Beyond the Cusp

April 4, 2015

Would You Trust Iran This Much?


The first number to jump up has been the six-thousand centrifuges the Iranians will be permitted to retain in active service, a far cry from the five to fifteen hundred centrifuge numbers originally floated by the State Department. The claims that the six-thousand centrifuges is a reduction of over two-thirds of the Iranian total of nineteen thousand centrifuges is a technically accurate statement, the Iranians had seldom had over ten-thousand centrifuges used at any given moment in time thus the reality is that the Iranians are merely cutting the number of operable centrifuges by approximately one-third, not two-thirds. As we noted yesterday, all of the restrictions on the Iranian nuclear program will expire in ten to twenty years and none of the restrictions are to be permanent in nature. This means that even should the Iranians obey every last restriction with no cheating, then they will be back in business inside of twelve years and well on their way to having a breakout point of merely weeks assuming the centrifuges they will be reinstalling are their present day best and not some improved newer version centrifuges. Then there is the point that once there has been a deal reached that the Iranian nuclear programs will have probably attained the greatest and most important item possible from the talks, the formal recognition by the western world and the United Nations of their right to enrich uranium and to possess a fully functioning nuclear program. And all of this depends on the program and talks not exploding again and everything going back to square one.


One might ask what the rest of the world got out of the talks and into the framework as it is fairly obvious that the Iranians got to retain a large percentage of their enrichment mechanisms and will not be burdened by a permanent restriction of their program. The most obvious item is that the Iranians will presumably be using their least advanced centrifuges and will not be upgrading their capabilities anytime in the immediate future. There will be what appears to be, on paper at least, a firm and significant inspection program in place. And it appears that Iran’s breakout point was lengthened and their stockpiles of enriched uranium reduced. Still, we would not be entirely truthful if we did not note the one thing that struck us was the point that some have made is that this inspection routine appears to be similar in nature to the kind of inspection routine that one would often find coming up as the answer to such a posed problem of inspecting a nuclear program in a college setting where students were tasked with addressing the concerns of a national nuclear program. Anything which sounds similar to the kind of answer often found on a college campus as the response to an assignment strikes us as potentially being very suspect and probably not that sophisticated. In theory the size of the amount of the Iranian stockpiles will be significantly reduced though the fact that such will be accomplished by turning them over to the Russians leaves us less than ecstatic. And finally, the breakout point will theoretically be more considerable than it currently exists. And what is likely to be the greatest risk to the rest of the world is that all the gains made depend on Iranian honesty and their not reneging on any part of the deal as they have done numerous times already. The Iranians have often claimed they were unaware of the terminology used in the phrasing and thus the necessity for that area to be rehashed out just to get back to where there had been cautious agreement hours earlier.


Even if everything is a settled as it seems, there are still any number of things left to be thrashed about until some semblance of order is attained. The accusations made by Iranian Chief Negotiator and Foreign Minister Zarif referring to the State Department fact sheet which was released have been somewhat disheartening. Mr. Zarif was quoted as stating, “The solutions are good for all, as they stand. There is no need to spin using ‘fact sheets’ so early on.” Mr. Zarif has further pointed out, “We’ll continue enriching, we won’t close any facilities…all UN and US sanctions will be terminated.” Additionally there appears to be little reference to having the Iranians answer the serious questions the IAEA inspectors have over previous military working applications of their research. This has been something pretty much ignored by the talks but which the IAEA appear to place significantly greater importance upon. Then there is the case of what potential ramifications might befall Iran should they transgress against any agreement once it has been reached? As things currently sit it would require taking their supposed transgression before the United Nations Security Council and gaining the reapplications of sanction from at a minimum of nine members and at the same time avoiding any veto from any of the permanent Security Council members which include the United States, France, Britain, China and Russia. What could potentially go wrong? I mean there is no possibility of either Russia or China using their veto power to shield their ally from any difficulties or ramifications to their actions, right?


Then there is the one person who has made it his defining point to reveal any problems with the agreements as they stand. No, we did not mean me, we mean Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. The Prime Minister missed little time before pointing out how he feels concerning the current framework agreement as being “detached from reality” and “possibly even worse than we had previously thought” amongst other denunciations of the framework agreement. And this time the Prime Minister is far from standing alone as most of the Israeli political leaders even including the Prime Minister’s leading adversaries, Yitzhak Hertzog and Tzipi Livni having also come out and denounced the agreement. Also making such comments was Yair Lapid, another usual critic of Netanyahu in the past. The general coconscious amongst Israeli leadership can be readily summed up with two words, “”historic mistake;” despite what Obama asserted, “I am convinced that if this framework leads to a final comprehensive deal it will make our country, our allies and our world safer,” and additionally insisting that despite criticisms the agreement would effectively cut off any options for Iran to build a nuclear bomb. This did little to silence critics of the deal in Israel where Cabinet Ministers met and they and other officials made statements including these, “If an agreement is reached on the basis of this framework, it is an historic mistake which will make the world far more dangerous,” and “It is a bad framework which will lead to a bad and dangerous agreement. The framework gives international legitimacy to Iran’s nuclear program, the only aim of which is to produce a nuclear bomb,” as well as this definitive statement from Prime Minister Netanyahu, “A deal based on this framework would threaten the survival of Israel. Just two days ago, Iran said that ‘the destruction of Israel is non-negotiable,’ and in these fateful days Iran is accelerating the arming of its terror proxies to attack Israel. This deal would legitimize Iran’s nuclear program, bolster Iran’s economy, and increase Iran’s aggression and terror throughout the Middle East and beyond. Such a deal would not block Iran’s path to the bomb. It would pave it. It would increase the risks of nuclear proliferation in the region and the risks of a horrific war. The alternative is standing firm and increasing the pressure on Iran until a better deal is achieved.” About all we could add to this most puissant commentary from the Prime Minister might be to ask that the Prime Minister, “Tell us how you really feel and don’t hold back on our account.” And if I may, allow me to ask one last set of questions, could somebody please tell me who will be the first to launch, at whom will they be launching, how many will end up launching in the ensuing four or five days of what will very briefly be called the Terminal War before the world returns to the stone age, and when mankind again becomes interested in their history, how will they refer to the large areas of shocked quartz and vitrification of sands into glass mingled with remains of cities and lastly, how will they explain the remaining megastructures as having been built by stone age man without modern tools?


Beyond the Cusp


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