Sunday, June 11, 2006

Bolton out to torpedo negotiations with Iran?

This article might suggest that: Bolton rejects ‘grand bargain’ with Iran by Daniel Dombey Financial Times 06/09/06.  Dombey reports:

Speaking to the Financial Times, [US Ambassador to the UN] John Bolton made clear many of his reservations about the current outreach to Iran, which Condoleezza Rice, US secretary of state, has persuaded President George W. Bush to endorse.

Referring to a report by the United Nations nuclear watchdog that Iran has stepped up uranium enrichment – a process that can create both nuclear fuel and weapons grade material – Mr Bolton said: “They’ve got both feet on the accelerator, which is why we have a sense of urgency that these diplomatic efforts can’t continue indefinitely ... Each day that goes by gives Iran more time to continue to perfect its efforts for mass production.” ...

Mr Bolton, who describes himself as “not much a carrots man”, was quick to play down expectations of a dramatic breakthrough and highlighted many of the problems facing the diplomatic process.

“It would be a mistake to think these negotiations are a first step towards some kind of grand bargain [involving US recognition],” he said. “We are only addressing the nuclear issue and stopping their pursuit of nuclear weapons.”

He said US security guarantees for Iran were “not on the table”, and argued instead that regime change could remove a nuclear threat: “Our experience has been that when there is a dramatic change in the life of a country, that’s the most likely point at which they give up nuclear weapons.”

He added: “I think there will certainly be discussion of the question at the G8 summit” on July 15-17, by which time he said Iran had to make its response to the offer known.

“Some people thought for three years they [Iran] wanted to do a deal and there’s no deal out there, at least no deal that they’ve adhered to,” he said. “Maybe the deal that they want is the best of both worlds.”  (my emphasis)

The G-8 Summit deadline is part of the unified negotiating position of the countries backing the Security Council position.

But that doesn't mean anyone but the United States and Israel are currently willing to support a military attack on Iran.

And everyone involved is surely aware thatany lasting and meaningful nuclear settlement with Iran will require some kind of security guarantees from the Bush administration. As long as the US government's policy is "regime change" in Iran, the Iranian regime has a strong incentive to get as close as possible to a nuclear weapons production capability.

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