Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Iran deal

The interim deal agreed between the P5+1 international powers and Iran in Geneva is a diplomatic victory for Pres Obama and his allies. But, it is a temporary solution for 6 months in the crisis relating to the potential acquisition by Iran of nuclear weapons. Whether you approve of this deal or not depends a lot on whether or not you think Iran can be trusted to keep the terms and spirit of the deal.

Certainly it is better to avoid conflict if possible, but Chamberlain declared Hitler an honorable man and made a deal with him, that he broke when it suited his purpose. North Korea made an agreement with the US that it would stop all nuclear activity, but a year later it revealed it had a secret program and had continued developing nuclear capability. So the question is, can the supposed "moderate" Pres Rouhani or his boss Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamanei be trusted any more than Hitler, or Kim Jung Il. Especially since Khamanei declared last week and again today that nothing could stop Iran from enriching uranium.

The deal gives Iran temporary relief of some sanctions (valued at ca. b$700) in exchange for promises not to develop any more enriched uranium above 3%, to reduce its huge stockpile of highly enriched 20% uranium and to stop any further addition of centrifuges to its enrichment facilities. Also there is provision for the cessation of work on the plutonium reactor at Irak. The agreement also calls for daily verification of these terms by an independent agency. However, as some have pointed out, not only has Iran broken its agreements before, but there is no way that improvements in other facilities and in areas away from the major plants can be detected. It could build huge new capabilities without this agreement applying to it. So it comes down to whether or not Iran's government can be trusted to keep its word.

PM Netanyahu has rightly backed off his severe criticism of this deal now that it has become fait accompli, and is now considering how to influence the final agreement that is due to be negotiated after 6 months. He is sending a delegation to Washington to consult with the Obama Administration over the terms of the supposed final deal. Whether or not this deal is a defeat for Netanyahu depends upon your interpretation. His opposition to a "bad" deal certainly helped to improve the conditions of the deal agreed by Iran. Now we must wait and see how the deal pans out and then what the final deal will be. If it avoids a military strike and war all to the good, but if the deal does not stop Iran developing nuclear weapons it will have achieved nothing.


Post a Comment

<< Home