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IRAN: World powers ponder draft nuclear resolution as ElBaradei pleads with Tehran [Corrected]

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Late-breaking developments today in the international standoff over Iran's nuclear program:

The Times has obtained a draft United Nations nuclear watchdog agency resolution scolding Iran for its nuclear research program.

[Corrected, Nov. 28: An earlier version described the draft as a United Nations Security Council proposal.]

Also, at a press appearance, International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei, who ends a 12-year tenure next week, practically with pleaded Iran to accept an international proposal to trade in its potentially dual-use enriched uranium for fuel rods for a Tehran medical reactor.

"There is a golden opportunity for Iran right now ...  to shift gears from confrontation to cooperation," he told reporters in Vienna, headquarters of the atomic energy watchdog.

"That agreement is fair, is balanced; has a lot of built-in guarantees and I continue to call on Iran to seize that opportunity, which is, as I mentioned before, a unique opportunity," he said. "But also ... it is not going to last forever."

Adoption of another legally binding Security Council resolution may be the next step in international efforts to pressure Iran to curtail its nuclear research program, which the West suspects is aimed at building a weapons capability. 

Iran insists its nuclear program is meant solely for civilian purposes. 

Written by German diplomats and circulated among diplomats in Vienna, the draft resolution calls for no new sanctions, but demands that Iran quickly come into compliance with previous U.N. Security Council resolutions, resolve lingering questions about its nuclear activities -- including the recently revealed enrichment facility in Qom -- and abide by additional transparency rules backed  by most major nuclear powers. 

ElBaradei dismissed suggestions by Iranian officials that the proposal be amended to give Iran additional guarantees it won't be hoodwinked, such as conducting the trade in the Islamic Republic.

"I don’t think that is an option because the whole purpose of the deal is to defuse the crisis and we have offered a number of built-in guarantees in the agreement," he said. "You need to [take] the material from Iran to defuse the crisis and to open space for negotiations. What we ask Iran is to take minimum, minimum of risk for peace and to have an agreement not based on distrust, but based on trust."

He also urge Iran to respond to the shift in diplomatic tone under the Obama administration.

"I would like to see Iran engaged," he said. "There is a hand extended to Iran by the European Union, by the U.S., and they need to reciprocate and we haven’t yet seen that reciprocation. Iran, unfortunately, right now is blocked because of the domestic differences, and I would like them and I appeal to them, I urge them, to look at their national interest."

Nobel Peace Prize laureate ElBaradei, at probably his last press conference as head of the agency, said the world must continue to strive to peacefully resolve the standoff over Iran's nuclear program after his departure.

"I would like to leave office with Iran and the international community engaged in a dialogue," he said. "No question about it, and this is not a personal issue. This is an issue of security, of peace, and Iran could be a very important gateway to stability in the Middle East."

He added, "I haven’t given up hope. It is not about myself. Even after I leave, I still believe we have to be as creative as possible to try to find the modalities to engage Iran with the rest of the international community in a dialogue."

-- Borzou Daragahi in Beirut and Julia Damianova in Vienna

Photo: International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Mohammed El Baradei speaks at a press conference in Vienna today. Credit: Samuel Kubani / AFP/Getty Images

Comments () | Archives (4)

Do I have this wrong?

Iran agrees to swap weaponizable (with extensive processing) low-enriched uranium for the non-weaponizable fuel rods.

Contrary to the Associated Press interpretation of the proposal being an "effective rejection" of the UN brokered plan, Iran's plan assumes the West's intentions were honest, i.e., to make sure Iran has the enriched uranium it needs for it's reactor to produce the medically-related products. A side benefit which should reduce the nervousness of the west resultant from Iran having so much potentially weaponizable uranium on hand would result. The weaponizable low-enriched uranium would go out at the same time the non-weaponizable fuel rods would go in to Iran. Depending on how quickly France might be able to produce the fuel rods with enriched uranium of their own, the Iranian supplies would be replaced with the far less problematic fuel rods.

This proposal simply guarantees both sides will remain honest in the transaction. The only problem we might have with that is if our intentions were in reality dishonest; i.e., if we did not have the intention of following through with the agreement.

Fair swap is a right answer, both side should exchange their goods at a same time, in fact US and her alies still owe Iranians nation tens of billions of dollars + 30 years of interests on materials and assets which they have confiscated since 1979, Western nations need to start paying back these dues if they want to make peace with Iran.
Simultaneous swap is a good business deal considering dealers are crooks!

El Baradei has been a very powerful puppet for Iran's mullahs during the past 12 years. He has always been trying to block any constructive measures against the nuke making mullahs whole heartedly. I must believe he has been rewarded generously in return by the mullahs. I hope after he leaves the office many facts will be unveiled about his treacherous acts in favor of mullahs.

Although ElBaradei has conducted 8 years of his work inspecting the Iranian nuclear facilities, he has not been able turned up any smoking gun. But he still is putting the pressure on the Iranians instead of focusing the attention and the pressure on the illegitimate requirement by the West including us. The Iranians have already signed the NPT and have abided by its terms, which means they don't have to make deal on anything. So, what is this deal that we and the 5+1 are trying to get the Iranian into and what is it talking about? It now seems more like we are looking for an scape goat to start a new war!

The Iranians want their LEU to be swapped within their boarders and/or to purchase the need fuel to have the isotopes generated for their cancer patience, what seems to be the problem with that? If a war going to break out because of this, I like to know!


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