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The US Offers Incentives to Iran

The US will provide nuclear technology to Iran in exchange for stopping its uranium enrichment program.

From the AP:

A package of incentives presented Tuesday to Iran includes a provision for the United States to supply Tehran with some nuclear technology if it stops enriching uranium _ a major concession by Washington, diplomats said.

The offer was part of a series of potential rewards offered to Tehran by European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana, according to the diplomats, who were familiar with the proposals and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were disclosing confidential details of the offer.

The package was agreed on last week by the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia _ the five veto-wielding members of the U.N. Security Council, plus Germany, in a bid to resolve the nuclear standoff with Iran.

The incentives include European offers of help in building nuclear reactors for a peaceful energy program, the diplomats said.

That European offer of light-water reactors meant for civilian nuclear energy purposes was revealed last month, but there had been no suggestion that the Americans would also agree to help build Iran's civilian nuclear program if Tehran freezes enrichment and agrees to negotiations.

Diplomats had revealed Monday that the United States had upped the ante on what had initially been a European offer by agreeing to provide Boeing aircraft parts for Iran's aging civilian fleet. Just days before, Washington broke with decades of official policy of no high-level diplomatic contacts with Tehran, announcing it was ready to join in multinational talks with the Islamic republic over its nuclear program.

But one of the diplomats described the U.S. nuclear offer as particularly significant because it would in effect loosen what has been a decades-long American embargo on giving Iran access "dual use" technologies _ equipment and know-how that has both civilian and military applications.

Update: Jon Henke of QandO has weighed in on this deal and says there are several reasons why this offer was necessary. First attacking Iran isn't a good idea at this time. Second, economic incentives won't really work since the US already has economic sanctions in place against Iran. Third, Iran has the right to nuclear power for peaceful purposes but not to nuclear weapons.

Jon also notes that several people have already criticized tthe US's offer because they say it is too much like the Agreed Framework that Jimmy Carter negotiated with North Korea, and we all know what a disaster that was. In response to their concerns, Jon says this:

If properly negotiated, this could be a significant diplomatic achievement. We would have given up nothing we were not already legally obligated to give, while Iran would have agreed to inspections to pursue the nuclear program they were already legally allowed to have and encumbered themselves with additional disincentives to create tension in the Middle East.

Read the rest of Jon's piece. He offers an interesting perspective.

My question: what's next if Iran says no?

Update II: Little Green Footballs says US offers Throat to Iran.

Alan Warms at RealClearPolitics also reacts to the proposal with dismay.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The US Offers Incentives to Iran:

» Ninth State linked with Deal or No Deal?

» Strategic Outlook Institute - Weblog linked with U.S. Offers Nuclear Technology To Iran

Comments (9)

Well, Jon's point is true i... (Below threshold)
the wolf:

Well, Jon's point is true if we are assured we're dealing with a rational actor. I don't feel so sure about that. My instinct says that Iran will react like the spoiled child who realizes they can get something simply for acting up.

The Jimmy Carter deal with ... (Below threshold)

The Jimmy Carter deal with North Korea isn't a proper comparison.

Clinton and Albright had negotiated a deal with the PRK already, one with a strict verification regimen. All that was missing was the signing and announcement of the deal, which would have been the greatest {"only?"} foreign policy achievement of the Clinton Administration.

Enter the Peanut.

Without consulting anyone, Carter unilaterally announced his trip, which Kim immediately saw as reopening negotiations from a starting point of the concessions and incentives but without the safeguards. Clinton was furious, but what could he do? The agreement hadn't been signed, so there wasn't any good way to counter the sabotage.

It was Carter's interference which led to the PRK being able to develop nukes.

With Iran, the idea is to make the deal an offer they can't refuse - at least, not without rubbing the EU's face in it. It will then be clear that negotiations will lead nowhere.

Sanctions from one country mean little in the world economy, except for the high-tech items we can deny them. However, if enough allies will join in, there is a single sanction which would bring the mullahs to their knees: gasoline.

Despite all their oil, Iran lacks refinery capacity to even supply their own domestic needs. They import fully one-third of the gas and diesel fuel they use. Cut that off, and economic chaos would result in a matter of weeks.

We do have to give the countries which supply Iran with gas cover, and that is what this offer does.

Just to be safe, someone should tie Carter up and stuff a sock in his mouth until the Iranian crisis is past. Well past. In fact, perhaps we should just leave him like that for a few years, to be on the safe side.

