Safe Mode: On
US Rejected 2005 Iranian Offer Ensuring No Nuclear Weapons






by Gareth Porter,
June 06, 2012
France and Germany were prepared in
spring 2005 to negotiate on an Iranian proposal to convert all of Iran’s
enriched uranium to fuel rods, making it impossible to use it for
nuclear weapons, but Britain vetoed the deal at the insistence of the
United States, according to a new account by a former top Iranian
nuclear negotiator.

Seyed Hossein Mousavian, who had led Iran’s nuclear negotiating team in
2004 and 2005, makes it clear that the reason that offer was rejected
was that the George W. Bush administration refused to countenance any
Iranian enrichment capability, regardless of the circumstances.

Mousavian reveals previously unknown details about that pivotal episode
in the diplomacy surrounding the Iran nuclear issue in memoirs published
Tuesday.

Mousavian, now a visiting research scholar at Princeton University’s
Woodrow Wilson School, had been a top political aide to former president
Hashemi Rafsanjani and head of the foreign relations committee of
Iran’s Supreme National Security Council during his political-diplomatic
career in Iran.

Mousavian had been entrusted with Iran’s most sensitive diplomatic
missions, including negotiations on a strategic understanding with Saudi
crown prince Abdullah in the early 1990s and with U.S. officials on
Afghanistan and al-Qaeda in 2001 and 2002, his memoirs reveal. But he
was arrested by the Mahmoud Ahmadinejad administration on charges of
“espionage” in April 2007.

The British and U.S. refusal to pursue the Iranian offer, which might
have headed off the political diplomatic crisis over the Iranian nuclear
program since then, is confirmed by a former British diplomat who
participated in the talks and former European ambassadors to Iran.

Mousavian writes that one of the European negotiators told him that
“they were ready to compromise but that the United States was the
obstacle.”

The episode occurred a few months after an agreement between Iran and
the British, French and German governments on Nov. 15, 2004 on terms for
negotiations on “long-term arrangements,” during which Iran agreed to
maintain a voluntary suspension of enrichment and other nuclear
activities.

The agreement to be negotiated was to “provide objective guarantees that
Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes” as well
as “firm guarantees on nuclear, technological, and economic cooperation
and firm commitments on security issues.”

But the EU objective in the talks was to demand a complete end to all
Iranian enrichment. At the March 23, 2005, meeting in Paris, the EU called
for an indefinite suspension of enrichment by Iran, meaning suspension
beyond the negotiations themselves.

At the same meeting, Iranian negotiators submitted a proposal that
included a “policy declaration to convert all enriched uranium to fuel
rods” and “committed to getting the Additional Protocol,” which would
allow the IAEA to make snap inspections on undeclared facilities,
ratified by its parliament.

Conversion of low enriched uranium (LEU) to fuel rods only usable for
power plants could have provided a guarantee against using the enriched
uranium for nuclear weapons. Iran did not have the capability to
fabricate fuel rods, so the implication was that the LEU would have to
be shipped to another country for conversion or would have to be done
under international auspices within Iran.

Once the fuel rods were fabricated, it would be practically impossible for Iran to reconvert them for military purposes.

Peter Jenkins, then the British permanent representative to the IAEA and
a member of the British delegation to the Paris meeting with Iran,
recalled in an interview with IPS, “All of us were impressed by the
proposal.”

The European delegations asked for a break to discuss it among
themselves, Jenkins recalled, but soon decided to tell Iran they would
“need more time to consider further.”

But the Europeans did not seek to explore the Iranian offer further.

Mousavian reveals that Iran learned a few weeks after that meeting that
the Europeans had no intention of negotiating any agreement that would
allow Iran to have any enrichment program. On April 12, 2005, Mousavian
recounts, the French ambassador to Iran, Francois Nicoullaud, told him
it was impossible for the Europeans to negotiate on the Iranian
proposal.

“For the U.S. the enrichment in Iran is a red line which the EU cannot cross,” Mousavian quotes Nicoullaud as saying.

In June 2009, Nicoullaud signed a statement with five other former
European ambassadors to Iran recalling that in 2005 “Iran was ready to
discuss a ceiling limit for the number of its centrifuges and to
maintain its rate of enrichment far below the high levels necessary for
weapons,” but that “the Europeans and the Americans wanted to compel
Iran to forsake its enrichment program entirely.”

Jenkins recalled that he was aware that no proposal, no matter how
forthcoming on assurances against diversion of LEU to a nuclear weapon,
would be acceptable to the British government if it involved a
resumption of enrichment.

“I knew in my heart of hearts that this was a waste of time — that it would not fly,” he recalled.

“The British objective was to eliminate entirely Iran’s enrichment
capability,” Jenkins said. “I remember we couldn’t even allow Iran to
have 20 centrifuges for R&D [research and development] purposes,
because we ourselves had mastered the technology with even fewer than
that.”

