Iranian Diplomacy: What are the differences between the Israeli approach and the American approach regarding Iran's nuclear issue?
Mohammad Ali Basiri: What can be gathered from the recent negotiations is that the 5+1 group has recognized Iran's right to have a peaceful nuclear cycle, which means enrichment to the level of 3.5 percent. In the past, there was disagreement on this point and they did not acknowledge Iran's right to enrich uranium, and had announced that any activities must be done under the supervision of the IAEA. Iran's difference with the 5+1 group was practically on this very issue. However, they are negotiating with Iran about enrichment of more than 3.5 percent and whether Iran will accept to abandon that, or an agreement will be reached so that Iran can buy up to 20 percent enriched uranium and enrich its own uranium up to 3.5 percent. These are the agreements in general terms reached in this meeting.
Israel was in favor of the former trend, which did not allow Iran to have a fuel cycle inside Iran because this would create the potential for Iran that, if it decides to use nuclear energy for military purposes, it would pose a danger to the security of Israel. Consequently, the Israelis are not happy with the trend of this negotiation and believe that, from the security point of view, the P5+1 have provided Iran with a potential that, if it decides one day to engage in military operations, will be able to do whatever it wishes. In this context, the Israelis call it giving Iran a “freebie” and concessions which ultimately will be a threat to the Zionist regime. However, the West has not withdrawn from its position without reason because, based on the NPT, Iran has the right to have the fuel cycle and also Iran is located in a region where it is encircled by atomic powers, meaning that it is Iran's legal right strategically to go in that direction. Therefore, bearing in mind the presence of nuclear powers around Iran-- including the Zionist regime which is not a member of the NPT and has nuclear weapons-- it was agreed that Iran can at least have a peaceful nuclear fuel cycle. In other words, between Iran's maximum demand and that of the West, a middle-line agreement was reached for Iran to have a peaceful fuel cycle, but the Zionist regime takes a maximalist position in this regard.
ID: Since the presidency of Obama, Israeli-American relations have not been as warm as before. Do you think that on the eve of the elections in America, Obama will try to appease the Zionist regime by putting more pressure on Iran?
MAB: On the contrary: Israel seeks harsher treatment of Iran which is more in line with the position of the Republicans. Mr. Obama has attempted in this regard to prove that through the policy of dialogue and sanctions, Iran can be brought to the negotiating table more easily or, in their words, contained. This while the Israelis believe that Obama is giving concessions to Iran and they try to confront the US President. Mr. Obama, under the existing conditions, states that if it has not militarily intervened in Iran, his non-military approach has been more tangible for regional security and the West's interests. Therefore, it seems that Obama will not concede to Israel after these negotiations and will use the same approach during the election campaign in order to gain more votes from the American people, who are against war-mongering measures against Iran.
ID: Considering these differences, to what extent has the nuclear issue of Iran been an issue of disagreement in relations between the US and the Zionist Regime?
MAB: Iran's nuclear dossier is an important topic in regional issues and in US-Israeli relations. The question of whether to follow Republican policies in this regard or the policies of the Democrats and Mr. Obama has always been discussed. The Democrats claim that the non-military policies that they follow with regard to Iran's nuclear dossier lead to better results for the US and lower costs for the region. Therefore, Obama maneuvers on the positive points of this discussion, the generality of which Israel is against.
ID: How would you evaluate the result and effect of the latest negotiations?
MAB: It seems that, in comparison with the last four rounds of negotiations and based on statements from both sides, the general result of this round of talks has been positive, meaning that there has been talk of positive and constructive negotiations. However, it must be said that Iran's nuclear dossier has not totally been resolved. This means that they have reached an agreement regarding the general process which is the fuel cycle, but regarding its surplus, which the West fears might become weaponized, an agreement must be made with Iran on its details during the next round of negotiations so that this issue can be taken out of crisis. If an agreement is reached on these details in the next round, the West could most probably then decide on sanctions against Iran. Therefore, the nullification of sanctions and its details will be discussed in the following round. We hope that both sides can reach an agreement, the components of which are planned to be specified by the deputies of both sides and which will be discussed during the next round of negotiations.
The general atmosphere of the talks and public opinion show signs that they have been positive, but we must hope that nothing bad develops in the next month so that they can obtain acceptable results.