US Overemphasizing Enrichment Demand

US Overemphasizing Enrichment Demand
US Overemphasizing Enrichment Demand

Less than three weeks ahead of a November 24 deadline to reach a comprehensive deal on Iran’s nuclear program, former diplomat Hossein Mousavian has urged Washington not to miss the opportunity to strike a deal with Tehran.  

Mousavian, in an article which appeared on the website of Al-Monitor on Tuesday, said the United States is “overemphasizing” its demand that Iran limit its uranium enrichment program.

The former top nuclear negotiator (2003-2005) and now a research scholar at Princeton University commented, “Rather than focusing on enrichment capacity, it (Washington) should weigh its capacity for relations with Iran.”

Mousavian, citing optimist remarks by both American and Iranian officials about the “progressive negotiations”, provided reasons “to ease western concerns about Iran’s nuclear activities.”

Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) are trying to build on an interim nuclear accord they reached in Geneva last November to hammer out a long-term settlement to the nuclear dispute.

  Grave Sin

The veteran diplomat referred to a fatwa by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on February 22, 2012, in which he said Iran considers the pursuit and possession of nuclear weapons “a grave sin” from every logical, religious and theoretical standpoint.

He said the fatwa would provide “a strong objective guarantee” about Iranian intentions.

 “Iran’s history makes it hard to dismiss the fatwa. After all, despite an estimated 100,000 deaths from Iraqi use of chemical weapons against Iran, it was a fatwa issued by the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini that kept Tehran from retaliating during the Iran-Iraq war.”

Tehran has always remained committed to nuclear nonproliferation, he said, adding, “The fact is that Iran has already paid a price for making a bomb (because of Western anti-Iran sanctions) but neither wants nor has one, a clear indicator of its steadfastness on nonproliferation and the peaceful use of nuclear technology.”

The West has claimed that Iran may have been seeking to develop the capability to build nuclear weapons under the guise of a civilian nuclear program. Tehran denies the allegation, saying its nuclear work is meant only for peaceful purposes, such as power generation.

  Maximum Transparency

Mousavian also touched on technical issues of uranium enrichment and said Iran can guarantee “the maximum level of transparency for nuclear activities” by the implementation of its arrangements with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).  

“The world powers negotiating with Iran have a clear understanding that Iran is ready to commit to all three arrangements in a final comprehensive agreement,” said Mousavian, who was a former spokesman for Iran’s nuclear negotiators.

  Great Boost to Mutual Trust

In conclusion, the veteran diplomat expressed optimism that with due regard to the aforementioned points, Iran and its negotiating partners could reach a deal “without any reason to extend the deadline beyond late November.”

“A nuclear agreement would be a great boost to mutual trust (between Iran and the United States) and provide greater options for dealing not only with IS (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) and the Syrian government but also Afghanistan and Iraq — where both Washington and Tehran support the new governments in Kabul and Baghdad.”