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Disputes Begin Over Details of Iran Pact Iran’s negotiator says agreement would “terminate” sanctions; Washington says that isn’t so. Further discord over how much research Iran can undertake and other issues appears certain in coming months.
(…) “There is no doubt that Javad Zarif will have to sell this deal just like we will,” a senior Obama administration official said. “And his task is not simple and a given, nor is ours.” (…)
- The U.S. says sanctions relief will be phased, suspended, and tied to Iran’s compliance with the terms of the deal. Iran says the sanctions, once the final agreement is sealed, will end more quickly.
- Iran says it will limit enrichment and its stockpile for 10 years, the U.S. says 15.
- U.S.: The IAEA will have regular access to Iran’s nuclear facilities as well as the supply chain that supports Iran’s nuclear program.
Iran: The fact sheet doesn’t specifically mention access to facilities or inspections, but does say Iran would, on a voluntary and temporary basis, implement an “additional protocol” on access to nuclear facilities, “for the sake of transparency and confidence building.
Even with an agreement, experts said, research can be a difficult area to police.
“The dirty little secret about arms-control agreements is their incremental violations are actually not enforceable,” said Ray Takeyh, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. “If they violate something, there’s not much the international community is likely to do. You might get away with some weaponization research here and there.”
Officials involved in the diplomacy are also worried about what happens to Iran’s centrifuge capacity when the agreement begins expiring after 10 years—a question not answered in this week’s framework agreement.
U.S. officials have said they are confident of a “soft landing” in years 11 to 15 of an agreement, during which Iran only gradually expands its nuclear activities. But the open questions on research and centrifuge capacity—along with sanctions—are likely to lead to major battles ahead.
From the WSJ editorial team:
(…) once sanctions are lifted and billions of dollars of Iranian trade starts to flow again to European and Asian companies, the U.S. likely will be dealing with a U.N. even more politically divided, and more incapable of action, than in the days of Saddam and the run-up to the Iraq war in 2003. (…)
Mr. Obama now seems likely to abandon his position that sanctions be lessened over years to test Iranian compliance. And once strictures are loosened, with major international, especially European, corporations competing for the Iranian market, it will be politically impossible to demand that these companies leave again.
In an effort to circumvent possible congressional disapproval of his deal-making, Mr. Obama is voluntarily surrendering control of the implementation and verification of any agreement to the Security Council, where American leadership and influence are weak. The U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency, a decent little outfit of underpaid and underfunded bureaucrats and inspectors, can do good work when the Security Council is unified. The IAEA’s utility plummets when the council is divided. (…)
The president’s much-hyped “snap-back” economic sanctions, now the only coercive instrument Mr. Obama has against Iranian noncompliance, will also surely fall victim to the Security Council’s politics and human greed. (…)
In all the framework’s details, the senator, and so many others, will find hope, like a pilgrim in the desert looking at the horizon and seeing a mirage.
From the FT editorial team:
The nuclear agreement with Iran, reached after excruciating haggling in Lausanne and several false starts, is like a streak of lightning across the pitch-black sky of a disintegrating Middle East. To resolve an international stand-off as dangerous as this by diplomacy is not just a signal achievement. It might just get to be a habit, in a region where the threshold for resorting to violence is lethally low and tolerance of mayhem is unhealthily high. President Barack Obama may finally have earned the Nobel Peace Prize he was awarded shortly after taking office.
This framework deal has solid foundations, and more detailed constraints than it ever appeared Iran was willing to contemplate. (…)
It is too early to know whether a pariah Iran can be re-socialised into mainstream geopolitics. But this diplomatic triumph, preliminary as it is, marks a real start.
From Foreign Affairs (Deal or no Deal):
(…) Of the many arms control treaties Washington and Moscow entered into during the Cold War, enforcement had little to do with sanctions. Instead, mutual interest in restraining the costly arms competition—coupled with recognition that each side could use tit-for-tat in response to cheating—largely kept the parties tied to each other. Both countries’ depth of defense added insurance. The result? Despite periodic dustups about Moscow’s noncompliance over nuclear testing, a missile tracking radar deployment, and so on, the heart of the treaties held. (…)
But neither can United States or its negotiating partners (the P5+1) turn to tit-for-tat to prevent an Iranian nuclear breakout. Five of the six partners already have nuclear weapons, so there is not much chance of them responding to an Iranian breakout in kind. But regionally, Israel could pull its bomb out of the basement and Saudi Arabia could cash in its past financial support for Pakistan’s weapons program by asking Islamabad to kick in a bomb or two. The result would be an already unstable Middle East now on nuclear hair trigger. As for sanctions, they may have been instrumental in bringing Tehran to the bargaining table, but they won’t force compliance with a P5+1 agreement. (…)
If serious, the community must have an action plan in place that will leave Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei no doubt about the consequences, first to deter violations and then push them back if need be. The alternative—allowing ad hocery to substitute for planning—allows Tehran to drive the agenda and bank on the hope that it can manipulate the players to buy more time to get the bomb. That is an outcome the international community can ill afford and one the nonproliferation template might well prevent.
President Hassan Rouhani signalled that the draft agreement between Iran and six world powers — the US, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany — would go beyond the nuclear issue, saying he hoped to see “the end of tensions” with hostile countries, in a clear reference to the US. (…)
“Some [politicians] think we should either fight with the world or surrender. But we believe we can co-operate with the world,” he said, in a challenge to his hawkish opponents. (…)
In a sign that the deal may yet win over hardliners in Iran, a conservative cleric in Tehran backed the agreement and thanked the negotiation team.
SECULAR STAGNATION: A SUPPLY-SIDE STORY A free report from David Rosenberg
The Coming Chinese Crackup? by Andy Rothman
Prominent China scholar David Shambaugh has turned very bearish, writing in The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) in March that “the endgame of Chinese communist rule has now begun.” This provides a good opportunity to review our thinking about China’s prospects. But in my view, Shambaugh does not make a compelling case to support his about face in perspective.
As head of the China Policy Program at The George Washington University, Shambaugh is a respected analyst of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) affairs, so his WSJ op-ed, “The Coming Chinese Crackup,” has received much attention. This op-ed is also a big departure from Shambaugh’s earlier view of China’s prospects. (…)