You can almost always tell when something is truly a horrendous decision, deal, piece of legislation or virtually anything imaginable by the fact that those who openly oppose or denounce the item come from many and varied source and places. The deal made between the P5+1 and Iran largely at the insistence and through the efforts of United States President Obama and the Iranian leadership has been denounced or condemned by Saudi Arabia’s Royal Family and the Israeli Prime Minister and numerous others both from the Knesset and those holding Ministerial Positions including those in the Prime Minister’s Security Council which are two nations who previously have been at odds and there is no love lost between them; Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and Democrat Senator Bernie Sanders who are a pair who normally align at near opposite ends of the political spectrum in the United States; and there likely exist numerous other pairings that would further evidence the complete disaster this agreement is. What is even more damning is the manner by which President Obama reached this deal with the Iranians. President Obama assigned the responsibility for setting the agenda and reaching an agreement with the Iranians through secretive meetings which were conducted away from the vision and without the knowledge of the other members of the P5+1, or at least behind the backs of the French and British who were completely blindsided when the details of that agreement became known last week, to Valerie Jarrett. Ms. Jarrett was Iranian born and has suggested that the United States use the United States Military to force the Israeli government release all of the disputed lands for the formation of a Palestinian state and continue to occupy Israel to assure that they take no steps against the Palestinians and prevent the Israelis from actively fighting terrorism. Her record illuminates her preference for the Muslim side of most areas of contention especially against Jews. Of all the members of the Administration, Valerie Jarrett is probably the last person I can think of to give the responsibility for making an agreement with the Iranians considering her background. One can only guess how horrendous the agreement which initially resulted from her deliberations and was presented last week such that the British and the French considered it necessary to call the leaderships of Israel and Saudi Arabia and inform them of the betrayal which President Obama and Valerie Jarrett were attempting to commit on these former allies, or at least very strained and distressed allies and then to have the French take the unprecedented step of vetoing an agreement presented by the President of the United States, the leader of what is likely one of the most steadfast allies of the French through both the good and bad times.
Sanctions are to be relaxed or ended in exchange for Iranian promises, what many fear are really empty promises not offered with earnest intent or content, to allow IAEA monitoring of their nuclear program, a guarantee they have made and broken every single time they have made said assurance either by outright expulsion of the IAEA inspectors or simply causing delays preventing timely surprise inspections providing Iranian personnel to clean or otherwise make sites presentable and ready for such inspections thus denying effective over-watch ability. The sanctioning bodies and nations, which include the European Union, United Nations and numerous individual countries including but not limited to all of the P5+1 members and Canada, are to relax sanctions including pausing efforts to further reduce Iran’s crude oil sales, enabling Iran’s current customers to purchase their current average amounts of crude oil. Enable the repatriation of an agreed amount of revenue held abroad rumored to total at least four billion dollars. For such oil sales, suspend the European Union and United States sanctions on associated insurance and transportation services. The United States and European Union would further suspend sanctions on Iran’s petrochemical exports, as well as sanctions on associated services, gold and precious metals, as well as sanctions on associated services, United States sanctions on Iran’s auto industry, as well as sanctions on associated services. Furthermore, there will be provided services which were nonexistent before the sanctions were originally enacted thus now allowing for the license, supply and installation in Iran of spare parts for safety of flight for Iranian civil aviation and associated services and the license safety related inspections and repairs in Iran as well as associated services. This entire list of goodies provided because the Iranians elected a new hardline President named Rouhani who was formerly the Iranian nuclear lead negotiator who stalled and glad-handed the West proving to be a master of the smiling and jovial snake in the grass but is supposedly a newly transformed new man to be trusted. Why am I so reminded of an old phrase about tigers and something about their stripes being of a permanent nature? The Obama Administration’s argument is that this was the best deal possible and that there was no other route that might prevent Iran from nuclear weapons short of a war. This is exactly the same argument used by President Jimmy Carter when his only attempt to rescue the hostages failed and he was faced with a hostile and determined Iran. The falsehood of President Carter’s argument was exposed when Iran released the hostages merely at the proposition that newly elected President Ronald Reagan would raise the price the Iranians would have to pay for holding Americans hostage. The simple idea that a new, no-nonsense approach was in the offerings was sufficient to push the Iranians to capitulate and a similar approach and threat would have again forced the Iranians to change their behavior and likely ended their drive for nuclear weapons, period. That was the alternative not tried and denied of existing by the entirety of the Obama Administration and the big lie at the center of the entire demand that surrender is the only option.
