Report: West to Offer Iran Cash Incentive

The British Times: West may offer Iran a cash windfall from its frozen oil revenues in exchange for progress in nuclear talks.

Elad Benari ,

Iranian, Western delegations in Geneva
Iranian, Western delegations in Geneva

The West is planning to offer Iran an incentive that would provide it with some sanctions relief without actually relieving the sanctions, reports the British Times.

According to the report, a plan being explored by the West would see Iran being offered a cash windfall from its frozen oil revenues.

The windfall would allow Tehran to unlock some of the money held under the crippling sanctions if it were willing to halt all nuclear activity while more detailed negotiations continued.

Robert Einhorn, who served as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s special adviser on non-proliferation, told the Times that the idea of repatriating a fraction of the frozen oil funds to Tehran had emerged from talks designed to find ways of giving Iran temporary relief without lifting sanctions.

He stressed that the offer would be a one-time offer and that the sanctions on Iran will not be removed as long as the negotiations with the West continue.

"The proposal is intended to show our seriousness to Iran and find ways to make it easier for the regime in Tehran without removing the sanctions," Einhorn explained to the Times.

A new round of talks between Iranian negotiators and representatives from the P5+1 group - the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany - is due to take place in Geneva for November 7 and 8.

In the last round, held in October, Iran presented what it described as a breakthrough proposal that would include snap inspections of its atomic sites.

The proposal was described by the White House as "useful". White House spokesman Jay Carney said it showed a "level of seriousness and substance that we have not seen before." Western negotiators described the talks as the most detailed and serious to date.

Ahead of the next round of talks, however, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday he is not “optimistic” about the negotiations.

“The government is not optimistic about the Westerners and the current negotiations,” Rouhani was quoted as saying by AFP.

“But it does not mean that we should not have hope for removing the problems,” he said, referring to the international sanctions hurting Iran’s ailing economy.

The Iranian president’s comments come a day after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei expressed his support for Iran’s nuclear talks but also said he was not optimistic.

“No one should see our negotiating team as compromisers,” Khamenei was quoted as saying by AFP.

“I am not optimistic about the (nuclear) negotiations but, with the grace of God, we will not suffer losses either,” he added.