- Posted June 19, 2012 by
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The Mideast Watch - Iran Edition - June 19th
A powder keg waiting to explode is the way many perceive the Mideast. The events in the region could set off in many people's estimates a cascade that could emesh the US of A in more military action.
One of the most volatile countries in the Mideast is Iran. Iran's nuclear ambitions has kept the world in turmoil. Currently talks are underway between the Persian nation and other world powers on dealing with its controversial nuclear program.
An EU spokesman says six world powers have begun talks with Iran in Moscow with an appeal for the Iranian side to "engage seriously" with an offer to resolve international concerns about the Iranian nuclear program.
Michael Mann said in a phone interview, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council (Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States) plus Germany hope Iran "finally" will negotiate on the proposals they made in the previous round of talks in Baghdad last month. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton is representing the world powers in the talks, which resumed Monday in Moscow. The two sides have made little progress since an April meeting that ended a 15-month break in negotiations.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a German newspaper that Iran may accept a compromise on enrichment. In excerpts of the interview published Monday on his website, Ahmadinejad said that if European nations provide Iran with 20 percent enriched fuel, his government is ready to stop enrichment to that level.
Diplomats from several nations meeting with Iran in Moscow depict the talks as significant. They say it could be the last in a series and that, if negotiators fail to make headway in persuading Tehran to stop higher-grade uranium enrichment, it's unclear if or when new talks would occur.
While not budging on lifting existing sanctions or those already decided upon, diplomats familiar with the talks told The Associated Press the six are also prepared to guarantee that no new U.N. penalties will be enacted if Tehran shows enough compromise. The diplomats demanded anonymity because that possible offer has not yet been formally made.
For Iran, the main demand is international recognition of its right to enrich and related issues. Although it is under U.N. Security Council sanctions for refusing to stop that activity because of concerns it could use it to arm nuclear missiles, Tehran insists it has a right to do so to for its stated goal of creating reactor fuel and medical isotopes.
Washington has warned Tehran of the alternatives should it not be willing to meet the six powers' demands.
"The window for diplomacy is not indefinite," a senior U.S administration official told the AP.
Such warnings are not new but this carry more weight than before both for Iran and its negotiating partners.
Iran would be most immediately hurt by a lack of progress in Moscow followed by any long hiatus in new negotiations.
In addition to longer-term U.N. and other sanctions, Tehran is now being squeezed by a widening international embargo on its oil sales, which make up more than 90 percent of its foreign currency earnings. It desperately needs those sanctions lifted, but the six say it needs to make the first move on cutting back on uranium enrichment.
The White House also stands to lose.
Failed talks at Moscow with no immediate prospect of new meetings would almost certainly expose President Barack Obama to criticism of weakness in dealing with Iran from Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney Faeuro" and from Israel, which has threatened to attack the Islamic Republic's nuclear installations should diplomacy fail.
It is unclear if the Jewish state would actually make good on such a threat and, if so, when. But any military move would likely draw in the U.S., widen the conflict through much of the Mideast and further hobble countries already in economic tailspin by driving oil prices sky-high.
Negotiators for Iran and six world powers completed the first day of discussions on Iran's nuclear program Monday in Moscow.
This third round of talks, called after two previous rounds of discussions yielded little result, was marked by "serious and constructive" discussions, Iran's semi-official FARS News Agency quoted Deputy Chief Negotiator Ali Baqeri as saying.
An EU official described the meeting as an "intense and tough exchange of views."
From the Cornfield, the US of A presidential election may very well be decided on what happens in The Mideast.