Iran not ruling out nuclear talks with US

2012-11-08 21:16

Tehran - Iran, reeling from international sanctions over its nuclear programme and facing four more years with Barack Obama as leader of arch-enemy the United States, does not rule out direct talks with Washington but says they will not come overnight.

Obama's re-election drew an ambiguous response from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who dismissed the US elections as a "battleground for the capitalists," at a forum on democracy in Indonesia.

Without directly commenting on Obama's victory, he lambasted democracy in the West as having "turned into the rule of a minority over the majority".

But behind the flamboyant rhetoric, senior regime figures have expressed cautious signs of interest in the election of Obama, who four years ago famously "extended his hand" to Tehran and may be preparing to do so again.
Not overnight

An influential cleric among the ruling conservatives, judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, did not rule out Tehran and Washington coming "to the negotiating table" one day but warned it would not happen "overnight."

Larijani said on Wednesday that "relations with the United States are not simple".

The United States, which Tehran dubs the "Great Satan", severed diplomatic relations with Iran after the 1979 takeover of the US embassy in Tehran, and the two have been in a tense stand-off ever since.

"Four years ago, Obama was elected on a platform for change and said he was extending his hand for co-operation with Iran, but he acted otherwise and unprecedented sanctions were imposed," Larijani said.


Obama has rallied US allies against Iran, toughening sanctions, with Tehran's oil exports and access to world financial systems being key targets.

The United States and other world powers, including Tehran's arch-enemy Israel, accuse Iran of using its nuclear programme to mask a drive for atomic weapons. Tehran denies that, saying it is for purely peaceful purposes.

The last offer called for Iran to cease enriching uranium to purities of 20% - technically not far from the 90% needed for a nuclear weapon. It also wanted Iran to close its Fordo enrichment facility and to export existing stockpiles of 20% purity uranium.

Iran rejected that, saying it did not offer sufficient relief from sanctions that have begun to cause real economic problems.

Interests of regime

Larijani's brother and international affairs adviser, Mohammad Javad Larijani, reiterated that negotiating with Washington "is not taboo," but any decision to renew contact "is a prerogative of the supreme leader".

"If the interest of the regime requires it, we are prepared to negotiate with the Satan in the pits of hell," he said on Wednesday.

A Western ambassador in Tehran said the regime "gives the impression of being willing to be more realistic in its negotiations with major powers, providing they offer it an honourable way out of the crisis".

This could include, according to many Western diplomats in Iran, the revival of bilateral contact with the United States.

Another European ambassador said "both sides have shown some interest (in such a revival), but the question is what the Iranians are going to ask for, and if Washington is willing to give it."

Readiness for talks

In recent months, Washington has repeatedly expressed readiness for direct talks with Iran. Tehran has declined, saying its conditions were not met.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Ramin Mehmanparast has said Iran "respects the vote of the American people".
But "the wall of mistrust can only be reduced if the US government respects the will and the rights of the Iranian people and changes its past mistaken policies".

The second European ambassador sees hope nonetheless.

"Whether it's nuclear talks or a possible resumption of dialogue with Washington, the Iranians are insisting on what they call the recognition of their rights as well as mutual respect," he said.


"The wording is vague enough to allow solutions if both parties are open to it," he added. "The re-election of Obama in any case opens a window of a few weeks or months to overcome the crisis."

As it stands, a new round of talks between Iran and six world powers, the first since June, is expected by the end of the year, or in early 2013, analysts say.

Mark Fitzpatrick, nuclear expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, said "it's pretty clear that the United States and its European allies are gearing up to try again for diplomatic engagement. But the question is, what will be on the table? Iran won't be making concessions unless it gets some form of sanctions relief," he said.

As put by Mark Hibbs, at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: "There is reason for some optimism, but it is guarded optimism because in the final analysis it depends on whether Iran will 'play.' If they won't, all bets are off."

  • fidel.mgoqi - 2012-11-09 06:26

    The keyboard warriors for the bombing of Iran are conspicuous by their silence! Bloody warmongers, the lot of them!

