Any agreement requires efforts of both sides in bridging the gaps. In the case of the nuclear deal, it seems that the gaps just keep on getting wider. What does this say about the Iranian partner to the deal?
The American View
- US Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman: “The agreement…freeze and roll back their program in significant ways and give us time on the clock to negotiate comprehensive agreement.”
- White House: Iran has agreed to “halt all enrichment above 5% and dismantle the technical connections required to enrich above 5%.”
The Iranian View
Iranian Nuclear Chief Ali Akbar Salehi:
- “The only thing we have stopped and suspended — and that is voluntarily — is the production of 20% enriched uranium, and that’s it.” & “the entire nuclear activity of Iran is going on.” Salehi adds: “Come and see whether our nuclear sites, nuclear equipment and nuclear facilities are dismantled or not.”
- “Otherwise Iran will pursue its natural course.” & “Tehran can go back to where it was on the nuclear path in a matter of hours“.
- “Out of the 18,000 centrifuges that we have roughly, 9,000 of them are working, are functioning; and the other 9,000 we have voluntarily accepted not to inject gas into them.”
- On proceeding in developing the heavy water plant in Arak: “Arak heavy water reactor is not for the production of plutonium. This reactor is a research reactor.”
Doesn’t sound like the nuclear program will be “stopped“, “frozen“, “dismantled“, “rolledback“, “reignedin“, “controlled” etc…as the West has struggled to describe it. Quite simply, according to Iran, it is at the best “paused“. The two main differences being the “restart” point of the nuclear program should the interim agreement disintegrate (“a matter of hours”) and who is benefitting from the deal until then (Iran).
Setting Aside Illusions
Back on January 31st, Foreign Minister Zarif stated that the West should set aside the illusions that the Iranians approached the negotiation table because of the effect of sanctions. While this statement is reversed because it is precisely the sanctions which brought about Rouhani’s election and removing the sanctions remains Rouhani’s priority and promise for change, Zarif is right about setting aside illusions regarding the exact effects of the deal on Tehran’s potential to militarize its nuclear program. Time is on Iran’s side.
So although it is admirable that the west wants to “give peace a chance” before resorting to harsher solutions, it seems delusional to believe that the interim agreement has “bought time” for the west and its interests.
- Contradicting Perceptions Reguarding the Iranian Deal
- West Gets Future Checks, Iran Gets Cash
- Iran Negotiations 101
- Distrust Increases With Enrichment Levels
- Nuclear Talks Deteriorate to Bazaar Haggle
- Nuclear Deal Terminally Ill