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Sunday, February 13, 2005

The Europe-Iran Divide

In response to one of my recent post on the "Iran Solution," Amir at Nuclear Iran responded with some detailed comments here and on his own blog.

Last week, I wondered what the US would do if Europe borrows a line from Henry Kissinger and declares that "peace is at hand" -- that Iran has agreed to a comprehensive disarmament and inspection process.

Amir said
This idea has already...materialized....Iran has already gone for transparency (as it has been mentioned in UN’s November 2004 resolution) about its legal nuclear activities. Iran claims that it does not have any nuclear weapons program, and it has not yet been proven wrong.
However, the latest news from the AP (The Guardian has it) suggests that Europe and Iran have not yet reached a final agreement on Iran's nuclear programs.
Iran rejected a European demand to stop building a heavy water nuclear reactor in return for a light-water reactor Sunday, hardening Iran's position on a key part of its nuclear facilities that critics claim is part of a weapons program.

Iran has given indications in the past that it will insist on keeping its heavy water nuclear reactor, but Sunday's announcement is its clearest statement yet of its nuclear plans. It underscored the unresolved differences between Iranian and European negotiators, who are continuing their talks over Iran's nuclear program even as the United States escalates its criticism of Iran.
Iran claims to be interested in being able to export nuclear fuel one day. When I put that theory to a former intelligence analyst some months ago, he scoffed. This was someone who thought the administration was full of crap on Iraq's WMD.

Amir did note something important that I forgot to mention in my original post:
I think there is only one thing that US can do to persuade Iran to stop its nuclear activities and that is to release the frozen assets of Iran (estimated to be $8 billion).
Given that the Iraq war costs roughly $1 billion per week, this would be a tremendous bargain if it succeeded.

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