The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

The groundbreaking nuclear deal is of great benefit to ordinary people in Iran

diplomacy-not-bombsflag-IranOrdinary Iranians the big winners in groundbreaking nuclear peace pact, Irish Independent  Mary Fitzgerald18/07/2015 The images from Tehran after news broke of an historic deal on Iran’s nuclear programme this week told their own story. Exuberant crowds took to the streets, cheering and dancing in celebration of an agreement that means their nation will now come in from the cold of international sanctions.

Many carried a large, wooden key, the symbol of president Hassan Rouhani’s election campaign two years ago, during which he put a nuclear deal on the top of his priority list.

The accord announced in Vienna was the fruit of 19 days of intense negotiations and four missed deadlines. It is designed to contain Iran’s nuclear programme, which Tehran has long insisted is only for energy purposes, for at least a decade, and will involve more comprehensive UN inspections to monitor its nuclear facilities.

As part of the deal, Tehran will get relief from the international sanctions that have crippled its economy for almost 10 years. The agreement is not only a victory for Rouhani, it is also a vindication of US President Barack Obama’s policy of engagement and marks Washington’s first real success in dealing with Tehran since the seizing of the American embassy there in 1979.

Anyone who has visited Iran in recent years will know how much sanctions have affected ordinary Iranians. Isolation from the international banking system and the loss of oil revenues have caused Iran’s currency, the rial, to plummet by two-thirds of its value against the dollar since sanctions were tightened in 2011.

Inflation has soared and the prices of fuel and basic foodstuffs have rocketed. Some estimates hold that the most recent round of sanctions brought Iran’s GDP down by 20pc and contributed to a jobless rate of 10.3pc, hitting young Iranians the hardest.

Between 2009 and 2013, more than 300,000 Iranians emigrated in search of better prospects elsewhere, and today, 25pc of Iranians with a post-graduate education are to be found living and working outside Iran.

By some estimates, the re-entry of Iran to the global marketplace means its economy will grow to more that 5pc GDP within a year. With the fourth-largest crude oil reserves in the world, the end to sanctions means Iran could increase its production to around 4pc of global output within months, thus lowering oil-price forecasts by $5-$15 per barrel.

The reopening of Iran and its consumer market of 78.5 million people means there will be a flurry of interest from investors. The country’s creaking infrastructure – particularly in its energy sector – means it needs all the help it can get……..

While the agreement does not mean diplomatic relations will be restored or Washington will shy away from criticising Tehran’s support for militant groups and its human rights abuses at home, it may usher in some form of coordination in relation to the battle against Islamic State in Iraq……….

July 18, 2015 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

World a little safer as deal agreed on with Iran – Obama

Obama,BarackObama praises diplomacy of Iran nuclear deal, Sky News, , 15 July 2015 US President Barack Obama has lauded a landmark nuclear agreement with Iran as vindication of his diplomatic approach and a chance for a ‘new direction’ in decades of vexed relations with Tehran.

Obama said the deal – which would curb Iran’s nuclear program in return for substantial international sanctions relief – cut off ‘every pathway’ to an Iranian atomic weapon. ‘Today, because America negotiated from a position of strength and principle, we have stopped the spread of nuclear weapons in this region,’ he said in a White House address on Tuesday.

Describing a ‘difficult history’ between Iran and the United States that ‘cannot be ignored,’ Obama shaped it as a diplomatic victory that showed ‘it is possible to change.’ ‘This deal offers an opportunity to move in a new direction. We should seize it,’ he said……..

Obama came to office vowing to talk directly to Tehran and to try to reach a negotiated deescalation – a marked shift from his predecessor, who rejected a similar deal struck by European countries. ‘This deal demonstrates that American diplomacy can bring real and meaningful change,’ he said.

But, he warned, if Iran steps back from measures agreed in the lengthy agreement, all sanctions ‘will snap back into place.’ Obama insisted the alternative to diplomacy was more violence in a region already beset by instability. ‘Put simply, no deal means a greater chance of more war in the Middle East,’ he said………

Obama said the deal was based on verification, not trust, and noted that differences between the two countries were ‘real.’

