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Lok Sabha TV Insights: Iran Nuclear Deal
30 June 2015
30th June was deadline for both sides to agree on nuclear deal, it is expected to be extended today. On one side is G5 (US, Britain, France, Russia, China) + 1 (Germany), while on the other side is IRAN. Temporary deal was arrived at in November, 2013 and now permanent solution is sought for.
The goal is an agreement on a set of measures that can provide reasonable assurance that Iran’s nuclear program will be used only for peaceful purposes. Iran has already agreed to limit its enrichment to 3.67% for next 15 years, to limit number of centrifuges to current 19000 and to open its nuclear establishment for inspection by International Atomic Energy Agency. In return it will be liberated from sanctions imposed by USA, European Union and UNSC. Both sides are negotiating to get best deal for themselves and that’s where differences are emerging.
Iran wants that sanctions should be removed as soon as agreement is signed, but G5 wants it to be in calibrated manner. Further, many interest groups in US and France are pushing for a strict deal which guarantees access to IAEA to all military establishments. This is unacceptable to Iran for obvious reasons and it has refused to allow any blanket access.
There are also disagreements on consequences of violation of agreement by IRAN. US is pushing for even stricter sanctions in such scenario, while Iran is demanding a ‘Dispute Resolution Mechanism’. Iran also wants to maintain some of its R&D facilities, so that it can preserve current progress and success it has achieved in the field.
Western negotiators are concerned that the total of about 19,000 centrifuges that Iran has installed at its enrichment plants at Natanz and Fordow is sufficient for producing, should it decide to do so, highly enriched uranium for nuclear weapons purposes (typically enriched to 90 percent uranium-235) in a time frame that may be too short for the international community to detect the effort and respond to it effectively. (Current capacity is 20% enriched U-235)The negotiators currently appear to be discussing limits on Iran’s centrifuge program that would translate into a potential “breakout” time of about six to 12 months to make enough material for a first bomb rather than the estimated two months that Iran probably would require today. Additional time would be required to fabricate a nuclear explosive device that could be tested or a nuclear warhead that could be integrated with a delivery system such as a ballistic missile, turning Iran into a nuclear-armed state.
In US things became complicated after it emerged that US Senate will have right to review the deal. To this Iran has expressed its concerns. Also, Republican Party and Israeli lobby are hell bent to influence deal to make it tougher for Iran to agree upon. While all interested parties feel that deal is inevitable and beneficial for stability of Middle East in particular and world in general, yet they have some aversion to a developed Iran. Saudi Arabia and Israel fear that this will open doors of development for Iran and a decade or so later a stronger Iran will defy the deal and will easily acquire nuclear weapons.
Deal is compelling for both economic and security reason. With world economy anticipating downturn due to default by Greece and its possible exit from EU, it is expected that Iran’s integration with world economy will bring much relief. Iran huge oil reserves are expected to push prices further down, which in turn will help in faster growth in US, EU and India. Further, growing threat of Islamic Sunni terrorism and absence of any viable combat plan makes it nesseccary for both Iran and west to cooperate with each other. Shia Iran is also as hated by IS as is west. Lastly, it is perfect opportunity for US for damage control. Due to arbitrary interventions by west in last many decades its credibility has hit nadir and this is one of the reason that IS is attracting so many young people.
Iran also has very young demography like India as 42% of its population is below 25 years. This group is quite aspirational and don’t want to remain isolated anymore. Sensing huge market opportunities, big businesses are already queuing up in Iran in anticipation of breakthrough. Due to sanctions, its economy is already wretched and inflation is still as high as 25%. So Iran, in order to preserve its stability desperately needs the deal. It is commendable that despite suffering such coercion Irani people have so far not fell prey to radicalism.
This will be a breakthrough in International diplomacy and will give a major geopolitical shift. Saudi Arabia will become lesser important for West. Given the readiness on part of Iran, west should cooperate. Every country has right to maintain some sovereignty. Pushing Iran too much against wall my backfire, after all Iran has capacity to develop nuclear weapon and this attitude will provide it no incentive to give up its program. Iran also has credible warhead delivery systems I.e. Intercontinental Ballastic Missile.