Nevertheless, Time reported that “President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad insisted on October 29 that ‘conditions have been prepared for international cooperation in the nuclear field’ and his administration is ‘ready to cooperate.'”
Furthermore, Iran’s nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, Armed Forces chief of staff General Hassan Firouzabadi, and Iran’s representative to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh all expressed a desire to use diplomatic efforts to find a reasonable and suitable solution to the current standoff.
In early December, Iran’s Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki stated that Iran was “willing to exchange most of its uranium for processed nuclear fuel from abroad” in a phased transfer of material with full guarantees that the West “will not backtrack an exchange deal.” Mr. Mottaki proposed that Iran would agree to initially hand over 25% of its uranium in a simultaneous exchange for an equivalent amount of enriched material in order to fuel the medical research reactor. The remainder of the uranium would be traded over “several years.”
In response, The New York Times reported that this proposed timetable was immediately rejected by Western powers. The US government-sponsored Voice of America quoted an unidentified senior US official as claiming that the Iranian counter-proposal inconsistent with the “fair and balanced” draft agreement. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has previously threatened to “totally obliterate” Iran, urged Iran to “accept the agreement as proposed because we are not altering it.”
Apparently, the US government is unaware of what a “draft agreement” is. By definition, it is a proposal – a “draft” – not a final, binding accord. It is a primary piece of negotiation that can and should be revised by all parties until a mutually beneficial agreement is reached. The West appears to only accept its own offers and dismisses any other suggestions. This is not diplomacy, this is no “outstretched hand.” This is, quite simply, an illegal and imperial ultimatum dictated to the sovereign nation of Iran by historically aggressive, colonial powers.
As The New York Times reported,
“Mr. Mottaki also suggested that the Western news media had helped torpedo the October agreement by framing it in hostile terms that confirmed Iran’s fears of losing its nuclear supplies.
‘We said we are in agreement on the principles of the proposal, but suddenly the Western media announced that 1,200 kilograms of uranium would be leaving Iran to delay the construction of a nuclear bomb,’ Mr. Mottaki said, according to Iran’s semiofficial Mehr news agency. ‘Is this the answer to Iran’s confidence-building?
Still, Mr. Kuperman mischaracterizes Iran’s supposed acceptance-then-rejection of the absurd Western proposition. “President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad initially embraced the deal because he realized it aided Iran’s bomb program,” he writes, and then claims that “under such domestic pressure, Mr. Ahmadinejad reneged.”
Mr. Kuperman declares that “Tehran’s rejection of the deal was likewise propelled by domestic politics – including last June’s fraudulent elections and longstanding fears of Western manipulation.” Not only does this statement simply assume that the reelection of President Ahmadinejad was stolen and illegitimate (a tired narrative devoid of any substantiated evidence), he dismisses foreign involvement – namely that of the US – in Iranian affairs by employing the word “fears” rather than “facts.”
Perhaps Mr. Kuperman is unaware that in 2007, ABC News reported that George W. Bush had signed a secret “Presidential finding” authorizing the CIA to “mount a covert ‘black’ operation to destabilize the Iranian government.” These operations, according to current and former intelligence officials, included “a coordinated campaign of propaganda broadcasts, placement of negative newspaper articles, and the manipulation of Iran’s currency and international banking transactions.” The Sunday Telegraph corroborated this information when it stated, “Mr. Bush has signed an official document endorsing CIA plans for a propaganda and disinformation campaign intended to destabilize, and eventually topple, the theocratic rule of the mullahs.”
It is also well-known that, a year later, the Bush administration was granted $400 million with which to further destabilize Iran via, as the Washington Post reported at the time “activities ranging from spying on Iran’s nuclear program to supporting rebel groups opposed to the country’s ruling clerics…” The rebel groups supported by such funding and training include, according to both Counterpunch‘s Andrew Cockburn and the New Yorker‘s Seymour Hersh, the militant Sunni group Jundullah, or “army of god,” and the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK or PMOI), which maintains an “enduring position on the State Department’s list of terrorist groups.”
Although Washington officially denies involvement, the Sunday Telegraph reports that funding for Jundallah’s “separatist causes comes directly from the CIA’s classified budget but is now ‘no great secret’, according to one former high-ranking CIA official,” whose claims were confirmed by former US State Department counter-terrorism agent Fred Barton, who said that Jundallah’s terrorist activities “inside Iran fall in line with US efforts to supply and train Iran’s ethnic minorities to destabilise the Iranian regime.” Among the bombings and violent attacks for which Jundallah has claimed responsibility are the killings of nine Iranian security guards in 2005, another 11 in a 2007 bombing, at least 16 Iranian police officers in a 2008 attack, and, most recently, the deadly bombing of a security gathering in southeast Iran on October 18, 2009 which killed 35 people including several top regional security officials and provincial commanders of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).
Further, ABC News has reported that, according to Pakistani and U.S. intelligence officials, Jundallah is “responsible for a series of deadly guerrilla raids inside Iran” and “has been secretly encouraged and advised by American officials since 2005.” The report continued,
“U.S. relationship with Jundullah is arranged so that the U.S. provides no funding to the group, which would require an official presidential order or “finding” as well as congressional oversight. The money for Jundullah was funneled to its leader, Abdelmalek Rigi, through Iranian exiles who have connections with European and Gulf states.”
These connected Iranian exiles are members of the MEK, the Iranian opposition network that, in 1981, assassinated about 70 high ranking Iranian officials including cabinet members, elected parliamentarians, and the new Chief Justice when it bombed state headquarters. After the Iranian Revolution, the group moved its headquarters to Iraq and was supported by Saddam Hussein during the eight-year Iran-Iraq War that claimed the lives of over a million people. The MEK also claims responsibility for informing the United States and its allies about Iran’s supposed nuclear weapons program, for which no verifiable evidence has ever been found.
On December 15, 2009, Texas Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee addressed Congress regarding that fate of MEK exiles currently living in Camp Ashraf in Iraq. The Congresswoman pleaded for the Obama administration to “save” the “Iranian dissidents [who] are now huddled [at Camp Ashraf], fearful for their lives.” She claimed that the Iraqi government, which is now tasked with guarding the camp after US forces recently handed over control, had put the exiles “at risk of arbitrary arrest, torture or other forms of ill treatment and unlawful killing,” and described the MEK – which, again, is designated as a terrorist group by the US State Department – as “dissidents who simply want to live in peace and alone.” Apparently, Ms. Jackson-Lee saw nothing wrong with begging the United States to support terrorists, as long as those terrorists have the goal of toppling the Iranian government.