By Marcus George, Reuters, from Globe and Mail, June 5, 2012
Iran says that under its NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty) membership, it can develop a full nuclear fuel cycle for peaceful purposes including the enrichment of uranium, a process that yields fuel for power stations or bombs, depending on the level of refinement.
“I hope the P5+1 group recognizes Iran’s inalienable nuclear right within the framework of the NPT and refrains from sitting on the sidelines,” IRNA quoted Ali Akbar Velayati, an aide to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as saying.
“By accepting Iran’s right to use peaceful nuclear energy, the forthcoming talks in Moscow should reach a favourable result.”
Ayatollah Khamenei - who has total command over Iran’s nuclear policy - has publicly forbidden the development of nuclear weapons. Iran says it is enriching uranium only for civilian energy.
Western nations suspect that the Islamic Republic’s higher-grade uranium enrichment is part of a clandestine programme to develop the material and components needed for a capacity to produce nuclear arms.
Despite Mr. Velayati’s firm line, diplomats say Iranian negotiators were forthcoming at the talks in Baghdad - in contrast to previous failed negotiations - and believe Ayatollah Khamenei has given them a freer hand to explore a deal.
Another round of talks has been scheduled for June 18-19 in Moscow. Last week U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton indicated the meeting would be crucial because of Washington’s need to see “concrete actions”.
Secretary Clinton may be calling for "concrete actions" from Iran, essentially meaning that they will not, have not, and are not refining uranium at the 20% level, a level that breaches the levels needed for medical purposes; however, we all know that in June with only four months until the presidential elections in the U.S. this is one pot that will be kept on "simmer" during that time, if the U.S. has anything to say about it.
With so many "issue pots" that require cooking and serving to the American public, including the need to forestall the confluence of the end of the Bush tax cuts, and the Congressional agreement for automatic cuts to the Pentagon and the operating budget by the end of the year, and Congress paralyzed with its individual and collective feet in the concrete of obstruction and pay-back, Iran seems like a minor skirmish at this point.
The threat of an Israeli strike against Iran's nuclear facilities seems also to have receded from the headlines, another of the Obama administration's "keep-the-pot-on-simmer" until after November approaches.
Now, the focus is on a an agreement to establish a Eurobond, to salvage the mess in the economies of several European countries, including Spain, Greece, Italy, Ireland and Portugal.
So many really good brains, and so many really committed people in leadership must be feeling impotent on so many fronts that they might well consider stepping back from the public eye and arena, following the November elections, no matter who wins. Nevertheless, when the political campaigning for election takes centre stage, at a time when so many complex and unresolved issues continue to fester, we can all see that politics is the only game in Washington, and that does not bode well for either Republicans or Democrats, nor does it serve the larger public interest among the world's nations and people.
While celebrations of the Queen's Jubilee in London and throughout the Commonwealth are a brief sigh on an otherwise gloomy world stage, and point legitimately to the value of a lengthy reign, amid all the world's turbulence, nevertheless, even Queen Elizabeth II having served for sixty years through much domestic turbulence in the royal household is no substitute for effective and sustainable agreements among world leaders on the serious issues facing the planet and its people.
Leadership, especially in times like these, is not evident in "keep-the-pot-on-simmer" while we digress into our sand-box distraction of a $3billion election in which the largest pile of cash is likely to win.
Policy, and the potential to deliver on policy notwithstanding, be damned, in the face of a slough of cash, flowing through the campaign headquarters of both parties, hoping that that cash will "lift all boats" (in the respective parties) and the rest of the world be damned...
How is it that the U.S. continues to command so much respect on the world stage anyway? Is it her capacity and need for the theatre of bravado, in spite of the facts?