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Post 14 Jul 2015, 10:01 am

Now that the President has assured us Iran will not build a nuclear weapon, world peace is sure to follow.

I would note that what the President initially said we would get out of this deal in terms of commitments from Iran seems to have changed quite a bit.

(1) The Iranian nuclear program will be placed under international sponsorship for R&D – A few weeks ago the AP leaked parts of an annex confirming that a major power would be working with the Iranians to develop next-generation centrifuge technology at the Fordow underground military enrichment bunker. Technically the work won’t be on nuclear material, but the AP noted that “isotope production uses the same technology as enrichment and can be quickly re-engineered to enriching uranium.” The administration had once promised Congress that Iran would be forced to dismantle its centrifuge program. The Iranians refused, so the administration conceded that the Iranians would be allowed to keep their existing centrifuges. Now the international community will be actively sponsoring the development of Iranian nuclear technology. And since the work will be overseen by a great power, it will be off-limits to the kind of sabotage that has kept the Iranian nuclear program in check until now.

(2) The sanctions regime will be shredded – the AP revealed at the beginning of June that the vast majority of the domestic U.S. sanctions regime will be dismantled. The Lausanne factsheet – which played a key role in dampening Congressional criticism to American concessions – had explicitly stated “U.S. sanctions on Iran for terrorism, human rights abuses, and ballistic missiles will remain in place under the deal.” That turns out to have been false. Instead the administration will redefine non-nuclear sanctions as nuclear, so that it can lift them. The Iranians are boasting that sanctions against Iran’s Central Bank, NIT Co., the National Iranian Oil Company, and 800 individuals and entities will be lifted. That’s probably exaggerated and a bit confused – CBI sanctions are statutory, and will probably not be getting “lifted” – but the sense is clear enough.

(3) The U.S. collapsed on the arms embargo – Just a week ago General Dempsey told the Senate Armed Services Committee that “under no circumstances should we relieve pressure on Iran relative to ballistic missile capabilities and arms trafficking.” Now multiple outlets have confirmed that the embargo on conventional weapons will be lifted no later than five years from now, and that the embargo on ballistic missiles will expire in 8 years. No one in the region is going to wait for those embargoes to expire: they’ll rush to build up their stockpiles in anticipation of the sunset.

(4) The U.S. collapsed on anytime-anywhere inspections – The IAEA will get to request access to sensitive sites, the Iranians will get to say no, and then there will be an arbitration board that includes Iran as a member. This concession is particularly damaging politically and substantively because the administration long ago went all-in on verification. The original goal of the talks was to make the Iranians take physical actions that would prevent them from going nuclear if they wanted to: dismantling centrifuges, shuttering facilities, etc. The Iranians said no to those demands, and the Americans backed off. The fallback position relied 100% on verification: yes the Iranians would be physically able to cheat, the argument went, but the cheating would be detected because of an anytime-anywhere inspection regime. That is not what the Americans are bringing home.

(5) The U.S. collapsed on PMDs – This morning the Iranians and the IAEA signed a roadmap for a process that would see Tehran eventually providing access for the IAEA to clear up its concerns. This roadmap differs in no significant way from previous commitments the Iranians have made to the agency, except now Tehran will have received sanctions relief and stabilized its economy. Administration officials will have to look at lawmakers and nonetheless promise that this time the Iranians will give the IAEA what it needs.


So weak.
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Post 15 Jul 2015, 4:37 am

That's how I see it.

I don't think it really matters at this point if Congress opposes the deal. As long as the other powers are in, Iran will receive cash and weapons to sponsor terrorism and for its rulers to maintain their power at home and increase their power abroad. No doubt that they will make some progress on nukes and the entire region will further destabilize. The weakening of ISIS is not as important as a strong radical-Islamic technologically-sophisticated state.
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Post 15 Jul 2015, 6:03 am

ray
. No doubt that they will make some progress on nukes and the entire region will further destabilize.