The Iranians had made clear to the European three that they could not
agree to any loss of their right to enrich, according to Jenkins, but
the Europeans hoped that it was merely an opening negotiating position.

“I don’t think we realized fully in March 2005 that Iran was not
prepared to give up enrichment as the price of a settlement,” Jenkins
recalled. “We believed that if we could come up with sufficient
incentives and scare Iran with the threat of referral to the [United
Nations] Security Council, they would give in.”

After reading Mousavian’s minutes of the meeting with Nicoullaud, the
supreme leader instructed his nuclear policy coordinator, Hassan
Rowhani, to restart the uranium conversion facility at Isfahan. Iran had
included the conversion facility in its suspension of enrichment
activities only with great reluctance under the pressure of the European
negotiators.

Meanwhile, Mousavian made the rounds to try to persuade the Europeans to
accept an Iranian offer to ensure that it would not divert uranium to
nuclear weapons. He recalls offering his German counterpart Michael
Schaefer in Berlin yet another proposal that had not yet been cleared by
Iranian leaders.

Under the Mousavian proposal, Iran would have resumed uranium conversion
at the Isfahan plant but would have exported its product to “an
agreed-upon country” in exchange for yellowcake, the form uranium takes
prior to enrichment.

At a later stage of the proposal, Iran would have begun enrichment at
Natanz with some 3,000 centrifuges, but again would have exported all
the enriched uranium to “an agreed-upon country.”

While those extraordinary arrangements were being carried out, Mousavian
proposed, negotiations on a “final compromise” on “objective guarantees
of non-diversion” and EU “firm guarantees” on comprehensive relations
with Iran would continue for a maximum of one year, and that Iran would
adopt a timetable for enrichment agreed upon with the EU “based on
Iran’s fuel requirements.”

Schafer encouraged Mousavian to pursue the proposal with the French and
British, and French political director Stanislas Lefabvre Laboulaye told
him it would depend on the British response.

But Mousavian writes that British director general for political affairs
John Sawers told him that the Bush administration “would never tolerate
the operation of even one centrifuge in Iran.”

After his round of meetings with the Europeans, Mousavian was informed
by Rowhani that the package he had proposed had been accepted by the
Iranian leadership, based on a minimum of 3,000 centrifuges and a
one-year limit on the negotiations. But a third condition was that the
Europeans had to agree on the plan before the August Iranian
presidential election.

The third condition suggests that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei did not
want either of the two presidential candidates, Hashemi Rafsanjani or
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to get credit for the agreement with the
Europeans.

The conversion of the bulk of Iranian LEU to fuel
rods after being exported to France or Russia was the basis for the
Barack Obama administration’s diplomatic proposal to Iran in October
2009.

The Ahmadinejad government negotiated with the U.S. and European
diplomats on the proposal, but in the end Iran was not willing to part
with as much as 80% of its stockpile of enriched uranium without
getting any change in U.S. policy in return.


Added: Jul-2-2012 
By: LostSomewhereInSpace
In:
World News
Tags: Iran, Bush Adminstration
Views: 1360 | Comments: 40 | Votes: 0 | Favorites: 0 | Shared: 0 | Updates: 0 | Times used in channels: 2
You need to be registered in order to add comments! Register HERE
Sort by: Newest first | Oldest first | Highest score first
Liveleak opposes racial slurs - if you do spot comments that fall into this category, please report them for us to review.
  • I think you are also forgetting Russia offered to fuel the reactor for FREE!!!! The Iranians still went ahead with their uranium production and started coming up with excuses as to why they needed to stockpile uranium cake. It has been processed past the point of energy production but refined enough to be weapons grade. If they had peaceful intentions why go further than power needs? Right! Because they need to build their delivery system before they want the fuel.

    Posted Jul-2-2012 By 

    (6) | Report

  • load of crap. Iran's word is worthless. Why would we enter an agrement that we know they would break.

    Posted Jul-2-2012 By 

    (3) | Report

  • Wow....the first few lines in that article are so flawed!

    ...."France and Germany were prepared in
    spring 2005 to negotiate on an Iranian proposal to convert all of Iran’s
    enriched uranium to fuel rods, making it impossible to use it for
    nuclear weapons...."

    Fuel rods could easily be used to make dirty bombs. Dirty bombs won't create a nuclear explosion, but they would kill thousands and thousands of people, not to mention long term effects from radioactive contamination for decad More..

    Posted Jul-2-2012 By 

    (1) | Report

    • @Armed24-7 just an FYI.... depleted uranium has a life span of 9 billion years... not a decade or century.

      Posted Jul-2-2012 By 

      (0) | Report

    • @Armed24-7 Also. The uranium fuel rods can be used to make plutonium.

