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* Missed messages on Iran  Robert Kagan

* Envoy Condemns US Officials' Irresponsible Comments on Iran  News Report

* 'Israel will be destroyed if it attacks Iran'  News Report

* Warning of long war if Israel attacks Iran  News Report

* Iran unlikely to halt nuclear program, secret letters show  News Report

* Iran denies Ahmadi-Nejad was attacked  News Report

* Sanctions set stage for a new push on Iran  News Report

* اطلاعیۀ آیت الله منتطری دربارۀ حرام بودن مقاومت در برابر رأی مردم  Ali Behrooz

* لیست اسامی با حروف فارسی، تا تاریخ 08/09/08  Ali Behrooz

* War of words, or words of war  Ali Behrooz

* Could Israel use submarines against Iran?  News Report

* Iran deplores UAE claim on 3 islands  News Report

* 'Iran will respond to any attack'  News Report

* Carter to meet Hamas leadership in Cairo  News Report

* No Peace Without Hamas  News Report

* Ahmadinejad again voices Sept. 11 doubts  News Report

* Clinton, Obama tackle Iran issue in debate  News Report

* Bomb kills at least 9 in Iran mosque  News Report

* Iran demands Israel stop force threats  News Report

* Ahmadinejad to dismiss 2 cabinet ministers in Iran  News Report

* Iran: Naval encounter routine check  News Report

* Tony Blair's Palestine  News Report

* Clinton attacks Obama and McCain over Iraq  News Report

* Reza Pahlavi: Leadership for Democracy in Iran  News Report

* Petraeus: Return to 'pre-surge' troop levels, then wait  News Report

* Blast rocks US complex in Sanaa  News Report

* Clashes in Nile Delta after strike aborted  News Report

* When a great power goes mad  News Report

* Iranians defy censor with bootleg DVDs  News Report

* Putin says Iran is no threat  News Report

* Creating a US-Iran Bridge  News Report

* Court removes PKK from terror funds list  News Report

* 12 militants wanted by Israel flee Palestinian jail in West Bank after fight  News Report

* Limiting Tehran’s Influence?  Ali Behrooz

* UAE detains ship as grip on Tehran tightens  News Report

* Iranian critic not guilty of espionage  News Report

* Israelis and Palestinians pledge to reach peace pact by end of 2008  News Report

* Conference in Qom focuses on Iran-US challenges  News Report

* FM spokesman: Iran's plan on Iraq not put for voting  News Report

* Iran's top dissident cleric calls for U.S. talks  News Report

* Islamic militants take fight against Musharraf to 'Pakistan's Switzerland'  News Report

* 'Desperate' Musharraf declares martial law  News Report

* US Sanctions on Iran Leave Europeans in a Quandary  Sir Cyril Townsend

* After Thamilselvan  News Report

* Analysis: Is Abbas playing his cards right ahead of ME summit?  News Report

* Bahrain accuses Iran of nuclear weapons lie  News Report

* Senior Tamil Tiger leader killed  News Report

* US declares PKK 'a common enemy'  News Report

* Iran urged to join Gulf nuclear deal  News Report

* Iran's leaders need enemies like Bush, and at every turn he obliges them  News Report

* Giuliani hits Democrats on Iran  News Report

* Iran: We have no information on Arad  News Report

* Clinton hails US move on Iran  News Report

* Israel to prepare for potential missile attack  News Report

* US First Lady in Kuwait  News Report

* Rice: Mideast solution in jeopardy  News Report

* Kurdish fighters defy the world from mountain fortress as bombing begins  News Report

* Protesters confront Condoleezza Rice as she testifies on Middle East  News Report

* Showdown With Iran  News Report

* U.S. outlines Baghdad security handover plan  News Report

* Poll shows global opposition to Iran - and U.S.  News Report

* Iraq promises Turkey it will curb Kurdish rebels  News Report

* Big shoes to fill  News Report

* LUKOIL says halts Iran oil project on US sanctions  News Report

* Three soldiers killed in Darfur camp attack - UN  News Report

* There's a better - and cheaper - way that Washington can help Lebanon  News Report

* Lebanese patience for Nahr al-Bared displaced wears thin  News Report

* Iran, Syria urge diplomatic means instead of military incursion into Iraq  News Report

* Talabani refuses to deliver PKK leaders to Turkey amid protests against incursion  News Report

* Turkey vows to defeat PKK rebels  News Report

* Iran N-case on Olmert's Paris agenda  News Report

* Motaki (FM): US in No Position to Attack Iran  News Report

* We will fight to the death, Kurdish rebel leader vows from his hideout  News Report

* Deaths And Hostages In Border Clash  News Report

* Flash News: Kurdish separatistand 12 Turkish soldiers killed  News Report

* IRGC Commander:Aggressions to Be Reciprocated with a Rain of Rockets  News Report

* 2 leaders back Blair as European Union president  News Report

* Babacan stresses dialogue as key to solving Lebanese crisis  News Report

* Jordan hopes for positive outcome of Annapolis meeting  News Report

* Iran's nuclear negotiator resigns  News Report

* Larijani Resigns  Ali Behrooz

* NATO says shipment of roadside bombs was 'from Iran'  News Report

* Israel impeding effort to clear cluster bombs  News Report

* Bhutto defiant over bomb attack  News Report

* Democrats' stance on Iran criticized  News Report

* Top Palestinian negotiator may resign  News Report

* UN condemns killing of its truck drivers in Darfur  News Report

* Kurds sign oil deals beyond regional borders – former minister  News Report

* Jerusalem is ours, warns Likud  News Report

* Rice back in Israel after Egypt talks  News Report

* Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane workers in southern Iran go on strike  News Report

