Breitbart, by March 31, 2015:
Negotiations toward a nuclear deal between Iran and the P+5 nations (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany) will continue through June, according to reportsfrom Lausanne, Switzerland on Tuesday. The announcement was made to satisfy the self-imposed deadline of March 31 for a provisional agreement, with “technical” details to be agreed by July 1. However, major differences appear to have been redefined as “technical” to keep talks going.
The chief sticking point remains the question of what will happen to Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium. Iran had initially agreed to export the stockpile abroad, but reversed its position at the 11th hour. In addition, Iran wants UN sanctions lifted immediately, rather than at the end of several years. The parties have not yet agreed on a system of monitoring compliance, and the U.S. appears to have given up a demand for Iran to reveal possible military dimensions (PMDs) of its program.
The announcement of a new sort of interim agreement will suit the Obama administration’s political purposes, providing a ceremonious display of diplomatic progress for domestic consumption. The real winner, however, is Iran, which will have reason to feel proud of the concessions its negotiators have won, including an apparent agreement to allow it to maintain centrifuges at the fortified underground site at Fordow. Iran will also have three more months to build its nuclear capacity.
The lack of a more specific agreement, however, may provide American critics of the negotiations with an opportunity to press for new legislation in Congress–both for new sanctions in the event of failed talks, and for requiring any final deal to be ratified by the Senate. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has described the terms of the emerging deal as “even worse” than he had expected, and Tuesday’s deal may make the question of military force far more urgent than before.
As an American, it is embarrassing to see our Secretary of State so desperate to get a nuclear deal with Iran that he is willing to concede anything. The deadline is today (Tuesday) at midnight Switzerland time. It is thought that Kerry does not want the negotiations to pass midnight, because then it would be called an “April Fool’s Nuclear Deal.”
Many people believe that Kerry’s lack of restraint is his desire to win a Nobel Peace Prize. That may in fact be his motive, but to be fair, there is another reason. It there is no agreement with Iran, then the status quo remains: the sanctions continue while Iran continues to develop a nuclear weapons. What is not clear to me is why this is better than having a deal where the sanctions come off, and Iran continues to develop a nuclear weapon anyway.
According to an analysis by Memri, Iran has not backed down in any way from its positions at the start of the talks. As I reported yesterday, Iran has reversed a previous agreement to ship their stockpile of enriched uranium to Russia. Now they intend to keep it, so that it can be refined and developed into a nuclear weapon.
Memri lists the following Iranian positions that remain unchanged:
- Tehran rejects the removal of its enriched uranium from Iran.
- Tehran rejects a gradual lifting of the sanctions.
- Tehran rejects restriction of the number of its centrifuges.
- Tehran rejects intrusive inspections and snap inspections.
- Tehran rejects any halt to its research and development activity.
- Tehran rejects any change to the nature of its heavy water reactor at Arak.
- Tehran rejects any closure of its secret enrichment site at Fordow.
- Tehran rejects all restrictions to its nuclear activity following the agreement’s expiration.
- Tehran rejects the inclusion of its long-range missile program in the negotiations.
- Tehran rejects reporting on its previous clandestine military nuclear activity.
- Tehran rejects allowing inspections of military sites suspected of conducting nuclear activity.
So it looks like Iran is going to get a nuclear weapon either way.
This is a good time to remind readers that we have been predicting for years, based on a Generational Dynamics analysis, that Iran was going to get a nuclear weapon, because Iran’s public is demanding it for defense. They have already been a victim of Saddam Hussein’s WMDs, and the public believes that with Pakistan, Russia and Israel having nuclear weapons, they must have one, too.
Still, with President Obama’s and John Kerry’s foreign policy record of an unbroken string of catastrophes, it cannot do the United States any good to see a servile John Kerry begging for a deal, just to see him later beg for a reward from the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
Iran’s Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei is demanding that all Western sanctions be removed completely immediately, or there will be no deal. In February, Khamenei made a statement affirming this, but also accused the West of duplicity:
A scenario of agreement on general principles, and shortly thereafter agreement on the details, is not recommended, because our experience with the opposite side’s conduct [in the negotiations shows] that a framework agreement will serve [them] as a tool for inventing a series of excuses in [the negotiations on] the details. If an agreement is to be reached, it must be a single-stage agreement, and it must include the general framework as well as the details. The agreement’s content must be clear, and not open to interpretation. The agreement’s sections must not be such that the opposing side, which is used to bargaining, will search for excuses on the various issues. The sanctions must be completely removed.
This paragraph may be alluding to a 2013 interim agreement between Iran and the west. The full text of that agreement was never published. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that under the agreement, Iran had no right to enrich uranium, while Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif gloated that Iran had preserved its right to enrich uranium. The White House published a “summary,” but Iran completely rejected the White House summary as “not true.” Then, in January 2014, Iran disclosed that there was a secret side agreement to the nuclear agreement. The White House first confirmed this, saying that the side agreement would be made public, and then denied that there was a secret side agreement.
So Khamenei is demanding that any new agreement be published in full, that there be no side agreements, that there be no ambiguities, and that sanctions be removed completely, immediately.
So here are two questions: Is Khamenei so resolute that he will not compromise on any principle? Is Kerry so servile that he will compromise on every principle? Perhaps we will have an answer by April Fool’s Day. Memri and VOA and AEI Iran Tracker
- White House readies Iran nuclear deal sales pitch to skeptical Congress (cnn.com)
Is the Obama Administration Taking Iran’s Side in the Nuclear Talks? (centerforsecuritypolicy.org)
Experts: Iran Housing Nuke Materials in North Korea, Syria (freebeacon.com)
- There’s No Deterring an Apocalyptic Nuclear Iran (nationalreview.com)