Something to Work With

Iran’s long-awaited diplomatic proposal (not really a package) to the P5+1 world powers, the US, the UK, France, Germany, Russia, China, has disappointed many. The harshest reactions were coming from the US. American lawmakers may even want to use the five pages as further argument for new and ‘crippling’ sanctions.

The response may be premature. After a difficult situation following the disputed presidential election with unprecedented power struggles within the ruling establishment, which still seem not to be settled, the proposal may be considered a first and quite constructive contribution in preparation of new talks with Iran.

After all, it had to be expected that the issue of Iran enriching uranium (for merely peaceful purposes only, as Tehran continues to pretend) is not mentioned in the document. Rather, a fundamental reform of the UN, its Security Council and the IAEA is claimed. The latter might in fact be overdue. However painful, Tehran might be right when demanding, under para 2.6, “Promoting the universality of NPT (the nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty Iran is a signatory of) mobilizing global resolve and putting into action real and fundamental programmes toward complete disarmament and preventing development and proliferation of nuclear, chemical and microbial weapons.” Desirably, international double standards as regards existing and/or presumed military nuclear programs (Tehran does not explicitly mention Israel in the document, a non-signatory of the NPT possessing a stockpile of possibly 300-400 nuclear weapons) have in fact to come to an end.

That Iran raises security issues first shows that the country takes threats of new sanctions, regime change and, first and foremost, possible attacks of its nuclear facilities serious. Irrespective of a perceived lack of legitimacy of the current cabinet under President Ahmadinejad, the country, as other sovereign states, just demands respect.

That Iran raises eventually economic issues shows its present vulnerability.

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