Archiv für den Monat April 2015

AL Monitor| Does Iran really want all sanctions removed immediately?

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif talks to members of the media while walking through a courtyard at the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel during an extended round of talks in Lausanne, April 1, 2015.  (photo by REUTERS/Brendan Smialowski)

As nuclear negotiations between Iran and six world powers in Lausanne continue past the soft deadline of March 31, Iranian officials have made statements regarding sanctions removal that may show more flexibility than previously assumed.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader who has final say on the nuclear program, has previously said that all sanctions on Iran must be removed and that the deal will not be a multistep deal. Members of parliament and other officials have also stated this. Presumably, this means that once a deal is signed, all nuclear-related sanctions on Iran will be removed.

As with all other comments made by the supreme leader, competing sides attempt to interpret Ayatollah Khamenei’s statements through a bias that is beneficial to their own talking points. However, comments by Abbas Araghchi, one of Iran’s top negotiators, and Mehdi Mohammadi, a prominent conservative analyst whose views reflect the previous more hard-line nuclear negotiators in Iran, there appears to be a public consensus that not all sanctions will be removed at once but rather the removal of sanctions must be clearly stated.

Speaking from Lausanne to Iranian reporters April 1, Araghchi said: “We cannot have an agreement thatdoes not contain the removal of sanctions. Certainly all the sanctions must be removed but the sanctions have a wide range, both quantitatively and qualitatively. The topics and issues of sanctions are very diverse. The types of sanctions and the issuer of sanctions are diverse: the Security Council, the European Union and America. These have to be separated and it has to become clear in what order it will take place.”

Araghchi continued: “We insist that in the first step of the agreement all the financial, banking and oil sanctions be removed and find a clear framework for the removal of sanctions that are possibly associated with other parts. Either way, without a completely clear and precise outlook for the removal of sanctions, certainly we will not have an agreement.”

In a column titled “Dos and Don’ts of a Political Agreement,” Mohammadi also addressed the issue of sanctions, clarifying his views on how they should be removed. “All the sanctions have to be immediately removed after Iran implements its commitments within the framework of the final step,” he wrote. Second, “all the timing has to be in an fixed, clear and unconditional text.”

The article also referred to other instances of “final rounds” and “final steps,” implying that Iranian negotiators and analysts understand that, given the complex nature of how sanctions were applied, a very complex procedure would be required to remove them. This nuance may not be enough for some members of the six world powers, but it’s a clearer picture of what the Iranians are thinking regarding the removal of sanctions.

The official deadline for these nuclear talks is the end of June, though by the end of March there was supposed to be an announcement of a political framework agreement. There have been reports that as negotiators work around the clock there may be a press announcement rather than an announcement of a deal. Though given the confidential nature of the talks, and the conflicting information released by the various sides, this too may change.

Source: AL-Monitor

AL-Monitor| Kerry, Zarif hold all-night Iran negotiations

A late night view of the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel during an extended round of Iran nuclear talks in Lausanne, April 1, 2015. Major powers and Iran negotiated into the early hours of April 2 on Tehran’s nuclear program, two days past the deadline. (photo by REUTERS/Brendan Smialowski)

Lausanne, Switzerland — US Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif held marathon negotiations through the night that ended after 6 a.m. on the morning of April 2, as they tried to overcome final gaps for a political accord on an Iran nuclear deal. But Iran said the issues had not been totally resolved and what was likely to be issued later today or on April 3 is a press statement.

„We have examined all the solutions, which should provide the axis of a final accord between now and the end of June,” Zarif told Iranian journalists here on the morning of April 2. “The P5+1 [the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany] is studying them.“

Zarif added, „There will be a statement to the press that should be announced but the text still has to be worked on.“

Negotiators and ministers from the six world powers that comprise the P5+1 held a meeting among themselves after breakfast April 2, ahead of a meeting between Zarif and European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

Zarif, speaking ahead of those meetings, said the members of the P5+1 “have to examine among themselves the results of the negotiations” that were held overnight between him, Kerry and EU deputy negotiator Helga Schmid. “We don’t know yet the result of those discussions. … If these solutions are approved, it is expected that there will be a joint declaration made by me and Mrs. Mogherini and then we will start drawing up the text of a final agreement by the end of June.”

The White House said on April 1 that progress was being made at the talks here, but that as of yet there had not been sufficient movement from Iran on some issues to finalize the preliminary political agreement.

“The talks continue to be productive and progress is being made,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told journalists at the White House press briefing on April 1. “While the talks have been productive, we have not yet received the specific tangible commitment that the international community seeks,” he said.

