I am pleased the U.S. administration has agreed to negotiate with Iran over their nuclear energy programme. I think, however, the setting of preconditions and in particular the requirement that Iran suspend its nuclear enrichment efforts is absurd and hardly a confidence building measure. Iran needs to increase the U-235 isotopic mix in order to generate enough fission for energy or weapons purposes. By suspending this uranium activity, it would essentially be abandoning its nuclear ambitions.
I think the American administration is attempting to demand an outcome that negotiations themselves are intended to achieve. After all to ask Iran to cease an activity which is the goal of the negotiations, prior to those negotiations, is not how a great power should conduct diplomacy. The U.S. does not desire diplomacy but war it could be argued. The U.S. is only reluctantly and perhaps, cynically, giving the appearance of a diplomatic track in order to appease the P5 (this refers to the permanent non-rotating members) on the U.N. Security Council. The U.S. knows that sanctions or any invocation of Chapter 7 actions under the U.N. Charter are unlikely without an exhaustion of non-violent remedies. Yet the American press, which had ignored the baby killing in Iraq for three years and generally supported this preemptive war, has essentially ignored the condition for negotiations and merely emphasised the putative change in the Bush administration's approach to Iran.
Iran will not suspend enrichment which is done through spinning centrifuges at great speed and the multilateral talks with the United States will not occur. I simply cannot imagine Iran agreeeing to this deal breaker. I hope I am wrong but without some adjustments in America's diplomatic position, the potential for successful diplomacy is lessened. Iran is entitled by the way to enrich, to conduct fission, to have a nuclear energy programme under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1968. It is not allowed to divert nuclear processes into a weapons programme and is required to accept I.A.E.A. (International Atomic Energy Agency) safeguards, which are really inspections and the implanting of monitor devices at their declared nuclear facilities.