Thursday, May 20, 2010

Iran continued...

Some clarification through the mists: the Obama administration doesn't see the move toward sanctions as an end of negotiations with Iran, although many commentators have taken it that way. Susan Rice, US Permanent Representative to the United Nations:
First of all we need to be clear that the Tehran Research Reactor proposal as tabled in October had nothing to do with Iran’s sanctioned activities to date and its international nuclear obligations. Iran has remained in violation of previous Security Council resolutions, it is in violation of its IAEA obligations, and that is why we are here today, making manifest and real the dual track approach that we have pursued. We continue to believe that this ought to be resolved through negotiation and dialogue, engagement remains on the table, but the dual track to be viable has to have a pressure component as well.
And Russia believes that the Brazil-Turkey deal can move forward despite the move toward sanctions:
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday he hoped a consensus could be reached on a draft United Nations sanctions resolution against Iran, Interfax news agency said.

Lavrov also called on Iran to send details of its proposed uranium swap to the United Nation's nuclear agency, the IAEA, as soon as possible.
At the same time, Lavrov assured Iran that work on the Bushehr reactor would continue. Meanwhile, President Obama has spoken to President Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey.

If the Iranian move was indeed intended to head off sanctions, there may be some noses out of joint in Tehran. It remains to be seen whether that pique will stand in the way of negotiations.

Update: Farideh Farhi.

[h/t to Steve for the Haaretz link.]

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