Friday, July 4, 2008

Official says Iran accepts proposals of P5 plus 1 states

This is from antiwar.com.
Already this thaw in the cold war against Iran may have caused a fall in oil prices. Given Iran's acceptance of talks, the escalating preparations for an attack by Israel may be wound down temporarily.
Happy fourth of July to U.S. readers.


Official Says Iran Accepts P5+1 Talks Proposal
by Gareth Porter
A senior Iranian official reportedly told members of the Iranian parliament Monday that Iran has agreed to freeze its enrichment program for six weeks and begin negotiations with the P5+1 group of states as early as next week, according to reports of that decision by the Iranian Student News Agency (ISNA) and by a Farsi-language website in Iran.
Remarks by Iranian Foreign Minister Manoucher Mottaki and a top adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Tuesday also seemed to indicate that decision to accept a "freeze for freeze" proposal from the P5+1 to begin at least preliminary negotiations.
The P5+1 consists of the permanent members of the UN Security Council – the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia – and Germany.
The apparent Iranian decision comes in the wake of an atmosphere of heightened threat of attack on Iran by Israel created by a series of moves by Israeli and US officials in recent days.
The head of Iran's atomic energy agency, Gholam-Reza Aghazadeh, told members of the Majlis energy committee Monday that Iran has agreed to start the talks, according to the Farsi-language Iranian website Fararou. It said "informed sources" had specified that Iran had accepted a six-week freeze on any expansion of enrichment as a condition on such negotiations, as proposed by European Union foreign affairs chief Javier Solana.
The P5+1 proposal also offers to suspend further progress in advancing UN sanctions against Iran. It does not address sanctions organized outside the UN Security Council framework, however.
ISNA reported in a brief item on Monday that an Iranian parliamentary energy committee member, whom it did not name, had declared that Iran "has agreed to start talks with 5+1 countries group". It added that the talks "will begin next week".
Although ISNA did not report that the official had said Iran would freeze its nuclear activities, in the sense of foregoing any increase in centrifuges, it implied as much by reporting that the P5+1 proposal delivered by Solana Jun. 14 "required Iran to suspend nuclear activities in exchange for a set of economic and security incentives".
The news further quoted unnamed "Iranian officials" as saying that "common points of the two packages can be a launching pad to start talks".
The Farsi-language website Fararou identified the member of the committee who had quoted Aghazadeh as informing committee members that Iranian authorities had agreed to negotiate with the 5+1 group as Seyed Admad Hosseini. It was Hosseini who was quoted as telling reporters that the talks should start next week.
Fararou also provided additional details on the Aghazadeh's briefing. It said the secretary of the Majlis energy committee, Moayyed Hosseini, told its reporter that the Aghazadeh had pointed to "positive aspects" of the negotiations with the P5+1, "including the fact that the west was accepting Iran's possession of 3,000 centrifuges."
That comment suggested that Tehran will present the "freeze for freeze" proposal as a concession to Iran's right to enrich uranium.
The committee secretary was quoted by Fararou as stating flatly that the proposal for a six-week freeze on enrichment "has been accepted by Tehran".

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