  • larry.lachman.54 - 2012-11-09 06:34

    Iran needs an 'honour - face saving' gesture from the USA before it will relinquish its ensured destruction. How childish. There is no liklihood that either side will cave, so an attack on iran's nuclear facilities is inevitable.

      duncan.gill1 - 2012-11-09 08:37

      Your wish for a violent attack on Iran shows exactly how your disturbed mind have no idea how disastrous this will be for Israel!I have a child who lives in Israel and you obviously live in SA so shut up with your war mongering advocacy you are the worst type of person in this world!

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-11-09 09:33

      My guess is Larry has family in Israel too Dunkie. No?

      duncan.gill1 - 2012-11-09 09:50

      Fred why don"t you ask him if he has?

      duncan.gill1 - 2012-11-09 11:28

      Larry do you have family in Israel??????

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-11-09 13:06

      Yes I do, Dunkie. If you read my comment you may find it to be a dispassionate assessment of USA/Iran political discourse. Nowhere do I state my personal wishes on the outcome of this impasse. My fervent wish is that Iran backs down and desists from its chosen course of conflict over its seeking nuclear capability. Do you not wish the same, Dunkly?

  • fred.fraser.12 - 2012-11-09 07:25

    The Iranian regime, distinct from the Iranian people, has no place in the world becoming new.

      duncan.gill1 - 2012-11-09 08:38

      Once again you decide for a nation who should lead them..because it serves your twisted out look on life..grow up please!!

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-11-09 09:29

      Dunkie, educate yourself man. The Iranian regime adjusts elections to hold onto power. What does that tell you? That its a legitimate regime? That the majority of Iranians want them there? Obviously not.

      duncan.gill1 - 2012-11-09 10:04

      Every government has those that oppose it and Iran is no exception,but as to whether the majority do..? well this is wishful US and Western spin,this still has to be proved so until we know for sure,we should keep our opinions that are based on unreality,to ourselves.After all it seems rather infantile to think that the countries armed forces are the property of the ruling elite all 1 million plus of them,if you count the revolutionary guard and their direct families.As usual a opposition protest is greeted by the West as proof the people are against their then OWS are an indication that US are massively unhappy with their government and their system of Democracy.Seriously you need to grow up and do us all a favor!!

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-11-09 13:09

      You grow up Dunkly. Start with the basic right that people should elect their leaders and that democracy gives them freedom, not religious theocracies.

  • allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-11-09 08:04

    They need to turn the screws on sanctions before any discussion should happen and the 'threat' of a strike is no longer that but a certainty unless they live up to their international obligations.

      duncan.gill1 - 2012-11-09 08:41

      You would hit some one first then ask for them to play the are sick and out of touch with must have been a playground bully when at school..your type of person is what is wrong with this world!!!

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-11-09 09:04

      Sanctions seemed like a good idea 10 years ago, but they haven't worked at all, not in Zimbabwe or anywhere else. Give up on sanctions and take up talking and dealing. Even the Chinese do that, and they have a bigger language problem than the Americans. But for a country (and its supporters) that describes 500,000 children dying (as a result of sanctions) as "a price worth paying", psychopathic tendencies run deep!

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-11-09 09:26

      LOL, thanks Neville Chamberlain . A regime that keeps half its population in slavery , shocking human rights abuser , largest exporter of state sponsored terror ,puts assasination hits out on writers of fiction, the list is endless and you think this theocratic fascist and his cohorts should get the ultimate weapon ? Its a sad day when liberals are unable to tell good from bad , masochism and nihlism.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-11-09 09:30

      Dunkie, you're protecting the very bully (the Iranian regime) that you're purporting not to. Again, I think you and your family are in danger. You hopelessly confuse the good guys with those doing bad. Scary.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-11-09 09:32

      Fidel, sanctions are effective. Of course talking comes first. But unfortunately unbeknown to you dictators and illegitimate regimes, like the Mafia, aren't much into it. It amazes me how naive you are.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-11-09 09:45

      @Ninja The state of Israel still does not openly acknowledge its nuclear weapons, it is not acknowledged as an official nuclear state by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Are we to conclude that they fully intend to use them and should they therefore not be sanctioned also? Iran's internal issues are their affairs. The Iranians can decide how to manage their social, political, economic issues regardless of what we think. They want a theocracy, or a democracy, or a military dictatorship is their business.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-11-09 09:52

      "largest exporter of state sponsored terror" The largest state terrorists are the USA and Israel. It is greatly to Iran's credit that it has encouraged the Palestinian resistance movements.

