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US Hopes to Resolve Iran Nuclear Standoff in 2013

US Hopes to Resolve Iran Nuclear Standoff in 2013i
December 20, 2012 10:10 PM
Resolving Iran’s nuclear standoff with the West is one of the major foreign policy challenges facing the second Obama administration. Sanctions imposed by the United States and European Union have hit the Iranian economy hard enough to possibly push Iran toward a diplomatic solution. VOA’s Guita Aryan reports from the State Department.
US Hopes to Resolve Iran Nuclear Standoff in 2013
Guita Aryan
Resolving Iran’s nuclear standoff with the West is one of the major foreign policy challenges facing the second Obama administration. Sanctions imposed by the United States and European Union have hit the Iranian economy hard enough to possibly push Iran toward a diplomatic solution.

There were three high-level meetings between world powers and Iran in 2012. But by year’s end, the two sides were not near resolution on Iran's controversial nuclear program.

The West fears Iran is developing a nuclear weapon capability. Iran says its program has peaceful aims.

Having won a second term in the White House, President Barack Obama has warned that he will not accept a nuclear-armed Iran. But he said he wants to resolve the standoff diplomatically.

“There should be a way in which they can enjoy peaceful nuclear power while still meeting their international obligations and providing clear assurances to the international community that they’re not pursuing a nuclear weapon,” said Obama.

Easing sanctions is one of Iran’s demands. But the U.S. sanctions are law, and except for limited waivers, they will be difficult for Obama to change.

William Reinsch is a former Commerce Department official who now heads an association promoting open trade.

“He is going to have to go back to Congress and there again, he is going to have to deal with the multiplicity of members of Congress, many of whom have different objectives over the purpose of the sanctions and he may find it much more difficult either to modify or repeal than he might think,” said Reinsch.

Amid continued reports of Israeli preparations to attack Iran, Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, recently set 2013 as the deadline for resolution. The United States has asked Israel for patience.

Retired U.S. Marine Lieutenant General Gregory Newbold said many retired senior members of the U.S. military think politicians are too quick to advocate the military option.

“There is a lot of concern on this matter that has become an emotional, almost personal issue within members of the political class and without an informed understanding of consequences of military action, we may pay a price that is disproportionate to what we are trying to achieve,” he said.

The White House says it is not pursuing regime change in Iran. It says its main goal is to make sure there will not be any military dimension to Iran’s nuclear program.

Diplomats from major world powers are expected to soon set a date and venue for another meeting with Iran.

Shaul Bakhash, a history professor at George Mason University, said Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, will not compromise without Western concessions.

“Khamenei will not give up enrichment, surrender its fuel stocks enriched to 20 percent level, allow more intrusive inspections and close down the Fordo enrichment facility without concessions from the U.S. that he can present as a great victory for Iran,” he said.

Bakhash is not optimistic that the United States can accept such demands, leaving the U.S. and the West in a continued quandary over how to pressure Tehran.

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Comment Sorting
by: JohnWV from: USA
December 21, 2012 12:29 PM
NO MORE WARS! Israel has ICBM nukes and openly threatens Iran; actually campaigns for war against Iran. Israel, not Iran, is the warmonger. Resolution lies with lifting all sanctions and compensating Iran for damages from the $$$ billions we will no longer be giving the Jewish state. American foreign policy must again serve American interests, not the Jewish state's relentless pursuit of invulnerability, territorial conquest and apartheid supremacist empire. NO MORE WARS!

by: Anonymous
December 21, 2012 11:32 AM
As an Iranian I've lived 30 years in this country under the oppresive regym which you now see the ugly face of and we are tasting it for quite some time now. Let's faec it. only and only a war can stop mullahs. cut the bullshit and do what you'll do at the end. I now living under the rule of Americans is not gonna be good either but I'm sure they are much better than mullahs.

by: Iranian
December 21, 2012 10:30 AM
Current demand by the West is unacceptable to the Iranian people, personally I wasn't in favour of the regime's nuclear program in the first place, but imposing sanctions without any relief in exchange for stopping the enrichment doesn't help with a diplomat solution, we are not fools, if the high level enrichment is to be stopped, West must offer more than the right to buy civilian aircraft spare parts which shouldn't have been banned in the first place.

by: George from: USA
December 20, 2012 10:11 PM
President Obama's demand that Iran essentially "prove" that it is not developing nuclear weapons is a fool's errand. It is a goal that is impossible to achieve. How can Iran prove a negative? The burden in the U.S. and the West to provide evidence that Iran is doing something suspicious. In fact, all claim on Iran are based on speculation or forged data such as the "alleged studies" documents.

President Obama should stop pretending to negotiate with Iran. Since he has no ability to remove the sanctions that are codified as law by Congress, he should admit that the negotiations with Iran are useless.

by: Amin from: Texas
December 20, 2012 9:46 PM
As the article states the US is in no position to offer any relief and therefore not in position to negotiate anything. They should just step aside. Their intransigence is hurting chances of a negotiated settlement and may ultimately lead to a war.

by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
December 20, 2012 9:17 PM
A terminal confrontation with Iran will occur; probably sooner than later, but it will occur. The current Iranian leadership has never backed down on its expressed courses of action. Even when Iran's current leadership was weak, it did not avoid confrontations with the US (in Irak, Afghanistan, Lebanon, US embassy, etc). These confrontations have mainly been through their proxy-terrorist forces. Do not forget the marine barracks; the many IED's and other arms found in the hands of anti US forces in Iraq, the training of militias, the rapidly changing sit in North Western Afghanistan, and so on. Do not forget how the Carter administration trembled on all kinds of fear wrt Iran. Had Carter not been overcome by fear, and taken decisive action then, maybe the current Iraniaan leadership would have altered course. All these negotiations, just like with N Korea have produced zero. Had the advice of Gen MacArthur been taken, the NK issue would probably also not be the same. A similar state of denial exists amongst the many EU, and even some Israeli leaders. Isr also has been under continued threat and intermitent sustained attack by Iran's proxis, mainly Hezbollah. Iran's leadership has been very clear, from its early beginings, after the overthrow of the Sha, on its strategic aims. Step by step it has demonstrated, through actions, that it is on target. The worse case scenario is a nuclear exchange in the ME. The sit, in my view is nearing that bleak reality.
In Response

by: Mohsin Syedain from: India
December 21, 2012 8:02 AM
Yes, Iranians are at great fault here. They should have been informed that Iraq and Afghanistan are part of the United States of America and those who are opposing the US Military activities in Afghanistan and Iraq are terrorists. There must be some way to get this message across to the Iranians and one gr8 way is to bomb them into 'enlightenment' or maybe get those saints IDF to do it for US of A. What se we?

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