Sat Mar 31st, 2012 at 05:51:14 PM EST
Former Iran negotiator says nuclear deal possible
An end to a nearly decade-long nuclear standoff between Iran and major world powers will be possible if the United States and its European allies recognize Tehran's right to enrich uranium, a former Iranian negotiator said in an editorial.
"Talks between Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany (P5+1), scheduled for next month, provide the best opportunity to break the nine-year deadlock over Iran's nuclear program," Hossein Mousavian, Iran's former chief nuclear negotiator, wrote in an editorial in the Boston Globe.....
........Mousavian writes that if a deal that is acceptable to both parties is to be reached, the two sides' "bottom lines" should be identified.
"For Iran, this is the recognition of its legitimate right to create a nuclear program - including enrichment - and a backing off by the P5+1 from its zero-enrichment position."
"For the P5+1, it is an absolute prohibition on Iran from creating a nuclear bomb, and having Iran clear up ambiguities in its nuclear program to the satisfaction of the International Atomic Energy Agency," Mousavian writes.
The West also needs to abandon calls for regime change and accept that "crippling sanctions, covert actions, and military strikes might slow down Iran's nuclear program but will not stop it"
This is exactly in line with my reading of events.
I know for a fact that Marc Rich was in Tehran a few weeks ago and not to take the air or go clubbing. Don't forget that this is the guy who was selling Iranian crude to Israel for six years under the Shah and another 14 years under Khomenei, with whom he apparently got on famously.
Shortly after this trusted third party's visit we heard Khamenei re-stating his proscription re nukes, and Obama beginning to state categorically that Iran would never have nukes on his watch, which went down well with AIPAC.
My take is that Marc Rich carried back the message that the deal offered by Iran in 2003 - at least that part re nukes which was outlined by Mousavian above who was in a position to know - is still Iran's bottom line.
The enabling factor for a deal has been the recent Iranian election where the Khamenei faction finally saw off the eight year long bid for the Iranian oil and gas spoils by the Ahmadinejad faction. It was no coincidence that Iran's letter to the 5 plus 1 followed within days of this election.
I think we'll now see, beginning in a couple of weeks, Iran backing off with as much grace as possible over the next few months. So Obama might well achieve before the election what Carter never did, and that is to solve the Iran problem. Unless of course the Republicans do a Reagan/Iran Contra, but I see no signs that they have anyone with the brains or the balls to try.........
The US aim will also be for the Saudis and J P Morgan Chase - who have been manipulating the oil market on a cosmic scale through the use of Enron prepay deals - to manage the decline of the oil price back to the $70/bbl to $90/bbl peg they achieved between early 2009 and the Libya shock when they were acting as a Central Oil Bank.
This will have the beneficial pre-election political effect of returning gasoline below the $2.50 gallon level which was promised by the Republicans, on the basis of completely incredible, indeed totally barmy, premises.
But I very much doubt that JPM and the Saudis can catch the falling knife of the oil price as they did last year. This is because passive 'inflation hedging' fund money has pulled out, while proprietary trading capital and bank financing for inventory - both of which may provide a cushion against a price fall - are both sparse.
If the Chinese and others decide that they would prefer to fill their reserves at under $60/bbl rather than paying $120/bbl then the market could go into meltdown.
But we may be sure the Saudis -like the Qataris last November - will have hedged themselves against a temporary fall below $60/bbl by selling WTI futures to the muppet speculators who have piled in to buy them.
The irony is that an inadvertent collapse in oil prices below $60/bbl - which is more likely than not, I think - would do more to engender regime change in US antagonists like Iran, Russia and Venezuela than anything the US could possibly do deliberately.
Because it would all be the fault of the Great God of the Market........as opposed to the Great Satan.