December 11, 2013


Reflections on the Iran nuclear deal (Ismael Hossein-zadeh, 12/11/13,  Asia Times Online)

The underlying logic for the Iran nuclear negotiations was and continues to be preposterous: on one side of the negotiating table sat major nuclear powers who are all in violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), which requires them to have either dismantled or drastically reduced their nuclear arsenal; on the other side, an NPT- compliant country that neither possesses nor pursues nuclear weapons - a fact that is testified to both by the US and Israeli intelligence agencies. 

In an ironically perverse way, the culprits have assumed the role of the police, the prosecutor and the judge, shamelessly persecuting and prosecuting the innocent for no other reason than trying to exercise its NPT-granted right to peaceful nuclear technology. 

This obviously means that Iran is essentially negotiating under duress. Largely shut out of normal international trade, and constantly threatened by economic strangulation, it is essentially negotiating with a bullet to its head. As an astute observer of the negotiations has pointed out, "Iran voluntarily agreed to the [nuclear] deal the same way that a robbery victim voluntarily agrees to give up valuable possessions" to save his or her life [1]. 

To reach the interim deal, the Iranian negotiators agreed to a number of concessions with very little reciprocity in terms of relief from sanctions. These included: limiting its enrichment of uranium to only 3-5% purity, from the current level of 20% purity; rendering unusable its existing stockpile of 20% fuel for further enrichment; not using its more advanced IR-M2 centrifuges for enrichment; not activating its heavy-water reactor in Arak; and consenting to highly intrusive inspections. 

This means that under the deal, the Iranian negotiators have agreed to more than freezing Iran's nuclear technology; perhaps more importantly, they have reversed and rolled back significant scientific achievements and technological breakthroughs of recent years. One can imagine the feeling of disappointment (and perhaps betrayal) on the part of the many dedicated scientists, engineers and technicians who worked so hard to bring about such scientific advances; only to see them dishonored or degraded by reversing and freezing them at a much lower level. 

In return for these significant concessions, the US and its allies would agree: to unfreeze less-than 7 billion dollars of Iran's nearly 100 billion dollars of oil revenue frozen in bank accounts overseas; to consider easing sanctions banning trade in precious metals, petrochemicals and auto industry; and to suspend the EU and US sanctions on insurance and transportation services for the drastically reduced sale of Iran's oil. 

The most crippling sanctions on Iran's oil and banks, which served as the financial facilitators of international trade, would remain intact under the proposed interim deal. 

Threat to Iran's sovereignty

A careful reading of the interim agreement reveals that the Iranian negotiators gave up more than scaling down and freezing their country's nuclear technology and/or knowledge. More importantly, if implemented, the deal effectively places Iran's nuclear program (through IAEA) under total control of the United States and its allies. This is no speculation; it follows from the interim deal's vastly invasive inspections regime...

Until Iran is governed as democratically as we think it should be, we will determine how much sovereignty the regime has.

Posted by at December 11, 2013 11:41 AM

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