Jeffrey LewisMottaki: Suspension Illogical

Much of the international press—including the BBC, Reuters and AFP—quoted Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki calling the Security Council call for the suspension of Iran’s enrichment activities “illogical.”

Despite the giggling and Spock jokes, the transcript on the Iranian Foreign Ministry page reads differently:

We have repeatedly announced that we are ready to negotiate with the Europeans all questions and ambiguities (in the nuclear package). Even their demand for suspension of nuclear activities, which we regard as illegal, can be discussed.

The difference is slight and elsewhere Mottaki seems to have denied the logic, as well as the legality of the resolution.

But, at least for now, set your silly phasers to stun.


  1. nzruss (History)

    I recall an interview on “This week with George Stephanopoulos” with a gentleman whose name I cannot remember. However, I do recall this man being a US govt (foreign policy?) official. Anyway, the US official said words to the effect “we’ve been working hard to isolate Iran over the last year an a half”.

    The statement was (IMHO,) in the context of the USA working hard to make it look like Iran are isolating themselves from the international community. This ‘side of the story’ is what the media seem to prefer to report, and is backed up by the statements above. Either I am politically naïve, or this is normal underhanded politics.

    How will any country labelled as the ‘bad guy’ get a fair deal if every attempt to discuss contentious issues results in a statement of ‘they aren’t willing to talk to us’ ?

  2. hass (History)

    From David Isenberg at
    [N]ow we know, thanks to documents posted by the Arms Control Association on its website ( ) that contrary to the usual rightwing propaganda that Iran has no serious intent of negotiating over its nuclear program, that since the 2003 exposure of its nuclear program Iran has devised at least five proposals which included provisions designed to assure the international community that its nuclear activities are exclusively for peaceful purposes, rather than nuclear weapons.

    In fact, the charge of a lack of serious intent can just as easily be laid against the United States. Secretary of State Rice spins the issue this way, saying that if Iran insists on negotiating revisions to the proposal given to Iran in June that should that be viewed as the end the diplomatic process. But very few commentators are familiar with the actual content of the proposal, which was not released to the public when it was given to Iran. A careful reading of the proposal, now available on the French foreign ministry website ( ts-of-revised-proposal-to-iran_5314.html ) reveals that it fails to offer Iran even the potential for the kind of security benefits that might be expected to accompany the demands that the same proposal makes on Iran.

    While there are occasional moments of sanity such as the 21 former generals, diplomats and national security officials who released an open letter yesterday calling on the Bush administration to engage immediately in direct talks with the government of Iran without preconditions to resolve the Iranian nuclear program they are rare.

    All together the above actions constitute what the Pentagon refers to as IPB, Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield. They also serve notice, per Mark Twain’s famous saying, that the news of the death of U.S. neocon influence is premature.

  3. JJ (History)

    Amazing. Two wonkish blogs—one on arms control and the other on baseball ( have Leonard Nimoy at the top.