On Saturday, EU foreign ministers delivered a letter in Tehran offering to open "conversation, dialogue, to see if we have enough common basis to start negotiations" about Iran's nuclear program, the Financial Times reported Sunday. -- Coming at a time of more pronounced expressions of Iranian intransigeance and amid the background of a gathering domestic crisis for the Iranian president, this news seemed mostly to signify an inability of the EU and the U.S. at the Nov. 24 Vienna meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to "produce a united front to censure Iran." -- Meanwhile, Arab News's Barbara Ferguson reported on a recent collection of essays published under the auspices of the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, PA, entitled "Getting Ready for a Nuclear-Ready Iran." -- One of the essays in the collection expresses the view that "Irans nuclear weapon development cannot be stopped by any current military or diplomatic options," Ferguson reported, noting that instead the suggestion is made that the U.S. might "convince Israel to 'mothball' its Dimona nuclear reactor and agree to international monitoring by the International Atomic Energy Agency" instead. -- Nuclear nonproliferation expert Henry Sokolski is quoted as telling reporters that the call for Israel to suspend its nuclear development activity is "controversial," but that "A Middle East with yet more nuclear powers could turn into a big, big death bath." -- Another contributer, Patrick Clawson, argued that "the U.S. and Iran may well become involved in a Cold War," Ferguson reported. -- The article below includes a link to a .pdf file of the entire 322-page collection of essays, with titles like "The Day after Iran Gets the Bomb," "Strategy for a Nuclear Iran," "Iran Gets the Bomb -- Then What?," "Reducing Vulnerability of the Strait of Hormuz," "Deter and Contain: Dealing with a Nuclear Iran," "Managing the Iranian Threat to Sea Commerce Diplomatically," and "What Transatlantic Strategy on Iran?" ...
Middle East & Africa
EU AGREES TO RENEWED DIALOGUE WITH IRAN ON NUCLEAR PROGRAM
By Gareth Smyth
Financial Times (UK)
November 27, 2005
European Union foreign ministers delivered a letter in Tehran yesterday agreeing to renewed talks over Iran's nuclear program.
The move, in response to a request sent earlier this month by Ali Larijani, Iran's top security official, came after the EU and U.S. stepped back from pressing last week's meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency to refer Tehran to the U.N. Security Council. The semi-official Mehr news agency reported that talks could begin around December 10.
In Barcelona Javier Solana, the EU foreign policy representative, said: "A letter has been conveyed to Iran this afternoon [by] the three countries (U.K., France and Germany) plus myself. In that letter we offered the Iranians to have conversation, dialogue, to see if we have enough common basis to start negotiations."
European diplomats acknowledge that last week's meeting did not produce a united front to censure Iran but maintain that the pressure remains on Tehran to comply and that it is important to continue to seek a dialogue. Iranian officials and politicians have publicly hardened opposition to a Russian proposal that EU diplomats believe could offer a compromise guaranteeing Iran would not divert enriched uranium into nuclear weapons. Hamid-Reza Asefi, the foreign ministry spokesman, said yesterday any talks would center on the "materialization of nuclear fuel production in Iran," apparently ruling out Moscow's suggestion that Iran enrich uranium in Russia. His remarks came after leading parliamentary deputies attacked the proposal. Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, a member of parliament's security and foreign policy commission, said Iran could not rely on another country "to supply its nuclear energy needs."
The conservative Kayhan newspaper, a long-term critic of talks with the EU, hailed the IAEA meeting as a victory resulting from Iran's "position of honor and dignity."
"Much to the joy of the United States and its allies, Iran has on several occasions retreated from its inalienable right to peaceful nuclear technology," Kayhan said. "All these setbacks [for Iran] never gained the expected results [but] instead made the opponents even more voracious and aggressive. . . ."
In a similar tone, President Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad told Western nations on Saturday that they had "no right to tell Iran to cease its peaceful nuclear activities" and called for war crime charges against President George W. Bush.
Mr. Ahmadi-Nejad was addressing a rally of the Basij, an official militia, which claimed that 9m members had formed human chains across Iran to show willingness to defend the country from foreign attack. State television aired footage of the Basij rally shot by Fox News, the U.S. station recently allowed access to Iran.
A European diplomat admitted that the EU faced a challenge in convincing Iran that time for a compromise was limited.
U.S. REPORT CALLS ON ISRAEL TO BEGIN NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT
By Barbara Ferguson
November 28, 2005
WASHINGTON -- In order to contain Irans nuclear development and prevent a nuclear arms race in the region, Israel must begin nuclear disarmament.
This, according to a recent report, entitled Getting Ready for a Nuclear-Ready Iran, published by the U.S. Army War College, commissioned and partially funded by the Pentagon, argues that Irans nuclear weapon development cannot be stopped by any current military or diplomatic options.
The report instead recommends that the United States convince Israel to mothball its Dimona nuclear reactor and agree to international monitoring by the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, something it has refused to do.
Israel, to date, has never officially confirmed that it does not have nuclear weapons, nor denied it. Credible reports of Israels sizable arsenal of nuclear bombs are well-documented, as well as their stable of missiles and aircrafts to deliver them any where in the Middle East.
Israel has long-said its nuclear program has prevented conventional attacks from hostile neighbors, but some experts believe Israels position may have motivated other countries to develop their own nuclear options.
The study also argues that Israels action would persuade other Middle East countries, Egypt or Algeria, to follow suit and mothball their own nuclear facilities, which would lead to a regional halt to the production of fissile material that would be the most effective method to successfully isolate Iran.
It should be made clear, however, that Israel will take the additional step of handing over control of its weapons-usable fissile material to the IAEA only when all states in the Middle East dismantle their fissile producing facilities (large research and power reactors, hexafluoride, enrichment plants, and all reprocessing capabilities) and all nuclear weapons states (including Pakistan) formally agree not to redeploy nuclear weapons onto any Middle Eastern nations soil in time of peace, said the report.
Nuclear nonproliferation expert Henry Sokolski, Executive Director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, and Iran specialist Patrick Clawson, Deputy Director for Research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, edited the report, based on research and meetings with the nations leading experts on Iran, the Middle East, and nuclear proliferation.
India and Pakistan have already proved their nuclear capabilities, and the Middle East is close to a nuclear weapons arms race, Sokolski told reporters: You have a whole neighborhood of folks posed, at any time, to go nuclear. He said the call for Israel to suspend its nuclear development activity is controversial, but said: A Middle East with yet more nuclear powers could turn into a big, big death bath. An Iran with advanced nuclear capabilities that put it close to having a bomb would likely be a more assertive Iran. Iran might well want to throw its weight around, co-author Patrick Clawson said during a recent discussion of the study at the Washington Institute. For example, it could claim that the fate of Jerusalem is a matter that concerns all Muslims and therefore Iran should have a say in any settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Iran might become active in the many disputes in the Caucasus region, such as in Chechnya; after all, this is territory Iran lost to Russia less than two hundred years ago. Washingtons involvement in Mideast nuclear negotiations are essential, Clawson argued because the U.S. and Iran may well become involved in a Cold War, which he said would only end as the regime evolves.