Iran deal is only a tem­po­rary re­prieve

The Jewish Chronicle - - World News - MEIR JAVEDAN­FAR

AF­TER THREE DAYS of in­ten­sive ne­go­ti­a­tions with the US, France and Rus­sia, Iran has agreed to a draft deal on the sta­tus of its nu­clear pro­gramme. Al­though the ex­act de­tails of the deal are not yet clear, it ap­pears that Iran is to ex­port most of its Low En­riched Ura­nium (LEU) to Rus­sia.

This deal is a victory for Barack Obama, as he has man­aged to con­vince Iran to give up what many be­lieve is some­where be­tween 75–80 per cent of its LEU. That means that for now, it will be im­pos­si­ble for Iran to make a nu­clear bomb, as the LEU it needs will no longer be in the coun­try. Note the words, “for now”. In other words, while this is a victory for Pres­i­dent Obama, it is only a tem­po­rary one.

What the deal does not cover is the fate of Iran’s en­rich­ment pro­gramme, and this is where the main con­cern is. As long as Iran con­tin­ues to en­rich ura­nium on its soil, some­thing which the UN cur­rently sees as il­le­gal, Ay­a­tol­lah Khamenei will main­tain the ca­pa­bil­ity to make a bomb in the fu­ture.

Iran cur­rently pro­duces 3 kg of LEU per day. As part of the cur­rent deal, Iran will be com­pelled to trans­fer

ap­prox­i­mately 1,200 kg of its LEU to Rus­sia. At cur­rent pro­duc­tion rates, Iran will be able re­place all of its trans­ferred LEU in lit­tle over 13 months.

De­pend­ing on Iran’s re­la­tions with the West by then, Ay­a­tol­lah Khamenei could keep the LEU in Iran, or send it abroad. It will be up to him, as he is cur­rently only obliged to send the ex­ist­ing batch. Noth­ing has been men­tioned about fu­ture sup­plies.

The deal also does not com­pel Iran to in­crease its co­op­er­a­tion with the In­ter­na­tional Atomic En­ergy Agency (IAEA) and its in­spec­tors, which could also take the shine off Mr Obama’s victory.

Un­til now, Iran’s co­op­er­a­tion with this or­gan­i­sa­tion has been half-hearted. It re­luc­tantly agreed to in­spec­tions af­ter a se­cret en­rich­ment fa­cil­ity at Natanz was ex­posed in 2002.

Af­ter that, on some oc­ca­sions Iran co­op­er­ated with the IAEA. On oth­ers, it told half truths, blocked ac­cess to in­spec­tions or plainly lied about its ac­tiv­i­ties, for ex­am­ple af­ter the ex­po­sure, ear­lier this month, of the se­cret nu­clear site in Qom.

Many were hop­ing that Mr Obama could at least get Iran to agree to more strin­gent in­spec­tions so that, while the cur­rent deal is be­ing car­ried out, con­cerns about de­vi­a­tions in Iran’s path could be al­le­vi­ated. How­ever this will not be hap­pen­ing now.

13 months of re­prieve. That is what Obama has gained from the cur­rent deal. More work re­mains. Much more. Meir Javedan­far is an Ira­nian-Is­raeli po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst

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