Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Iran Nuclear Talks: Agreement in Vienna

Iran Nuclear Talks: Agreement in Vienna

by Stephen Lendman

Years of talks brought fruition. It's all over except for Iran's continued struggle to be accepted unconditionally as a member in good standing in the world community of nations.

A first step requires full implementation of agreed on terms - no reinterpreting them post facto, a commonplace Washington tactic. 

Iran faces enormous obstacles trying to prevent Israel, its Lobby and congressional hardliners from blocking or undermining what's been achieved. Obama promised to veto congressional rejection of terms agreed on. Whether override is possible remains to be seen.

US, Israeli and other Western accusations about an Iranian road to the bomb were always fraudulent. Tehran abhors these weapons. It wants a nuclear-free Middle East - a world without the threat of mass annihilation.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif called the deal a "historic moment," a "win-win" solution. "We're reaching an agreement that's not perfect for anybody but (the best) we could accomplish," he said.

"Today could have been the end of hope on this issue…(Instead it begins) a new chapter of hope." EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said it "can open a new chapter in international relations."

Netanyahu reacted as expected - calling the agreement "a bitter mistake of historical proportions." He lied claiming "Iran is going to receive a sure path to nuclear weapons. Many of the restrictions that were supposed to prevent it from getting there will be lifted."

"Iran will get a jackpot, a cash bonanza of hundreds of billions of dollars, which will enable it to continue to pursue its aggression and terror in the region and the world."

Tehran is a regional peacemaker, abhorring terrorism in all forms - Israel its leading (nuclear armed and dangerous) belligerent.

Enormous obstacles remain to prevent US and Israeli dark forces from undermining what's been achieved. They're relentless and won't quit even if Congress fails to block it.

Obama signed into law the Iran Nuclear Agreement Act of 2015 (INAA) - surrendering his executive authority on an international agreement involving seven countries. 

It gives Congress final say up or down on terms reached - 30 days if by July 9, 60 days thereafter, an enormous amount of time to undermine years of hard work.

Expect congressional and Israeli anti-Iranian hardliners to take full advantage. They'll do everything possible to wreck a major achievement. A done deal isn't final yet. Here's what we know so far on its terms.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) comes after over a decade of standoff. It'll be submitted for Security Council approval within 10 days or less.

It recognizes Iran's legitimate nuclear program - subject to imposed limits for 10 years, constraints then eased over five years. Security Council sanctions will be lifted once a resolution is adopted.

No Iranian nuclear facilities will be dismantled or decommissioned. R & D will continue on all types of centrifuges - including advanced IR-6 and IR-8 machines.

On implementation of the agreement, US and EU nuclear-related economic and financial sanctions will be immediately lifted - ones relating to banking, finance, oil, gas, petrochemical, trade, insurance and transport sectors.

Others wrongfully imposed for alleged rights abuses, nonexistent terrorist activities, support for Syrian sovereignty and other political reasons remain in place.

An arms embargo will end - subject to certain restrictions, on missiles for eight years, on their sale or purchase for five years. Over $100 billion of frozen Iranian assets will be unblocked. Sanctions imposed against hundreds of Iranian enterprises and individuals will end.

The agreement prevents Iran from producing enough enriched uranium for potential bomb-making for 10 years. Procedures for inspecting Iranian nuclear facilities were agreed on.

Its centrifuges will be reduced from about 19,000 to 6,104 - of these, 1044 will be used for purposes other than uranium enrichment.

Iran must reduce its enriched uranium by 96% to 300 kg - likely shipping at least most abroad to Russia. So-called "breakout time" to a bomb (Tehran doesn't want) will be extended to a year for a decade.

Iran won't build new heavy water reactors for 15 years. The underground Fordow site will be converted into a nuclear physics and technology center. Two-thirds of its installed centrifuges will be removed - stored under a monitored program.

Separately, Iran and IAEA head Yukiya Amano agreed on a "roadmap" to resolve so-called possible military dimensions (PMD) to Iran's nuclear program.

The text and five annexes are detailed, technical and complex. Disagreements over interpretation and implementation could delay things or derail the deal entirely.

After 36 years of anti-Iranian hostility, it's hard imagining the dawn of a new era in Washington-Iranian relations. 

Regime change remains official US policy - replacing Tehran's sovereign independence with governance America controls. Nothing suggests a new leaf on this intention, by color revolution or war.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

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


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

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