Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 11
By Umid Niayesh - Trend:
Iran's new suggestion about formation of a joint nuclear energy council to the Gulf States pursues political purposes, Behrooz Bayat, an Iranian expert on nuclear issues said.
Head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi said on Dec. 9 that Iran 's proposed council could be similar to the Southeast Asian and Latin American councils for nuclear energy.
Bayat who earlier served as consultant at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) told Trend on Dec. 11 that the Islamic Republic's announced proposal lacks details and should be understood as a political signal for the region countries in particular Saudi Arabia aimed at removing concerns over Iran 's nuclear program.
Some Islamic Republic officials have on numerous occasions accused Saudi Arabia of imposing pressure on the US administration in its nuclear talks with Iran.
In a recent similar statement, Esmail Kovsari, member of Iran's Parliament National Security and Foreign Policy commission told Trend that "Israel and Saudi Arabia don't want an agreement on the nuclear issue between the US and Iran."
"As long as the US administration follows-up on Israel and Saudi Arabia interests and does not make independent decisions, no changes will be made in the country's position and the nuclear agreement would not be achievable," Kovsari argued.
Bayat believes that if Iran wants to continue nuclear enrichment, it would have no choice rather than eliminating the region states' concerns.
While explaining Israel's serious opposition with any nuclear agreement which include even limited uranium enrichment right for Iran, Bayat said that the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu use the nuclear issue as a political card. They know that any agreement without including a limited nuclear enrichment right for Iran would not be possible, and so Netanyahu did not want any agreement with Iran , Bayat said.
"Netanyahu plays on Iran nuclear program as a security threat card to win the upcoming elections," the expert added. He also underlined that Israel is exaggerating the Iran 's nuclear threat.
While commenting on Saudi Arabia 's position against the nuclear agreement, Bayat referred to differences between Iran and Saudi Arabia over several regional issues, saying Saudi Arabia also use the nuclear issue card in its differences with Iran.
Bayat said that Iran can repair the ties with Saudi Arabia and eliminate concerns by following moderate policies which were already implemented during ex-presidents Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (1989 -1997) and Mohammad Khatami(1997-2005).
The expert also forecasted that reaching a comprehensive nuclear agreement would be possible, while commenting on the future of the nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1.
Iran and the P5+1 group (the US, UK, France, Russia, China plus Germany) agreed to extend nuclear talks until July 1, 2015 after failing to meet the 24 Nov. deadline to reach a comprehensive nuclear agreement.
The sides extended the Geneva nuclear deal, which was signed last November for providing Iran with some sanctions relief in exchange for Tehran agreeing to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities. Iran and the P5+1 also decided to put March 1, 2015 as a new deadline for a political framework agreement.
The sides have almost overcome the technical differences and there are some signs that can achieve a political agreement in next months, Bayat said.
The two parties are sending positive signals and there are various signs for sides' willingness for reaching an agreement.
Salehi's recent statements should be categorized within these positive signals, he said.
Bayat added that the Islamic Republic's air strikes against the Islamic State (IS, also referred to as ISIL or ISIS) targets in Iraq also should be understood in this category.
It should be noted that the U.S. Defense Department reported last week that Iranian fighter jets have attacked the IS militants in eastern Iraq in recent days. Carrying out air strikes against the IS, which was not possible without the US permit, can be considered as an initiative step for constructive cooperation between the two sides, Bayat said.
The expert underlined that the fact that Iran negotiates directly with the US during the ongoing nuclear talks after over three decades and this is also a main sign of moving Iran towards normalizing its policies.
If the current normalizing steps continue, it will prepare an important ground for political agreement on the Islamic Republic's nuclear program.
Umid Niayesh is Trend Agency's staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @UmidNiayesh
Edited by CN