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October 1, 2009
Stakes are high in Iran nuclear negotiations

The Obama administration’s policy of engagement with Iran was put to the test on Thursday in their highest-level direct talks in three decades. The United States was joined by five other world powers in the meetings in Geneva.

For the U.S., the meeting was all about persuading Iran to come clean on its nuclear program. Thursday’s talks ended with Iran agreeing to more talks before the end of the month.

Flynt Leverett, the director of the Iran Project at the New America Foundation and professor of international relations at Penn State, joins Martin Savidge to discuss the outcome of the talks and the possibility of sanctions on Iran.

If the talks ultimately fail and sanctions are imposed on Iran, do you think Iran will give up its nuclear program?

Tell us what you think in the comments section below. Please remember to be respectful and on-point in your comments. Malicious or offensive comments will be deleted and repeat offenders will be banned.

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36 comments

#36

The Middle East should be a “nuclear-free” zone. President Obama has asked Iran to “come clean” about its nuclear plans. But the country that really should come clean is Israel. Israel has a huge nclear arsenal. Yet no one in the administration is challenging it to open up to international inspection. Whence comes this double standard?
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No international inspector has ever been allowed to go near Israeli nuclear sites, such as the one at Dimona. Iran signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and as such is entitled to peaceful nuclear activity. Israel has never signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Iran has been visited by IAEA inspectors numerous times and continues to be. Israel not only refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty; it has also never even admitted to having the arsenal that the whole world knows exists.
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The US continues to maintain silence on the subject. Guess why? The Israeli lobby – AIPAC is busy at work in Washington. As long as Israel remains the sole nuclear power in the region and can threaten and blackmail its neighbors it is little wonder that a country iike Iran would want some kind of deterrent against an attack. If Israel came clean and eliminated its nuclear arsenal other countries in the area would have no justification to have a similar arsenal. The ball must be in Israel’s court, not Iran’s. It is Israel that must “come clean.”

#35

Where was the world when Israel developed nuclear weapons? Well, Kennedy and Johnson sent US inspectors into Dimona once a year every year from 1962 through 1968, and couldn’t find any “smoking gun.” To this day there is no hard evidence that Israel has them. It’s all hearsay and speculation. But even if it does, it has not broken any treaties. It was already a nuclear power before the NPT was even drafted in 1969. But there is no PROOF of it, and that’s the way ISrael intends to keep it. At least until the day it actually has to use them.

#34

For the answer, read Israeli authors Israel Shahak and Peter Schafer and website failedmessiah

#33

It is the height of hypocrisy to say that if Iran develops nuclear weapons, it will destabilize the Middle East, because Israel started this destabilization many years ago. Put the blame where it belongs.

Where was the world when Israel developed nuclear weapons???

#32

At any rate, since Iran does not accept a fellow UN member’s right to exist, and its president has issued very hostile statements against it, the UN has to be even more intrusive into what Iran is doing. Israel is a full member of the UN, and no one has to right to challenge its right to exist, or threaten its existence.

#31

First of all, Islamic jurisprudence and Sharia has as little weight in the world as does Halacha and Jewish jurisprudence. What matters is the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and its provisions. All countries who signed the NPT must be transparent and open to IAEA inspections. Those who did not sign, such as Pakistan, a Muslim nation, India, a Hindu nation, and Israel, a Jewish nation, are not obligated to disclose or open their nuclear facilities to anyone unless they choose to do so. Israel did voluntarily open Dimona to US inspections in the 1960s though it had no legal obligation to do so. But US inspectors could find no “smoking gun ” Which proved how easily they could be fooled in those early years. As a result of the experience with Israel, the US proposed to the UN the NPT to include strict oversight by the IAEA.

#30

Since its conception in 79, the Islamic Republic has stood firmly against nuclear weapons, and has restated that position. Both Khomeini and Khamenei, as Supreme Leaders and respected jurists have declared nuclear weapons to be against the teachings of Islam and the Prophet. Those who try to accuse them of seeking to destroy Israel with nuclear weapons are inventing lies because they oppose the Iranian Revolution or Islamic politics in general – they have little interest in the truth of the matter.

#29

The Iranians today may have accepted the Russian proposal to do the enrichment for them because the pressure and the internal divisions were simply too great at the moment. What happened today is an important thing and let’s hope that the Iranians stick to it. But only time will tell. Maybe they’ll do it for a few years, but that’s fine too. Anything that delays their getting the bomb is good.

#28

The standard is ONE. There are no two standards. Those who signed the NPT MUST not make bombs.
Those who DID NOT sign the NPT may do so, provided they do it with their own indigenous materiel and knowledge. That is why the IAEA has no jurisdiction over Indian, Pakistani or Israeli nuclear programs.

