Obama finds an unlikely ally in the Iranian leadership
By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | NOVEMBER 5, 2012
As unlikely as it may seem, Iran has chosen a side in the American election. The suspension of part of its uranium enrichment is a very positive move to help Barack Obama clinch the presidency for a second time in a row.
Reports surfaced last week about a possible negotiation between the Iranian and American governments that sought to stop the enrichment of uranium conducted by the government led by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Two days before the election, several media outlets confirmed that the Iranian government halted its uranium enrichment process by as much as 20%.
The Iranian goal is to obtain a moratorium in the sanctions imposed on that country by the West; mainly the United States. However, the move to slow down the production of nuclear material, which the Iranians say the base for energy independence, is also making Barack Obama look good at home. In the United States and abroad, political pundits are assigning credits to Obama while saying that American sanctions have been of paramount importance to curb Iran’s thirst for a nuclear bomb.
Iran has suspended uranium enrichment to 20% in order for the West to lift economic sanctions imposed on the government and several strategic sectors, as confirmed by the Iranian parliamentarian Mohammad Hosein Asfari to pan-Arab Al Arabiya chain.
Asfari, who is the chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Policy and National Security, said that the Iranian government is willing to suspend uranium enrichment as a “goodwill gesture” with the intention to open direct negotiations with the United States, scheduled for after Tuesday’s presidential elections, as recorded by the Iranian news agency ISNA.
However, the Iranian parliamentarian said movement has conditioned the talks to the lifting of sanctions imposed on Iran. If a positive answer from the West fails to arrive, Tehran will resume the uranium enrichment process, according to Al Arabiya.
The decrease in enrichment of uranium to 20 percent of Iran’s capacity is not enough to develop a nuclear weapon, although the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Fereydoun Abbasi, confirmed this week that the Government is finalizing the installation of centrifuges at the Fordow enrichment plant , in the north of the country.
The Iranian economy is being hit hard by the sanctions, affecting especially in the oil sector, the main item of income for Iran. In this context, the spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Ramin Mehmanparast, has insisted that the government “has nothing to hide” over its nuclear program and proposed to have a live broadcast of the operations as well as to hold talks with the Group 5 +1 — the five permanent members of the Security Council of the UN and Germany.
“The conversations we are encouraging are highly transparent and our proposals are very specific. That is why Iran has advocated to have a live broadcast of the whole dialogue,” said the spokesman to the Iranian news agency Fars. “Our dispute with the other party are neither technical nor legal, but political,” Mehmanparast stressed.
Whether Iran intended to help Barack Obama or not — since Obama has shown to be more tolerant towards Iran than Romney has promised to be — the move has helped the US president’s public image during a time when Mitt Romney seemed to be surging in the polls all over the United States. Sizeable differences in traditionally democratic states have turned into short leads and some disputed states have even turned for Romney in the last few weeks. Meanwhile, Obama and his pundits hope that the Iranian bump shows tomorrow at the voting booths.
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