It appears that the IR Regime’s representatives and the P5+1 are going to meet on April 13th, 2012 to try to negotiate their way out of the current impasse. While the negotiations are centered on Iran’s nuclear file, the idea of a “Grand Bargain” has been out there and been aggressively promoted by some Iranian-Americans.
Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey met with President Obama in Seoul this week and has taken Obama’s message to Iran. The Turkish/Brazilian framework for enriched nuclear material swap that was developed last year seems to be the game plan to resolve some of the issues.
But in order to better appreciate how far apart the parties are in reaching an agreement let’s take a look at what each side wants.
The Supreme Leader wants the following out of the negotiations with the US.
1. US to recognize the Regime as the legitimate representative of the Iranian people and not to undermine it in any shape or form.
2. End all the economic sanctions and return billions of dollars in frozen assets.
3. US not to interfere in Iran’s internal affairs including the human rights, the political prisoners and the women’s rights.
4. US to end its military presence in the Persian Gulf Region.
Now, let’s take a look at what the US and the West want out of the negotiations with the Regime.
1. Resolve the nuclear enrichment issue by limiting the amount and the scope of the program and put in place a comprehensive inspection of suspected weapon sites, documents and questioning of individuals by IAEA.
2. The IR Regime to end hostilities towards Israel including the military and financial support of Hezbollah and Hamas.
3. The IR Regime to improve human rights conditions in Iran including the political prisoners and the women’s rights.
4. The IR Regime to stop interfering in the affairs of its neighbor and support the efforts by the international community to stabilize Iraq and Afghanistan.
Well, as we can see there are plenty of redlines and not much overlap in the demands of either side.
However, one could argue that if we could narrowly define a limited enrichment activity and swap, there could be some progress. But the inspection of weapon sites will remain a sticky point. Also, one wonders what can be offered to the Regime if it agrees to the limited enrichment plan. The sanctions will remain in place for the time-being so will the other demands from the Regime.
At this point it appears that the Friday the 13th negotiations are unlucky from the get-go!
Above is the picture of Erdogan and family arriving in Tehran and being greeted by the rain-drenched IR Foreign Minister Salehi. The Erdogans are planning to visit Mashad as a part of the trip.