´Iran nuclear talks plagued by mistrust´ (YNetNews.Com -Yedioth Internet) Attila Somfalvi Published: 05.26.12, 19:37)
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Senior US official privy to West´s negotiations with Iran says White
House skeptic about their chances, but US needs to be sure it made
every diplomatic effort to stop Tehran from getting nuclear weapons
The United States has no intention of recognizing Iran´s right to
enrich uranium, a senior US official privy to the West´s nuclear
negotiations with the Islamic Republic told Ynet Saturday.
Iran must suspend its uranium enrichment program and address the
international community´s concerns, he added.
According to the official, Washington and its allies will continue to
pressure Iran via various sanctions, until it complies.
The US, he said, does not know whether the Iranians are taking part
in the negotiations to find a solution "or to waste everyone´s time."
Nevertheless, the West is in agreement – Iran must suspend its 20%
uranium enrichment, he said, "But we don´t really know if a deal is
Iran, it seems, has yet to decide for itself whether or not it will
pursue the nuclear negotiations seriously, he hedged.
The nuclear talks are plagued by great mistrust between the parties,
he said. The West demands that Iran halts all uranium enrichment as
well as the operations at the Fordu nuclear site; while Iran
presented a five-point plan demanding that the international
community recognize its right to pursue such nuclear endeavors.
According to the American official, the talks in Baghdad were
essentially a way for the West to see whether such negotiations with
Iran were even possible. "Talks for the sake of talking are
meaningless," he said.
While in Baghdad, he added, the West made clear to Iran that time was
of the essence: "There is a diplomatic window, but it won´t stay open
forever," he said.
´Israel and US see eye-to-eye on Iran´
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak
voiced their skepticism over whether any headway could be achieved in
the nuclear negotiations with Iran, prompting Washington to involve
Israel as much as possible in the talks.
Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman – the
United States´ top negotiator in the nuclear talks – arrived in
Israel on Friday, to brief the two and "reaffirm the US´ unshakeable
commitment to Israel´s security," a department statement said.
Washington and Jerusalem "are in constant dialogue," he added, saying
that the United States was "highly aware of Israel´s just concerns"
The sanctions on Iran will continue until it meets the international
community´s demands, he said. Israel and the United States see eye-to-
eye on Iran and agree that it cannot be allowed to obtain nuclear
weapons, he added.
Still, Washington feels that it must exhaust all diplomatic avenues
vis-à-vis Iran, while the diplomatic window is viable.
´Alternatives to talks very serious´
The Obama Administration rejects Israel´s criticism as to the delay
in imposing sanctions on Iran, as the nuclear negotiations were a
result of those very sanctions, he said.
Nevertheless, the US sees no reason to offer Iran any mitigations
simply because they agreed to the talks, he said, adding that Israel
and the US were united in believing time is running out.
As for the sanctions themselves, the official said that they were the
most extensive sanctions ever imposed on Iran and it was now up to
Tehran to act decisively and convincingly.
Washington understands Netanyahu´s skepticism, and according to the
official, it is shared by US President Barack Obama. The alternatives
to talks are very serious, he stressed. "Iran going nuclear is very
serious – but so is war."
As for Barak´s concerns about Iran´s "zone of immunity" – the point
after which it will be able to withstand a strike on its underground
facilities, the official said that the US agreed with Israel´s
analysis and that Washington "intends to stop Iran from going
Anyone who thinks otherwise, he concluded, fails to understand the
gravity the United States lends the matter. "For the sake of world
peace – we have to stop Iran," he said. (Copyright 2012 © Yedioth
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