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12/4/04

International Crisis Group: Situation in Iran has improved

Four countries including Iran saw their situations improve in November, according to the "CrisisWatch," a monthly brief on current and potential crises published by a Brussels-based think-tank, the International Crisis Group (ICG).
 
Macedonia's referendum on decentralisation failed to attract the minimum turnout, signalling approval of plans for new local government boundaries introduced under the Ohrid peace agreement. Iran pledged a full, if temporary, suspension of uranium enrichment, allowing more time for further negotiations to resolve the nuclear issue comprehensively. Ethiopia's parliament approved a government plan to accept "in principle" a disputed boundary commission ruling on the town of Badme, reversing a position that had stymied peace with Eritrea. And Burundi's peace process got back on track.
 

Iran: Iran and EU-3 (France, UK, and Germany) signed agreement on nuclear standoff, with Iran pledging comprehensive but temporary suspension of uranium enrichment and EU offering economic rewards. Deal prevented issue from being referred to UN Security Council during crucial IAEA meeting 29 November, which issued softly-worded resolution welcoming enrichment freeze. But Iranian insistence that suspension will last only few months (pending outcome of negotiations with EU-3) and strong doubts in Washington that Iran negotiating in good faith likely to bring issue to head in near future.

 

  "UN action frustrates U.S. on Iran", International Herald Tribune, 30 Nov. 2004.

  "Iran nuclear freeze 'incomplete'", BBC, 25 Nov. 2004.

  "Diplomats say Tehran sends wrong signal", The Washington Post, 20 Nov. 2004.

  "Iran and Pakistani linked", International Herald Tribune, 18 Nov. 2004.

  For background, see ICG Middle East Report N18, Dealing with Iran's Nuclear Program, 27 Oct. 2003; and ICG Middle East Briefing, Iran: Discontent and Disarray, 15 Oct. 2003.

 

ICG Middle East Briefing, Iran: Where Next on the Nuclear Standoff?, 24 November 2004

With Iran's nuclear clock ticking, the U.S. must become engaged in seeking a comprehensive resolution to the crisis that includes addressing legitimate Iranian security concerns. Washington has remained on the sidelines while the EU-3 (France, Germany and UK) negotiated reprieves for Iran in 2003 and again this month, acquiescing but not believing in deals. It has reason to be sceptical, but four years of threats without incentives to change behaviour have bolstered Iran's hard-liners, increasing the regime's hold on power. U.S. engagement is critical. If Iran is prepared to trade away military ambitions, only Washington can give it what it wants in security guarantees and prospect of normal relations. If Iran is not prepared to deal, only rejection of a good faith U.S. offer will persuade the world to take tougher action 

 

 

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... Payvand News - 12/4/04 ... --



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