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U.S. 'Provoked' Crisis With Iran, North Korea

The six-party talks in Beijing succeeded because direct contact between the United States and North Korea was facilitated by the presence of nations that Pyongyang trusted. According to this op-ed article from Russia’s Novosti news service, rather than spouting ‘excessive warlike rhetoric’ and dragging Iran before the Security Council, Washington would be better off persuing a similar strategy with Tehran.

By Political Commentator Dmitry Kosyrev

September 20, 2005

Original Article (English)    

Iranian Troops on Parade in Tehran, Wednesday.

NEW YORK: Amid bitter differences aroused by Iran's disputed nuclear program, the United Nations was overwhelmed today by good news from Beijing about a preliminary but nonetheless decisive document paving the way for a solution of the North Korean nuclear crises.

Both crises were in effect provoked by U.S. allegations - so far lacking solid evidence - that North Korea and Iran aspire to a military nuclear capability. In both cases, Washington eventually had to opt for diplomatic pressure to get the countries to drop their nuclear programs, but the weight of its excessive warlike rhetoric shut the door in the faces of U.S. officials. Thus America has been forced to rely on the European Troika (France, Germany and the U.K.) for dealing with Iran’s ayatollahs and on a broad gathering of regional powers (China, Japan, Russia, and South Korea) in talks with Kim Jong-il.

Prospects for resolving the North Korean crisis have been cloudy ever since the nuclear dispute erupted in the fall of 2002, which probably explains why, at a Friday news conference after meeting U.S. President George W. Bush, Russian leader Vladimir Putin warned against provoking Iran and turning it into another North Korea. Now that we have good news from Beijing, he might have added, the breakthrough on North Korea should teach [Washington] a lesson about treading on Iran.

At the U.N. General Assembly on Monday, a global gathering of foreign ministers seemed still to be looking at the old picture. As U.S. Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice praised the Beijing document, she hinted at possible sanctions against Iran and told a news conference that in regard to Iran's "nuclear dossier," the next step would be to being the issue before the  U.N. Security Council. At a luncheon with E.U. counterparts, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at about the same time that "there should be no rush" to place Iran on the Security Council's agenda.

America's Little-Known IAEA Ambassador, Gregory Shultze

Before the governors of IAEA, the international nuclear watchdog, had time to hear these conflicting statements at their Monday session, U.S. representatives had already begun toning down their attack by introducing a generally condemnatory resolution rather than a direct referral to the Security Council. Obviously, they have seen this as the most they could get in the face of robust opposition from so many IAEA members, and in any case as "a next step" that could help accomplish the task later.

However, what happened to North Korea must change the dispute surrounding Iran as well, for the [six-party talks] are a clear demonstration that exchanging hawkish rhetoric for normal diplomatic language is a recipe for success. So, who says something that has succeeded with North Korea would not work with Iran?

Furthermore, United States negotiators were able to communicate directly with North Korea because the process was facilitated by countries that North Korea trusts, primarily Russia and China. The E.U. troika has failed to achieve the same success with Iran. Meanwhile it would make sense to develop a similar initiative by involving Russia, China, and India with Iran - in order to achieve the desired effect, rather than pressure Tehran as Washington has presented it.

IAEA Chief Mohamed ElBaradei, Interestingly, an Iranian National

Following U.S. allegations about nuclear weapons, North Korea pulled out of the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in the winter of 2002-2003 and showed the door to IAEA - for whom nonproliferation is the raison d'etre - something Iran never did. Iran has never rejected cooperation with the IAEA. So who said you could not come to terms with Iran if you could with North Korea, even without having an IAEA team inside?

Under the Beijing document, IAEA inspectors should return to North Korea "as soon as possible," and North Korea should honor its NPT commitments. The North Koreans, however, are bound to be watching what the IAEA does in Iran. Those who will be continuing talks with Pyongyang in November should make sure the agency doesn’t become a toy of the U.S. or E.U, otherwise the five's tentative agreement with North Korea may never come to fruition.

A broader issue is the right of nations to have peaceful nuclear programs. North Korea and Iran claim that they have, like any other country, the right to develop peaceful atomic engineering,  and that they don’t intend to implement military nuclear programs. International law does not limit this right to friends of the United States.

The Beijing document doesn’t rule out a future North Korean nuclear power station, likely involving the U.S. and Europe, although it is far from specific on that issue. Compare this with Iran's latest proposal to internationalize its nuclear program, in cooperation with IAEA-governed countries. Why can't Iran enjoy the same treatment?


Iranian TV: Iran's Chief Negotiator at Nuclear Talks Admits that Tehran was Talking to the E.U. to 'Buy Time,' August 4, 00:04:50, MEMRI

" Today we are in a position of power. ... we have managed to convert 36 tons of Yellow Cake into gas and store it."

Hosein Musavian, Iran's Chief Nuclear Negotiator

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