Iran nu­clear deal is a worth­while bet

The China Post - - COMMENTARY -

The nu­clear frame­work deal struck with Iran this Thurs­day has been at once lauded for the com­pre­hen­sive­ness of con­ces­sions earned by the West, as well as crit­i­cized for its lack of ad­dress­ing bal­lis­tic mis­sile ca­pa­bil­i­ties, Iran’s spon­sor­ship of desta­bi­liz­ing and ter­ror­is­tic ac­tiv­i­ties, and its rhetoric on the an­ni­hi­la­tion of Is­rael.

If Iran seeks peace­ful devel­op­ment, it will be able to un­leash its hu­man cap­i­tal and be­come a full par­tic­i­pant in the world econ­omy. If it de­cides not to pur­sue peace­ful devel­op­ment, it may also com­plete its as­cen­dancy as the re­gion’s top Shi­ite power and spread its in­flu­ence, com­mit crimes such as have been re­port­edly car­ried out by Shi­ite mili­tia and fur­ther spon­sor Ha­mas to attack Is­rael. The re­pres­sive na­ture of its po­lit­i­cal struc­tures could also re­main in place. A case in point is China, which has reaped the fruits of in­ter­na­tional in­te­gra­tion to grow richer and much more pow­er­ful, but has thus far blocked the peo­ple’s calls for democ­racy and even tight­ened the lid on dis­sent un­der the lead­er­ship of Xi Jin­ping. The to­tal­ity of a na­tion’s con­duct is am­bigu­ous.

On Satur­day, the U.S. al­ready re­jected Is­rael’s de­mands for recog­ni­tion by Iran as part of any nu­clear agree­ment. Is­raeli PM Benjamin Ne­tanyahu has ar­gued that the deal “threat­ens Is­rael’s sur­vival” and “paves Iran’s path to the bomb.”

For Tai­wan, the same de­sire could be said of our re­la­tion­ship with main­land China. Wouldn’t it be great to in­sist on recog­ni­tion of Tai­wan’s right to ex­ist as a pre­cur­sor to deals? In this re­gard, Is­rael has had the luxury of the P5+1 pro­tect­ing its right to ex­ist. How­ever, Tai­wan has no such luxury to de­mand recog­ni­tion of its sovereignty, and Tai­wan has con­tin­ued to deal with a neigh­bor who claims to own it.

Lib­er­at­ing the eco­nomic po­ten­tial of a peo­ple un­doubt­edly car­ries risks. It is im­pos­si­ble to track the flow of money once it is in­jected into the econ­omy and col­lected in the form of taxes. If the gov­ern­ment of Iran con­tin­ues to spon­sor mis­chief, it is in­deed a cul­prit of ter­ror, but the world does not have the where­withal to dic­tate how Iran spends its money.

In that sense, the con­cern is valid be­cause all as­pects of the coun­try are strength­ened once sanc­tions are lifted, in­clud­ing mil­i­tary force that can be used for threat­en­ing other coun­tries.

Un­der the frame­work be­tween Iran and the P5+1, Iran would not shut any of its nu­clear plants, but only the Natanz fa­cil­ity can con­tinue to en­rich nu­clear fuel. Weapon­s­grade plu­to­nium would be off the ta­ble; the Arak re­ac­tor is con­verted to ex­clude such spec­i­fi­ca­tions. The For­dow fa­cil­ity will be con­verted so that it no longer en­riches ura­nium, for a pe­riod of 15 years. It would be­come a nu­clear physics re­search cen­ter.

Of the 19,000 cen­trifuges Iran cur­rently has, around a third would be al­lowed to re­main op­er­a­tional, with 5,060 en­rich­ing ura­nium, and th­ese would be the first-gen­er­a­tion IR-1 mod­els. All newer mod­els will be moth­balled for at least 10 years.

Ura­nium would not be en­riched be­yond 3.67 per­cent pu­rity for 15 years; Iran’s cur­rent stock of 10,000 kg of lowen­riched ura­nium (that of 3.67 per­cent pu­rity) will be cut to 300 kg for 10 years, and new fa­cil­i­ties for en­rich­ing ura­nium will not be built for 15 years.

In­ter­na­tional Atomic En­ergy Agency in­spec­tors have the power to visit nu­clear mines and mills for 25 years, and cen­trifuge pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties for 20 years.

One very strong source of ar­gu­ment is that if the over­ar­ch­ing goal is to make the world free of nu­clear weapons, the arc of the past 12 years of sanc­tions has not been able to pre­vent 164 cen­trifuges back then spin­ning up to 19,000 to­day. Com­men­ta­tors have looked back with re­morse that there was no deal back then, such that it be­came im­pos­si­ble to pare back Iran’s num­bers to as low as they were. It is a valid point, and the chance to off­set Iran’s cen­trifuges by two-thirds is the best pos­si­bil­ity when con­fronted with the tra­jec­tory of ex­pand­ing cen­trifuges in the face of sanc­tions.

Obama put it well when he said in a Rose Gar­den speech that if Iran were to be bombed, the even­tual re­sult would still mean go­ing back to the ne­go­ti­at­ing ta­ble, with the ad­di­tional bur­dens of a bloody and costly war that would be ex­tremely un­likely to re­make the coun­try. In other words, in­grained hos­til­ity would seep through gen­er­a­tions.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Taiwan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.