Iran says it’s ready for serious negotiations on its nuclear program yet it refuses to stop enriching uranium. As reported yesterday, it even prevented UN inspectors from inspecting its facilities. Since the UN has given Iran until August 31 to stop its enrichment program before sanctions are implemented, it appears that Iran is simply trying to stall.
Iran’s top nuclear negotiator said Tuesday that Tehran was ready to enter “serious negotiations” over its disputed nuclear program but did not say whether it was willing to suspend uranium enrichment _ the West’s key demand.
The negotiator, Ali Larijani, hand-delivered Iran’s response to a Western package of nuclear incentives aimed at persuading it to suspend enrichment. He gave the reply to ambassadors from Britain, China, Russia, France, Germany and Switzerland, state-run television said, without disclosing details.
“Iran is prepared as of Aug. 23 to enter serious negotiations” with the countries that proposed the package, state-run television quoted Larijani as telling the envoys.
Iranian officials close to the meeting said Iran offered a “new formula” to resolve the dispute as part of its formal response to the Western incentive package. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information.
“Iran has provided a comprehensive response to everything said in the Western package. In addition, Iran, in its formal response, has asked some questions to be answered,” one official said, without elaborating.
European Union officials declined to comment, saying they needed to study the Iranian offer.
State-run television said Iran’s response meant Tehran was committed to its promises.
“Iran’s response suggests Iran is committed to dialogue and its promises. … It is in contrast with America’s policy of unilateralism,” the television said.
The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany in June offered Iran the package that aims to persuade Iran to roll back its nuclear program.
My prediction: Iran will resume six party talks in the hopes of getting the UN’s August 31st deadline moved back – after all, Iran will say, they are “seriously negotiating” and the UN will capitulate. Several months down the road, the negotiations will predicitably fail once again and in the mean time, Iran will have given up nothing and gained more inroads into its nuclear program.
Just hours before the self-imposed deadline, an anonymous source at the IAEA told Adnkronos International (AKI) that new centrifuges were installed at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility over the past two weeks.