They don't really need to make any progress on nukes. A week ago, had they wanted to, they could have produced a nuke in two months.
http://www.iranwatch.org/our-publicatio ... -timetable

The notion that continuing sanctions were physically holding back Iran on nuclear weapons development is nonsense. They had made the political and economic calculation that going ahead with creating a weapon wasn't worth doing. The deal ensures that this carrot/stick is still in place.
The deal dials back their ability to rapidly product a weapon. From a few months to a year or more. And it provides the West with verification, which currently isn't available.

Sanctions weren't going to last. Either China or Russia or even some of the European nations were likely to bail at some point. Iran's oil is that important. So an indefinite sanctions arrangement, had to be measured against what could be gained. So what could be gained? regime change wasn't in any way realistic. That is a notion worthy of Trump.

The alternative to the deal was an inevitable reliance on military action against Iran if Iran decided to move ahead with nuke development. And there is no guarantee of success in a limited operation... so the involvement might, indeed probably would, escalate very quickly to a major war.

. Now, that WOULD destabilize the region further. And right now Iran is the most effective opponent of ISIS....
So, military action against them might simply play into the hands of the ISIS fanatics.
I'd say the deal was a good deal better than the alternatives on offer.
There is now a chance that Iran might open up and change the region for the better... Its population is young, well educated, and open to western ideas in ways that the Saudis certainly aren't. There are at least the institutions of liberal democracy in nascent form, as opposed to the corrupt feudal states that are currently the West's allies in the region against the ISIS radicals.
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Post 15 Jul 2015, 8:03 am

rickyp wrote:ray
. No doubt that they will make some progress on nukes and the entire region will further destabilize.


They don't really need to make any progress on nukes. A week ago, had they wanted to, they could have produced a nuke in two months.
http://www.iranwatch.org/our-publicatio ... -timetable


Here's a funny one: we once had a President who said, "All options are on the table," with regard to preventing Iran from getting a nuke, which he said was "unacceptable." This new guy apparently disregarded what the old guy said.

Of course, they are both Barack Obama.

The notion that continuing sanctions were physically holding back Iran on nuclear weapons development is nonsense.


Indeed it is. The problem for you is that no one here claimed that. So, thanks for that lovely straw man.

What the sanctions did was remind the people of Iran that their government is a pariah among nations. The sanctions also minimized Iran's ability to foment trouble. Of course, they were involved in a number of bad situations, and have killed many Americans, and currently hold Americans prisoner . . . but, none of that mattered to Obama.

Why not tie a deal to releasing 4 Americans? Why not demand they stop funding terror? Why not demand they stop trying to kill American troops?

Oh. Because the main concern was Obama's legacy.

The official reason was a desire not to muddy the water by bringing in "non-nuclear concerns."

Oh. Because lifting the UN embargo on arms and ballistic missiles is a nuclear concern?

If I ever had to negotiate for something important, I would love to see Kerry or Clinton and the Obama team of negotiators on the other side. I'd walk away with everything I wanted and probably a lot of stuff I threw in just to be funny.

The deal dials back their ability to rapidly product a weapon. From a few months to a year or more. And it provides the West with verification, which currently isn't available.


Horse hockey.

We have a "mother may I" type access to their nuke sites. It's not "anywhere, anytime" as promised by the three Amigos (Kerry-Obama-Clinton).

Sanctions weren't going to last. Either China or Russia or even some of the European nations were likely to bail at some point. Iran's oil is that important.


Having them break the sanctions would have told the world something about their true nature. There would have been some political value in that.

Breaking the sanctions because they were likely to get violated is a dumb reason.

So an indefinite sanctions arrangement, had to be measured against what could be gained. So what could be gained? regime change wasn't in any way realistic. That is a notion worthy of Trump.


Yes, but the notion worthy of Obama is that a nation, led by a group of insane mullahs who chant "Death to America" like it's "Happy Birthday!", has lied repeatedly about its nuclear program, has refused to come clean on its past, supports terror more than any other nation, and actively opposes us in several ongoing conflicts should be trusted.

There are no "snap-back" provisions in the agreement. Everything Obama promised months ago is absent in the agreement. All we're left with is a big bag of "hope."

