The Iran Deal and Its ConsequencesPosted: April 8, 2015
Mixing shrewd diplomacy with defiance of U.N. resolutions, Iran has turned the negotiation on its head
“In a large country with multiple facilities and ample experience in nuclear concealment, violations will be inherently difficult to detect. Devising theoretical models of inspection is one thing. Enforcing compliance, week after week, despite competing international crises and domestic distractions, is another.”
Debate regarding technical details of the deal has thus far inhibited the soul-searching necessary regarding its deeper implications. For 20 years, three presidents of both major parties proclaimed that an Iranian nuclear weapon was contrary to American and global interests—and that they were prepared to use force to prevent it. Yet negotiations that began 12 years ago as an international effort to prevent an Iranian capability to develop a nuclear arsenal are ending with an agreement that concedes this very capability, albeit short of its full capacity in the first 10 years.
Mixing shrewd diplomacy with open defiance of U.N. resolutions, Iran has gradually turned the negotiation on its head. Iran’s centrifuges have multiplied from about 100 at the beginning of the negotiation to almost 20,000 today. The threat of war now constrains the West more than Iran. While Iran treated the mere fact of its willingness to negotiate as a concession, the West has felt compelled to break every deadlock with a new proposal. In the process, the Iranian program has reached a point officially described as being within two to three months of building a nuclear weapon. Under the proposed agreement, for 10 years Iran will never be further than one year from a nuclear weapon and, after a decade, will be significantly closer.
Inspections and Enforcement
The president deserves respect for the commitment with which he has pursued the objective of reducing nuclear peril, as does Secretary of State John Kerry for the persistence, patience and ingenuity with which he has striven to impose significant constraints on Iran’s nuclear program.
[Also see – Clouds of Grey Fuzz Hang Over Iran Deal]
Progress has been made on shrinking the size of Iran’s enriched stockpile, confining the enrichment of uranium to one facility, and limiting aspects of the enrichment process. Still, the ultimate significance of the framework will depend on its verifiability and enforceability.
“Under the new approach, Iran permanently gives up none of its equipment, facilities or fissile product to achieve the proposed constraints…”
Negotiating the final agreement will be extremely challenging. For one thing, no official text has yet been published. The so-called framework represents a unilateral American interpretation. Some of its clauses have been dismissed by the principal Iranian negotiator as “spin.” A joint EU-Iran statement differs in important respects, especially with regard to the lifting of sanctions and permitted research and development.
“…It only places them under temporary restriction and safeguard—amounting in many cases to a seal at the door of a depot or periodic visits by inspectors to declared sites. The physical magnitude of the effort is daunting.”
Comparable ambiguities apply to the one-year window for a presumed Iranian breakout. Emerging at a relatively late stage in the negotiation, this concept replaced the previous baseline—that Iran might be permitted a technical capacity compatible with a plausible civilian nuclear program. The new approach complicates verification and makes it more political because of the vagueness of the criteria.
“Is the International Atomic Energy Agency technically, and in terms of human resources, up to so complex and vast an assignment?”
Under the new approach, Iran permanently gives up none of its equipment, facilities or fissile product to achieve the proposed constraints. It only places them under temporary restriction and safeguard—amounting in many cases to a seal at the door of a depot or periodic visits by inspectors to declared sites. The physical magnitude of the effort is daunting. Is the International Atomic Energy Agency technically, and in terms of human resources, up to so complex and vast an assignment?
In a large country with multiple facilities and ample experience in nuclear concealment, violations will be inherently difficult to detect. Devising theoretical models of inspection is one thing. Enforcing compliance, week after week, despite competing international crises and domestic distractions, is another. Any report of a violation is likely to prompt debate over its significance—or even calls for new talks with Tehran to explore the issue. The experience of Iran’s work on a heavy-water reactor during the “interim agreement” period—when suspect activity was identified but played down in the interest of a positive negotiating atmosphere—is not encouraging…..(read more)
Messrs. Kissinger and Shultz are former secretaries of state
- Ex-secretaries of state Kissinger, Shultz pan Obama’s Iran nuclear deal (theuglytruth.wordpress.com)
- Oh my… Henry Kissinger and George Schultz blast Obama’s Iran deal (israelmatzav.blogspot.com)
- The Iran Deal and Its Consequences : By Henry Kissinger And George P. Shultz (ruthfullyyours.com)
- Who negotiated this deal? Kissinger and Shultz give withering assesssment of Iran ‘framework’ (worldtribune.com)
- The Iran Nuclear Agreement: A Step in The Right Direction (therebel.is)
- Canada will judge Iran ‘by its actions, not its words’ (ctvnews.ca)
- Iran Keeps Its Nuclear Secrets (wsj.com)
- IAEA Urges India to Take Further Action for Nuclear Regulation (voanews.com)
- Clouds of Grey Fuzz Hang Over Iran Deal (punditfromanotherplanet.com)