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Bush considers Trade with the Mullah$

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2005 12:42 am    Post subject: Bush considers Trade with the Mullah$ Reply with quote

Didn't I say they were trying to figure out if they could turn Iran into China? Didn't I say they were considering Rafsanjani's offer or what!



Bush Weighs Offers To Iran

February 28, 2005
The Washington Post
Robin Wright

The Bush administration is close to a decision to join Europe in offering incentives to Iran -- possibly including eventual membership in the World Trade Organization -- in exchange for Tehran's formal agreement to surrender any plans to develop a nuclear weapon, according to senior U.S. officials.

The day after returning from Europe, President Bush met Friday afternoon with the principal members of his foreign policy team to discuss requests made by German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and French President Jacques Chirac in particular. More discussions are expected this week, but the White House wants to move quickly to finalize a list of incentives to offer Tehran as part of European talks with Iran, officials said.

The new willingness to engage, even if indirectly, marks a significant change from a position that Iran deserved no rewards for actions it is legally bound to take under terms of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. But Bush's talks last week convinced him that a united front -- in offering carrots now and a stick later if Iran does not comply -- would be more effective, U.S. and European officials say.

"The reason we're comfortable considering this tactically is because strategically, when the president was in Europe, he found them solid on the big issue: that Iran can't have a nuclear weapon. Having found them firm on the strategic issue, he's more willing to consider the tactical aspects with the Europeans -- including how do we work with them and what can the Europeans offer that we would be part of it," said a senior State Department official speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive diplomacy.

The White House discussions have importance on several levels. During Bush's first term, the administration was deeply divided over what to do about Iran, effectively leaving the White House without a formal policy. The debate ranged from adopting the Iraq model of promoting government change to the North Korean model of containing a government and creating incentives to use in diplomatic talks on disarmament.

Now, the administration appears willing, at least in the short term, to hold out the prospect of tentative engagement with Iran down the road to get the Islamic republic to cooperate in limiting its nuclear energy program -- and ensuring it is not subverted for military use.

The White House meeting also reflects an interest in demonstrating to the Europeans that the U.S. effort to heal the transatlantic rift extends beyond tone to substance -- over the issue that most urgently and widely divides the allies.

"The meetings in Europe were really good, not just atmospherics," said a second senior administration official who requested anonymity. "We are past the point of grousing about the process or each other and we're now grappling with the issues: how to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon and how to deal with its behavior."

Iran insists its nuclear program is aimed only at producing energy. But the United States worries that Tehran's efforts are a cover for a nuclear weapons program. The Washington Post reported yesterday that international investigators found evidence in 1987 that Iran was offered plans for a nuclear weapons program, but Iranian officials said they did not follow through on buying the equipment needed to build the core of a bomb.

The Europeans have argued for years that Iran was unlikely to commit to a permanent agreement on its nuclear technology without direct or indirect U.S. involvement, especially because the United States has thousands of troops deployed in neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan as well as warships and warplanes on other frontiers.

U.S. resistance to proposals by Britain, France and Germany, which are leading the disarmament talks with Iran, proved to be counterproductive, U.S. and European officials said, because they often made the United States, rather than Iran, appear to be the odd man out diplomatically.

In talks after Bush's reelection late last year, British Prime Minister Tony Blair pressed Bush to join or endorse the European approach, according to U.S. and European sources.

"He said, 'Even if you stand apart, take an approach that is seen as reinforcing what we're doing, give the impression that you're empowering us,' " said another U.S. official familiar with the talks.

The biggest selling point, he added, was the argument that charting a common course would help the United States: If talks with Iran fail, Washington would not be seen as the outside player that ruined the effort. There would also then be more options to stand together in punitive steps against Iran, including going to the U.N. Security Council -- a move the United States has long sought.

A united Iran strategy could prevent a repeat of the divisive experience of the U.S. invasion of Iraq over its alleged weapons of mass destruction and its costly impact on transatlantic relations.

The incentives under active consideration are also not major concessions, U.S. and European officials note. "The kind of [economic and political] changes required for membership in the World Trade Organization are very much what we'd want to see anyway," the State Department official said. "So it's not giving Iran something. It's making clear this could lead to that, if they comply."

And even if Iran did fully comply on its nuclear program, it would still take many years to accede to WTO membership because of the time required to radically restructure Tehran's economy, European officials say.

"We're profoundly skeptical that Iran is going to do anything, but we do want to do whatever we can do to help the Europeans succeed," the State Department official said. "And if Iran did comply, there would still be a lot to talk about even at that stage before Iran got WTO membership."

The European proposal, the U.S. official added, lets Washington take steps without changing its basic assessment of Iran's government. It also allows the president to keep all options on the table.

The United States is also considering the European suggestion to facilitate Iran's access to spare airplane parts for its aging passenger fleet as well as other unspecified proposals, U.S. and European officials say. The senior administration official said the White House is still working out the "right mix" and timing of incentives.

The White House discussion about incentives signals a willingness in principle to engage with Iran after a quarter century of diplomatic hostility. During Bush's first term, the United States talked with Iran under U.N. auspices about Afghanistan and al Qaeda, but the contacts quickly broke down over the long-standing issues of Iran's ties to extremists, concerns about weapons of mass destruction and Iran's opposition to the Middle East peace process.

