By Nadav Eyal
Should the accords bring a new spirit - this spirit itself is going to change the negotiators. It will transform Iran, as the negotiation in Northern Ireland transformed the hawkish parties and dissuaded them from the path of violence. This is the hope.
Translated by Viktoria Lymar
Edited by Steven Stenzler
24 November 2013
Contrary to public opinion in the world, the pact with Iran is not a historic breakthrough for peace. The Iran deal is exactly what it is: an initial interim settlement.
Let’s start from the end: the agreement with Iran is not a historic breakthrough for the world peace, as some global media outlets promise. And getting back to the beginning: the agreement with Iran is not the moment when Israel is being abandoned to the mercies of a deranged regime that in a second is going to sling a nuclear missile at us or hand over a dirty bomb to terrorist organizations. This moment is not a Munich for Israel, it is not the Iranians’ Treaty of Versailles – and it surely does not justify the early Nobel Prize received by President Obama.
The agreement with Iran is exactly what it is: an initial interim arrangement. A framework for action. A series of modest, yet important agreements. Modest in all directions. Iran will get very limited removal of sanctions, worth about seven billion dollars. Even the amount being double, it is tiny in terms of the distress of the Iranian economy and the size of the country. Iran will give, in return, a fairly complete freeze of its nuclear program and also roll it back to a limited degree. The entire stock of uranium [enriched] to 20 percent is to be diluted or neutralized. Iran won’t enrich to such a level in the future.
Iran will be able to carry on enriching uranium to the level of 3.5 percent, however, undertaking to have its stockpile remain the same size as of today. What does this mean? That it will have to enrich and then to convert or dilute that which it’s enriching. It won’t move forward a single gram. Practically, this is a cease of enrichment – it’s just that the Iranians wanted to save face.
In Arak, the construction may continue, nevertheless, everything related to the nuclear components of the reactor – the reactor itself, fuel rods, plutonium separation facility – none of these are going to be built within the next six months. In addition, Iran won’t mount its disturbing centrifuges, of the advanced generation, nor install more centrifuges at all. It will allow the IAEA unprecedented, everyday inspection and monitoring of the nuclear facilities.
No Centrifuge to Be Dismantled
It sounds impressive – but in practical terms, the Iranians can keep enriching uranium. The Prime Minister is right in saying that this is the essential point: it is essential for the Iranians, too. Not a single centrifuge will be dismantled. The Security Council resolutions demand from Iran to stop enrichment altogether – and this agreement is a substantial discount. This deal is the opening of opportunity, and like all of these, its dangers are many.
The Iranians can take advantage of this time window to undermine the sanctions regime at a time they are treading water with the negotiations. The Americans might find that the Saudis are developing a regional nuclear arms race, which would require the Iranians to relinquish their positive intentions (if any). The accord may be the template of the permanent agreement with Iran – that which in fact will leave it as a nuclear threshold state.
Against these concerns – which Israel expresses, as usual, in the diapason ranging between power and absolute panic – it should be said that the present arrangement seems to be better than a continuation of the current situation. The current state of affairs is such that Iran can easily develop secret nuclear facilities. The extent of the international supervision is limited and alarming. Iran is enriching uranium unhindered, while ascribing the daily miseries to the cruelty of the West and Israel. The regime is working and advancing towards a bomb, when the Iranians have nothing to lose, and it turns out that the international community fears military action even more than a nuclear Iran.
The gist is simple: The West offers the Iranians to desert their path of isolation and hatred. The means to do so is forsaking the nuclear program. The agreement in Geneva provides an initial framework, a modest hope to make progress toward the big deal: a nuclear project for return to the family of nations.
The West would like to believe that by the deal, it strengthens the President Rouhani and the moderates, and allows them to effectively fight publicly against the Revolutionary Guards and other extremist elements. If the accords bring a new spirit, this spirit itself will change the negotiators. It will transform Iran, as the negotiation in Northern Ireland transformed the hawkish parties and dissuaded them from the path of violence. This is the hope. And the greater the hope – the greater the danger.
The author is foreign news editor of Channel 10
Original Hebrew article:
(Initially: Israel Is Not Abandoned to the Mercies of a Deranged Regime)
Image credit: Channel 2/mako