February 19, 2007


Iran dashes hopes of nuclear compromise (Roula Khalaf, February 18 2007, Financial Times)

A diplomatic initiative by Tehran, which took senior envoys of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, to Russia, Europe and Saudi Arabia this month, sent a conciliatory message. This included a willingness to consider some form of suspension of the most sensitive part of the nuclear programme. "There is no idea that cannot from the outset be considered," Ali Akbar Velayati, a top adviser to Mr Khamenei, told France's Libération newspaper, last week. [...]

The dilemma facing Ayatollah Khamenei, however, is that suspension was tried under the former government - in 2004 and 2005 - yet failed to convince the west that Iran should maintain a nuclear programme.

Officials in Tehran also argue that they have already compromised, with their demands now limited to maintaining a small-scale enrichment programme, rather than the industrial production of fuel.

Nasser Hadian, a professor of politics at Tehran University, said full suspension might well become a serious option for Iran - but not before enrichment research reaches a more advanced technical level. "Then Iran can announce victory - and it can suspend," he said.

A great power can afford to let a minor one save face.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 19, 2007 8:40 AM
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