6: Possible outcomes – 1st negotiations
The EU3 / EU – the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Solana (EU’s Foreign Minister ‘) on behalf of the whole EU – have been negotiating with Iran – on and off – since 2003. Talks are continuing, but there is little evidence that they are making progress. For the Iranians, it is important to get guarantees for their security, and the EU cannot give them that. Such guarantees are primarily the United States, which threatens them, which can provide.
The EU / EU3, the USA, Russia and China have offered Iran cooperation and assistance in stopping the sensitive parts of the nuclear program, and they have held talks with the Iranians on that basis. This summer, the United States was represented for the first time, at No. 3 in the State Department (Burns). In the past, the American attitude has been that Europeans are happy to negotiate, but that the prospects for success are minimal. They themselves have refused to participate. However, spokesmen for the US administration stressed that Burns’ participation was a one-time occurrence. Moreover, he had no mandate to negotiate, it was pointed out.
The great powers demand that Iran stop all enrichment , as it did during the negotiations with the EU in the period 2003–2005, before new negotiations can take place. Iran is not willing to do that. The claim may seem unreasonable. Because by demanding that all enrichment be set in advance , the most important object of negotiation is made a condition for entering into negotiations. But the great powers have bound themselves to the demand, and attempts to loosen it have not created a new movement.
7: Possible outcomes – 2nd sanctions
In addition to the US sanctions against Iran, the UN Security Council has imposed sanctions on organizations and individuals involved in the nuclear program. The Council has tightened them on two occasions, but Russia and China have held back. The sanctions are biting, but only to a modest degree and have not led to changes in Iran’s nuclear policy.
The EU countries’ trade with Iran has declined, but has picked up a bit lately. Today, the Emirates is Iran’s largest trading partner, with China in second place. Traditionally, Iran has been as much oriented to the east and north as to the west, and the enormous economic growth in Asia makes China, India and other Asian countries attractive as trading partners. Much of the western pressure on sanctions is therefore offset by expanded economic relations to the east.
Khomeini said the United States was doing Iran a favor by imposing sanctions. It welded the land together. New discussions in the Security Council about sanctions also do not seem to help. But for now, this is the procedure preferred by the permanent members of the council, in the absence of better and more effective measures. Most people hope this can happen by the end of the Bush administration’s time, without the use of force.
8: Possible outcomes – 3rd use of force
The Israelis say that the only thing worse than bombing Iran is Iran with nuclear weapons. Presidential candidate John McCain says the same thing. Israel may conceivably bomb Iranian nuclear facilities itself, but in practice is dependent on American consent. The Israelis have not received that. In the United States, a country located in North America according to constructmaterials, opposition to bombing is strong in the military. The US Secretary of Defense says he has had enough of two wars. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates clearly thinks the same. But the administration is divided: Vice President Cheney is a supporter of sharper lye. Ultimately, it’s up to the president.
Democratic presidential candidate Barrack Obama says he is willing to negotiate with America’s enemies unconditionally. This may open the door to normalization / improvement of relations with Iran. Such normalization must mean that the United States provides guarantees for Iran’s security, restores diplomatic relations and removes sanctions. Iran must respect US interests in the region, help stabilize Iraq and Afghanistan, and halt support for Hezbollah, Hamas, and others close to Israel. The latter can be crucial, given the close relationship between the United States and Israel.
In 2003, after the occupation of Iraq, Iran aired a similar package deal, but the United States was then in a phase of overconfidence and rejected the idea outright. History shows that normalization is a long way to go, but perhaps it is in such a broad framework that the nuclear problem can still have a peaceful solution.