An article by Iranian journalist, Mosehn Mehadian, who covered the nuclear talks in Moscow: At 3:30 AM on Thursday, I got into a cab on the way to the airport. Once the driver realized that I was traveling to cover the talks in Moscow, he began discussing the nuclear talks with me and was particularly interested in the future of these talks. I had no defined answer for him. Among his statements was criticism. He said that he had heard Dr. Jalili’s speech on the radio and added: “Good for him. He is an intelligent man. But I wish that he could cause these fools to realize that it is not what it once was, and we will not follow them like sheep to wherever they demand.” I, as a journalist who is closely monitoring the nuclear talks, believe that there is ambiguity regarding the very question and demand raised by the cab driver.
Conditions for the Talks
Several Iranian proposals from previous rounds of talks are related to the discussion model and not to technical or legal issues – This is a need to build mutual trust, mutual steps, setting goals, etc., but even these basic demands were not accepted by the West. The question then arises – in such a process, is there any expectation that Iran’s proposals regarding the nuclear program will be accepted? The West is unwilling to accept any negotiation preparation proposals. These meetings are known only as negotiations, and they are no different than foolish actions designed to show a flex of muscle. Of course, Iran closing the door to negotiations is not a solution, but it is extremely necessary and critical that we correctly depict these talks to the public, both domestic and foreign. It would be a lie to call these meetings talks. If this process were correctly defined and expectations of these talks brought down to a realistic level, Iran’s economy would cease being dependent on the talks, and the market would leave this state of stipulation.
Get out from behind the closed door
The nuclear negotiations team must focus and note domestic and foreign public intentions – The talks game, for all kinds of reasons, is not being conducted behind closed doors. What is important is that it is taking place in public opinion. Before it focuses on the proposals on the table with the West, Iran’s nuclear negotiations team must focus and note public intention both inside and outside Iran. The key to exiting the impasse of the talks is swaying public opinion and not people who lack any intention and will. This is what the Iranian negotiation team is ignoring.
The difference between Ashton and Jalili
Jalili does not speak pointedly and clearly – The meeting with Mrs. Ashton in Moscow was completely different than that of Mr. Jalili. Ashton and Michael Mann performed in a well executed fashion to submit the report. At the beginning of her statements, Mrs. Ashton emphasized that everything she would say could be found in a written declaration and that the report that she is submitting is documented. She speaks in the proper tone with short, clear sentences. She speaks concisely, answered three questions and exited the hall.
Mr. Jalili’s speech, however, was much longer than Mrs. Ashton’s. He answered most of the reporters’ questions, but without satisfying or convincing them. The most important statements he made were lost in the middle of many unnecessary statements. The media was confused and didn’t know which part of his statements or topic from the many topics he discussed should be addressed. Jalili answered the reporters’ important questions in a general, obtuse manner. A transparent, clear presentation of Iran’s positions, straight, concise and organized statements, prioritization of issues are part of what we expected to find in Jalili’s speech, but that did not happen.
What is Iran saying? What is the 5+1 saying?
Everyone knows what the 5+1 demands are. But what is Iran’s actual proposal? Why all this conservatism? Why shouldn’t Iran shout out its just demands? Mrs. Ashton, during her press conference, clearly stated the three conditions for Iran. What is Iran’s position on this? What is Iran’s proposed package? Iran’s negotiations team reiterates that it has submitted its proposals in five clauses. The question is then raised as to what these five clauses are? They haven’t said anything for a long time, and when they finally did issue statements, the statements were vague. Why not clearly and accurately list the proposal to the public? What is Iran’s position on enrichment? What about sanctions?
Humiliated but still with complaints
Iran’s position is vague – Under circumstances in which Iran’s natural rights are clear to everyone, why shouldn’t Iran speak from a position of power? Again, compare statements made by Ashton with those of Jalili. Ashton spoke with self-confidence, and her statements clearly imply that Iran was waiting for Mrs. Ashton’s examination to see whether or not she believed talks should continue. What would we expect here from Iran’s negotiations team? Mr. Jalili’s turn to speak came, and we expected him to adopt a clear stance on whether or not Iran was continuing the talks. But what does Jalili say? “If the talks are on the right track, we will make the necessary decision.” The vague statement, “the necessary decision” gets lost in the dozens of other statements.
In conclusion, Iran’s negotiations team needs to be reminded that today’s world is not a world of decision-making behind closed doors. Today, public opinion is pressure. Policy selection is based on public demand. The media today does not report the reality, but creates it. It is the public, and not Mrs. Ashton that needs to be persuaded.