Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Iran: Sanctions, Fuel Swap, Weapons

Location: Tehran, Iran
I'm just reading about this story in the news. None of these articles iterate proof to support the U.S.' conviction that Iran is building nuclear arms, though one is very clear that Iran has supplied money and weapons to terrorist organizations. We're losing ground with China, with its trade relations with Iran and North Korea. October '09, Iran backed out of a fuel swap deal that would have supplied medical reactor uranium for Tehran. May '10, Iran attempted to discuss a fuel swap with Turkey and Brazil, but the U.N., U.S., and E.U. imposed greater sanctions, on the grounds that the particulars of the plan didn't sufficiently address certain concerns. Now Ahmadinejad wants to discuss a fuel swap with the U.S., talks to happen in Sept. '10.

It sounds like when it's one side's idea, the other side rejects it, then suggests the same thing on its own terms, only to be in turn rejected.

US sanctions Iranians said to support terrorism
The U.S. "Treasury targeted two officers in the Qods force, an elite arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, for providing money and weapons to militant groups the U.S. has designated as terrorist organizations: Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad," and 21 Iranian businesses in its new sanctions against Iran. This is supposed to show the Obama administration "ratcheting up economic and political pressure on Iran to limit its support for Islamic extremism in the Mideast. A parallel goal is to coax Iran into international negotiations over its nuclear program." Iran continues to insist its nuclear program is solely to provide electricity for its increasingly robust nation, but the US continues to insist it's ramping up to build nuclear arms.

U.S. urges China not to take advantage of Iran sanctions
China disapproves of U.S. sanctions on Iran and "welcomed Tehran's offer to return to negotiations on a nuclear fuel swap without conditions." The U.S. says it wants China to show some international responsibility, but China says the U.S. had no right to impose sanctions outside of the UN ruling.

Ahmadinejad urges US to join nuclear swap talks
On the other hand, Iran has repeatedly invited the U.S. to participate in fuel swap talks, as though they're not even listening to anything the U.S. is saying. "[Obama] missed the opportunity last year for a fuel swap; today this opportunity is on the table again," Ahmadinejad said in a televised speech in the city of Hamedan in western Iran. "We are ready for talks based on respect, justice and Iran's proposals after mid-Ramadan (late August) and we advise him not to miss this opportunity."

"The May 17 proposal by Iran, Turkey and Brazil, known as the Tehran Declaration, stipulates that Iran send 1,200 kilogrammes (2,645 pounds) of its low-enriched uranium to Turkey in return for 20 percent high-enriched uranium to be supplied by Russia and France at a later date."

Iran ready to reconsider 20% enrichment
Why the fuel swap? Iran says it is exhausting its uranium supply and needed to refine even more, which could easily be used for nuclear arms as for energy, but it would forego this enrichment process if the Vienna group (U.S., Russia, France) would reconsider a fuel swap.

US urges Japan to get tough on Iran
"Japan imposed sanctions against Iran on Tuesday in line with a UN resolution and said it plans to announce additional punitive measures later this month," but "Robert Einhorn, State Department special adviser for non-proliferation and arms control, called for tough measures from Tokyo, which has long been on relatively good terms with Tehran." This article also points out that Russia and China have protested these new sanctions as they are heavily invested in energy production in Iran. In fact, Iran claims to have obtained 300 surface-to-air missiles from Russia (a 2007 sale), but Russia claims sanctions against Iran prevent their delivery. Israel has reason to sweat this purchase.

No comments: