war avoidance - saner heads
DrMarty | December 19, 2011 at 03:27 amby
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New ideas for the reduction of the Iranian war danger were presented during an Asia Society forum on Dec. 13 with Hossein Mousavian, the former head of Iran's nuclear negotiating team during 2003-05, who is now a visiting scholar (not an émigré) at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and with U.S. senior career Ambassador Thomas Pickering, who was a co-author of a 2008 proposal to allow Iran to establish a uranium-enrichment facility on its own territory, to be managed by a multinational consortium.
Both Mousavian and Pickering agreed that the recent "step-by-step" proposal from Russia for dealing with Iran's nuclear program offers the best means of de-escalating tensions between Iran, and the U.S. and Europe.
The Russian proposal was set forward by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in mid-July, after talks with President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Under this plan, Iran would answer a series of questions posed by the IAEA; and the West, in response, would gradually lift economic sanctions imposed on Iran.
In describing the recent evolution of Iran's thinking on future nuclear negotiations, Mousavian reported that when IAEA Secretary-General Amano was in Tehran in August, Iran was prepared not just to answer questions, but Iran gave the IAEA "carte blanche" to carry out inspections of its nuclear facilities.
When Amano asked to see the R&D of Iran's new-generation centrifuges, Iran permitted this, even though this is only supposed to be allowed under the Additional Protocols to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Iranian officials also told Amano that they would agree to granting the IAEA full supervision of Iranian nuclear facilities for a period of five years, fulfilling all major requirements contained in UN Security Council resolutions related to Iran's nuclear program, and implementing the Additional Protocol and subsidiary arrangements. In return, sanctions against Iran would be removed.
Mousavian pointed out that no other country -- not Japan, Argentina, nor Brazil -- has shown the R&D of their centrifuges to the IAEA, but Iran has done so.
After Mousavian outlined this, Pickering said that what Mousavian has added, is a dimension which has not been public up to this time.
Pickering pointed out that the U.S. has accepted the concept of a step-wise procedure to address the Iran nuclear program, but the U.S. said the Russian proposal was too "front-end loaded" toward the removal of sanctions. "I'm very hopeful," Pickering declared, since, he said, Iran has accepted this type of approach, and the U.S. has not totally rejected it.
Both Mousavian and Pickering pointed out that there are areas of common interest on which the United States and Iran could cooperate.
These include Iraq, Afghanistan (on which the two countries did cooperate during the first year of the war), and drug-trafficking, which cooperation may only be possible at the present time on a regional basis.
Pickering pointed to the U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan, and U.S. and Iranian naval deployments in the Persian Gulf, and he said that "a war by accident or miscalculation would double the tragedy," and he stressed that it is very important to avoid this through better communications, including between military experts, on both sides.
A reporter, coming in late, asked "But can't we drop just one bomb on Tehran to show 'em a lesson?"
Everyone just looked at each other and shook their heads.
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