Roundup: Iran intentions still unclear ahead of P5+1 meeting
The Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran.
April 9th, 2012
09:48 AM ET

Roundup: Iran intentions still unclear ahead of P5+1 meeting

Editor's Note: The following is reprinted with the permission of the Council on Foreign Relations.

The head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, Fereydoon Abbasi, on Monday hinted at the potential for a modest concession intended to partially assuage Western concerns regarding the regime's uranium enrichment program (NYT). Abbasi indicated Tehran was prepared to enrich uranium to 20 percent purity "just to meet its own needs." The announcement comes ahead of a planned resumption of nuclear talks between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5+1. However, in a somewhat contradictory statement, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said the country would not accept preconditions for the discussions. Analysts say the remarks reflect the debate within the Iranian power structure on how to handle the talks. Western governments had no immediate response.

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Analysis

In Foreign Policy, CFR's Steven A. Cook discusses claims that Iran's development of a nuclear weapon would drive proliferation throughout the region. "There are very good reasons for the international community to meet the challenge that Iran represents, but Middle Eastern nuclear dominoes are not one of them," he says. "While Iran is closer to home for the Saudis, the security situation in the Persian Gulf is not as severe as the one along the 1,800-mile Indo-Pakistani border."

Upcoming negotiations are shadowed by Iran's increasing uranium enrichment capabilities. Four nonproliferation experts provide a path for resolving the intensifying nuclear dispute. All agree on the need to address immediate proliferation risks, including halting Iran's accumulation of 20 percent enriched uranium.

This CFR interactive Crisis Guide traces Iran's history, its evolution as an Islamic republic, and its controversial nuclear program. It also offers an expert overview of the main policy options for dealing with Iran.

MIDDLE EAST

Syria Peace Deal Likely to Crumble

The UN-backed peace accord in Syria looks likely to fall apart after a government request for opposition groups to end attacks and disarm was quickly rejected. Assad regime officials claimed the pledge to withdraw forces from cities by Tuesday had been misconstrued and was now contingent on receiving written guarantees the opposition would end resistance (LATimes).

EGYPT: Ousted leader Hosni Mubarak's former vice president and spy chief Omar Suleiman (AP) will have the backing of Egypt's ruling generals and the state media's powerful propaganda machine in his effort to become president, according to officials with first-hand knowledge.

PACIFIC RIM

North Korea Prepares Launch of Controversial Rocket

North Korea has readied the launch of a rocket capable of striking the continental United States. Pyongyang claims the rocket (Reuters), which is set to fire this week, is only carrying a weather satellite, but officials in Seoul and Washington assert the launch is a ballistic missile test.

CFR's Leslie H. Gelb argues that the world is distracted, and North Korea, South Korea, and the United States are stumbling once again toward a nuclear confrontation.

CHINA: China has established a rare earth association in order to streamline the development of the vital resource. As the producer of 95 percent of the world's supply, Beijing has faced Western criticism for its export restrictions on rare earth metals (BBC).

SOUTH ASIA

Zardari Meets With Singh

Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari arrived in India Sunday to meet with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the first high-level state visit (LAT) between the wary neighbors in seven years. Both sides hailed the meeting as a sign of easing tensions along one of the world's most dangerous borders, but there were no breakthroughs announced.

AFGHANISTAN: U.S and Afghan officials struck a deal that would provide Kabul greater supervision over controversial night raids (WSJ). Analysts say the "breakthrough" lays the groundwork for a long-term partnership accord next month.

AFRICA

Dozens Killed in Nigeria Car Bomb

A car bomb blasted a busy road in Kaduna, Nigeria, killing at least thirty-eight people in a massive explosion. The bomber, who is suspected of ties to the Islamist group Boko Haram (AP), appears to have been targeting churches holding Easter services.

While widening violence by Nigeria's Islamist group Boko Haram has caused concerns about its possible links to international terrorist groups, some experts argue it's best to focus on addressing the crippling poverty, political corruption, and police abuses that are at the root of the violence.

