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Entries in Natanz (5)


Iran Analysis: Hype & Substance --- 3 Key Points on Latest IAEA Nuclear Report

The International Atomic Energy Agency has completed its latest quarterly report on Iran's nuclear programe. As always, extracts were leaked by "Western diplomats" to compliant reporters to portray an escalating Iranian threat, buttressed by "analysis" from the Institute for Science and International Security.

So, cutting through the propaganda, what are the significant points about the report?


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Iran Special: The US Nuclear "Experts" at ISIS --- When Propaganda Replaces Analysis

EA Video Analysis: How to Become An Expert on the Iranian Nuclear Programme

ISIS Founder David AlbrightIf the ISIS was to admit any evidence that Iran is not on the verge of weapons-grade uranium --- indeed that Iran has been converting a good part of its uranium to non-military uses --- then it would undermine the demand of the US and European powers that Tehran has to shut down its enrichment, close down its plant, and ship out the 20% stock.

That cannot be entertained, because ISIS's analysts are committed to "Stop, Shut, and Ship". Thus the report is not just an error in analysis. With its assumptions, its speculations, and its ignorance of vital evidence, it is propaganda in support of a political quest.

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Iran Interview: Middle Class Suffers, But Regime Will Take "Fair Package Deal" on Nuclear Program --- Iranian Analyst

The middle class feels it more than other sectors. The poor remain poor, and as always, rich people are less affected. It is the middle class --- the sector which protested the most for change in Iran following the 2009 elections, and the people who have the potential to change --- who have been hit the hardest, because they are becoming poor, and their influence diminishes. It follows that the sanctions decrease the likelihood of political change in Iran. People are increasingly dependent on the government, and the likelihood of an uprising while risking their source of income, will be lower.

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Iran Analysis: A 4-Point Beginner's Guide to the Nuclear Talks

After days of last-minute fencing --- reflecting both the tensions of diplomacy and the tensions within the Iranian political system --- Tehran finally agreed on Monday to the start of nuclear discussions in Istanbul. Iran's representatives will sit down with those of the 5+1 Powers (US, UK, France, Russia, China, and Germany) on Saturday to consider the future of Tehran's uranium enrichment.

The theatrical dispute over location, which started when Iran pulled back last week from Turkey as the host of the talks, ended with the declaration that Istanbul's opening meeting would be followed by another round of discussions in Baghdad.

At one level, that's a face-saving arrangement. The Islamic Republic had boxed itself in with its posture that Turkey --- which has been a diplomatic partner of Tehran, which had been vital in working with Iran for a possible agreement in 2010, but which had angered some in the regime with its position on the Syrian crisis --- was no longer acceptable as the venue. The Iranians (and by this, I primarily mean the Supreme Leader) either had to take this pose all the way to the collapse of discussions even before they started, or accept that it was the Istanbul way or no way for the negotiations.

At another level, however, the Baghdad add-on is a tip-off from the Islamic Republic to the US and European powers not to expect an immediate meeting of minds in Turkey. If there is to be an agreement, it will have to come through lengthy talks producing compromise, rather than an Iranian concession to sanctions and other pressure, and an arrangement not only respecting but highlighting the Islamic Republic's sovereignty. A meeting in Iraq is symbolic of that desire --- the Iranians know that Washington is suspicious of Baghdad's political leanings towards Tehran, so the US would have to make a concession in entering that diplomatic territory.

At the same time, the setting-out of not just one but two sets of talks --- albeit with those in Baghdad on an unspecified date, only to be confirmed at the end of Istanbul --- raises the question as to whether either side will put a substantial offer on the table this week or whether each will fence for position, trying to get the other to tip off their negotiating hand and even give way on it.

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Iran Document & Snap Analysis: The IAEA Report on Tehran's Nuclear Programme

I suspect there will be a lot of fuss this weekend about today's quarterly report from the International Agency Energy Agency, much of it made without actually reading the document. Many in the mainstream media are already primed to see a likely if not inevitable military showdown, and they will be fed soundbites that prove Iran's confrontational approach.

In fact, the major shift is not in substance --- "the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material" is the same clause in its conclusions of the last two years --- but in tone.

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