Jeffrey LewisParis Negotiations Update 19: Iran's Nuclear Programme

The Sunday Times (London) reports that UK Foreign Secretary “Jack Straw has drawn up a dossier [right] putting the case against a military attack on Iran amid fears that President George W Bush’s administration may seek Britain’s backing for a new conflict.”

The dossier, entitled Iran’s Nuclear Programme, is a compendium of 22 documents, including the full text of the Paris Accord. The analytic portion amounts to a single paragraph in the introduction, signed by Straw, stating:

A negotiated solution, in which both sides have a feeling of ownership, is in the best interests of Iran and of the international community. It gives stronger guarantees of future behaviour than an imposed solution, and is more likely to build the long-term confidence and trust which can enable the broader relationship to develop positively. We have worked hard to achieve agreement with Iran on the way in which this issue is handled, to give the international community the reassurance which we seek whilst safeguarding Iran’s right to the peaceful use of nuclear technology.

The Sunday Times can, perhaps, be forgiven for its description of the dossier. “British officials are increasingly concerned,” according to the Times, “that months of patient European-led diplomacy may explode in a torrent of bunker-busting attacks by US stealth bombers.” After recent statements by Vice-President Cheney and the head of Israel’s Mossad , who can blame the Brits?

Straw is expected to make that point in a meeting with Condoleeza Rice today.