Analysts have also warned that Iran’s leaders may need to toughen anti-American rhetoric to ensure the backing of regime hardliners angered at the prospect of a deal with a power they view as the ‘Great Satan.’

July 15, 2015 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear agreement finally reached between Iran and world powers

diplomacy-not-bombsflag-IranIran nuclear agreement: powerful diplomats reach a deal,  JULY 15, 2015 THE world’s major powers have struck a long-awaited nuclear deal with Iran after more than two weeks of intense talks in Vienna.

Iranian state television has broadcast US President Barack Obama’s statement on the deal live, only the second such occasion since the Islamic revolution of 1979.

The state broadcaster had also aired Obama’s comments on an April 2 framework accord that led to Tuesday’s historic agreement, paving the way for an easing of crippling Western sanctions and for Iran to come in from the cold…….Iranians have poured onto the streets of Tehran after the Ramadan fast ended at sundown to celebrate the historic nuclear deal…….

  • What the deal meansAfter 18 days of intense and often fractious negotiation, diplomats declared that world powers and Iran had struck a landmark deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in relief from international sanctions.

    The agreement was designed to avert the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran and another US military intervention in the Muslim world.

    The accord will keep Iran from producing enough material for a nuclear weapon for at least 10 years and impose new provisions for inspections of Iranian facilities, including military sites.

    The so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was reached after more than two weeks of furious diplomacy, during which negotiators blew through three self-imposed deadlines.

    Zarif and US Secretary of State John Kerry, who conducted most of the negotiations, both threatened to walk away while trading accusations of intransigence.

  • Breakthrough came after several key compromisesDiplomats said Iran agreed to the continuation of a UN arms embargo on the country for up to five more years, though it could end earlier if the International Atomic Energy Agency definitively clears Iran of any current work on nuclear weapons. A similar condition was put on UN restrictions on the transfer of ballistic missile technology to Tehran, which could last for up to eight more years…….
  • Another significant agreement will allow UN inspectors to press for visits to Iranian military sites as part of their monitoring duties, something the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had long vowed to oppose………

July 15, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Russia to be the big loser in any nuclear deal with Iran

The Great Debate Big loser in any nuclear deal with Iran may be Russia By Agnia Grigas and Amir Handjani, Reuters,  July 10, 2015 As Iran and six world powers edge closer to solidifying an accord that puts limits on Tehran’s nuclear program in return for sanctions relief, a unique opportunity presents itself for the West. The United States and its European partners could begin to decouple the unnatural Iranian-Russian alliance to reign in Moscow’s hegemonic ambitions, as well as bring Iran back into the global economic fold. Competition between Moscow and Tehran would reduce Russia’s influence in the Middle East, unlock Iran and may even serve Europe’s future interest as it looks for alternatives to Russian gas.

Iran and Russia share a complicated history rooted in both countries’ imperial past. In fact, over the past two centuries, Iran has ceded more territory to Russia than any other country. After the Second World War, the Soviet Union destabilized and encouraged separatist movements in the province of Iranian Azerbaijan, similar to what Moscow is doing in Ukraine. As recently as the 1980s, Iran backed Afghan rebels in their conflict against the Soviet Union.

The recent Russo-Iranian alliance has been more a marriage of convenience than a genuine partnership. Russia uses Iran as a geopolitical foothold in the energy-rich Persian Gulf and to poke a finger in the eye of U.S. allies in the region. In return, Iran takes advantage of Moscow’s veto power at multinational forums such as the United Nations. An Iran that is engaged with the West in areas such as energy, trade and peaceful nuclear power generation would no longer see Russia as protector of its interests. It is a fact that Iran’s fractured and vitriolic relationship with the West has driven it to form political, commercial and military ties with Russia. Those ties are still fragile, at best.

Russian companies have signed deals that underwhelmed the Iranian market in contentious areas such as energy and nuclear power. Iran’s Russian-built Bushehr nuclear reactor was riddled by delays and cost overruns. Over the past year, Russian firms have been quick to sign all sorts of long-term agreements in aviation, commercial shipping and agricultural trade out of a fear they would be pushed aside by superior Western firms as a nuclear deal looked more likely.

