Focus on Deal or on Loopholes?
As the nuclear deal was clinched under euphoric adjectives such as “groundbreaking” and “landmark”, the air seemed to fill with hope…and suspicion.
The goals are clear: The West wants to make sure that Iran’s nuclear program will not be militarized and Iran wants to rid itself of the sanctions.
What isn’t clear is Iran’s commitment to assuage the West’s fears: Following the initial euphoria in November, it seemed that there were too many loopholes allowing Iran to continue on a military path by uranium enrichment beyond the required levels and quantities.
More Reasons for Suspicion
So when another round of talks led to a “finalized” deal, the euphoria was mixed with suspicion… suspicion that seemed well-founded.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told CNN this week that “The White House tries to portray it as basically a dismantling of Iran’s nuclear program. That is the word they use time and again“. In short, Iran would momentarily freeze but not dismantle.
To the best of our knowledge, no objective parties have actually read all of the details of the agreement. As explained by veteran Iran-watcher Dr. Emanuele Ottolenghi, “a lot of U.S. and European diplomats haven’t seen the text yet so how are you going to be able to guarantee full implementation?”
This seems to be strengthened by a recent admission by Iran’s chief negotiator, that the deal includes a secret 30-page “non-paper” which may or may not actually represent a side-deal.
And then there’s the comment by Ali Akhbar Salehi, head of Iran’s atomic energy organization (and previous foreign minister): “The iceberg of sanctions is melting while our centrifuges are also still working,” he said on state television. “This is our greatest achievement.”
A nuclear deal written on ice? Not exactly: Iran’s economy has been saved, so it’s already cashed in.