By Stephen Lendman
On November 20, more talks began. Multiple previous rounds failed. Will this time be different? The usual canard persists.
Iran fully complies with Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) provisions. It’s program is peaceful. It has no military component. Claims otherwise persist.
Voice of Russia interviewed International Dialogue Foundation director Shabbir Razvi. He’s an Iranian specialist. He was asked about an alleged secret Iranian nuclear site.
The dissident National Council of Resistance on Iran (NCRI) claims one. It does so with no corroborating evidence.
It’s part of longstanding anti-Iranian disinformation. It continues without end. It doesn’t bode well for current talks.
A previous article discussed sabotaging rapprochement with Iran. It said whatever emerges from this week’s talks, longstanding anti-Iranian hostility will persist.
Razvi dismissed NCRI’s accusation. He called it provocative. The group made past false claims.
“This so-called resistance group invariably comes out with these fanciful ideas about Iran’s nuclear energy requirements, and they keep on accusing Iran of developing a nuclear weapon,” said Razvi.
NCRI’s latest accusation coincides with resumed nuclear talks in Geneva. Doing so aims to subvert them.
Razvi believes resolution is possible this time. It remains to be seen if he’s right or wrong. Most important is what Washington intends going forward.
More sanctions may be imposed whatever emerges from Geneva. Israel demands them. So does AIPAC. Congressional pressure gets results.
It’s ludicrous to think a nuclear site could go undetected for years. Iran is the world’s most heavily monitored country.
Satellite technology alone can “pick up a code number place from the sky,” said Razvi.
Strategically timing a false accusation wasn’t accidental. It remains to be seen what effect, if any, it has.
On November 19, the Los Angeles Times headlined “Iran plays with wording on nuclear program,” saying:
On the eve of resumed talks, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif “released a five-minute online video that describes the negotiations that begin Wednesday in Geneva as a ‘historic opportunity’ and urges the West to participate with respect and equal treatment of Iran so that the talks will be successful.”
It’s titled “Iran’s Message: There Is a Way Forward.” It targets foreign audiences. It aims to convince them Iran wants peaceful resolution.
It says in part:
“(O)ur people chose constructive engagement through the ballot box. And through this, they gave the world an historic opportunity to change course.”
Peaceful nuclear power is Iran’s “inalienable right. (It’s) not about joining a club or threatening others. (It’s about) diversifying our economy, about stopping the burning of our oil, and about generating clean power.”
“What is dignity,” he added? “What is respect? Are they negotiable? Is there a price tag?”
Zarif suggested that P5+1 countries don’t have to officially recognize Iran’s nuclear rights, as long as they don’t deny them as a deal-breaker.
“We believe that Iran’s enrichment right is nonnegotiable, and there is no necessity to recognize it as a right, because it is an inseparable right which should be respected by all sides,” he said.
NPT permits uranium enrichment. Washington claims otherwise. On Monday, John Kerry said he has “no specific expectation” on how current talks will go.
Obama said he’s not sure if a deal can be reached soon. He called ongoing talks the best chance of “stopping the advance (of Iran’s nuclear program) in nearly a decade.”
“We have the opportunity to halt the progress of the Iranian program and roll it back in key respects, while testing whether a comprehensive resolution can be achieved,” he added.
Democrat Senators Robert Menendez, Chuck Schumer and Bob Casey, as well as Republicans John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Susan Collins said:
“We are concerned that the interim agreement would require us to make significant concessions before we see Iran demonstrably commit to moving away from developing a nuclear weapons capability.”
Republican Senator Bob Corker expressed similar views. Other House and Senate members falsely accused Iran of deceiving America about its nuclear program for years.
Senate members are considering stiffer sanctions. In July, House members toughened theirs.
Netanyahu wants them increased. He wants pressure sustained. He calls dealing with Iran “a great mistakeâ€¦when they have every reason right now to respond to the pressures that have been put on them.”
“Rather than surrendering to their charm offensive, it’s important that they surrender to the pressure that can be brought to them to have them abandon their nuclear program.”
On Wednesday, Netanyahu flew to Moscow. He wants any proposed Iranian agreement scuttled.
He calls any deal a bad one. He wants Iran’s uranium enrichment halted. He wants enriched stockpiles removed. He wants Iran’s entire peaceful nuclear program dismantled.
He want Tehran’s government toppled. He’ll try to convince Putin to act tough in Geneva.
According to Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin:
“Our job is to try to sway the Russians as we have been doing with all the players.
“Russia is not going to adopt Israeli positions wholesale. But any movement, even small, in the Russian position can affect the negotiations.
Israel told French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius it would attack Iran if he didn’t scuttle the November 7 – 9 talks. Perhaps Netanyahu plans telling Putin something similar.
Opinion is mixed on what to expect this time. On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said:
“We hope the efforts that are being made will be crowned with success at the meeting that opens today in Geneva.”
Britain’s Foreign Secretary believes “differences between the parties are narrow (and) can be bridged with political will and commitment.”
“This is an historic opportunity to build agreement on how to curb nuclear proliferation in the Middle East and potentially to set our relations with Iran on a different path.”
“It is the best chance for a long time to make progress on one of the gravest problems in foreign policy.”
Iran’s Foreign Minister Zarif remains optimistic. “I am going to Geneva with the determination to come out with an agreement at the end of this round,” he said.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei won’t surrender Iran’s legitimate nuclear rights. “We do insist that we will not step back one iota from our rights,” he said.
“We do not intervene in the details of these talks. There are certain red lines and limits. These have to be observed. (Negotiators) are instructed to abide by those limits.”
“They should not be afraid of what the enemy says. We want to have friendly relations with all nations and peoples.”
“The Islamic system isn’t even hostile to the nation of America, although with regards to Iran and the Islamic system, the American government is arrogant, malicious and vindictive.”
France “not only succumb(ed) to the United States, (it) kneel(s) before the Israeli regime.” It’s “the rabid dog of the region.”
Its “pillars are extremely shaky. (It’s) doomed to collapse. Any phenomenon that is created by force cannot endure.”
French government spokeswoman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem said President Francois Hollande believes Ayatollah Khamenei’s comments about Israel are “unacceptable.”
They complicate Geneva talks. France wants a deal, she said. Its earlier November position hasn’t changed.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani urged “constructive interaction” in Geneva.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran will never give up its absolute rights and national interests and will never retreat from the red lines which have been set by the Islamic establishment and the Iranian nation,” he said.
“We seek a win-win game and in the negotiations, if anyone is after an imposed solution, they should know that the talks will be unsuccessful and the outcome of the talks will not be lasting.”
Negotiations will continue through Friday. They may extend longer if needed. Sketchy details alone are known. Washington is calling the shots.
Reports suggest it’s offering little on an interim basis only. In return, major concessions are demanded. The White House calls US terms “modest” and “reversible.”
It remains to be seen how talks go this time. It bears repeating. Whatever emerges from Geneva, anti-Iranian hostility will persist. So will the toughest sanctions Iran wants removed.