Russia and Iran have competing interests in energy more so than in any other area of strategic importance. ……..The pending deal between Iran and the six world powers has the potential to be a net loss for Russia. The West should grasp the opportunity and encourage Iran’s drift away from Moscow’s economic orbit. Fostering economic competition between the two historical rivals would eventually reduce their political collaboration. In the long run, this deal may result in achieving a strategic win for the United States and Europe.

July 13, 2015 Posted by | Iran, politics international, Russia | Leave a comment

Iran developing depleted uranium weapons? Actually – NO!

diplomacy-not-bombsflag-IranNo, Iran probably isn’t developing depleted uranium weapons

Suggestions that Iran’s plans to develop DU weapons had become a sticking point in the Vienna nuclear talks surfaced yesterday, which was news to us.
10 July 2015 – Doug Weir The marathon talks between Iran and the P5 plus Germany over the future of Iran’s nuclear programme appear to be reaching yet another crescendo. Details of the possible deal are few and far between but it appears that the lifting of the United Nations’ arms embargo against Iran has become a major issue in the last few days.

The Russians, would like to see it dropped – although not necessarily as part of the negotiations, as would Iran. A major feature of the embargo and discussions on Iran’s military capabilities has been ballistic missiles capable of reaching Iran’s neighbours and the sale of Russian-made S-300 air defence missiles. Iran is also keen to undertake a general modernisation programme of its military.

However on the 6th July, Bloomberg reported that it was not only an issue of ballistic missiles but also Iran’s plans to develop DU anti-tank ammunition, like those stockpiled and occasionally used by the militaries of the P5 negotiators, though not Germany, for now. The story was duly picked up by the Irish Independent and by Foreign Policy’s blog.

ICBUW has long wondered whether Iran might be tempted to develop DU weapons, given that it has an expanding stockpile of DU tails from its uranium enrichment facilities. However, this has always seemed unlikely, given its long-running and vociferous condemnation of the US’s use of DU, support for UN resolutions via its membership of the Non-Aligned Movement and its official statements over the threats from the DU travelling across the border from Iraq.

Nevertheless, the Iranian military may have a different view to the government’s public line on DU and, as with many other states, including even the Swiss, may have experimented with DU kinetic energy penetrator rounds. Nor can one exclude the possibility that 125mm DU ammunition could have been sourced from Russia at some stage. From a military perspective, one could see a certain regional strategic temptation in developing advanced tank armaments but with DU that is always balanced by the stigmatisation of the weapons – as evidenced by the comparatively limited worldwide proliferation of DU ammunition.

Ironically, the closest Iran may have got to acquiring DU weapons was a proposalin the late 1970s from the Shah of Iran, who offered the use of an Esfahan firing range to the British if domestic public opposition against DU test firing proved too great.

Bloomberg’s evidence for Iran’s alleged plans to develop DU weapons purportedly came from two experts, Karl Dewey, a CBRN specialist with Jane’s and Robert Kelley, a former IAEA director and nuclear non-proliferation expert. The article also cited sources in the negotiations who said that the issue of DU ammunition had been discussed. ICBUW contacted Dewey and Kelley and found that their comments had been misrepresented in Bloomberg’s article, which has subsequently been modified in parts.

Robert Kelley told ICBUW that: “I have no evidence whatsoever that Iran has DU or natural uranium weapons. I said nothing of the kind and I am very disappointed in this article. I am asking for a retraction or clarification.

“What I said was that Iran certainly has penetrators but I never said uranium. I did say that if they decided to use tails or freshly produced natural metal for weapons they should have to declare that to IAEA and ask for a safeguards exemption. No big deal.”

So where does this leave us? Clearly the UN arms embargo has become an issue in this final(ish) round of negotiations and is doubtless causing some headaches for the P5+1. Is it all about DU tank ammunition? Probably unlikely as there are far greater concerns over ballistic missile delivery systems that could present a regional strategic threat, ditto the advanced Russian air defence systems that could inhibit a future strike by the US or Israel on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Iran is clearly keen to modernise its military, but are they dead set on developing DU weapons from their new tails stockpiles? Probably not. Should you take excitable media reports on DU proliferation at face value? Never.

