In his first speech since the election, Iran's President-elect Hassan Rouhani said his country would be "happy to build trust and repair relations with the United States," if only the United States would stop meddling in Iran's domestic affairs, including its nuclear plans.
The template Rouhani put forward Monday as a possible framework for future talks was a deal that he had discussed with then French President Jacques Chirac in 2005.
"That agreement with Mr. Chirac could have been the final agreement to the nuclear question; the Germans said they were in agreement too. But unfortunately the British, under pressure from the United States, would not agree, and so the deal was not finalized," Rouhani said, according to France 24.
In his speech, Rouhani said, "Iran’s nuclear [energy] programs are completely transparent but we are ready to show more transparency and make clear for the whole world that the measures taken by the Islamic Republic of Iran are completely within international frameworks," according to Iranian state-run Press TV.
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According to the Inter Press Service news agency, France and Germany were prepared to negotiate the deal that would have converted Iran's enriched uranium to fuel rods, hence making them unusable for nuclear weapons.
Hossein Mousavian, who was part of the 2005 negotiating team, made it clear in 2012 that the reason the 2005 deal failed was because Iran's offer was rejected by the Bush administration, which would not accept any Iranian enrichment.
Mousavian spoke to Al Monitor about the deal:
"We agreed with Chirac that: first, the EU-3 would respect the legitimate rights of Iran for peaceful nuclear technology under the NPT (Non Proliferation Treaty), including enrichment," he said.
"Second, Iran would accept the [International Atomic Energy Agency] IAEA’s definition for objective guarantees that the Iranian nuclear program would remain peaceful and would not divert toward weaponization in the future."
"It means that Iran would respect the maximum level of transparency that internationally exists," Mousavian said. "In return, the P5+1 would not discriminate against Iran as a member of the NPT. It would respect Iran’s rights under the NPT like other members."
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Iran, which is a signatory to the NPT, was found in non-compliance with its safeguards agreement. The International Atomic Energy Agency's director general in 2003, Mohamed ElBaradei, said the country had failed to meet its safeguard obligations on numerous occasions.
But, before we build a castle on the sand of the 2005 deal...
Mark Dubowitz, the executive director of Foundation for Defense of Democracies, wrote in The Atlantic that Rouhani's negotiating record "demonstrates more deception that moderation."
Ali Vaez, Iran analyst at the International Crisis Group, cautioned that "Rouhani is the ultimate regime insider."
Rouhani's election was greeted with skepticism by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said the world must not give in to "wishful thinking" and loosen the pressure on the Islamic Republic to halt its nuclear program.
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Their interaction on social media might shed some light into how cozy Rouhani and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's relationship is, no?