Iran Offers the US a Proposal to Talk
Jill Marie Parillo
September 17, 2009
Iran just sent the United States a positive response to engage in dialogue over political, security and economic issues. In this latest Iranian package proposal for constructive negotiations, Iran attempts to persuade us that the unilateral and militaristic ways of old lead to the economic crisis and security dilemmas we face today, and that only an unbiased multilateral approach to negotiations will succeed in easing tension in Iran’s relations with the United States.
The proposal states that Iran “is prepared to enter into dialogue and negotiation in order to lay the ground for lasting peace…a wide range of security, political, economic and cultural issues at regional and global levels could be included in these negotiations.”
Also mentioned is “the package for constructive negotiation” Iran sent June 16, 2008 that the press and the US government seemed to ignore. The United States may have ignored that package because it was sent via the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) rather than directly to the United States and its P5+1 negotiating partners (Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France and Germany). If the United States ignored the 2008 package for that reason, it was only a front, since the Bush Administration had no intention of politically engaging Iran at a high level before Iran froze all nuclear enrichment activity. The Obama Administration has claimed that it will engage Iran without the precondition of a freeze.
Iran restates in today’s package proposal what its former package insisted, that negotiations will not succeed if they go down “futile and pointless paths that have proven to be of no avail.” Iran is implying that if the United States continues to insist on a freeze of Iran’s nuclear advancements, negotiations will fail. It is unlikely that President Obama’s administration will go down a completely new path.
In fact, the United States is poised to drop a new UN Security Resolution on nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament on the floor of the Security Council this Wednesday September 23 or Thursday September 24 when President Obama speaks to the General Assembly and chairs a meeting at the Security Council on nonproliferation and disarmament. That resolution will reaffirm the UN Security Council’s commitment to five resolutions on Iran that call on the nation to freeze all work on nuclear enrichment.
Iran made very clear in its new package proposal that negotiations must be free of “double standards.” This is a likely reference to the U.S.’s condemnation of Iran’s nuclear program activities, while allowing for states like India, outside the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty regime, to import nuclear technology from recognized nuclear weapon states.
The Obama Administration is proposing a new direction for US-Iranian relations, but if the U.S. administration insists on freezing Iran’s enrichment program as a precondition to better relations while continuing a bias approach towards nuclear trade, it is unlikely we will see much headway towards US-Iranian rapprochement.