First day of talks between Iran and the P5+1 nations have not yielded any results and the talks have been postponed to today 15:00 GMT for an unscheduled second round. Talks were unacceptable to Iran as it asked for lifting of all sanctions and said that the western demands were unacceptable, outdated and unbalanced – in particular with regard to the core ban on uranium enrichment. The western world only offered not to impose any more sanction post June. Also Iran is loath to surrender its self grown nuclear enrichment program, which the west believes that if it goes beyond the 20% level of enrichment would be “a blow out to developing a nuclear weapon on demand.” Iran’s Saeed Jalili has made a counter offer of 5 items based on the principles of step by step and reciprocity.
Meanwhile after US rejected Israel’s demands of nuclear Iran, the latter has now revived its military options. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, today conveyed in an ignored news radio broadcast (literal translation of his verbatim speech from Hebrew to English) - “There is no need to tell us what to do, and we have no reason to panic. Israel is very, very strong, but we do know that the Iranians are accomplished chess players and will try to achieve nuclear capabilities. Our position has not changed. The world must stop Iran from becoming nuclear. All options remain on the table.” This follows significant back channel talks between the Israelis and the US over the past weekend. US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and National Security Adviser Tom Donilon in talks independantly struck down or skirted the Israeli demands leaving the Israelis with no choice than to consider the option of a strike on Iran.
Although in press it is portrayed that US is doing everything to avoid war, however the passage of a resolution for zero tolerance policy on nuclear weapons on May 18th virtually seals their pro- war stance. The US House of Representatives passed the bill with an overwhelming majority of 401 ayes against 11 nays. And when one considers the fact that the Republicans are though of as war mongers, 166 of the 190 Democrats voted in support clearly spelling the bipartisan support. The House affirmed that only would Iran be not be allowed to manufacture nuclear weapons, but that it will not be permitted the capability to manufacture them.
A summary of the bill as put forth by the Congressional Research Service is as below -
Affirms that it is a vital national interest of the United States to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability and warns that time is limited to prevent that from happening. Urges increasing economic and diplomatic pressure on Iran to secure an agreement that includes:
(1) suspension of all uranium enrichment-related and reprocessing activities,
(2) complete cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) regarding Iran’s nuclear activities, and
(3) a permanent agreement that verifiably assures that Iran’s nuclear program is entirely peaceful.
(1) the universal rights and democratic aspirations of the Iranian people, and
(2) U.S. policy to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons capability. Rejects any U.S. policy that would rely on efforts to contain a nuclear weapons-capable Iran. Urges the President to reaffirm the unacceptability of an Iran with nuclear-weapons capability and oppose any policy that would rely on containment as an option in response to the Iranian nuclear threat.
Democrat Dennis Kucinich was one of the loners who opposed the move and he was of the view that “war mentality has saturated Washington and arms merhcant were the only to benefit.”
Given the tough stand take by Iran on its sovereign right to nuclear enrichment, US stand on sanctions and Israel’s dogmatic approach of aggression as the only way to resolve the war issue, no clear headway is possible.But we all believe in miracles and only a miracle can avert this war.
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|Vinit Bolinjkar Head of Research, Ventura Securities Ltd
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