Saturday, May 28, 2005

Crisis Postponed

The talks between Iran and the so-called EU3 - France, Britain and Germany - in Geneva earlier this week was a success in the sense that a collapse and a crisis was postponed. Now, the talks will resume after the presidential elections in Iran.

What was decided is that Iran for the time being will remain within the framework agreed in Paris in November 2004 by complying with all its provisions, including those dealing with the suspension of enrichment- and reprocessing-related activities.

It was also decided that the talks should continue, and the EU3 would make more detailed proposals to the Iranians, if possible at the end of July or early in August. It being understood that these proposals will normally cover all aspects under discussion, i.e. everything regarding security guarantees, economic, technological and nuclear cooperation and also political dialogue.

There was another event in Geneva in the week that wasn't entirely unrelated - the opening of negotiations on Iran’s membership in the WTO, which was one of the points discussed earlier with the Europeans.

We'll see what happens. The Iranians continue to insist on their right to the entire nuclear fuel cycle, and the EU3 continues to insist that Iran should abstain from any activities linked to the enrichment of uranium as well as to the reprocessing of spent fuel.

In itself this does not guantee that Iran will not seek to produce nuclear weapons - but it would make the time between a decision and a deployment of such a weapon substantially longer. That's in reality all that can be achieved.

Further on, another regime in Iran might make it possible for Europe as well as the United States to go into far more collaboratibe relationships, which would be good in itself from every conceivable point of view.