This is a rush transcript from "The Journal Editorial Report," October 3, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
PAUL GIGOT, HOST: This week on the "Journal Editorial Report," talking to Iran. What the U.S. got and gave away at this week's negotiations.
And health care double-talk. Democrats want you to pay a penalty if you don't buy insurance. But whatever else you do, please don't call it a tax.
Plus, a preview of the big elections this November and why they may signal trouble ahead for the president's agenda.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We're committed to serious and meaningful engagement but we're not interested in talking for the sake of talking. If Iran does not take steps in the near future to live up to its obligations, then the United States will not continue to negotiate indefinitely. And we are prepared to move towards increased pressure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIGOT: Welcome to the "Journal Editorial Report." I'm Paul Gigot.
That was President Obama Thursday warning Iran that the U.S. won't talk forever. Representatives from the United States, U.K., France, Germany, Russia, and China met in Geneva this week with Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili. Iran reportedly agreed to grant U.N. inspectors access to its newly disclosed uranium enrichment facility at Qom. So will our patience payoff?
Iranian journalist, Amir Taheri, joins me here from London.
Amir Taheri, great to have you back on the program.
AMIR TAHERI, IRANIAN JOURNALIST: Thank you.
GIGOT: The New York Times said that the Iranians had made key concessions. Do you agree with that?
TAHERI: Not at all. In fact, the negotiations were about three United Nations resolutions that demanded that Iran should stop uranium enrichment. Now the negotiations are no longer about that, but about IAEA, International Atomic Energy Agency, inspectors being allowed to inspect one of the sites that Iran has declared. So from disarmament, it became inspection.
GIGOT: What about the ability to at least inspect this new site, which was only disclosed last week? Iran had not previously disclosed it. I guess the U.S. intelligence had known about it, but didn't tell anybody else. Isn't it good that we could get access to that?
TAHERI: Well, yes, you know, Iran is obliged to allow access under the non-proliferation treaty and other Iranian sites are under inspection by the IAEA. There are in fact cameras installed in all of the Iranian sites. And this one would have happened in the same way. But there's no concession there. I don't see why the IAEA inspectors, who are in Tehran now, don't drive to this new site, an hour's drive, and have a look now. Iran has promised to allow them to go within the next few weeks. Why shouldn't they go there now? Why should we wait so that everything is sanitized there?
GIGOT: What about the willingness of Iran — and they said they might be willing to do this — to take uranium, some of the uranium which they've enriched — and this is the fuel that could be used to make the nuclear weapon — take that enriched uranium and move about 75 percent of it outside of Iran, to Russia or France? Isn't that a concession?
TAHERI: Not at all. That was also an idea put in by Mr. Putin of Russia three years ago. The issue is that the U.N. asked Iran not to enrich uranium. It is like haggling in a carpet bizarre. As long as you buy the main carpet, they give you some caviar. They will give you some tea. They will give you a little rug. They will kiss you on both cheeks and so on. But the rug, you have bought it. And Iran will say that Mr. Obama has bought Iran's right to continue to enrich uranium.
GIGOT: So your conclusion would be that Iranian leaders have no intention of giving up nuclear weapons program?
TAHERI: Absolutely not. To be honest, they say themselves openly, again and again, only you don't want to hear it in United States. They say categorically that Iran will not stop its nuclear project, period. Now, let's talk about other things, about Palestinian, about global warming, about trade, about the form of the United Nations. They are given a package, in which everything is mentioned, sadly, not saving the waste.