Critics are dead on when they accuse Barack Obama of “shifting the goalposts” in his dealings in recent weeks on the Iranian nuclear issue.
Barely had the ink dried on the Tehran declaration, signed after 18 hours of marathon negotiations among Iran, Brazil and Turkey, when the United States tossed the initiative out of the window.
Without taking serious cognisance of a move that promised broad-based diplomacy over coercion, and more importantly, hope over ingrained cynicism, Washington let it be known to the world that it did not much care about the efforts of the Iranian, Turkish and Brazilian diplomats who had burnt the midnight oil in Tehran. The document that bleary-eyed mandarins had prepared by daybreak on May 17 under the watch of the venerable Brazilian President, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and the popular Turkish Premier, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was, in America’s declared perception, simply not good enough to merit serious consideration.
The Tehran declaration is essentially about a quid pro quo arrangement. It calls upon Iran to transfer 1,200 kg of its lightly enriched uranium to Turkey. In return, it would receive within one year from abroad medium enriched nuclear fuel rods required to run the Tehran-based medical reactor. The deal is essentially a confidence-building measure meant to reassure Iran’s detractors that the country is not in pursuit of atomic weapons. The logic of the deal is simple. Once Iran ships … >>>