July 13, 2015 Posted by | depleted uranium, Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Optimism for a nuclear agreement with Iran, but big hurdles remain

Big hurdles to Iran nuclear deal as deadline looms, Reuters  VIENNA | BY JOHN IRISH AND LOUIS CHARBONNEAU 26 June 15 As a June 30 deadline for a final nuclear deal approaches, major differences remain between Iran and world powers on several key issues including sanctions relief and U.N. access to Iranian sites, a senior Western diplomat said on Friday.

“The most difficult subjects need to be resolved in the coming days,” the diplomat told reporters on condition of anonymity in the Austrian capital, where talks between the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and Iran have entered their final phase.

“The questions of access and transparency, PMD (possible military dimensions (to Iran’s nuclear activity) and sanctions remain extremely problematic. We can find an agreement on some points, but on major issues there are still big differences.”

 Iran and six major powers set themselves an end-June deadline for a long-term deal that would lift sanctions crippling the Iranian economy in exchange for limits on Tehran’s nuclear program that would remain in place for at least a decade. But diplomats said the talks would likely run into July……..

Officials close to the talks say they have yet to agree on the speed and scope of lifting sanctions, how Iran will reduce its stockpiles of low-enriched uranium, the future extent of Tehran’s enrichment-centrifuge research and development program, and access for U.N. inspectors to military and other sites, as well as U.N. access to Iranian nuclear scientists.

Iran wants sanctions lifted immediately, though diplomats say they will be eased gradually in accordance with a schedule and only after confirmation that Iran has met its commitments.

Iran rejects allegations from Western powers and their allies that it is seeking the capability to produce nuclear weapons under cover of a civilian atomic energy program.

The real deadline is not June 30 but July 9, diplomats say.

The U.S. delegation must present the deal to Congress by July 9 if a mandatory congressional review period before President Barack Obama can begin suspending sanctions is to be limited to 30 days. After July 9, the review will last 60 days, according to a law passed recently by U.S. legislators…………..

June 27, 2015 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Costs of Enriching Uranium Have Hurt Iran – Iranian Professor Sadegh Zibakalam

Iranian Professor: The Costs of Enriching Uranium Have Hurt Iran by Staff | 06.12.15  In a public debate last month against an advisor to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollahi Ali Khamenei, Prof. Sadegh Zibakalam of Tehran University, who is associated with the reformist movement in Iran, argued that Iran’s enrichment program has been expensive for the country with little benefit. His remarks were translated Tuesday by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

“Do we even know how much money has been wasted on the nuclear [program]? What was our aim at Fordo, Natanz, and Arak? Why did we act this way when we had no intention of developing a bomb [but only of developing] agriculture andnuclear medicine and enriching uranium to 3% for the Bushehr reactor? Now the question is: How much does every kilogram [of enriched uranium] cost us? What is its cost to agriculture? How much will it cost [in the long run]?
“Take for example the joint Iran-Qatar South Pars [natural gas field]. [The two countries] are supposed to benefit from it equally, but because of the sanctions, we have not been able to produce all [the gas] we are entitled to produce from it. In 2013, we produced only 50 billion cubic meters, [while] Qatar produced 150 [billion] and a bit more. The 100 billion [cubic meters more that Qatar produced] is because Qatar faces no sanctions, and the cost of this [to Iran] is$40 billion…

“I’m not saying that the nuclear [program] is bad; it’s good. But at what cost? Now they will say ‘Zibakalam said we don’t need a nuclear [program]’… The political, partisan, and factional conduct on this [nuclear] issue must be resolved. Does the nuclear [program] exist for the sake of the state, or does the state exist for it? Must Iran be sacrificed for the sake of the nuclear [program], or should we sacrifice the nuclear [program] for the sake of Iran?”Zibakalam argued that enriching uranium has huge direct operating costs, but the penalties for having an illicit enrichment program has hurt Iran even more. Zibakalam suggested that Iran would have been better off buying enriched uranium and incurring neither cost.

