Iran demands removal of all sanctions

Late-date demand occurs as March 31 deadline approaches.

Iranian Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, insisted Wednesday all sanctions imposed by the United Nations, the European Union (EU) and the United States be rescinded upon the signing of an agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear program.  According to Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), Zarif announced:  “This is the position that the government has insisted on from the start.”   This recent declaration by Zarif reiterated Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s assertion last week that the immediate lifting of sanctions is an integral component of any valid accord.

The U.S., Russia, China, Great Britain, France and Germany have insisted sanctions be rescinded gradually. France has recently advocated a “robust” deal to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

“France wants an agreement, but a robust one that really guarantees that Iran can have access to civilian nuclear power, but not the atomic bomb,” said Laurent Fabius French Foreign Minister on Saturday. “This accord must be robust. Why? Because we have to protect ourselves from the eventuality of an Iranian atomic bomb,” expanded Fabius when question further.

Late last week, negotiations were suspended and scheduled to resume today.

Why is France the only Western power willing to see the reality of Iran’s nuclear ambition?

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has repeatedly expressed concerns regarding Iran’s failure to cooperate with its investigators concerning undeclared nuclear material.

“Concerning safeguards implementation in Iran, the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of nuclear material declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement. However, the Agency is not in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities,” reported Yukiya Amano, IAEA Director General in to an early March address to the IAEA Board of Governors.

Precis:  Iran is concealing nuclear material they are preparing for enrichment for a nuclear weapon.

This late-date demand is equivalent in principle and impact in its intention to humiliate the West.  For Iran to amplify caveats at the eleventh hour illustrates a particular brand of dishonesty and a not-so clever attempt to exploit the vulnerabilities of the West’s March 31 deadline.  While the clerics shrug their shoulders at the negotiating table the West, particularly the U.S., gain little and respond with fawning compliments and gasps of admiration for Iran’s alleged cooperation and “progress” in talks.

Those who understand Iran saw their demand coming from a mile away.  The IAEA is crying foul and the West appears ambivalent. We should hope the West to find the strength to parallel French resistance to Iran’s nuclear ambitions, be responsible stewards of peace for the benefit of others and oppose a querulous Iran.  Without such examination, which certainly France understands, Iran will obtain a nuclear device and imperil the entire Middle East.

[Reuters] [thetower.org] [iaea.org]