Perhaps I have become suspicious and prone to taking a negative first look at almost anything done by governments the vast majority of the time. Perhaps I should take the time to report a positive step which I find in the news at least once in a while. The problem with such is that I will most likely find things as positive will anger many others but then I already appear to have such an effect with the things I dislike. The one piece of news which was at least intriguing and should prove quite interesting to watch the ramifications going forward was the African nation of Angola has reportedly become the first country to ban Islam. Not only have they banned Islam but the ban includes orders to demolish mosques in the country. The United States State Department lists Angola’s population as 16 million as being predominantly Christian, with only 80,000-90,000 Muslims, the majority of whom are migrants from West Africa and families of Lebanese origin. Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos said Sunday “this is the final end of Islamic influence in our country.” Angolan Minister of Culture, Rosa Cruz e Silva said “the process of legalization of Islam has not been approved by the Ministry of Justice and Human rights, their mosques would be closed until further notice.” Silva further claimed the ban was necessary since Islam is “contradictory to the customs of Angola culture.” Silva also commented on other non-legalized religions on the list “published by the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights in the Angolan newspaper ‘Jornal de Angola’ are prohibited to conduct worship, so they should keep their doors closed.” On a more tolerant and open side, the Minister of Culture added that there is a legalization process through which over a thousand religious sects are currently applying. This should prove to be a turning point, just what will be turned up by this is left to the future to elucidate as I have no idea how this will play out in the near future or over the long term either. I guess we will have to watch and take note for future reference and see if others also follow Angola with this radical and unprecedented move, at least unprecedented in recent history outside of places like Saudi Arabia where Islam is the sole permitted religion and being Jewish or in possession of any holy book other than the Koran and the Hadiths can be punishable by death and where the ruling Royals actually requested that the United States at least not allow any Jewish soldiers to be included in the forces sent to combat against Saddam Hussein and both prevent him from moving on Saudi Arabia and evict his forces out of Kuwait in Gulf War I. Maybe Angola is not so unprecedented as I first thought, appears Saudi Arabia beat them at this ban religions practice and to a far greater extent.
Beyond the Cusp
Complete Text of the P5+1 Deal with Iran Concerning Their Nuclear Program
Geneva, 24 November 2013
Joint Plan of Action
The goal for these negotiations is to reach a mutually-agreed long-term comprehensive solution that would ensure Iran’s nuclear program will be exclusively peaceful. Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek or develop any nuclear weapons. This comprehensive solution would build on these initial measures and result in a final step for a period to be agreed upon and the resolution of concerns. This comprehensive solution would enable Iran to fully enjoy its right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes under the relevant articles of the NPT in conformity with its obligations therein. This comprehensive solution would involve a mutually defined enrichment program with practical limits and transparency measures to ensure the peaceful nature of the program. This comprehensive solution would constitute an integrated whole where nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. This comprehensive solution would involve a reciprocal, step-by-step process, and would produce the comprehensive lifting of all UN Security Council sanctions, as well as multilateral and national sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear program.
There would be additional steps in between the initial measures and the final step, including, among other things, addressing the UN Security Council resolutions, with a view toward bringing to a satisfactory conclusion the UN Security Council’s consideration of this matter. The E3+3 and Iran will be responsible for conclusion and implementation of mutual near-term measures and the comprehensive solution in good faith. A Joint Commission of E3/EU+3 and Iran will be established to monitor the implementation of the near-term measures and address issues that may arise, with the IAEA responsible for verification of nuclear-related measures. The Joint Commission will work with the IAEA to facilitate resolution of past and present issues of concern.
Elements of a first step:
The first step would be time-bound, with a duration of 6 months, and renewable by mutual consent, during which all parties will work to maintain a constructive atmosphere for negotiations in good faith.
Iran would undertake the following voluntary measures:
From the existing uranium enriched to 20%, retain half as working stock of 20% oxide for fabrication of fuel for the TRR. Dilute the remaining 20% UF6 to no more than 5%. No reconversion line.
Iran announces that it will not enrich uranium over 5% for the duration of the 6 months.
Iran announces that it will not make any further advances of its activities at the Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant1, Fordow2, or the Arak reactor3, designated by the IAEA as IR-40.
Beginning when the line for conversion of UF6 enriched up to 5% to UO2 is ready, Iran has decided to convert to oxide UF6 newly enriched up to 5% during the 6 month period, as provided in the operational schedule of the conversion plant declared to the IAEA.
No new locations for the enrichment.
Iran will continue its safeguarded R&D practices, including its current enrichment R&D practices, which are not designed for accumulation of the enriched uranium.
No reprocessing or construction of a facility capable of reprocessing.
Provision of specified information to the IAEA, including information on Iran’s plans for nuclear facilities, a description of each building on each nuclear site, a description of the scale of operations for each location engaged in specified nuclear activities, information on uranium mines and mills, and information on source material. This information would be provided within three months of the adoption of these measures.
Submission of an updated DIQ for the reactor at Arak, designated by the IAEA as the IR-40, to the IAEA.