U.S. officials expect Bush to make a decision soon after Friday's meeting with key cabinet members involved in foreign policy and Vice President Cheney participating by video conference. "There's no timetable," the State Department official said, "but we're looking for a decision."
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2005 1:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, but Spenta, we all know that Robin Wright consistently jumps at the chance to marry the Mullahs and the West. She is Khatami's number one spokeperson, so of course an article by her will learn the Bush administration in that direction.

Don't you agree?
Haleh -
There can only be ONE Iran, a FREE one.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2005 5:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is interesting......is Bush really joining the mullah loving europe??

.......or could he be pretending to make an attempt to make peace with IRI (which we know isn't possible) ...........to legitimatize further future action against them??

...any thoughts? Question
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2005 7:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Haleh.
Referendum AFTER Regime Change

"I'm ready to die for you to be able to say your own opinions, even if i strongly disagree with you" (Voltaire)
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2005 10:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As usual the conflicting messages on Iran continue!



Bush Team to Consider Policy Shift on Iran

March 02, 2005
The Financial Times
Guy Dinmore in Washington, Dan Dombey in Brussels and Gareth Smyth in Tehran

President George W. Bush meets members of his national security team on Thursday to discuss whether to adopt a big shift in US policy that would involve joining Europe in offering inducements to Iran to end enrichment of uranium.

A US official said he did not expect a decision to emerge from the first top-level session that stems directly from the commitment made by Mr Bush to “consider” the proposals put to him by European leaders last month.

Mr Bush's readiness to change course is seen as a vital test of the future of the transatlantic relationship. It also sparked an intense debate in Washington, with hardline conservatives expressing shock that Mr Bush might even contemplate a policy of de facto engagement with Iran even if conducted through the European Union.

However, senior officials argue that the US must form a united front with Europe over Iran. They reason that the US must prepare the diplomatic ground for joint action in the event--which they fully anticipate--that Iran breaks off the negotiations begun in 2003 with France, Germany and the UK and resumes its suspected weapons programme.

Possible incentives include allowing Iran to start talks on accession to the World Trade Organisation, unblocking sales of aircraft and spares, and possibly some kind of security initiative.

In return, the US wants from the EU a firm commitment on what action it would consider if Iran resumed the uranium enrichment development it mostly froze in 2003.

A senior Iranian official in Tehran told the Financial Times that while France was “open and understanding of Iran's position”, Germany was “confused” and the UK was “taking a greater distance over the past 20 days”.

“So far they have given us nothing. And if Iran is not given the minimum, then there is no choice for us but to leave the talks,” he said. “The minimum is a certain number of centrifuges with which we resume enrichment.”

Addressing a board meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna yesterday, Jackie Sanders, the US representative, warned that it “cannot ignore forever its statutory obligation to report this matter to the United Nations Security Council”.

Ms Sanders listed what she called a “startling list of Iranian attempts to hide and mislead, and delay the work of IAEA inspectors”.

Mr Bush's meeting on Thursday will be with Condoleezza Rice, secretary of state, and Stephen Hadley, national security adviser.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2005 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Bush Leaning Toward Backing Europe on Iran

March 03, 2005
Steve Holland

WASHINGTON -- President Bush is leaning toward backing Europe in offering incentives to Iran aimed at persuading Tehran to give up its nuclear ambitions, U.S. officials said on Thursday.

Under the emerging strategy, the United States would not block Iran as it seeks to start the process of joining the World Trade Organization, and would not stand in the way of European allies if they want to sell Tehran parts for civilian aircraft, the officials said.

An announcement of the president's strategy could come this week, the officials said.

In exchange for not standing in the way of the incentives, the United States would insist that Iran abandon uranium enrichment, a demand Tehran so far has refused to accept.

Some U.S. officials believe offering incentives will strengthen the international community's hand by providing a united front for punitive measures, such as U.N. sanctions, if the incentives do not work.

Supporting Europe on the incentives would mark a significant shift in strategy for Bush, who has been reluctant to consider them before to avoid being seen as rewarding Iran for bad behavior.

Before a European trip last week, Bush talked of taking Iran to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions, and officials believe that still may be necessary depending on how Iran responds.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Bush had not made a final decision and declined to discuss any details.

He said the United States and Europe are discussing "how we can move forward together on a common strategy to get Iran to abandon any ambitions for a nuclear weapon."

"We want to do our part to support the European efforts. This is about strengthening their diplomatic approach to resolving this matter," he said.

Bush met with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Wednesday upon her return from London, where she discussed Iran with the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany. Bush planned more talks with her on Thursday.

The United States accuses Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons under cover of its civil nuclear program. Iran denies this, saying its nuclear program is peaceful and aims to produce power for its growing population.

It can take years of negotiations for a country to enter the WTO. As a first step Iran could be granted observer status, a stepping stone to full accession.

Countries granted observer status must begin the process of moving toward full membership within five years. Actual entry into the WTO can take years beyond that, and the United States could still hold up those talks indefinitely.

A senior congressional aide involved in the WTO issue said: "It is a carrot, and it's not a very big one."

"It means nothing by itself," said Greg Mastel, chief international trade advisor at the law firm of Miller & Chevalier.

"Actual membership talks could drag out for months or years or decades, or it could move very quickly," Mastel said, adding that if Washington chooses, it would have the power to "slow things down" or block Tehran's accession down the road.

Saudi Arabia and Russia, two of the largest economies still outside the trade body, have been negotiating for a decade. China's accession to the WTO took about 15 years to complete after negotiations began.

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