Iran denies offering new plan on nuclear impasse

DUBAI Sat Oct 6, 2012 1:29pm EDT

A general view of Bushehr nuclear power plant, 1,200 km (746 miles) south of Tehran, August 21, 2010. Iran began fuelling its first nuclear power plant on Saturday, a potent symbol of its growing regional sway and rejection of international sanctions designed to prevent it building a nuclear bomb. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi (IRAN - Tags: POLITICS ENERGY)

A general view of Bushehr nuclear power plant, 1,200 km (746 miles) south of Tehran, August 21, 2010. Iran began fuelling its first nuclear power plant on Saturday, a potent symbol of its growing regional sway and rejection of international sanctions designed to prevent it building a nuclear bomb.

Credit: Reuters/Raheb Homavandi (IRAN - Tags: POLITICS ENERGY)

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DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran denied on Saturday a U.S. media report that it had offered a "nine-step plan" aimed at solving its stand-off with the West over its disputed nuclear program.

The New York Times reported on Thursday that Iran had proposed a plan to European officials that required the West to lift harsh oil and economic sanctions in return for the eventual suspension of uranium enrichment by Tehran.

It reported Iranian officials tried to gather support for the proposal during a visit last month to the United Nations.

Several rounds of negotiations over the nuclear program between Iran and world powers - the United States, France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany, known collectively as the P5+1 - have failed to secure any breakthroughs.

The powers fear that Iran is trying to develop a nuclear bomb. Tehran says its program is for peaceful purposes.

The Iranian plan described by the New York Times would likely be a non-starter, as the six powers have demanded Tehran halt its 20 percent enrichment of uranium; ship any stockpile out of the country; close down an underground enrichment facility, Fordow; and permit more intrusive U.N. inspection of its work.

Tehran has refused to meet those demands unless economic sanctions choking its oil exports are lifted first, and denied on Saturday that it had made any new offers to the West to break an impasse that has lasted nearly a decade.

"No new offer outside of the framework of the P5+1 negotiations during the last meeting of the United Nations has been made, and the claims of some American news organizations in this regard are baseless," Mehr news agency on Saturday quoted Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, as saying.

Sanctions have begun to take a serious toll on Iran's economy, with its currency the rial dropping by around a third in value against the dollar in less than two weeks.

The United States Congress is considering expanding American economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not ruled out using force to halt the nuclear program. The United States, Israel's main ally, says it will not allow Tehran to produce the bomb, but sanctions should be given more time to work before force is considered.

(Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati; Editing by Alison Williams)

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Comments (4)
xcanada2 wrote:
Fortunately for Iran, there is another half of the world besides the West. We’ll just drive them over to the other economic sphere, along with their oil and ME influence, and they will be fine.

Oct 06, 2012 11:45am EDT  --  Report as abuse
To xcanada2: This is already happening, but it will take some time for a real financial effect to take place in the west. It’s simply called bartering and has happened for past several decades. India singed a $14billion deal with Iran for a period of 5 years so go figure. Chinese are no better than the west all they will do is squeeze the oil out at v.low prices in return of cheaply manufactured crap. The end result will be a war and I say bring it on, we need to resolve this one way or the other, let the chips fall where they may.

Oct 06, 2012 1:06pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Gordon2352 wrote:
These actions are, of course, an act of war by the US-led coalition.

If these sanctions should begin to destabilize the present Iranian government, it could logically react by a preemptive strike on US-led coalition forces within its reach quite easily, thus destabilizing the entire global economy by shutting down Middle East oil production/distribution.

If you understand Iranian history since the discovery of oil in the Middle East in relation to the treatment it has received from Western Powers, it is quite easy to understand why the present Iranian government has embarked on this course of action — it is mainly in reaction to previous severe ill treatment by Western nations.

The present course of action by these same Western Powers since the time of the Iranian Revolution has done little to assure the Iranians that they can trust the West on any terms but their own.

Since relations between Iran and the West — particularly with the US over the past few decades — has only worsened, especially recently, perhaps it would be better to step back and reevaluate what we are doing before we inadvertently plunge the whole Middle East into war.

Iran clearly knows that they will be destroyed if they should decide to attack anyone, but the credibility of assured destruction diminishes each day we pursue this course of backing them further into a corner.

I think time for a diplomatic solution is still possible, but just barely.

We think we are prepared for the “collateral damage” due to outbreak of hostilities, but are we prepared to accept the “blowback” — basically, a term that originated with the CIA to describe unexpected and potentially unacceptable damage as a result of actions taken?

Oct 06, 2012 3:50pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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