[Marxism] US to attend group nuclear talks with Iran

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Wed Apr 8 18:04:45 MDT 2009

Note that these talks COULD become a pretext for sharply escalating tensions
with Iran because they focus on a subject -- unlike Afghanistan or Iraq --
where Iran may be inclined to insist on its sovereign right, affirmed by
both international law and the Non-proliferation Treaty, to have direct
control over its own nuclear power supplies. 

Washington, with no evidence that firmly supports its claim, treats Iran's
desire for nuclear independence as an intent to develop of nuclear weapons
-- a possible outcome but hardly a foreordained one, and one which the
Iranian government has denied and noone has been able to disprove its
denials. So these talks need not NECESSARILY mark an improvement in
relations. I am opposed to treating such an improvement as an accomplished
fact until it has clearly happened.
Fred Feldman

US to attend group nuclear talks with Iran
By MATTHEW LEE, Associated Press Writer Matthew Lee, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration said Wednesday it will participate
directly in group talks with Iran over its suspect nuclear program, another
significant shift from President George W. Bush's policy toward a nation he
labeled part of an axis of evil.

The State Department said the United States would be at the table "from now
on" when senior diplomats from the five permanent members of the U.N.
Security Council and Germany meet with Iranian officials to discuss the
nuclear issue. The Bush administration had generally shunned such meetings,
although it attended one last year.

"We believe that pursuing very careful engagement on a range of issues that
affect our interests and the interests of the world with Iran makes sense,"
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told reporters. "There is nothing
more important than trying to convince Iran to cease its efforts to obtain a
nuclear weapon."

State Department spokesman Robert Wood said the decision was conveyed to
representatives of Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia by the
third-ranking U.S. diplomat, William Burns, at a Wednesday meeting in
London. That group announced earlier that it would invite Iran to attend a
new session aimed at breaking a deadlock in the talks.

"If Iran accepts, we hope this will be the occasion to seriously engage Iran
on how to break the logjam of recent years and work in a cooperative manner
to resolve the outstanding international concerns about its nuclear
program," Wood said.

Wood said the administration wants a diplomatic resolution to the nuclear
issue and believes that requires "a willingness to engage directly with each
other." He added that "we hope that the government of Iran chooses to

The invitation is to be sent to the Iranians by European Union foreign
policy chief Javier Solana. No time frame was given for a date of the

Prior to word from State, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's hard-line president,
said that his country "welcomes a hand extended to it should it really and
truly be based on honesty, justice and respect." The remark, made in a
speech broadcast live on state television, was one of the strongest signals
yet that Tehran might respond positively to President Barack Obama's calls
for dialogue.

The United States and Iran have not had diplomatic relations since the 1979
Islamic Revolution and subsequent hostage taking at the U.S. Embassy in
Tehran. In 2002, Bush cited Iran along with North Korea and Iraq when he
described an "axis of evil" constituted by governments that he said
supported terrorism and sought weapons of mass destruction.

Official exchanges between the U.S. and Iran have largely been limited to
talks over security in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The difficulty in easing tensions between Tehran and Washington were made
apparent when Iranian authorities said Wednesday that a detained American
journalist in Iran has been charged with espionage.

The administration has been pressing for Roxana Saberi's release since she
was detained more than two months ago. Clinton said U.S. officials were
"deeply concerned" by word that she will face trial next week. "We wish for
her speedy release and return to her family," Clinton said.

The United States and some of its allies accuse Iran of seeking to build a
nuclear weapon, a claim that Iran denies. Tehran insists it has the right to
develop reactor fuel using enrichment for civilian energy purposes.

Throughout the London negotiations, the allied group has offered Iran a
package of incentives to stop enriching and reprocessing uranium. Tehran has
thus far rebuffed the offer in the face of three rounds of economic, trade
and financial sanctions by the U.N. Security Council.

Individual countries, led by the United States and members of the European
Union, have also imposed their own sanctions on Iran.

Obama has acted on his campaign statements that he would open direct talks
with Iran. Obama's aides invited Tehran to an international meeting on
Afghanistan late last month - where U.S. officials delivered a written
message to Iranian diplomats politely asking for information about detained
and missing Americans in the country, including Saberi.

Also last month, Obama recorded a video address to the Iranian people,
saying the U.S. is prepared to end years of strained relations if Tehran
tones down its bellicose rhetoric.

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