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December 16, 2014 1:55 pm

Iranian Desire to Lift Sanctions Dominates Agenda at Geneva Nuclear Talks

avatar by Ben Cohen

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Back where they started: Iranian and American negotiators in Geneva this week. Photo: Twitter

As nuclear talks between international negotiators and Iranian representatives got underway in Geneva today following two days of direct US-Iranian bilateral negotiations, the Tehran regime again stressed the importance of lifting sanctions against it, leading some analysts to express concern that sanctions relief may be applied even in the absence of a deal that satisfies western powers.

Iranian chief negotiator and deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi described the atmosphere at the bilateral negotiations as having “proceeded in a good ambience.” Aragchi stressed that “there were elaborate discussions on all topics, especially sanctions” – the issue that the Iranian regime is most concerned about.

A New York Times report today portrayed the sanctions issue as the dividing line between Iranian conservatives who reject a deal and the putative moderates, led by President Hasan Rouhani, who see a nuclear deal and the lifting of sanctions as the price to pay for Iran’s full participation in international affairs.

“Mr. Rouhani came to office this year promising not just to strike a nuclear deal that would lift economic sanctions but to end Iran’s isolation from the world economy and to promote individual freedoms,” The Times observed.

Rouhani’s determination to lift the sanctions has worried some analysts, who posit that the Obama Administration may back down on key verification demands in order to boost the regime’s “moderate” faction.

“Iranian officials have a vested interest in presenting the talks as proceeding according to their list of desiderata,” Michael Doran, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense in the George W. Bush Administration who now works for the Hudson Institute think-tank in Washington DC,  told The Algemeiner. “That said, the Obama administration has shown a disturbing tendency to back away from previous red lines, of which forcing Iran to divulge the possible military dimensions (PMD) of its nuclear program is one of the most important – precisely because it is a prerequisite for effective monitoring.”

Any deal that offered sanctions relief before Iran has satisfied the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) concerns about the military aspects of its nuclear program “is a very bad deal,” Doran said.

Emanuele Ottolenghi, a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told The Algemeiner that Iran had persuaded the P5+1 – the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany -“that neither its missile program nor the possible military dimensions of it nuclear research should be part of a final deal.”

“Instead, we are down to just discussions on how to remove sanctions in exchange for a short term enhanced inspection arrangement that cannot possibly be relied upon to discover undeclared facilities,” Ottolenghi said. “Unfortunately, the Obama Administration is trading long term security for a short term diplomatic victory.”

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  • Tawanda Chichinye

    I am not privy to the merits or demerits of a nuclear powered Iran. But clearly the economic embargo on Iran should be unconditional lifted. The economic embargo is causing untold suffering to ordinary Iranians including children. It is also denying Iranians of full value from their resources and so in that light the economic sanctions should be lifted and should not have been applied in the first place. The negotiations for nuclear cessation by Iran should be intensified with clear cut deliverables rather than negotiations for the sake of negotiations which it looks the parties are only interested in buying time.

  • Lynne T

    Obama appears to be pursuing a disasterous plan to contract out the policing of the region to Iran and its Lebanese mercenaries because the Saudi military hasn’t been able to contain Sunni Islamist forces. As a result, Saudi Arabia has pulled its most potent weapon and is squeezing Iran via the plummeting price of oil, and taking some other oil producers along with them, including trouble-makers like Russia and Venezuala.

  • The Itanians are stalling anyone can see this, I feel this indicates they are closer to producing a nuclear device then anyone imagines !
    This cannot happen !
    A nuclear Iran would be cataclysmic to the entire Middle East and to Europe !
    They must increase Sanctions, to a draconian measure !
    If not beware the world in the words of the Japanese Admiral when bombing Pearl Harbor ,
    I am afraid we have awakened a sleeping Giant !

  • NCS

    This is so serious, I wonder if the American people realize how much danger we are in with this administration. G-d help us, if Israel does not do the job for us.

  • David Goshen

    Iran should not be placed in the situation that they can immediatley be able to threaten the whole Middle East to gain the only number one agenda they have had for 700 years
    namely to to rest full cotrol of the ARAB WORLD and settle
    the missing Mahadi Issue.
    The repeated aims of their Religious Leader to destroy Israel and bring about a majot change in the USA major satans way of life, economy should not mislead the negotiators The Iranianias are no doubt delighted in USA bombing of ISIS which will only help them in their major agenda.
    If the USA agrees to Iranian demands thay will have acheived the final removal of the USA as an influence in the Middle East and the beginnings of a massive conflict in the Middle East which will spread to WW3 ecventually.

  • Sharon Buck

    It is no surprise that Iran is after its own ends and not interested in the greater good. To expect anything else is ignorance on the part of those who might. Until world opinion is that Iran must never have nuclear weapons, period, and that stance is adopted and declared every time the world powers meet, and Iran “gets it”, they will continue to push for the lifting of sanctions and perpetrate the lie that they are not seeking to build a nuclear arsenal. Even if world opinion does take that line, Iran won’t back down. They are ideologically driven, and their goals have no common ground with nations desiring a peaceful middle eastern solution.