“As long as we are in a position of convening serious talks that are making progress, … we would not arbitrarily or abruptly end them,” he added. “This is a very complicated situation and we want to be sure that … we’re clear about the details. The details in the situation matter significantly.”

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, announcing he was staying overnight in Lausanne on April 1 to continue the negotiations, said the onus was on Iran to offer ideas to close remaining gaps for an accord.

“Tonight there will be new proposals, new recommendations. I can’t predict whether that will be sufficient to enable an agreement to be reached,” Steinmeier, speaking in German, said according to a translation from Reuters. “I will remain here tonight and then tomorrow morning we will see how the situation develops.”

A collapse of the talks is possible, but so is the possibility of reaching an agreement, Steinmeier said.“Whoever negotiates has to accept the risk of collapse. But I say that in light of the convergence [of views] that we have achieved here in Switzerland, in Lausanne, it would be irresponsible to ignore possibility of reaching an agreement.”

France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius returned to the Lausanne negotiations late April 1.

US and Iranian officials said the situation was still fluid, and they were not sure if the talks would end later on April 2 or possibly continue into April 3.

Source: Laura Rozen – AL-Monitor

Article 19| Iran: Nuclear talks, arrests, censorship and internet control



Inviting Google into Irans filtered cyberspace

This week, the nuclear talks resumed and Iran has been signaling that the country’s potential easing of restrictions – if the negotiations succeed – will not be an easy and straightforward process. With the declining economy, Iran has been trying to balance between its desire to economically benefit from the current improvement in relations with the West, and to maintain previous levels of censorship and control over its cyber space.

This balancing game was recently seen when Iran announced that it will welcome Western IT companies, especially Google, to enter Iran’s market. According to local media outlets, Iran’s Deputy Minister of Telecommunications, Information and Technology, Nasrollah Jahangard, claimed that Iran is having talks with Google in order to bring some of company’s servers into the country. Talks were also held, he said, with various European and US internet companies. This announcement comes after earlier claims to create Iran-only search engine ‘Yooz’, that would cover Persian, and possibly later, English-language sources. „We don’t oppose all those people who are in the international market and want to provide services in Iran […] This is a normal thing in the world and it will be economical for [IT] companies to be closer to their main clients […]”. He added this would be possible if the company agreed to “accept Iran’s cultural conditions […] and be within the boundaries of Iranian law”, in an interview with Fars NA.

The Balancing Game

This apparent willingness to become not only part of international digital community, but also practical wish to participate in global IT markets comes at a time when Iranian authorities are pursuing people for ‘illegal’ internet activities, ending in arrests and interrogations. IRGC cyber expert, Mostafa Alizadeh said that, in addition to arrests earlier this month and in February, more people will be summoned for questioning. This follows the previous bloggers activists’ arrests in January and warnings by IRGC that Facebook activities will be tightly monitored under operation “spider”. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

Kurier| Khamenei: Der kranke Mann und die Bombe

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei – Foto: AP/Uncredited

In Teheran ringt man um die Macht – mit oder ohne atomare Geheimpläne.

Selten war der Revolutionsführer so deutlich wie zum persischen Neujahr vor wenigen Tagen. Alle Iraner, verkündete Ali Khamenei, sollten sich hinter Präsident Rohani und dessen Verhandler im Atomstreit stellen. Ein Atomabkommen sei notwendig, vor allem aus einem Grund: „Die Sanktionen gegen Iran müssen danach sofort aufgehoben werden.“

Der 74-Jährige macht damit deutlich, worum es ihm und dem innersten Kreis der Macht in Teheran geht: Die über Jahre mehr und mehr verschärften Sanktionen der UNO, aber auch einzelner Staaten wie den USA, haben die iranische Wirtschaft inzwischen schwer geschädigt. Dazu kommen der dramatisch gefallene Ölpreis und eine anhaltende Trockenheit im Land. Man steckt in einer tiefen wirtschaftlichen Krise und die trifft inzwischen nicht nur die normale Bevölkerung, sondern auch die politische Elite: Das heißt auch Khamenei selbst. Immerhin soll das von einem seiner Söhne geleitete Firmenimperium der Familie etwa 90 Milliarden US-Dollar wert sein.

Krebs im Endstadium?

Für Khamenei wird die Zeit knapp. Dass er seit Jahren an Prostatakrebs erkrankt ist, hat die Führung in Teheran sogar offiziell gemacht. Dass er vor Kurzem neuerlich für längere Zeit ins Spital musste, machte nicht nur die Mächtigen im Iran merklich nervös. Plötzlich kursierten Gerüchte, der Revolutionsführer sei bereits tot – schafften es bald sogar in westliche und israelische Medien.


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