Sunday, March 29, 2015

Iran Nuclear Deal: Getting Close, Hold the Cheers

Iran Nuclear Deal: Getting Close, Hold the Cheers

by Stephen Lendman

Reports on progress are mixed. Reuters said "Iran and major powers are close to agreement on a 2- or 3-page accord with specific numbers that would form the basis of a long-term settlement aimed at ending a 12-year standoff over Tehran's nuclear ambitions, officials said on Friday."

The New York Times quoted an unnamed State Department official saying:

"Yesterday’s and today’s talks have been tough and very serious."

"We’re at that point in the negotiations where we really need to see decisions being made." 

"We will test whether that is truly possible over the next several days."

The source said consummating a deal hinges on Iran making "tough decisions" - without further elaboration.

The Times said Iranian President Hassan Rohani sent Obama a letter calling for rapid lifting of "all unjust sanctions."

They're illegal. Security Council members alone may impose them - not individual countries on others, something media scoundrels never explain.

The Wall Street Journal cited UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond saying remaining differences suggest any deal reached would be vague at best.

"We envisage being able to deliver a narrative," said Hammond. "(W)hether that is written down or not I don’t think is the crucial issue."

"This will be effectively a political statement or perhaps political statements…to make it clear that we have now got this boulder over the hill and we are into the detailed work to produce an agreement."

Fars News said Iranian Atomic Energy Organization head Ali Akbar Salehi indicated Iran and P5+1 countries "developed a common understanding over a major part of the technical issues in their nuclear talks in Lausanne."

At the same time, he said one or two technical issues remain unresolved.

Iran's deputy lead negotiator Sayed Abbas Araqhi elaborated saying nuclear R&D and removing sanctions remain the key sticking points.

If agreement is reached, a 2-3 page document will be made public, an official close to talks explained.

Some details will stay confidential. Agreement terms, if reached, will cover:

  • maximum number and types of uranium enrichment centrifuges Iran can operate;

  • permitted size of its uranium stockpile;

  • types of R&D allowed;  

  • details on lifting sanctions and monitoring procedures; and

  • duration - a period longer than 10 years is expected.

A March 31 deadline looms for a preliminary framework deal - to be followed by a comprehensive June 30 final one.

Reuters said it's unclear whether agreement terms would be "formally signed or agreed to verbally."

It indicated Tehran prefers the latter - fearing that committing in writing will limit its ability to negotiate details for a final agreement.

Even if a preliminary deal is reached, efforts to resolve many technical details by June 30 could fail.

Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said "(w)e think an agreement is still possible, but when is another story."

Talks could be extended days or weeks beyond March 31.

How Congress reacts is another issue. Anti-Iranian sentiment is longstanding.

Lawmakers want new sanctions imposed if agreement isn't reached next week.

Imposing them by a veto-proof margin would kill talks altogether.

Besides additional sanctions, House and Senate members want Congress empowered to approve, amend or reject any deal with Iran - another potential deal-breaker.

So are Washington's monitoring demands. They go way beyond IAEA verification arrangements with over 100 other countries.

Investigative journalist Gareth Porter said Washington and key allies intend maintaining Iran's "sanctions architecture" longterm after any deal is consummated.

Ending it would hinge on IAEA officials confirming Tehran "abiding by the terms of a deal over an extended period of time (to) maintain leverage on Iran to honor the accord."

In the meantime, Washington at best might agree to sequentially suspending (not lifting) sanctions incrementally over a number of years - another possible deal-breaker.

Maintaining unfair restrictions on Iran's legitimate nuclear program means rapprochement with Western nations won't happen - at least not with Washington.

Iran may end up no better off than before. The whole world knows its nuclear program is peaceful.

It's legitimate. It observes Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) provisions.

It has no military component. US intelligence confirms it annually. So does Israel's Mossad.

No evidence suggests Tehran wants nuclear weapons. Plenty indicates it abhors them.

It wants a nuclear weapons-free Middle East. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a fatwa against nuclear weapons development. President Rohani stressed Iran will never develop them.

Years of on-and-off negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program hides the greater issue no talks will resolve.

Longterm US anti-Iranian sentiment has nothing to do with its nuclear program.

Focusing on it is red herring cover for Washington's long sought regime change.

It wants pro-Western stooge governance it controls replacing sovereign Iranian independence. It wants its oil and gas plundered.

It wants ordinary Iranians exploited. It wants Israel's main rival removed. It wants another imperial trophy.

Washington's long history of deal-making shows it can't be trusted. It says one thing. It does another.

It ignores international, constitutional and US statute laws. It breaches treaty obligations repeatedly.

Native Americans suffered through centuries of heroic lost struggles. From 1492 to today, they experienced promises made and broken.

Winning the West involved betraying them. All US treaties were violated. 

Imperialism works this way. Things haven't changed. 
Today they're worse than ever.

Earlier US policy makers sought sea to shining sea dominance. Today they want it globally. 

They want it unchallenged. They'll stop at nothing to get it.

America betrayed its Native Peoples. Centuries of genocidal slaughter and broken promises reflect longstanding US policy - now operating worldwide

Washington's global holocaust continues in many forms. It's unparalleled in scope, ruthlessness and duration.

Will US policymakers offer Iran what it denied its Native People?

Will it break longterm policy and observe fundamental rule of law principles?

Will its word for virtually the first time in its history be its bond?

Will responsible behavior replace longterm imperial arrogance?

Washington's intentions are most important in consummating a nuclear deal with Tehran. 

Key above all else is if one is reached will it be honored longterm? If US history is any guide, don't bet on it!

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.