Iran Says No
3:20 PM, Apr 16, 2012 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
The Obama administration set forth its demands of Iran in advance of this past weekend’s negotiations over the Iranian nuclear program. The New York Times reported on April 7 (emphasis added):
Fordo, the facility the Obama administration wants the Iranians to “dismantle,” is a formerly covert uranium enrichment facility built into the side of a mountain on an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ base outside Qom.
At the conclusion of this weekend’s talks, Fars News Agency reported:
The Iranians have, thus far, been consistent in their rejection of the Obama administration’s demands.
The day after the Times article was published, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, Fereydoon Abbasi Davani, rejected the demands as “irrational.” Davani said that Iran would not shutter the Fordo enrichment facility and would continue to enrich uranium to 20 percent purity.
“We will not produce 20 percent enrichment fuel more than what we need, because it is not in our benefit to produce and keep it,” Davani said.
Returning to the pages of the New York Times at the conclusion of this weekend’s talks, we learn that nothing “concrete” was proposed or accomplished. But there is a lot of talk about talking, and the agreement to meet in Baghdad several weeks from now “is without question a success, given that failure here would make the chances of a military strike on Iran more likely.” (This is reported as straight news.)
The very next sentence in the Times’s piece reads: “But putting off any hard decisions until the next meeting will increase pressure on both sides to make progress there, especially on the question of Iran’s growing stockpile of uranium enriched to 20 percent purity, only a few steps from bomb grade.”
Who says that Iran has put off “any hard decisions”? Thus far, the Iranians have been very clear: They are not going to stop enriching uranium to 20 percent purity, and they are not going to close the Fordo enrichment facility.
Those are the two goals for the talks set forth by the Obama administration and its allies. There is no evidence the Iranians are willing to agree to either. Iran’s top negotiator, Saeed Jalili, has even rejected the prospect of a quid pro quo, saying after the talks that “suspending Iran's nuclear activities in return for the removal of sanctions is a literature which belongs to the past.”
Perhaps this will change, but there is no reason as of now to believe the Iranians are willing to come to any meaningful agreement.
Thomas Joscelyn is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.