Peaceful nuke energy stressed in Iran before talks

Iran's state-run press accuses Netanyahu of "bullying" P5+1, speculates on proposals to be offered by West in Baghdad.

Iranians read newspapers in Tehran 390 (photo credit: Reuters)
Iranians read newspapers in Tehran 390
(photo credit: Reuters)
With talks between Iran and the P5 +1 group countries – China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK and the US – regarding Iran’s nuclear program set to resume in Baghdad on Wednesday, Iran’s state-run press moved late on Tuesday to emphasize the country’s claims of “peaceful” nuclear energy.
Late Tuesday evening, the Islamic Republic Broadcasting Agency reported that Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO) had announced its nuclear experts had successfully supplied the country’s Tehran-based research reactor with “two batches of homemade fuel.”
According to IRBA, the process “aims to ensure continued production of radiopharmaceuticals and radioisotopes for the Tehran research reactor,” and IAEO said it aimed to continue to deliver two packages monthly.
Throughout Tuesday, the Iranian media focused on Israel’s pre-summit stance, on reports that Russia and Western European countries might offer different proposals at the talks, and IAEA chief Yukiya Amano’s announcement that a deal with Iran over inspections was close.
Iran’s state-owned Press TV accused Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of “bullying” the P5 +1 countries when he declared on Monday that Israel would only accept a total halt of Iranian nuclear enrichment. The Tehran-based news outlet slammed Netanyahu’s position, and claimed Israel possessed “up to 400 nuclear warheads.”
Meanwhile, on Tuesday afternoon Iran’s semiofficial Fars news agency said Michael Mann, spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, told its reporters on Tuesday that there were likely to be two proposals offered at the Baghdad talks.
According to Fars, Western European states planned to present a “new package” to Iran, different from that proposed by the Russia, which it said indicated that P5 +1 members are divided on how to deal with the Iranian nuclear issue.
While Fars’s Farsi-language site said the content of the two different proposals remained unclear, its English-language portal noted that Russia had previously called for a “step by step” resolution to the dispute over Iran’s nuclear enrichment. Under a proposal put forward by Russia in February, Moscow suggested that Iran freeze the number of centrifuges for enrichment at current levels and place restrictions on centrifuge use, Fars said.
Both Press TV and the Revolutionary Guardslinked Mashregh News reported a speech by Iranian parliamentary chairman Ali Larijani, in which he called on the P5 + 1 countries to “change their policies” toward Iran during the Baghdad nuclear talks, and to “shun doubledealing.”
Meanwhile, Mashregh reported that Defense Minister Ehud Barak – whom it refers to as the “Zionist Regime’s Minister of War” – had said Israel was willing to accept an Iranian reduction in nuclear enrichment to 3.5 percent.
Israel’s official position has always been that the Islamic Republic must end all its enrichment activities, a stance Mashregh slammed as “irrational.”
Mashregh said it had taken Barak’s comments from Yediot Aharonot and that his statements could be interpreted as a compromise or as a new policy to justify military action against Iran.
“The regime could claim that its efforts to achieve a deal [with Iran] have been exhausted, and now military action is inevitable,” Mashregh said.
Iran’s Tabnak website, which is closely associated with Mohsen Rezaee, secretary-general of Iran’s Expediency Discernment Council, cited Rezaee as saying the P5 + 1 countries are prepared to give “concessions” to Iran, and while those concessions may not be great, they would be the “first step in the right direction.”
A former chief commander of the Revolutionary Guards, Rezaee is currently on Interpol’s wanted list for his alleged involvement in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires.
In Tuesday’s article, Rezaee said “steadfastness” of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the Iranian people are “bearing fruit” and that with “careful negotiations,” Iran “can start to reap the first fruits of that steadfastness.”
Meanwhile, Mashregh said Rezaee warned that Israel is trying to make trouble ahead of the talks, “however, the ground has been laid for Iran to gain points in the meeting, and we won’t give any excuse not to achieve a positive outcome in the Baghdad talks.”
Coincidentally, May 23 – the date of the nuclear talks in Baghdad – is a highly significant date in the history of the Islamic Republic. On that day, 30 years ago, Iranian forces tasted their first victory in their war with Iraq when they retook Khorramshahr using waves of Revolutionary Guards and Basij fighters, in an operation dubbed “Beit al-Moqaddas” (Jerusalem).
In a Tabnak article also on Tuesday, Rezaee said Iran’s enemies wanted war, and to take Iran’s “confidence and dignity.”
“Our enemies wanted to crush and humiliate us, but Khorramshahr’s liberation destroyed their hopes,” he said, according to Tabnak.
Rezaee made his remarks as the Iranian army prepares to stage extensive war-games on Wednesday, to mark Khorramshahr’s liberation and to practice new asymmetric war tactics, according to Iran’s army commander Brig.-Gen. Ahmad Reza Pourdastan.
Rezaee also posed the rhetorical question of whether “the Islamic Republic is more dangerous than tens of US and Soviet nuclear bombs,” and said some countries, especially Israel, wanted to upset Iran’s national resistance.
Iran’s official news agency, IRNA, which is controlled by the country’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, was upbeat about the upcoming Baghdad talks in reports on Tuesday, but focused on issues around the summit.
IRNA focused on Iraq’s role in the talks, and said Baghdad would play a “major role in resolving regional issues.”
The news agency cited Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) secretary and chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, who arrived in Iraq Monday night, as saying that holding the talks in Iraq indicted the country’s “peace, stability and security.”
IRNA reported that Jalili had held talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on both regional and international matters.