If the upcoming talks between Iran and P5+1 are really Iran's last chance, as Obama put it, then everything should be put on the table and an agreement be reached because the alternative, war, must be prevented.
This article is going to be my two cents worth on the upcoming talks between Iran and the "P5+1" powers--the United States, the UK, Russia, China, France, and Germany--reportedly scheduled for April 13 or April 14.
"Getting to Yes" is a best selling book that all sides on the "Iran crisis" should read. I think it's possible to download an ebook version, and doing a search for it brings up all kinds of useful links. This link to Wikisummaries is helpful:
Here are the very basics of "Getting to Yes" from Wikipedia:
"Members of the Harvard Negotiation Project, Fisher and Ury, focused on the psychology of negotiation in their method, "principled negotiation," finding acceptable solutions by determining which needs are fixed and which are flexible for negotiators."
"The method of principled negotiation is based on four propositions:
• Separate the people from the problem.
• Focus on interests, not positions.
• Invent options for mutual gain.
• Insist on using objective criteria."
Separate the people from the problem:
Which in this case would mean ignoring Ahmadinejad's outbursts and Netanyahu's threats and any utterances by the warmongering mob.
Focus on interests, not positions.
Below is my incomplete list of interests for Iran, America, and Israel.
The final two, inventing options for mutual gain is not hard to do if the interests are clearly identified. And using objective criteria is also not hard to do once the interests are fully understood and accepted by all sides.
Please note that the interests I have listed are much broader and fall outside of the agenda for the meeting that is going to take place in a couple days. However, the issues that will be discussed in the upcoming meeting are closely tied to the interests I've listed below.
Sanctions removed or greatly reduced.
Stop the threats by Israel and America. "All options are on the table" is a threat.
Continue to keep dictatorial system of government under the control of a small inner circle.
Removal of American military bases from the region.
Have the option of developing a nuclear weapon as a deterrent in the event of invasion or national security threat.
Caspian Sea oil and gas resources transported via Iran.
No resistance to gas pipeline to Pakistan reaching India and China.
International investment in rapid development of South Pars gas fields and transportation of the gas to Europe, Pakistan, Turkey, India, and China.
Keep Iranians from having freedom of belief, expression, and political activity.
Keep its interpretation of Islam as the dominant system of thought and thereby retain its control over Iranian society.
No nuclear weapon development activity by Iran.
Not have any rivals to it's dominance of the Middle East.
Cheap gasoline prices domestically therefore free-flow of oil from the Persian Gulf.
Gain access to Iranian business markets for its corporations on favorable terms.
Keep its military bases in the region.
Have full access to exploitation of Caspian Sea oil and gas resources and have a secure transportation route.
Not have Chinese and Russian military and economic penetration into the region.
Keep its regional nuclear weapons monopoly.
Remove organizations that stand in its way of creating Greater Israel.
Eliminate all outside support for organizations that fight for the rights of Palestinians.
First Phase of Inventing Options for Mutual Gain:
All banking and oil related sanctions removed.
Iran would end all military and financial support for Hezbollah, Hamas, and any other organization that is conducting violent actions against Israel.
Full access to all disputed nuclear sites and creation of acceptable verification system.
Sale of one million barrels of oil per day to America at 10% discount for next two years.
Israel halts all settlement activity, even those that are incomplete.
Iran agrees to open and free elections for all government offices, i.e. mayors of all cities, governors of provinces, judges, police chiefs, president, and Majlis representatives. Keeping or disbanding all governing bodies staffed by unelected individuals such as the Guardian Council and Supreme Leaders office: this would be voted on through special elections or a referendum.
State control over radio, television, and Internet would end and airwaves will be auctioned off. Four publicly supported television channels and five national radio stations would be created and these would be mandated to offer free airtime to those campaigning for public office.
Second Phase of Inventing Options for Mutual Gain:
Israel agrees to place its nuclear weapons under the control of NATO.
Middle East would be declared a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone.
All sanctions removed and Iran would be allowed to enter World Trade Organization.
America would close down all its military bases in the Persian Gulf.
Annual conference to be held in Iran to set 2025 as date for when all nuclear weapons will be eliminated from the arsenal of all nations.
Now that I've wondered off into fantasy land lets return to reality by checking out what the crowd at Council of Foreign Relations suggest. In the article, "Iran Talks: What Should Be on the Table?",four nuclear security experts lay out what the priorities should be for the talks. I would suggest that the Iranian side read this carefully because it contains most of what they need to know before entering the meeting room. Here is the link:
(To keep up with the news on Iran I invite you to check out my blog "Letter from Iran" which has been featuring "Iran News: Condensed and Highlighted" for the past several weeks.)
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