Saturday, June 04, 2005

EU, US stand firm on Iran abandoning nuclear fuel cycle work: diplomats

The EU and the United States remain committed to Iran giving up uranium enrichment work that could be used to make atomic weapons and want to clear up any confusion over this with Tehran, diplomats said.

A trio of European Union negotiators, Britain, France and Germany, are to try to clear up an apparent misunderstanding over the US position on uranium enrichment as explained by President George W. Bush on Tuesday, diplomats said.

A US and an EU diplomat told AFP the statement may have misled the Iranians into thinking Washington is open to their being able to enrich uranium to low levels.

These diplomatic moves come with Iran saying it has not yet decided whether to grant a two-month delay in talks with the EU over its nuclear ambitions.

Why Europe is Wrong in Iran by Amir Taheri

During his visit to Washington last week, Britain's Foreign Secretary Jack Straw told his American interlocutors that the European Union's initiative on Iran, of which his government is a part, was heading for an impasse. But when asked what the next move should be, all that Straw had to say was: Keep talking until after the Iranian presidential election.

The Europeans said a similar thing last year when talks on Iran's alleged nuclear ambitions had hit another brick-wall. At that time the advice was to keep talking until after the Iranian parliamentary election. Well, that election took place without producing any evolution in the Iranian position except that the Islamic Republic may now be a year closer to the "surge capacity" it needs to become a nuclear power.

The latest round of talks, slated to continue until after the Iranian presidential election, is equally likely to produce no change in Tehran's position. Tehran will continue to use the talks as a diplomatic smokescreen while driving a wedge between Europe and the United States.

Boycott Iran's Sham Election by Reza Bayegan

In the ninth presidential election to be held in Iran on June 17, there is nothing new to be found in the depleted political stock of the Islamic Republic other than the usual poisonous diet of tyranny, backwardness and across-the-board bankruptcy.

Considering the actual, self-perpetuating center of power, it hardly matters who is declared the winner of this race. On the other hand, there can be no question about the real loser of this contest. While Iranians are suffering from chronic unemployment, poverty, brain drain, an ever-increasing number of street children, and widespread drug addiction, the nation's badly needed resources are squandered on yet another fake election. A strong consensus is emerging amongst Iranian political activists that boycotting this electoral travesty is the only honorable option left to citizens. Many prominent leaders of the Iranian opposition, including Reza Pahlavi, have invited their compatriots to stay away from the polls. Shunning the ballot box on Election Day could turn into a collective act of civil disobedience and a vote of no confidence against the whole regime.