MALI: Mali's President Amadou Toumani Toure resigned on Sunday, clearing a path for the junta that removed him in a coup to fulfill its commitment to reestablish civilian rule (Reuters) and hand over authority to the president of the National Assembly.

AMERICAS

Rousseff's Broad Agenda for Washington Visit

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff's first official visit to Washington Monday is expected to cover a range of issues, including trade, education, and foreign policy, but the overall focus is boosting ties between the two biggest nations (BBC) in the Americas.

ARGENTINA: The British government is seeking repayment of a $71 million loan made to Argentina in 1979–money that was eventually used to help fund the invasion of the Falkland Islands (FT).

EUROPE

UK to Push EU on Emissions

The UK is expected to press for deeper reductions in the EU's carbon emissions targets at a summit in Denmark next week. UK officials will propose a 30 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions (FT) from the levels in 1990, up from the current target of 20 percent.

SOUTH OSSETIA: Leonid Tibilov, a former KGB chief, won the runoff presidential election in Georgia's breakaway province of South Ossetia (AP). Tensions between Georgia and South Ossetia launched the August 2008 war, in which Russian forces overran the Georgian military in five days of battle.

CAMPAIGN 2012

Candidates Differ Over Job Market Report

A new U.S. jobs report showing the market continues to improve was good news–or bad, depending on which presidential candidate was talking about it (ABC).

As GOP presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney continues to forge his foreign policy message, more attention is being drawn to his longstanding friendship with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (NYT).

Newt Gingrich says he intends to stay in the race until the Republican Party nominates a candidate for president in order to influence the party's platform, particularly his energy policy and his plan to use funds from energy to pay down the debt (Fox News Sunday).

Editor's Note: For more information on the presidential election and foreign policy check out CFR's campaign blog, The Candidates and the World.

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Topics: Iran

soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. ...syria bashar al kalb AND IRAN ARE EVIL

    it is very clear those evil want to get the nuc and they will never stop,

    USA MUST LEARN WHAT THE IRANIANS. SHIIA SYRIA CALL TAQEYA ....PLEASE GOOGLE THE TAQEYA, THIS IS THE SHIIA WAY TO USE LIES AND THEIR FAITH ALOOWES IT.. THOSE EVIL MUST BE STOPED IN ANY COAST, WE DONT NEED ANOTHER HITLER

    April 9, 2012 at 11:01 am | Reply
  2. Thinker23

    If my neighbor was running around with a gun yelling that my home will soon "vanish from the page of time" while the machinery in his basement was producing gun powder around the clock I would not suggest that his intentions were "still unclear"...

    April 9, 2012 at 11:40 am | Reply
  3. ...syria bashar al kalb , nori al haleki al jaban ,AND IRAN ARE EVIL

    الدولة الكردية

    البارزاني يهدد المالكي بسحب الثقة

    البارزاني حذر من أن العراق يتجه إلى "كارثة وعودة الدكتاتورية" (الأوروبية- أرشيف)
    جدد رئيس إقليم كردستان العراق مسعود البارزاني هجومه على رئيس الوزراء العراقي نوري المالكي متهما إياه بالدكتاتورية، وملمحا إلى إمكانية طرح مسألة سحب الثقة من حكومته. كما هدد الزعيم الكردي أثناء زيارة للولايات المتحدة باللجوء إلى استفتاء بشأن إنشاء دولة كردية.

