Two pieces from Al Monitor provide fresh thinking from Washington on ways to deal with the Iranian nuclear issue and Tehran’s relationship with the international community. First, Laura Rozen shines the spotlight on recommendations by Pierre Goldschmidt, the former deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which revamp the current miniscule carrot, giant stick approach that Western countries have been taking with Iran. In short, the IAEA should offer Iran a “grace period” to disclose information about suspected previous military dimensions of its nuclear program and rather than be slapped with more sanctions or worse, offer a period of extended access for IAEA inspectors to confirm that its program is not advancing into the military realm. According to Goldschmidt, this is the stuff that “confidence-building” is made of.
“Such disclosures could be very beneficial for confidence building,” Goldschmidt wrote. “If Iran were to admit that it had been working towards becoming a nuclear threshold state and has undertaken some weaponization activities in the past, it would help persuade the international community that this time, Tehran has indeed opted for full cooperation and transparency.”
Next Barbara Slavin explains why U.S. insistence that Iran be excluded from multilateral planning sessions on Syria could prove detrimental to solving the crisis:
As despicable as Iran’s intervention on the side of Assad’s killing squads may be, Iran has major interests in Syria that cannot be ignored. An Iranian ally for more than three decades, Syria is a conduit for Iran to aid Hezbollah in Lebanon and a base Iran has used to support Palestinian militants. Iran, as the largest majority-Shiite nation, also identifies with the Alawite Assad regime and with Syria’s Alawite minority.
US diplomats have included Iran in discussions about other countries — most recently Iraq and Afghanistan — where Iran also has major national-security interests and an ability to shore up or sabotage stability.
But it’s not clear that Iran ever tried to weaponize. They would firmly deny it. Khamenei was in charge during those years that Iran supposedly did try to weaponize, and he has always maintained that nuclear weapons are religiously forbidden. He would lose his credibility if Iran were to admit weaponization attempts, assuming they ever engaged in it.
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