US rejects Iran’s package of nuclear programme proposals

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Saturday, September 12, 2009, 8:16
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The United States has rejected the package of proposals put forward by Iran, which were aimed at breaking the impasse over its nuclear programme. The US is unhappy with the measures proposed by Iran, which do not address the status of that country’s nuclear ambitions, Philip Crowley, of the United States State Department, told the BBC in an interview.

While the United States wants Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment project, which it fears could be used for making atomic weapons, Iran argues that its nuclear programme is meant for civilian use.

“Our concern is that,” Crowley told the BBC’s World Today programme, “that Iran’s response itself did not really address what is the core issue of the international community and the core concern, which is Iran’s nuclear ambitions.”

Iran has to prove that it is willing to live up to the commitments it had made, Philip Crowley told the BBC, adding that “one of the questions going forward will be to test Iran’s interest in actual engagement, either with the United States or with the international community, and obviously a core concern is in fact its nuclear programme.”

Mojtaba Samareh, an aide to the President of Iran, had earlier told the newspaper Washington Post in an interview that Iran will not abandon its nuclear programme but that the country was ready to work with the international community to get rid of nuclear arms.

Meanwhile, the reaction from Russia to Iran’s package of proposals on its nuclear plans has been more positive than that of the United States.

Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, is of the opinion that Iran’s latest proposals holds “something to work with” and, based on a brief review of the papers submitted by Iran, there is “something to use.”

The most important thing, Sergei Lavrov said in Moscow, is that Iran is willing to have a comprehensive debate on the situation. It is also clear that Iran is prepared to play a positive role in Iraq and Afghanistan in particular and the region in general.

According to political observers, since Russia’s attitude towards Iran’s overtures continue to differ from that of the Western nations, hitting upon a common ground on the vexed issue could be tricky.

It may recalled that United States President Barack Obama had warned the government of Iran earlier in 2009 that Washington would like to see a “positive response” to its friendlier propositions by the end of September 2009. And, if that does not happen by then, the United States would push for new sanctions against Iran, Obama had warned.

At the same time, Russia made it clear the other day, in the UN Security Council, that it would not support any new rounds of harsh sanctions against Iran.

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