Zibakalam, who was sentenced to prison last year for questioning Iran’s nuclear program, made several references during the debate to not being allowed to express an opinion about the nuclear program. In a different forum last year, Zibakalam said that Iran’s threats against Israel were the reason Iran’s nuclear program is viewed with suspicion.

June 13, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, Iran, Uranium | Leave a comment

USA negotiates with Iran, while selling advanced weapons to Iran’s opponents!

Threatening Iran with military attacks while also negotiating with it only casts doubts on the sincerity of the Obama administration to reach a comprehensive nuclear agreement and to seek out Iran’s help to thwart the advances made by the Islamic State.

Obama puppetIt Is Untenable to Seek a Nuclear Agreement With Iran While Also Arming its Opponents, Huffington Post 06/09/20 Ever since the negotiations between the administration of President Hassan Rouhani of Iran and P5+1 — the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany — began in earnest in September 2013, and particularly since the announcement of the Lausanne Accord, the Obama administration has been trying to mollify the opponents of the nuclear accord. The most outspoken foes of the agreement are the usual suspects, namely, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Arab nations of the Persian Gulf area. They all claim that the agreement with Iran threatens their national security, but offer no viable alternative to the negotiations and a comprehensive agreement. What they really want is a new war in the Middle East, this time against Iran. As the President rightly stated on April 2 when the Lausanne Accord was announced, insisting that Iran dismantle its nuclear infrastructure and continuing the sanction regime and even tightening it up further will eventually lead to war with Iran.

And how has the Obama administration has been trying to mollify Israel, Saudi Arabia and their allies? By threatening Iran and selling more advanced weapons to them. Last October, the U.S. announced sale of new missiles to Saudi Arabia worth $1.75 billion. This is on top of $60 billion worth of weapons that the U.S. has sold to that nation since 2010.

U.S. allies in the P5+1 have also been busy selling arms to Saudi Arabia. Continue reading

June 10, 2015 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Security benefits to Israel in Iran nuclear deal – say Israeli military

diplomacy-not-bombsflag-IsraelIsraeli Military Sees ‘Security Benefits’ To Iran Nuclear Deal The Israeli military says that the deal, and increased inspections, would provide increased clarity on Iran’s civilian nuclear program and the risks of a “breakout” to military use. By June 6, 2015 Once again underscoring the profound disconnect between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his nation’s security apparatus, the Israeli military has held a “closed door” briefing in which they seemed to praise the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran, saying it provided “security benefits” for Israel.

Though the details of the briefing were not supposed to be fully made public, some details got out, including the military saying that the deal, and increased inspections, would provide increased clarity on Iran’s civilian nuclear program and the risks of a “breakout” to military use.

Netanyahu has repeatedly and loudly condemned the talks, claiming any deal with Iran on any terms would be a threat to Israel’s existence. The military, however, said it believed the threat from Iran was waning, and would more so with a nuclear deal.

Netanyahu has struggled to keep military and intelligence officials backing his public narrative, and earlier this year Israeli intelligence briefed the US Congress against imposing sanctions demanded by Netanyahu on the grounds it would sabotage diplomacy. Netanyahu’s pre-election visit to the US Congress was the result of efforts by him and hawkish Congressional leaders to try to undo the “damage” done by the briefing.

June 8, 2015 Posted by | Iran, Israel, politics international | Leave a comment

Urgent talks between USA and Iran before June 30 deadline

diplomacy-not-bombsIran, US talks gain urgency as nuclear accord deadline nears  SMH, June 1, 2015  Karen DeYoung, Geneva: Significant differences remain between the United States and Iran over a nuclear deal, but the two sides are clear on what needs to be resolved and the urgency of doing it before a June 30 deadline, a senior Obama administration official said after six hours of weekend talks here between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

The discussions, the official said, were “intense at times” as both sought clarification of the two biggest issues between them. Iran wants to know exactly which sanctions against it will be lifted and when.

The US and its global partners in the negotiations want specific mention in a final deal of international verification and monitoring provisions that include all Iranian sites, including military facilities. Other issues that remain unresolved include the extent to which Iran will provide details of its nuclear research history.

