A senior adviser to Iran's president says dialogue with the US will succeed
only if the Obama administration accepts Tehran's right to have a nuclear
Mojtaba Samareh-Hashemi, right-hand man to Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, the
fundamentalist president, said, in an interview with the Financial Times,
Tehran was studying its options, just as the new US administration was
reviewing its Iran policy.
The US hopes to engage with Iran and persuade the country to halt its
uranium enrichment activities, the most sensitive part of the nuclear
programme, and withdraw its support for militant groups in the region.
The launch of a homemade Iranian satellite on Tuesday further raised
concerns among western powers that Iran was accelerating its development of
ballistic missile technology.
But Iran too has a list of demands requiring US policy shifts.
On some issues - such as the removal of US troops from Iraq and stabilising
Afghanistan - Iran and the US can find common ground.
Others, particularly Iran's claim that its nuclear programme is peaceful in
nature and so advanced that it has become a fact on the ground, could prove
the two sides' differences are irreconcilable. . . .
[Scowcroft replied that his brief to the Iranians would begin this way:
"First, that we're aware you live in a dangerous region, and we're prepared
to discuss a regional security framework. . . . Second, whether or not you
want nuclear weapons, you're proceeding on a course that psychologically
destabilizes the whole region. It is dangerous. It will bring about a
counterreaction. And let's work on this security framework. You don't need
Brzezinski said he agreed and added: "The only way we can accomplish [mutual
security] is by sitting together and figuring out some mechanism whereby you
achieve what you say you want, which is a peaceful nuclear program, and we
achieve what we need, which is a real sense of security that it's not going
to go any further."--David Ignatius, "An Obama A-Team for Iran," Washington
Post, February 5, 2009]
[Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi said in Tehran on
Wednesday, "Iran has no plans to stop its nuclear activity. At its
forthcoming meeting, the 'Iran Six' should draw up a logical approach and
accept the fact that Iran is a nuclear state."
NATO is scrambling. It must somehow reduce dependence on Pakistani supply
routes, which are currently used for ferrying about 80% of supplies. The
irony cannot be lost on onlookers. NATO seeks an Iranian route when Tehran
is demanding a US troop pullout from Afghanistan.--M K Bhadrakumar, "Moscow,
Tehran force the US's hand," Asia Times, February 6, 2009]
[UN officials cautioned that there remained many practical obstacles to the
production of a bomb, and pointed out that the uranium was under close
surveillance, and the report issued by the International Atomic Energy
Agency (IAEA) said Iran appeared to have slowed down the rate at which its
uranium enrichment capacity is expanding.--Julian Borger, "Iran has enriched enough uranium to make bomb, IAEA
says," Guardian, February 19, 2009]
[The US swing towards a Manichaean vision of pro-western moderation versus
Islamist extremism has taken regional polarisation well beyond Ben-Gurion's
more modest objective of creating a balance of forces and deterrence. In
their aim to break the resistance throughout the Muslim world to a secular,
liberal vision for the future, the US and its European allies have instead
provoked mass mobilisation against their own project, as well as
radicalisation and hostility to the West.--Alastair Cooke, "The strange tale of Iran and
Israel," Le Monde diplomatique, February 2009]
[ . . . the report omits any mention of the universally accepted view -
accidentally confirmed by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in a December 2006
interview - that Israel already has nuclear weapons which may have had
destabilising consequences of their own.--Jim Lobe, "Call to 'Resist and
Deter' Nuclear Iran Gains Key Support," Inter Press Service, March