    وقال البارزاني في تصريحات صحفية الأحد إن "العراق يتجه إلى كارثة، إلى عودة الدكتاتورية، والاستئثار بالسلطة في كل مرافق الدولة"، في إشارة إلى المالكي من دون أن يسميه. ورأى أنه يجري حاليا "تهميش الجميع، وكأنه تم إسقاط النظام الجديد في العراق على يد شخص، فيما الباقون يعيشون على مكرمات القائد الجديد".
    وأعلن البارزاني -الذي يقوم حاليا بزيارة إلى الولايات المتحدة- أنه "عندما أعود إلى كردستان، سأدعو إلى اجتماع كل القادة العراقيين لدراسة الوضع بمسؤولية، وليس للمجاملة أو إيجاد حلول وقتية أو مسكنات للأزمة". وتابع "إما حلول جذرية، وإما كل واحد يعرف طريقه ويجب أن يكون اللقاء جديا وحاسما، وإذا لم يستجيبوا، فثمة حديث آخر".

    وهدد رئيس إقليم كردستان العراق باللجوء إلى استفتاء بشأن إنشاء دولة كردية في حال رفض نوري المالكي حضور اجتماع عام للقيادات العراقية في أربيل لإيجاد حلول لمشاكل الإقليم مع بغداد. كما شدد على إمكانية سحب الثقة من الحكومة العراقية في بغداد.

    المالكي والبارزاني دخلا في شراكة سياسية منذ انتخابات 2010 (الأوروبية-أرشيف)
    رفض المالكي
    وفي جوابه عن سؤال بشأن احتمال رفض المالكي حضور الاجتماع إذا تم وضع شروط، قال البارزاني "نريد اجتماعا لتفكيك الأزمة، لإصلاح الوضع، الاجتماع ليس لمجرد الاجتماع، إذا رفض المالكي حضور الاجتماع لحل المشكلة، فنحن نرفض بقاءه في الحكم".

    وأوضح الزعيم الكردي أنه يجب "إما معالجة الوضع وإما مواجهة وضع لا يمكن القبول به وفيه شخص واحد يستحوذ على كل مرافق الدولة ويتصرف وفق إرادته ويهمش الآخرين ثم يبقى رئيسا للوزراء، هذا غير مقبول على الإطلاق".

    من جانبه قال القيادي البارز في الحزب الديمقراطي الكردستاني علي حسين إن تصريحات البارزاني تتفق مع الدستور وليست لإثارة الرأي العام.

    وأوضح "نشعر أن السيد المالكي يتصرف منفردا بعيدا عن بنود الدستور والديمقراطية، نحن ندعو إلى الالتزام بالدستور، لأن بقاءنا مع العراق مرهون بالالتزام بالدستور، وهذا ما يشير إليه الرئيس مسعود البارزاني عندما يلوح بالرجوع للشعب ليتخذ قراره، ديباجة الدستور العراقي يجعل بقاءنا مرهونا بتطبيقه".
    ".

    إن بارزاني يعي ما يقول وإن المالكي وأصحابه الذين أتو من على الدبابات الأمريكية أصبحو طغاة ويحاولون بناء الديكتاتوريات في زمن انتهى زمن الظلم وإن البرزاني تأخر كثير على هذا الموقف وكان يتوجب منه منذ زم أن يعلن الاستفتاء على إقامة الواة الكردية فالعيش مع المالكي واعوانه كارثة لكل الأكراد وجريمة بحق الانسانية

    April 9, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Reply
  4. j. von hettlingen

    Iran sent mixed signals to the outside world. Either the regime is divided over the nuclear issue or it created a smoke screen and sent the West on a wild goose chase.

    April 9, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Reply
  5. j. von hettlingen

    Not only Assad is brutal, he's also paranoid. His deceitful behaviour was mirrored in his demanding the oppostion to submit a written statement that would guarantee the end of its resistance.

    April 9, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Reply
  6. j. von hettlingen

    What does Washington think of Omar Suleiman's candidacy in the presidential elections in Egypt?

    April 9, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Reply
  7. j. von hettlingen

    Time will tell if the meeting between the leaders of the two former archenemies India and Pakistan would bring something more than just glad-handing.

    April 9, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Reply
  8. Hahahahahaha

    Unclear? My eye! Hahahahahahaha

    April 10, 2012 at 10:46 am | Reply

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