“All issues were reviewed” but “differences still remain”, Iranian negotiator Abbas Araghchi told reporters as his delegation depa for Tehran…….

June 1, 2015 Posted by | Iran, politics international | 1 Comment

In fact, Iran has co-operated well with IAEA

diplomacy-not-bombsIran has cooperated with IAEA more than reflected in recent report: Official  An Iranian nuclear official says the part of a recent report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) about Iran’s cooperation with the agency is “incomplete,” as the Islamic Republic has cooperated with the agency more than reflected in the report, Press TV reports.

“From the 18 practical measures [on which] we agreed with the Agency, we concluded 16. Two remaining practical measures are under discussion,” Iran’s Ambassador to the IAEA Reza Najafi told Press TV in an exclusive interview on Friday.

He explained that during recent meetings with IAEA officials in the Iranian capital, Tehran, “we discussed [the] two remaining practical measures. We provided some clarification with regard to those two issues.”

“What has been considered by some media as information about one issue is indeed a sentence in the report which refers to one of the issues. But, indeed, we provided information for two issues and we believe that that part of the report is incomplete; it is not a full reflection of the facts,” he explained.

In separate remarks reported by IRNA, Najafi said the IAEA report repeats previous allegations about the so-called possible military dimensions (PMD) in Iran’s nuclear program.

“The latest report, when compared to earlier ones, shows the IAEA has nothing new to present concerning the implementation of the Safeguards Agreement in Iran,” said Najadi, adding that the new report has the same content as that of the previous ones only with different figures.

Najafi also rejected the UN nuclear watchdog’s so-called PMD allegations and said repeating the same baseless accusations against Iran’s peaceful nuclear activities cannot give credibility to IAEA reports.

He pointed out that the report, issued to the IAEA’s 35-nation board and the UN Security Council on Thursday, attests that all of Iran’s atomic activities and its nuclear facilities have been under the close supervision of the UN nuclear agency, and have had no diversion from peaceful dimensions.

May 30, 2015 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

US Senate passes Bill to give Congress a stake in nuclear deal with Iran

Sdiplomacy-not-bombsFlag-USAenate Passes Bill to Review Iran Nuclear Deal  Maya Rhodan @m_rhodan  TIME, 7 May 15  Bill to give Congress oversight of the nuclear plan passes Senate

The Senate on Thursday passed a bill that will give Congress a key stake in conversations on the pending nuclear deal with Iran.

Republicans and some Democrats in Congress have been pushing for oversight of the pending deal given that current proposals include relief from some of the sanctions placed on Iran by Congress. The bill that passed Thursday requires that Congress be able to review and possibly reject any deal the U.S. and world powers make with Iran regarding nuclear weapons. If Congress approves of the deal — or fails to disapprove within a certain timeframe — the President’s deal can move forward……

While the debate continues, however, some lawmakers have signaled their support for the President’s negotiations with Iran. In a letter first reported on by the Washington Post, 150 Democrats urged Obama to “stay on course” and commended the work of world powers so far in the process.

“The stakes are too great and the alternatives are too dire,” the letter reads. “If the United States were to abandon negotiations or cause their collapse, not only would we fail to peacefully prevent the nuclear-armed Iran, we would make that outcome more likely.”

The Washington Post reports that the letter could mean the President has enough Congressional support to override a veto should lawmakers vote to reject the deal once it is released in June.

May 8, 2015 Posted by | Iran, politics, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Deal with Iran will not lead to nuclear weapons proliferation

Why an Iran deal won’t lead to nuclear proliferation, WP, By Dina Esfandiary and Ariane Tabatabai April 28 This post is part of the “Iran and the Nuclear Deal” symposium.

When the P5+1 and Iran announced their framework agreement earlier this month, some analysts reiterated that a final deal would result in aproliferation cascade in the Middle East. This widely held and long-standing assumption remains largely unchallenged. But a careful look at the actual technical capability, political and security context, and intentions of potential contenders confirms that much of this hype is baseless.

Those who invoke the proliferation cascade theory often confuse both the cause and the actual result. Would a nuclear agreement with Iran or nuclear-armed Iran cause a cascade? Does the regional spread of civilian nuclear programs count as a proliferation cascade, or is it restricted to the spread of the bomb?…….