* Ahmadinejad: Caspian states to form economic cooperation organization  News Report

* Putin lands in Iran for nuke talks  News Report

* Mideast Conference and the Illusive Peace  News Report

* Coalition of the Reluctant  News Report

* World bank neglects African farming, study says  News Report

* Putin dismisses threat of assassination in Iran  News Report

* Israel signals readiness to cede parts of Jerusalem to Palestinians  News Report

* Christiane Amanpour: 'People think I relax with a Kalashnikov - I don't'  News Report

* After honeymoon, Sarkozy method poses three risks  News Report


Iran unlikely to halt nuclear program, secret letters show
[ News Report]  [2010-08-06 07:38:26]
[Source: Haaretz - 06/08/10]


·                     Latest update 03:49 06.08.10

President Obama signals U.S. openness to continued nuclear talks, despite Iran's criticism of the West's 'hostile' and 'illegal' sanctions.

By The Associated Press and Reuters Tags: Israel news Iran nuclear IAEA

As Iran and world powers prepare for new nuclear talks, letters from Tehran's envoys to top international officials suggest little prospect of major progress, with Tehran combative and unlikely to offer any concessions.

Two letters, both written late last month and obtained by The Associated Press, reflect Iran's apparent determination to continue the nuclear activities that have led to new rounds of UN, EU, and U.S. sanctions over fears that Tehran might be seeking to develop nuclear arms.

At the same time, world powers preparing to talk to Tehran are unwilling to cede ground on key demands concerning Iran's uranium enrichment activities, dimming prospects that the new negotiations will ease tensions.

Iran insists it want to enrich uranium only to make fuel for a planned reactor network and denies accusations that it will use the program to make fissile warhead material.

But international suspicions are strong. Tehran hid its enrichment program until it was revealed from the outside. And it acknowledged constructing a secret nuclear facility to the International Atomic Energy Agency last year only days before its existence was publicly revealed by the U.S. and Britain.

Since its enrichment program was unmasked eight years ago, Tehran has defied four UN Security Council sanctions meant to pressure it into freezing enrichment. Sporadic negotiations between Iran and all or some of the permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany also have failed to make headway.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, in its latest tally in June, said Iran was now running nearly 4,000 uranium-enriching centrifuges and had amassed nearly 2.5 tons of low-enriched uranium that can be used for fuel.

That's also enough for two nuclear bombs, if enriched to weapons-grade levels.

Reinforcing his country's hard line, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday warned the West against resorting to lies and hue and cry in attempts to pressure his country into making nuclear concessions.

The letters, provided to the AP by an official on condition of anonymity because of their confidential nature, address two sets of talks tentatively set to resume this fall.

In one negotiation round, the U.S. Russia, China, France Britain and Germany will again push for an Iranian commitment to freeze enrichment. The other will try to revive talks involving Tehran, Washington, Paris and Moscow on a fuel swap for Iran's research nuclear reactor.

A letter addressed to Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign policy chief, slams her offer to resume talks a day after the UN Security Council passed its fourth set of sanctions, calling it astonishing, and describing subsequent E.U. and U.S. sanctions as even more astonishing.

"This kind of behavior ... is absolutely unacceptable," says the letter, from Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili.

The second letter says that "irrational conditions" imposed by the West are blocking a new round of the fuel swap talks. Addressed to International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano and signed by Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's chief IAEA delegate, the letter accuses the five permanent members of the UN Security Council of  poisoning the atmosphere "through [the] imposition of another illegal resolution."

However, despite the alleged unwillingness by Iran to halt its nuclear program, U.S. President Barack Obama told reporters that the door for negotiations was still open.

"It is very important to put before the Iranians a clear set of steps that we would consider sufficient to show that they are not pursuing nuclear weapons," he told the journalists on Wednesday, the Washington Post reported.

While both letters say Iran is ready to talk, the one to Ashton - the point person for the six big powers - sets the bar perhaps unreachably high, suggesting that Tehran is prepared to come to the table only if the other side ends its "hostility," avoids "any kind of pressure or threat" and states its "clear position on the nuclear weapons of the Zionist regime."

The previous meeting between Iran and the five permanent Security Council members plus Germany in October ended inconclusively on an enrichment freeze but led to agreement to start the fuel swap negotiations. That, in turn, foundered after Tehran balked at shipping out most of its low-enriched uranium in exchange for fuel rods for the research reactor.

While Iran says it is now ready for a swap, its interlocutors say the terms must be renegotiated because Tehran has since enriched much more uranium, meaning that it would still have enough to enrich to weapons grade, even if it now shipped out the original amount agreed upon.

Additionally, Iran is now enriching to higher levels, which can be turned into weapons grade uranium more easily - material it says it needs to turn into fuel rods after the deal stalled last year. The West demands the process be stopped before any consideration of new fuel swap talks.

In what the West sees as a further complication, Iran has enlisted Turkey and
Brazil in pressing for a return to the fuel swap talks essentially under the original terms now rejected by its interlocutors. Russia has welcomed Iranian calls to invite Brazil and Turkey to the negotiations, while the U.S. and France are skeptical.

"The Iranians say they want to meet without preconditions, then they lay out a bunch of preconditions," said a Western official from a European capital who is familiar with the issue. The official, who asked for anonymity because his information is confidential, said there is a "long way to go before we know who will be at the table and when."

A diplomat from an IAEA member nation familiar with the talks said that Brazil and Turkey may not be keen to join any negotiations and risk sharing the blame, should they fail. He, too, asked for anonymity because his information was confidential.

More on this topic

·                     Iran calls for regional alliance to counter NATO

·                     Iran official: We have obtained the S-300 missile system

·                     Iran vows 'crushing response' if attacked by Israel or U.S.

 





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