chapter  2
19 Pages

Negotiating with Iran: lessons to be drawn: Thérèse Delpech


Iran, diplomacy and past experience The question related to diplo macy with Iran, its use fulness, its pos sible results, and its limit, is not new. It has been posed time and time again not only since the disclosure in Au gust 2002 of undeclared facilities in Natanz and Arak, but even before, for instance during the so-called “constructive dialogue” between the Euro peans and Iran in the 1990s, which became a con tentious issue between the United States (under the Clinton administration), and Europe (Delpech 2006; Bergman 2008, Albright and Stricker 2010). By then, Washington was already imposing heavy sanc tions on Iran, the roots of which were as much polit ical as they were strategic. In the second half of the 1990s, the Euro peans had become more circumspect concerning the “constructive” side of the dialogue: lack of results, statements made in Tehran, Iranian acquisitions in Europe which could hardly be justified by a civilian nuclear programme, and Iran’s beha vi our at the NPT Exten sion Conference,1 all these factors raised sus pi cions. Specific intelligence seemed to confirm them. Such was the situ ation when Alireza Jafarzadeh, representative of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), on 14 Au gust 2002 revealed that Iran was building two secret sites: Natanz and Arak.2 The revelation was confirmed by the IAEA in Febru ary 20033 (after five months of delay imposed by Tehran). In Septem ber 2003, the Director General made the fol low ing remarks to the Board of Governors:

We need to reconstruct the his tory of an extensive twenty years programme . . . I want to be very clear: if we do not obtain the neces sary in forma tion and if we do not get imme diate and full co-operation by Iran, we will not be able to verify the Iranian programme. And that is in itself a conclusion – that we are unable to verify.4