Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Another extension on Iran

Can you ever remember a time when the West was not negotiating with Iran to prevent their development of a nuclear weapon?  This has been going on for six years, I believe.  The latest round has been one year, between Iran and the so-called P5+1, namely the US, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany, with the EU also represented.  That negotiation also failed and was already extended once.  Now today the negotiations failed again and were extended again for another 7 months, with the hopeful plan to conclude them in 4 months.
What are they negotiating about?  The international community are trying to prevent Iran becoming a nuclear state, i.e. developing a nuclear weapon.  The Iranian Government assures everyone publicly that they do not intend to weaponize their nuclear capability and only want to develop peaceful applications of nuclear technology, which every state should be allowed to do.  But, most people are skeptical and don't trust them.  How do we know we can't trust them?  As PM Netanyahu has said, why does an oil-rich state need such a large nuclear industry?  Why does a country like Iran need to make large quantities of highly enriched uranium that can only be used for bombs? Why does Iran need thousands of centrifuges to enrich uranium?  Why does Iran need to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles, if not to deliver a nuclear warhead?  And why did Iran keep most of its uranium enrichment facilities secret for a long time until they were discovered?  Would you trust these Ayatollahs, who answer only to Allah?  Would you trust the Iranian Government that is the major source of terrorism throughout the world?  On many occasions Pres. Obama and other western leaders have stated categorially, "we will not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon."  But, so far Iran has kept them talking and playing for time, while it no doubt continues to improve its capability surreptitiously.
What has Iran to fear?  Mainly sanctions, placed by the US and the West against their trade and financial institutions.  There is no doubt that these sanctions are hurting Iran, but in a country where the elite cares little about the suffering of the people, as long as the gain for Shia Islam and Iran are strategic, they are prepared to accept the sanctions, but will never give up on their nuclear ambitions.  So they keep stalling.  According to the statements by the Western negotiators the talks have progressed, although there is no admission regarding what has actually been gained.  We are told that the Iranians are cooperative and that advances have been mainly technical.  At the same time, according to the Head of the International Atomic Energy Commission, Iran is still refusing to grant access to its nuclear sites in defiance of already signed agreements.
But, once again as PM Netanyahu has said, and others have echoed, no agreement is better than a bad agreement.  It is better that the talks have been postponed and will recontinue than that the West would have accepted no significant gain while easing the sanctions.  The Republican Congress wants to vote tougher sanctions on Iran, but Pres. Obama has asked them to delay this, to give the extended talks another chance.  US Secty of State Kerry claims that they have managed to extend the so-called "break-out time" the time that Iran would need to quickly achieve enough enriched materal to make a bomb.  But, this is highly questionable, since estimates of the break-out time vary widely.  Although Iran's bomb would be a threat to all the world, Israel and the Sunni Arab states would be most threatened.  Israel reserves the right to take action if it feels that the Iranian threat has not been stopped by the continuing negotiations and that Iran is ont eh point of prodcueing a bomb.  Hopefully this will never happen, but if it does hopefully Israel will find supporters, if not allies, among the Sunni Arab States.  Such an eventuality could change the face of the world.  


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