#27

No nation had to sign the NPT if it didn’t want to. ANy nation that didn’t sign the NPT has the right to develop their own nuclear weapons indigenously. Israel, INdia and Pakistan did not sign the NPT and have no obligations under it. ONly signatories are obliged to reveal all their nuclear activities to the IAEA.

#26

hit wrong button that messed up the conclusion of the comment-“…ending the occupation), and just like radiation and chemotherapy, holding Israel to the same standard and rule as the rest of the nuclear powers.

#25

Iran is a signator the the NPT. Israel, the main agitator is this and every other fight in more than one continent, refuses to even admit they have nukes, let alone agree to any inspections or agreements.
I am much more angered by the Zionist arrogance toward the rest of humanity.

The world need bring the Zionists under control first. Just like a tumerous cancer, first remove the tumor, (in this case stopping the building, ending the occupation), and then, just like radiation and chenotherapy, holding Israel to the same standards as all the other nuclear powers).

#24

Iran is a signator the the NPT. Israel, the main agitator is this and every other fight in more than one continent, refuses to even admit they have nukes, let alone agree to any inspections or agreements.
I am much more angered by the Zionist arrogance toward the rest of humanity.

The world need bring the Zionists under control first. Just like a tumerous cancer, first remove the tumor, (in this case stopping the building, ending the occupation and holding Israel to the same standards as all the other nuclear powers.

#23

How can we pressure Iran on anything when Israel has nukes and we only offer small complains about their documented war crimes? Cardinal human values are universal. If pick and choose – our words carry on weight.

#22

I would agree with US and UN only if they wipe out the newclear power even in Israel, Iran has the right to develop anything that may protect their country, im not against Israel or Pro Iran. but lets all agree that the middle east its in a huge mess, you can not tell one country dont do that and that, while u yourself have them….i dont think all these trunamis are happening cos of Iran, or the swime flue etc etc,,ppl wake up.

#21

Iran might be more cooperative if we address Iran’s legitimate security concerns. Look at a map. Iran is surrounded by countries either allied to the US or occupied by US forces. The US backed Iraqi invasion of Iran and the numerous US and Israeli threats certainly don’t inspire confidence in our peaceful intentions.

#20

Israel should put this supposed willingness of Iranians for martyrdom by blowing away Qoms with its Ayatollahs, and then find out if the remaining Iranians really are so keen on it afterwards. The Japanese too were very willing to die for the Emperor until two of their cities disappeared overnight under mushroom clouds.

#19

Israel should just wipe Iran off the face of the earth, and tell every country from Algeria to Pakistan that any other country hostile to Israel that builds a nuclear reactor without ISrael’s permission, that it will do the same to them as well.

#18

I can say Iran may still have another covert uranium enrichment plant somewhere because they readily accepted the UN Inspectors.

Deceptions are still there and eventually Iran will pursue to build up its nuclear arsenals.

Iranian strategies are to play for time for their scientists to meet their schedule to deliver their first Nuclear Tests.

Most Iranian fanatics are willing to die for martyrdom. Even Extreme Sanctions will not bother these fanatics as they are already used to the hard life and sacrifices.

Iran is hinting that their plans against the Jewish State will be far worst – making the Holocoast of WWII a myth…

#17

Iran has nobody by the balls. It’s just that America and the world have become punk,the same as they were in 1938 and let Hitler get away with everything. America has thousands of nukes; how can it let a crazy regime of mid-size country make it chicken out so easily? The wusses in the mid-1930s let the Nazis and the Japs get away with murder, until they were so powerful that it took over 50 million deaths to put them down. If you have nukes, and not prepared to use them when really necessary, it’s best not to have them at all. The US should give them up and surrender to Iran. But ISrael won’t.

#16

Well, if tonight Israel dropped a mere 50 of its atomic bombs on Iran that would stop their nuclear program quick enough. That would still leave Israel with 150-350 depending on whose estimates you want to believe for anyone wanting to make a big issue of it. If I were in charge in Israel, I would hammer them with a few dozen and nukes and negotiate their surrender afterwards. Why Israel hasn’t done so already, I cannot fathom.

#15

No, Iran will not abandon its right to nuclear technology, no matter how hard the pro Israel elements in the western world try to squize Iran.

#14

no. as long as we are dependent on oil, we will have no real leverage or influence in this region of the world. face it, they have us by the ba….. !

#13

I don’t think Iran will give up its nuclear program, sanctions or no-sanctions.

#12

Why should they. If Israel is willing to give up their nuclear weapons then by all means no nuclear weapons development for Iran.

#11

Response to Richard Cross:
Iranian politicians like Ahmadinejad and Khamenei have boasted that one Iranian bomb will destroy Israel. They have also repeatedly state they will wipe Israel off the map.

Somehow they are not concerned that this single bomb would also destroy all the holy sites in Jerusalem and most of the Palestinians too.

In contrast, even when it was nearly cut in two in the 1973 war, Israel did not use its supposed nuclear weapons.