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-11-09 11:55

      Isreal and Iran cannot be equated in the same manner , theocratic fascists and liberal democracies are not the same. I really don't think we should celebrate the wonderful Iranian sponsored organisation Hamas's resistance in Gaza who throws its political opponents of roof tops and builds schools over arms bunkers for protection. Neither the other Iranian sponsored terror group Hezbollah which is a regional destabalizer and conducts this internationalyl and domestically. If you have any respect for human rights then this is absurd.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-11-09 12:34

      There is nothing liberal about Israel's theocracy. It is a Jewish state after all, in the same way that Iran is an Islamic Republic. What do you suggest Hamas and Hezbollah do, wave placards outside Israeli offices for the next sixty years! Ever heard of Zionist concepts like "Hayad Barzel", "Zro’aa Barzel", especially "Egrouf Barzel", a policy of all out repression and collective punishment by the Zionist regime. Hamas was created by Israeli policy to continue the cycle of violence to perpetuate their claims regarding security and justify continuing land theft.

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-11-09 13:16

      Fidel, you know full well that Israel has a secular democratic government, where the religious right are a minority in the Knesset. Theocracies, tyrranical regimes, and military dictatorships have no place in theis world and will be eradicated, one by one. The oppressed people living under these conditions seek to be free, and only the free West can unchain them - and they will.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-11-09 14:25

      Israel is as democratic as apartheid South Africa. I would love to see your "free" west try to "unchain" China!

  • fidel.mgoqi - 2012-11-09 10:01

    "When Will the Killing War in Iran Begin? It Already Has" “Economic sanctions are, at their core, a war against public health.” –The New England Journal of Medicine [1]

  • kurt.campher - 2012-11-09 11:16

    The interesting thing is that Iran has no interest in war with the US. It knows that attacking the US or Israel would be a death sentence. Also there are many countries that have nuclear capabilities but you never hear about them. It's also very obvious that Iran is a strategic oil country!!! That should say it all. In fact they listed in the top 10 oil reserves in the world. So it's not Iran that is motivated but the US/Israel combo that wants to get at the oil. The whole "nuclear capabilities" fiasco is just a front and a reason to go in and slaughter innocent people. (Libya anyone?) Also another reason given is that apparently the US wants to introduce democracy to the Iranian people. This is laughable as the US supports various dictators around the world. (Saudi's, Turkmenistan, Equatorial New Guinea, etc...) The point I'm trying to make is that the Iran is not the culprit but the US/Israel. Let's not forget history and what happend in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-11-09 11:20

      There is no room for any free, independent country in this world. The rules of Empire have never changed, if wealth is not handed over on demand, then brute force will be employed to take it!

      duncan.gill1 - 2012-11-09 11:31

      fidel you have hit the nail on the head..lest we forget.......this is how it is,has been and always will be for the foreseeable future!

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-11-09 11:47

      Thats just fallacious,go look at the oil market and come back with justification for any benefit , its been overwhelmingly negative . 'Oil theory' is a ruse and you cannot just ommit all the counter evidence. What you completely discount is the large portions of the populations living under these despots that do want freedoms, equality and liberties (are these bad idea's, or are they just for certain people?).You simply ignore it , so many people living under complete repression and you choose to support the oppressors and subvert the plight of the oppressed because your relevatism prevents a determination of right from wrong and renders you unable justify any of your own values. Its sacrificed under the alter of anti-western conspiracy and bigotry. The worst of this , is that because you can't fight all the battles around the world (solve them the exact same way) , you should not then fight at all. Iran attaining a bomb is not just a domestic or even regional issue, it has enormous implications .

