Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Iran Nuclear Deal: Headed For Implementation, Here’s What’s Going On

Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif Speaks to the Media
P5+1 Talks With Iran in Geneva, Switzerland.
 November 24, 2013. Wikimedia
President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran will move forward. The deal cleared the Senate. The House of Representatives rejected it, but the bottom line is that the deal will move forward to implementation. All that was required under the Corker-Cardin process of Congressional review is the approval of one house of Congress.

The United Nations Security Council will formally adopt the agreement on October 19. Prior to implementation, the agreement requires Iran to reduce its inventory of uranium by 98 percent, disassemble more the 13,000 centrifuges, remove the core of its Arak heavy water reactor, and arrange with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for inspections and monitoring. Therefore, implementation is six to nine months out. On implementation day (undetermined), sanctions and access to Iran’s frozen assets will be released.

However, a few things can happen between now and implementation day.

Here's what’s going on:

Part of the Republican derailment plan is to defund the implementation of the nuclear deal. Moreover, the House passed a measure to suspend until the day after the inauguration of a newly elected president in 2017 (hoping Republican, of course), Obama's authority to waive, suspend, or reduce sanctions on Iran.

The House adopted a resolution charging Obama with not complying with the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 because his administration withheld two separate agreements that IAEA negotiated with Iran. The Corker-Cardin process requires Congress to review all documents relevant to the deal’s agreement. Republicans call them “secret side agreements,” but all monitoring and inspection agreements between IAEA and a country are secret and confidential.

However, failure to provide all of what’s in the agreement is the only chance Republicans have to put an obstacle in the path to implementation by preserving statutory anti-nuke sanctions. This, however, hinges on the language of the deal. If the language is only a reference saying it’s subject to separate IAEA agreements, nothing more specific, then the details of a separate IAEA agreement of monitoring and inspection protocol is not part of the deal. It’s a separate agreement altogether. Republicans need to call upon IAEA to acquire the details of their agreement with Iran.

Republicans claim the agreement violates the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT). Their assumption is that Obama’s nuclear deal subverts NPT by allowing Iran to become a nuclear-armed state. The Iran deal, however, isn’t about Iran’s nuclear-weapons program because International intelligence agencies (including the U.S. and Israel) do not believe Iran is building nuclear weapons, but is on a path that could lead Iran to nuclear weapon capability. Nevertheless, Iran still must comply with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty it signed in 1974, which requires Iran not to pursue nuclear weapons.

The real concern should be that Israel has between 80 - 400 nuclear warheads (estimated by most observers). Israel won’t reveal its nuclear weapons capability and remains outside the oversight and control of NPT. Israel is as overtly belligerent as Iran and they are more than capable, perhaps, under certain circumstances, even willing to create the conditions for a significant war in the Middle East.

Conversely, Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, has called on Israel and the world’s eight other nuclear states to begin disarming. Zarif calls for establishment of a zone free from weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.

And that, as well as a world free from nuclear weapons, and other weapons of mass destruction, in the end, needs to be our objective.

© Copyright 2015 Horatio Green