I don't mind if Carter goes... (Below threshold)
The Listkeeper:

I don't mind if Carter goes to Iran, so long as it means I get to see Condi announce that he has no authority whatsoever to negotiate on behalf of the United States...And this deal is win/win for us, if we keep the iron to the fire on inspection standards.

Of course it's a good idea ... (Below threshold)

Of course it's a good idea - the adminisration came up with it.

Seriously though - it is a good idea. However, it didn't work in North Korea. Close watch must be kept.

"greatest {"only?"} foreign policy achievement of the Clinton Administration."

Lots to choose from, but off the top of my head, I would say getting Milosivic out without losing American troops was great. Hilarious reference to stifling critics, btw. Would you like one party or two?

If properly negotiated, ... (Below threshold)

If properly negotiated, this could be a significant diplomatic achievement.

read: we're all gonna die.

Of course it's a good id... (Below threshold)

Of course it's a good idea - the adminisration came up with it.

You're praising the Bush Administration!? Okay, who are you and what have you done with "our" jp2?

President Mahmoud Ahmedinaj... (Below threshold)

President Mahmoud Ahmedinajad, meet Chairman Kim Jong-Il.

Call me Jong-Il. I hear you got some good swag from Condi.

Yes, and the Americans will eventually leave Iraq, too. I won't have to do much of anything. Call me Mahmoud. BTW, Jong-Il, thanks for the missiles, and please thank your connection in China for shipping them overland so the US Navy couldn't interdict them.

Your welcome, Mahmoud, but what I want to know is when you will complete the countertrade by shipping us oil. We can use our tankers or Chinese tankers to pick up.

Use the Chinese tankers, Jong-Il because the Americans certainly won't mess with them. Better would be Indonesian tankers, because they control a strait that the US Navy must use. Now, let me introduce you to my friend, Hugo.

Thank you, Mahmoud. I want to meet him and perhaps do some business.

chsw (also on chequer-board.net)

John's assesment over at QA... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

John's assesment over at QAndO makes many valid points in terms of how to structure the conditions of the agreement, including inspections and the consequences if Iran fails to uphold its end of the agreement.

I also agree with him that Iran holds several asymmetrical warfare trump cards--their ties to Hezbollah, the free flow of insurgents into Iraq and attacking tankers passing through the Starit of Hormuz--that could make life miserable for the world at large should a large-scale invasion or attack occur by Western forces. Just as important--and hopefully this gets stitched into this agreement--is halting the seemingly free flow of insurgents and arms into Iraq by Iran. Maybe that's so much wishful thinking on my part because there's a lot Iran could do in terms of using Hezbollah covertly to continue undermining the democratic efforts in Iraq, but if Iran agrees to it and they can be held accountable, then get the agreement done.

Sure, we can kick their ass militarily, but after the collapse of the regime then what? Put it this way: you think Iraq's bad now? Consider what a post-Revolutionary Iran might look like. Yikes. Ugly.

I can really see people looking at this as a reincarnation of Clinton's "keeping the enemy in their box" policy, but I don't agree with that stance. By sharing this kind of technology and cracking open the diplomatic and economic door with Iran, it'll allow the CIA and our other intel agencies an "in" where very little intel currently exists. It would also give us direct inroads and ties to Iran pro-democracy groups and we would be better able to support them and their efforts.

I'm all for a peaceful, diplomatic solution. Just trust, but verify...trust, but verify...

Yup, I couldn't believe it ... (Below threshold)

Yup, I couldn't believe it either. The question is, do we really think appeasement works? I should hope not. Which is why this has got to be one of the ballsiest bluffs of all time. Let me explain.

Iran wants the nuclear bomb. Nuclear power is merely a convenient excuse for them to develop a Weapon of Mass Jewish Destruction. So, we offer to give them nuclear power technology, probably with a lot of strings attached. If they accept it, we'll probably have some sort of monetary gain, in terms of plans, construction, contracting, etc. - plus, a better standard of living for the Iran people (who I keep hearing are very pro-western). Maybe it could bring about a sea change in Iran?

On the other hand, if they refuse, and still continue on their thinly-veiled quest for nukes, then we've got every excuse to feed them a bunch of conventional weapons, pointy-end first.

Ballsy. At this point, I'd be pacing around the table.






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