeli military attack seems imminent. U.S.- and European Union-led sanctions on Iran’s Central Bank and oil exports are wreaking havoc on the Iranian economy. And yet, despite these massive pressures on the Iranian regime, it is not Tehran but the United States that is signaling that it is prepared to make concessions – setting the stage for Washington’s unprecedented leverage to be squandered. The United States and its Western allies reportedly plan to demand that Iran suspend its higher-level enrichment activities, a position Secretary of State Hillary Clinton previewed in comments to the press April 1. The New York Times, citing American and European diplomats, also reported this weekend that Washington plans to insist that Iran close its Fordo uranium enrichment facility, which is buried beneath a mountain near the holy city of Qom. Such demands appear designed to allay near-term threats of conflict by stopping Iran’s progress toward possession of weapons-grade highly enriched uranium, which would reduce the time Tehran needs to make a nuclear bomb. These demands also aim to keep Tehran from burying its nuclear work beyond the reach of airstrikes. In other words, the demands seek to prevent Iran from entering what Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has called a ‘zone of immunity,’ or passing a point at which a military strike would no longer be able to end its weapons-related nuclear activities. This approach has two big flaws. One, it would be a strategic error to focus narrowly on the near-term concern of an Israeli military strike. U.S. negotiators should be looking at the underlying threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program. While Iran’s production of highly enriched uranium and its work at Fordo are worrisome, they are just two manifestations of a much broader nuclear program that lacks any compelling civilian rationale (because medical reasons of the sort Tehran cites could not justify an enrichment program of the scope it has built) and whose main lines of work – enrichment at the Natanz site, construction of the Fordo facility and weaponization research – were clandestine until exposed by intelligence agencies. Two, even if Iran acceded to such demands, the status quo would largely return to the point at which the Obama administration pitched its first compromise proposal in October 2009. The difference is that, since 2009, Iran has amassed a large quantity of enriched uranium and conducted further research and development on new centrifuges and ballistic missiles. It has probably engaged in other work related to nuclear weapons that is not yet publicly known and might be secret from foreign governments. In exchange for its return to an enhanced status quo ante, Iran would receive major benefits.”http://t.uani.com/IfCOGE

Gerald Seib in WSJ: “What’s the point of no return? One of the key judgments everybody faces in this process is deciding when Iran will have gone so far toward a nuclear weapon that it can no longer be stopped-and to halt Tehran before it reaches that point. Yet identifying that point is difficult, and neither Israel nor the U.S. has been very specific in defining it. But U.S. officials seem to think it will come when Iran’s leadership makes a decision to move beyond enrichment to acquire either the ability to construct nuclear weapons, or to build the actual weapons. Unlike Israel (and to some extent Britain and France), the U.S. doesn’t think Iran’s leaders have reached that point. Israel tends to think the point of no return is reached when Iran has built so much nuclear infrastructure into secure locations-such as the underground, mountainside Fordo enrichment plant-that its program isn’t vulnerable to military attack. There’s a related gray area. American officials are inclined to think they would know, either through intelligence or telltale actions that can be seen from the outside, when Iran has decided to move from enriching uranium to developing nuclear weapons. Israel isn’t so sure about that. Are there alternatives to military force? This may be the trickiest, grayest area of all. Everybody agrees that the economic sanctions put into place by the international community-which get tougher this summer when a Western embargo of Iranian oil purchases goes into full effect-have pinched Iran and made pursuit of its nuclear ambitions uncomfortable. Similarly, it seems certain that efforts to disrupt the workings of that nuclear program, by blocking imports of materials, corrupting nuclear programs and attacking nuclear scientists, have slowed down and complicated Iran’s nuclear quest. Moreover, not everything that could be tried has been tried. One possibility: a full naval blockade of Iran to really shut down its economy as well as its nuclear program. But would that, combined with diplomacy, be enough to halt and reverse nuclear advances? That is the key question-one nobody can fully answer.” http://t.uani.com/HyAt6O

John Vinocur in IHT: “Bad news: the Obama administration and the West hold a lousy hand as they go into talks with Iran. In a world of dreams and miracles, the conversations, starting Saturday, would end with the mullahs renouncing their drive toward nuclear weapons, and the disappearance of a thunderhead of foreboding and grief. Reality says otherwise, three ways. It demonstrates that the Iranians are emboldened by the West’s backing off in Syria. It acknowledges that some of the allies have serious concerns about Barack Obama’s willingness to make concessions and stretch out the talks, playing for time, Iranian-style, until after the U.S. presidential election. And it imposes the conclusion that there is no visible way these so-called confidence building exchanges (don’t call them negotiations) can produce confidence solid enough for the United States, Britain, France and Germany to believe that Iran is willing to cast aside the nuclear military program they accuse it of running. Backed by Russia and China, Tehran has little reason to offer more than a reformulation of its standard maze of denials and ambiguities in response to the West’s weak diplomatic cards. As little as a month ago, the Obama administration was talking about the imminent departure of Bashar al-Assad, Syria’s leader. His ouster would have been a vast blow to Iran, which regards Assad as its closest ally and buffer. But the West buckled in the face of Russian and Chinese resistance, withdrawing its U.N. Security Council draft resolution that demanded that Assad leave and that Russia halt its supply of arms to Syria. No substantive Western action followed. Assad remains. This is a terrible precedent. Last week, I asked Gérard Longuet, the French defense minister, how he now would describe the circumstances in Syria. His frankness was startling: ‘Iran has won the round and Russia was its accomplice.’ Result: an emboldened Iran. Indeed, a Tehran parliamentarian said over the weekend that Iran can now produce 90-plus enriched uranium and thus, in theory, a nuclear weapon.” http://t.uani.com/HpExWz

Danielle Pletka in AEI: “Saturday’s Washington Post brought us another salvo in the Obama administration information wars against… Israel. Yes, the article was entitled ‘U.S. intelligence gains in Iran seen as boost to confidence,’ but the article is intended to convey Obama’s certainty that he will know — let’s underscore that: know – with ample warning once Iranian leaders make the decision to go for the bomb. ‘There is confidence that we would see activity indicating that a decision had been made,’ a ‘senior U.S. official involved in high-level discussions about Iran policy’ tells the Post. ‘Across the board, our access has been significantly improved.’ And so Obama will have lots of time to think about what to do once he knows Iran is determined to build itself a nuclear weapon aaaaaaaaaaaand as a result, Israel should not strike Iran until, you know, after the U.S. election.” http://t.uani.com/Hy8WTF

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Veröffentlicht am 10. April 2012 in Empfehlungen, Gesetze, Literatur, Medien, Politik, Wirtschaft und mit , , , , , , , , , getaggt. Setze ein Lesezeichen auf den Permalink. Kommentare deaktiviert.

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