      Posted Jul-2-2012 By 

      (1) | Report

    • @1shot555

      Yes, the life span is between 4.5 and 9 billion years and the radiation can actually get worse over time because of the by-products of decomposition.

      But if there were a dirty bomb attack, the area would be cleaned up. Though some cancer causing radiation can still linger, a lot of it would wash away, migrate, and dilute over time due to weather or man-made intervention. Hence, my time frame (centuries).

      Posted Jul-2-2012 By 

      (1) | Report

  • Iran has always had the intention of developing a nuclear weapon program from the start. This is all hyperbole considering their original intent.

    Posted Jul-2-2012 By 

    (1) | Report

  • Don't trust one word here. Porter and IPS (Inter Press Service) are anti-American apologists. Porter goes way back, excusing communists and genocidal murderers.

    Posted Jul-2-2012 By 

    (1) | Report

  • i would be here all day if i was to respond to ever idiotic comment on here. If you know ANYTHING about the truth you would know that for YEARS Iran has been trying to it's true colors. Iran does NOT want war!!! Why the fuck do you people think Iran would want to go to war with Israel and America?? Do you really think they're that fucking stupid!? They have invited US and Israeli, UN officials to openly search their facilities. Israel won't even let the US in to search their facilities. Don't yo More..

    Posted Jul-2-2012 By 

    (1) | Report

  • Here is a fuller time line which traces Iran’s nuclear desires back to the 1950’s.
    http://iranprimer.usip.org/resource/timeline-irans-nuclear-activities

    Posted Jul-2-2012 By 

    (1) | Report

  • President Bush is an asshat because we all know there is no way fuel rods can be used in the course of producing Nuclear Weapons, And the Iranians are completely trustworthy.

    And besides, we all know that despite sitting on 10,000 years worth of oil, they absolutely cannot get by without nukes.

    Posted Jul-2-2012 By 

    (0) | Report

  • Very good job USA. Thank you very much.. NOT ! :)

    Posted Jul-2-2012 By 

    (0) | Report

  • Comment of user 'MB-UK' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
  • "making it impossible to use it for nuclear weapons"

    Bullshit. There's a lie in the first sentence. Should I bother to keep reading?

    Figures Lost would post a bullshit article from an America-hating terrorist defending piece of shit.

    Posted Jul-2-2012 By 

    (0) | Report

    • @ST0N3PONY "Should I bother to keep reading?"

      to be honest, most of what i post isnt meant for guys like you to begin with, but since you are an expert on the nuclear fuel cycle can you explain to a layman like me why the sentence is a lie

      Posted Jul-2-2012 By 

      (3) | Report

    • @LostSomewhereInSpace It's not meant for me because I don't automatically swallow any bullshit...

      Uranium exposed to radiation (neutron radiation I believe), creates plutonium.

      Posted Jul-2-2012 By 

      (-2) | Report

    • @ST0N3PONY "It's not meant for me because I don't automatically swallow any bullshit..."

      but you listen to fox news, glenn beck, sean hannity, and bill oriely

      "Uranium exposed to radiation (neutron radiation I believe), creates plutonium."

      again im not an expert in this field but just cause the process creates plutonium doesnt necessarily mean they can just turn it into a nuclear bomb does it ?

      Posted Jul-2-2012 By 

      (3) | Report

    • @LostSomewhereInSpace I read and listen to a lot of sources, you rant about Fox because your conspiroloon sources tell you to. You post bullshit from terrorist supporting America-hating leftists, because your liberal and conspiracy theorist sources tell you to.

      No, they can't just turn fuel rods in to bombs. They can process the fuel however. I'm sure you believe it's a massive Jewish conspiracy though.

      Posted Jul-2-2012 By 

      (-1) | Report

    • @ST0N3PONY "I read and listen to a lot of sources, you rant about Fox because your conspiroloon sources tell you to. You post bullshit from terrorist supporting America-hating leftists, because your liberal and conspiracy theorist sources tell you to."

      i just posted a story i saw on google news for people to comment on, you feel the need to use it as an excuse to call me an america hating leftist because your right wing radical fox news sources tell you to.

      Posted Jul-2-2012 By 

      (1) | Report

  • USA is israels b*tch lol

    Posted Jul-2-2012 By 

    (0) | Report

  • Do you really want these retards handling nuclear energy in any way? The japs can barely keep their shit together. Imagine these fuck heads.

    Posted Jul-2-2012 By 

    (0) | Report

  • 'Britain vetoed the deal at the insistence of the United States'...F.ck Blair put this country to shame didn't he

    Why doen't he just move to Nebraska and join the Mormon, Christian Zionist, Puritan church and wear tank tops for the rest of his live...

    Posted Jul-2-2012 By 

    (-1) | Report

  • the more the west messes around in the mid east trying to reshape it's politics, the more I seem to think that those the west have it in for are right.

    Posted Jul-2-2012 By 

    (-3) | Report