Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, January 20th, 2018

The Old Course, the Old Tricks

It is becoming more evident that neither diplomatic approaches nor any military warnings can put off intentions of the Islamic Republic of Iran to complete the controversial Uranium enrichment process. Iran has consistently denied allegations that it seeks to develop a bomb. Yet many in the international community remain skeptical. Despite a U.S. intelligence finding in November 2007 that concluded Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003, the Bush administration warned that Iran sought to weaponize its nuclear program, concerns the Obama administration shares. Nonproliferation experts note Iran's ability to produce enriched uranium continues to progress but disagree on how close Iran is to mastering capabilities to weaponize.

In its most recent report on Iran nuclear program, the international nuclear watchdog says it has unspecified evidence Iran worked on technology designed to set off a nuclear weapon. The New York Times reported the revelation came in a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency released Tuesday. The Times quoted the report as saying the organization has evidence Iran conducted work on sophisticated nuclear triggering technology, but did not say where the evidence came from or provide many details.

However, as a usual response to such reports, Iran's nuclear chief has dismissed the report, calling it a "fabrication." Tehran has been slapped with a series of UN Security Council resolutions demanding a halt to its uranium enrichment, none of which has produced any palpable changes in Iranian officials' decisions. The UN Security Council hit Tehran with a fourth set of sanctions on June 9 last year over its nuclear program, and the United States and European Union followed up with tougher punitive measures targeting Iran's banking and energy sectors.

In addition to ongoing tensions between the United States and the Islamic Republic, hopes for diplomatic talks glimmered as Iranian President Mehmoud Ahmadinejad took the office for a second term as president. The country is severely persisting against the international calls for halting its nuclear enrichment program. Staying unwavering, Iran has said it will never give up its right to enrich Uranium. But it had announced previously that it could suspend higher-level work for several years if a long-delayed fuel swap can be agreed with foreign powers.

Iran has held no substantive talks with world powers since it struck a fuel swap deal with Russia, France and the United States in October. The diplomatic talks seemed to have reached a deadlock. There are, however, calls for peaceful approaches to the subject despite the rigidity demonstrated by both parties. Indications suggest that, having demonstrated no alterations in mindsets, the negotiation parties will reiterate their previous positions. Negotiation annals say that the western party attends meetings to encourage Iran to halt the enrichment process and, on the contrary, Iran has repetitively marked the enrichment program as non-negotiable. So, the process will keep going controversial and up in the air unless the two sides are dealing on some considerable concessions, a requisite denied by both parties so far.