Monday, March 10, 2008

Iran to Offer Enrichment Halt In Return For Cash?

By Cernig

Iran appears to be signalling that it is ready to offer a "halt for compensation" deal to Western nations worried about its uranium enrichment activities.

Today, Foreign Ministry spokesman, Mohammad-Ali Hosseini said (again) that Iran now considered the Modality Plan agreed with the IAEA successfully completed - but also said that Tehran was ready to hold talks with the Group 5+1 members states about specific issues.

And yesterday the Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili also offered further talks on co-operation in "fields like security, energy, and economy" with the international community and also said that Iran will ask for compensation in return for the halt of its nuclear activities for at least two years. At a conference on the topic of "Iran's peaceful Nuclear Activities", he said:
"those who made us stop uranium enrichment based on false accusations will have to pay for compensations as a result."
He added that he would not recieve Condi Rice for negotiations.

Both together might indicate a willingness by Iran to finally do a real deal - or it might indicate a plan by Iran to split off Europe from the U.S. on the issue by pointing out the Bush administration's belligerent rhetoric and roadblock manouvering in terms of international diplomacy.

But, oddly enough in the face of new sanctions and a America's determination to isolate Iran financially, the World Bank has just approved a new $250 million loan to Iran for water and sewage works. This under the presidency of Bush-appointee Robert Zoellick, who was previously Condi's deputy at State.

Signs of a break-through, maybe?

Update Then again, maybe not. Andy, in comments, offers his own translation of a Fars report and suggests that Kuna mistranslated the tense - which would mean Iran was demanding compensation for it's past enrichment halt from 2004-2006 rather than offering a new deal. Pity. A new deal of some kind really is what's needed.

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