Steps to agree with the IAEA on conclusion of the Safeguards Approach for the reactor at Arak, designated by the IAEA as the IR-40.
Daily IAEA inspector access when inspectors are not present for the purpose of Design Information Verification, Interim Inventory Verification, Physical Inventory Verification, and unannounced inspections, for the purpose of access to offline surveillance records, at Fordow and Natanz.
IAEA inspector managed access to:
- centrifuge assembly workshops4;
- centrifuge rotor production workshops and storage facilities; and,
- Uranium mines and mills.
In return, the E3/EU+3 would undertake the following voluntary measures:
Pause efforts to further reduce Iran’s crude oil sales, enabling Iran’s current customers to purchase their current average amounts of crude oil. Enable the repatriation of an agreed amount of revenue held abroad. For such oil sales, suspend the EU and U.S. sanctions on associated insurance and transportation services.
Suspend U.S. and EU sanctions on:
Iran’s petrochemical exports, as well as sanctions on associated services.5
Gold and precious metals, as well as sanctions on associated services.
Suspend U.S. sanctions on Iran’s auto industry, as well as sanctions on associated services.
License the supply and installation in Iran of spare parts for safety of flight for Iranian civil aviation and associated services. License safety related inspections and repairs in Iran as well as associated services.6
No new nuclear-related UN Security Council sanctions.
No new EU nuclear-related sanctions.
The U.S. Administration, acting consistent with the respective roles of the President and the Congress, will refrain from imposing new nuclear-related sanctions.
Establish a financial channel to facilitate humanitarian trade for Iran’s domestic needs using Iranian oil revenues held abroad. Humanitarian trade would be defined as transactions involving food and agricultural products, medicine, medical devices, and medical expenses incurred abroad. This channel would involve specified foreign banks and non-designated Iranian banks to be defined when establishing the channel.
This channel could also enable:
transactions required to pay Iran’s UN obligations; and,
direct tuition payments to universities and colleges for Iranian students studying abroad, up to an agreed amount for the six month period.
Increase the EU authorization thresholds for transactions for non-sanctioned trade to an agreed amount.
Elements of the final step of a comprehensive solution*
The final step of a comprehensive solution, which the parties aim to conclude negotiating and commence implementing no more than one year after the adoption of this document, would:
Have a specified long-term duration to be agreed upon.
Reflect the rights and obligations of parties to the NPT and IAEA Safeguards Agreements.
Comprehensively lift UN Security Council, multilateral and national nuclear-related sanctions, including steps on access in areas of trade, technology, finance, and energy, on a schedule to be agreed upon.
Involve a mutually defined enrichment program with mutually agreed parameters consistent with practical needs, with agreed limits on scope and level of enrichment activities, capacity, where it is carried out, and stocks of enriched uranium, for a period to be agreed upon.
Fully resolve concerns related to the reactor at Arak, designated by the IAEA as the IR-40. No reprocessing or construction of a facility capable of reprocessing.
Fully implement the agreed transparency measures and enhanced monitoring. Ratify and implement the Additional Protocol, consistent with the respective roles of the President and the Majlis (Iranian parliament).
Include international civil nuclear cooperation, including among others, on acquiring modern light water power and research reactors and associated equipment, and the supply of modern nuclear fuel as well as agreed R&D practices.
Following successful implementation of the final step of the comprehensive solution for its full duration, the Iranian nuclear program will be treated in the same manner as that of any non-nuclear weapon state party to the NPT.
* With respect to the final step and any steps in between, the standard principle that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed” applies.
Namely, during the 6 months, Iran will not feed UF6 into the centrifuges installed but not enriching uranium. Not install additional centrifuges. Iran announces that during the first 6 months, it will replace existing centrifuges with centrifuges of the same type.
At Fordow, no further enrichment over 5% at 4 cascades now enriching uranium, and not increase enrichment capacity. Not feed UF6 into the other 12 cascades, which would remain in a non-operative state. No interconnections between cascades. Iran announces that during the first 6 months, it will replace existing centrifuges with centrifuges of the same type.
Iran announces on concerns related to the construction of the reactor at Arak that for 6 months it will not commission the reactor or transfer fuel or heavy water to the reactor site and will not test additional fuel or produce more fuel for the reactor or install remaining components.
Consistent with its plans, Iran’s centrifuge production during the 6 months will be dedicated to replace damaged machines. “Sanctions on associated services” means any service, such as insurance, transportation, or financial, subject to the underlying U.S. or EU sanctions applicable, insofar as each service is related to the underlying sanction and required to facilitate the desired transactions. These services could involve any non-designated Iranian entities.
Sanctions relief could involve any non-designated Iranian airlines as well as Iran Air.