#10

In response to Martin Savidge’s question: of course Iran won’t give up its nuclear weapons program.

As for the “concessions” today – how do we know that there are not other secret facilities? After all, the second facility was outed only by Iranian dissidents.

The choices facing the West are very stark, it seems. The Iranian regime will play for time, and then produce nuclear weapons. Sanctions are unlikely to work. Only military strikes will stop them – but the strikes may not be feasible, and have awful outcomes.

Perhaps some of those Navy seals and a creative covert program?

#9

We must listen to Iran’s priorities. Their priorities may not match ours. If we can help them with what they want most highly (their dignity maybe?), perhaps they can then help us with what we want most highly which is that they not develop nuclear weapons.

#8

This is not a duplicate message, Iran is a member of the IAEA and, as a member, has a right to nuclear power for peacful purposes.
Israel, in contrast, is not a member of the IAEA, has never signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, has never admitted to having a huge nuclear arsenal that everyone knows exits. (e.g. at Dimona. Obama says Iran must “come clean” and open up. Who has asked Israel to “come clean” and open up to international inspection? In contrast with Iran which has allowed inspectors, no one has ever been allowed to visit Israel’s nuclear sites.

Why should Israel be allowed not to “come clean,” to refuse any inspection and allowed to hold the rest of its neighbors hostage to its nuclear threat? Why should Iran be singled out and not Israel? There is a double standard here at work as it has been for decades.

Let Israel come clean forst, begin to demolish its nuyclear weapons first, and then and only then should its neighbor follow suit.

#7

Iran is a member of the IAEA and, as a member, has a right to nuclear power for peacful purposes.
Israel, in contrast, is not a member of the IAEA, has never signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, has never admitted to having a huge nuclear arsenal that everyone knows exits. (e.g. at Dimona. Obama says Iran must “come clean” and open up. Who has asked Israel to “come clean” and open up to international inspection? In contrast with Iran which has allowed inspectors, no one has ever been allowed to visit Israel’s nuclear sites.

Why should Israel be allowed not to “come clean,” to refuse any inspection and allowed to hold the rest of its neighbors hostage to its nuclear threat? Why should Iran be singled out and not Israel? There is a double standard here at work as it has been for decades.

Let Israel come clean forst, begin to demolish its nuyclear weapons first, and then and only then should its neighbor follow suit.

#6

What I think is that when all countries fully recognize each other’s right to exist, and Israel is a full sitting member of the UN, then peace-making becomes possible. But when states, most notably Iran, do not recognize Israel’s right to exist, then it’s crazy to even discuss Israeli disarmament. First nations have to recognize each other’s right to exist, and make peace, and then we can go on to discuss disarmament agreements.

#5

People seem to constantly forget there is a TREATY that 183 nations signed, and three chose not to sign. For their own reasons, India, Pakistan, and Israel chose NOT to sign. They have no obligations under the NPT except that they may not buy nor sell nuclear materiel from and to anyone else. That would be illegal proliferation.
They cannot be inspected because they did not sign anything. Iran did, as did North Korea and over 180 other countries, so that they could be able to by reactors and other “peaceful” nuclear-related knowledge and materiel in the legal marketplace. But it’s also well known that the father of the Pakistani bomb did run a business illegally selling bomb-related knowledge and materiel to Libya and Iran. Israel and India have not and there is no proof that they were ever involved in any illegal proliferation activities.

#4

Curious: Was Israel’s nuclear facility(s) inspected by IAEA or any international body when it was secretly developing its nukes? Or, for that matter, has ANY foreign or int’l body got to see ANY of Israel’s nuke facilities or its nukes??? I am not sure its Arab neighbors and Iran felt very secure and happy about Israel’s nuke program. Can someone enlighten me why Israel “has a right to hit Iran’s nuke facilities” but Iran shouldn’t hit Israel’s?

#3

No sanctions will not work to cause Iran to give up their nuclear program. Nor is there any reason why they should have to. No one is asking America or France to give up their nuclear program, and no self-respecting nation will be forced by pressure from selfish nations to give up any of their peaceful industries.

#2

non-sgignatories to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and who have nuclear weapons are Israel, Pakistan and India. Any nuclear weapon, let alone large stockpiles (U.S. and Russia), is a threat to the world. So, when are we, human beings, going to grow up sufficiently to see nuclear weapons and all war-making weapons, as enemies of peace, and begin to think, from a world perspective, of how to eliminate them and utilize this tremendous waste of resources to the real and pressing need of healthcare, decent habitat and life-enhancement here and everywhere.
Oh…and let us not forget Climate Change the world number one priority, as designated by UN Secy. Gen. Ban Ki Moon.
This tsunami is heading towards all shores. Can we muster the wisdom to meet it from a fresh perspective…a world perspective…a perspective of children and their needs?
What do You think?

#1

israel should have inspections of it own nuclear program from u.n. inspector before Iran.

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