ce4743239aa58210VgnVCM100000e56411acRCRDapproved/thenational/Articles/Migration/2009-Q4Iran thinks it's a victim, but it's time to changebe4743239aa58210VgnVCM100000e56411ac____Iran thinks it's a victim, but it's time to changeIran claims that negotiations were never given a real chance. But despite the ominous headlines, it would be a mistake to read too much into them.<p>Iran would have you believe that it is a victim. The foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki claimed in Manama on Saturday that the P5+1 (China, Germany, France, Russia, the UK and the US) was disingenuous in its negotiations with the Islamic Republic. He declared that Tehran sought to meet them halfway, but had been rebuffed. His condemnations came after it was revealed that the US was seeking to garner support for stronger sanctions.</p>
<p>On Monday, The Times in London published details of a memo apparently written by Iranian officials outlining plans to develop a neutron initiator. The device is used to trigger a nuclear explosion and has no known civilian use. If genuine, the document is further evidence that Iran is seeking to assemble the key components of a nuclear weapon. The leak to the British newspaper seemed designed to counter the rhetoric of Mr Mottaki in Manama.</p>
<p>At first glance, a sanctions stand-off appears to be looming. The US is claiming that all diplomatic avenues have been explored; Iran claims that negotiations were never given a real chance. But despite the ominous headlines, it would be a mistake to read too much into them.
Certainly, there are a growing number of indications that Iran is seeking to overcome key hurdles of nuclear weapons technology: the ability to enrich weapons-grade fuel and build triggering mechanisms and delivery systems. It may not actually want a nuclear weapon, but it seems that it at least wants to be able to make one.</p>
<p>This is an unacceptable danger to regional and global security. But sanctions would not necessarily guarantee that Iran's nuclear ambitions fall short of their aim. Despite Tehran's protestations, the West does not want sanctions for their own sake. But there is no alternative should Iran continue to disguise the nature of its nuclear programme.
What made the Vienna proposal in October palatable to the P5+1 is that it would have eliminated much of the ambiguity surrounding Iran's use of nuclear materials. The deal was to take the overwhelming majority of Iran's low-enriched uranium stocks in return for an equivalent amount of fuel rods. Iran would have the reactor fuel it needs, and the world would know that it could not make a bomb in the immediate future. Iran countered with a piecemeal approach, offering three instalments to hand over the requested amount. But this turns a compromise that benefits both parties into a deal that benefits only Tehran.</p>
<p>Iran does not want more sanctions, and the rest of the world does not particularly want to impose them. But Tehran's antics threaten to derail efforts to achieve a diplomatic resolution.</p>