      kurt.campher - 2012-11-09 12:17

      @ Ninjas : What would be the implications? In fact i would say that any country has a right to develop nuclear weapons. Libya gave up their weapons and look what happened to them. Pakistan and India have weapons and because of that the US is very cautious with them. What counter evidence are you talking about? Mention one bad thing Iran has done and we could easily list hundreds the of the US. It's not that I support Iran or any other dictatorship. Every country has questionable decisions/actions/laws but for the US to play "World Police" is ridiculous since they have been involved in more wars than anyone. And to call the oil issue a ruse is ridiculous. There is more than enough evidence to suggest that the US is in a race to secure the oil in the Middle East. Also lets keep this constructive and not lower ourselves to silly insults.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-11-09 12:39

      Ninja, you of all people know that foreign policy is based on access to resources and markets. The DEIC, backed by the British army expressed this relationship clearly, and nothing has changed today.

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-11-09 13:05

      @Kurt- Implications - Well if you think the Saudi's are going to stand by and let Iran become a nuclear state an not them then you underestimate the poor relationship . If Saudi get a weapon then Turkey will get them. So what you have is the most unstable region in the world in a stand off with arsnals of nuclear weapons . If you think the cold war stand off was precarious then its a fairly safe bet that any kind of detante will break down fairly quickly. Libya did give up its weapons to the US and they got rid of a dictator via a popular uprising , do you think this is now possible in Nkorea ? In no way do i think Pakistan or India should have nuclear weapons , i do however think there is far less concern on this status with India as they are far more politically stable. Oil was at $25 a barrel and predicted to remain there for the foreseeble future , after intervention it more than quadruppled to $125 . For the largest consumer of oil , how is this possibly beneficial and the trillions spent . Apple is the worlds most valuable company . We can go down the so called 'world police' debate but answer me this , do you think that American threat to Nkorea on the border to Skorea is a bad thing? Seoul is 40km from the most militarized border in artillary range with a population of 9.5m . There is no greater example in difference in totalitarian dictatorship and democracy anywhere.

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-11-09 13:15

      @Kurt -Look I not trying to offend but i struggle with people who value, believe and promote the idea's human rights , freedom , liberty ,equality and democracy but don't stand up for it and side with the very opposite . It says that you either don't belive in those concepts or they only good for some people and there is complete ommision of people in those countries that do share those values. If you don't support the dictatorship of Iran then support those who share those values .

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-11-09 14:16

      Ninja, that is a false binary! Again the elephant in the room is Israel, which you have conveniently ignored as far as their nuclear weapons is concerned, but you don't want India or Pakistan to have nuclear weapons. That says a lot about your concerns regarding nuclear proliferation! "For the largest consumer of oil , how is this possibly beneficial and the trillions spent ." Sometimes your ignorance is only surpassed by your stubbornness. The people making money are the traders and the oil companies, the corporate elites who run western governments. The same principle applies when it comes to war. Communist countries are run for the benefit of the party elite, capitalist countries are run for the benefit of corporate elites. Unless you understand this basic principle, you will fail to get how our world operates.

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-11-09 15:22

      Fidel - your basic principle is false , it presupposes a conspiracy of Govt ,central banks and corporations which which is controlled on a global level and hidden beyond the sight of the millions that work and operate with in them as well as the ability to survive multiple elections in all the collabrative nations. If they traders and companies make all the oil money then why even go in in the first place , just buy it like before on the open market. Isreal , the elephant you say . If a country which by every measure is a liberal democracy was to have legitimate case for poccessing a nuclear deterrent then repeated multilateral attacks aimed at its destruction and genocide of its people ,then i think that would a strong case. I really don't see the false binary , please unpack that thought and i don't see how my view that its preferable for india and pakistan (with a long standing feud since partition) not to have nukes is in any way a negative on non-proliferation.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-11-09 17:09

      The old saying that "commerce follows the flag" is as true today as it was during the times of the Dutch East India Company. Why do you suppose the US was doing in South America overthrowing nationalist democratically elected governments who tried to protect their country's commercial interests. Anyway it's too tiresome for me comment more on this dead topic!

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