Give Iran its due: the country’s leaders have a sense of humor.
Speaking in Kampala, Uganda, Iran’s foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki declared that Iran is considering the P5+1 incentives package and will offer an answer at the appropriate time. Meanwhile, he reminded the West of their counterproposal, hinting that there should be a bargain between the two:
We also have what we call the Iranian package which we have sent to the P5+1 countries and we hope they consider it as we consider theirs.
The Iranian package can be read in full here. Comical as it is, the Iranians take it very seriously and have such constructive proposals as the following:
On the above basis, the Islamic Rebublic is will to enter into talks on cooperation to strengthen a just peace and bolster the stability and the advancement of democracy in regions that suffer from instability, militarism, violence and terrorism. Such cooperation can take place in different parts of the world–more specifically in the Middle East, the Balkans, Africa, and Latin America. Cooperation to assist the Palestinian people to find a comprehensive plan-one that is sustainable, democratic and fair-to resolve the 60-year old Palestinian issue can become a symbol of such collaboration.
They also have “constructive ideas on the matter of nuclear proliferation – though it sounds more like a recipe to promote it rather than contain it:
With regard to the nuclear issue, Iran is ready-in a comprehensive manner, and as an active and influential member of the NPT and the IAEA-to consider the following issues:
1 – Obtaining a further assurance about the non-diversion of the nuclear activities of different cultures.
2 – Establishing enrichment and nuclear fuel production consortiums in different parts of the world-including Iran.
3 – Cooperation to access and utilize peaceful nuclear technology and facilitating its usage by all states.
4 – Nuclear disarmament and establishment of a follow up committee.
5 – Improved supervision by the IAEA over the nuclear activities of different states.
6 – Joint collaboration over nuclear safety and physical protection.
7 – An effort to encourage other states to control the export of nuclear material equipment.
No doubt, now someone will jump at these headlines and suggest that:
1. The Iranians are prepared to negotiate and have not turned down the new incentives’ package;
2. Their counterproposal is worthy of consideration; and
3. We should seek to find a happy medium between the two instead of “imposing” our preconditions.
The Iranians will certainly try and persuade us of the above, looking into dragging the issue for many more months. Which is why, as the international community starts contemplating the next steps vis-a-vis Iran, they should be reminded that, beyond the smokescreen the Iran is putting up with its “counterproposal,” its spokesmen have already said, consistently and repeatedly, that Iran will not suspend uranium enrichment under any circumstances.
So what is there, exactly, to negotiate?