First, the entire region, except for nuclear-armed Israel, is party to the NPT. This means that they’ve already legally given up the nuclear weapon option. Moreover, nuclear weapon states can’t legally provide them nuclear weapons either. Second, many countries have safeguards agreements and some, the additional protocol, in place. This means that their programs are under close International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) scrutiny. Continue reading

April 30, 2015 Posted by | Iran, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Significant concessions made by Iran in nuclear deal

diplomacy-not-bombsAs Iran pursues a peaceful nuclear programme, Iran’s enrichment capacity, enrichment level and stockpile will be limited for specified durations, and there will be no other enrichment facility than Natanz. Iran’s research and development on centrifuges will be carried out on a scope and schedule that has been mutually agreed.

flag-IranThe grand bargain: What Iran conceded in the nuclear talks, Brookings, Richard Nephew | April 18, 2015  
Since the P5+1 and Iran announced the agreed parameters for a comprehensive settlement of the Iran nuclear issue earlier this month, Washington punditry has obsessed over the fine points of both the joint statement read by EU Foreign Minister Mogherini and Iranian FM Zarif, and the fact sheet released by the Obama administration, to identify concessions made by the United States.

Much attention has centered on centrifuge numbers, the strategic implications of the Iranian nuclear program within the context of the deal and the decision to provide early sanctions relief to Iran in exchange for substantial nuclear steps by Iran.As with everything in Washington as late, the discussion quickly divided into two camps: those convinced that Obama gave up critical advantage over Iran too readily in order to get a nuclear deal that, even if better than what was anticipated, still is not satisfactory; and, those convinced that, given the alternatives, what Obama achieved was worth such concessions.

Lost in all of the noise is any consideration of what Iran had to give up in order to get a deal and the value of what it will really get from sanctions relief (bearing in mind, of course, the fact that no deal has actually yet been signed and its premature to start the score-carding). For some, it is assumed that Iran’s temporary concessions are so meager that, in effect, the Iranians sacrificed nothing for a deal.But, this misses an important point: Iran had to make several compromises in order to get a satisfactory nuclear deal and, in the end, the separation between Iran’s public and private stances is far wider than those of the Obama administration. Moreover, the U.S. readiness to engage in sanctions relief is not a give-away to Iran but rather a result of a proportional exchange of concessions that, though some may wish not to hear it, is the only way that diplomacy actually works.Iranian compromisesTo get this far, Iran had to make several compromises on its longstanding nuclear policy. This started in the Joint Plan of Action, in which Iran agreed to permit the P5+1 (and the United States in particular) to have a role in its nuclear program decision-making. For a country as proud of its independence as Iran, the significance of this step should not be discounted. And, a similar mindset is manifest in what emerged from Lausanne earlier this month……… Continue reading

April 20, 2015 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Next week’s round of talks with Iran on the difficult path to a final nuclear deal

diplomacy-not-bombsNext Round of Nuclear Talks With Iran Set for Next Week By  APRIL 16, 2015 TEHRAN — The next round of nuclear talks between world powers andIran is scheduled for next week in Vienna, as the two sides begin to address the issues they left unresolved earlier this month in Lausanne, Switzerland, and try to conclude a comprehensive agreement by the end of June.

The European Union, the host of the talks, said in a statement released on Thursday that its senior negotiator, Helga Schmid, will meet with Iran’s deputy foreign minister, Abbas Araghchi, on Wednesday, to pursue an agreement that would restrict Iran to peaceful research in the nuclear area in exchange for the phased lifting of economic sanctions.

After the parties reached a framework agreement in Lausanne, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, complicated matters by insisting that all sanctions would have to be lifted immediately and that all military sites would be off limits to inspectors.

President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday acknowledged the problems but said he remained optimistic that the negotiators would reach a deal. “There is a difficult path ahead of us towards the final deal,” he said at a news conference during a trip to northern Iran, but the country’s “will and decision is to continue the negotiations until a final deal is reached.”

April 18, 2015 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment


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