The alternative to the deal was an inevitable reliance on military action against Iran if Iran decided to move ahead with nuke development. And there is no guarantee of success in a limited operation... so the involvement might, indeed probably would, escalate very quickly to a major war.


Nice false dichotomy. It's the Obama way or war.

Let me ask YOU a question: what happens in a year if Iran announces it is done with inspections and refuses to cooperate? You think sanctions are going back on?

Now, that WOULD destabilize the region further. And right now Iran is the most effective opponent of ISIS....


Oh boy.

1. They're not terribly effective. ISIS is still doing quite well.
2. Iran has destabilized Yemen.
3. Iran has several puppets in the region.
4. Iran is the single biggest cause of concern in the region--the Sunni Arabs and Israel are united on that front (even with all of their other disagreements).

So, military action against them might simply play into the hands of the ISIS fanatics.
I'd say the deal was a good deal better than the alternatives on offer.


Right. Funny, but that's what Bill Clinton said when he negotiated a deal with North Korea. How did that work out?

The odd thing is this: liars lie. Iran is a lying, murdering, destabilizing nation. They will have a nuclear weapon before Obama's successor leaves office--thanks to this agreement.

There is now a chance that Iran might open up and change the region for the better...


:laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

:coffee:

That is pure delusion. Have a gallon of coffee to get the cobwebs out.

Granting radical Islamists a victory, even a diplomatic one, will not encourage good behavior. That is the kind of unicorn-on-a-rainbow thinking that led to this deal in the first place.
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Post 15 Jul 2015, 9:03 am

fate
There are no "snap-back" provisions in the agreement



Sure there are.

http://www.undispatch.com/why-the-snap- ... iran-deal/

Upon receipt of the notification from the complaining participant, as described above, including a description of the good-faith efforts the participant made to exhaust the dispute resolution process specified in this JCPOA, the UN Security Council, in accordance with its procedures, shall vote on a resolution to continue the sanctions lifting. If the resolution described above has not been adopted within 30 days of the notification, then the provisions of the old UN Security Council resolutions would be re-imposed, unless the UN Security Council decides otherwise. In such event, these provisions would not apply with retroactive effect to contracts signed between any party and Iran or Iranian individuals and entities prior to the date of application, provided that the activities contemplated under and execution of such contracts are consistent with this JCPOA and the previous and current UN Security Council resolutions. The UN Security Council, expressing its intention to prevent the reapplication of the provisions if the issue giving rise to the notification is resolved within this period, intends to take into account the views of the States involved in the issue and any opinion on the issue of the Advisory Board. Iran has stated that if sanctions are reinstated in whole or in part, Iran will
treat that as grounds to cease performing its commitments under this JCPOA in whole or in part.

Since you have demonstrated you don't know the deal, i'll assume your opposition is your ODS.
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Post 15 Jul 2015, 10:34 am

This article has it about right.http://www.theatlantic.com/internationa ... ma/398450/

Does anyone really think that sanctions would have persisted if we backed out of the negotiations and the details of what Iran was willing to do was publicized? We got a 15 year respite from Iran having nuclear weapons--that's a significant accomplishment. Achieving (significantly) more probably was impossible, the military option was very risky, and the effect of no deal with Iran willing to make significant concessions was a weakening of the sanctions.
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Post 15 Jul 2015, 10:37 am

rickyp wrote:fate
There are no "snap-back" provisions in the agreement



Sure there are.

http://www.undispatch.com/why-the-snap- ... iran-deal/

Upon receipt of the notification from the complaining participant, as described above, including a description of the good-faith efforts the participant made to exhaust the dispute resolution process specified in this JCPOA, the UN Security Council, in accordance with its procedures, shall vote on a resolution to continue the sanctions lifting. If the resolution described above has not been adopted within 30 days of the notification, then the provisions of the old UN Security Council resolutions would be re-imposed, unless the UN Security Council decides otherwise. In such event, these provisions would not apply with retroactive effect to contracts signed between any party and Iran or Iranian individuals and entities prior to the date of application, provided that the activities contemplated under and execution of such contracts are consistent with this JCPOA and the previous and current UN Security Council resolutions. The UN Security Council, expressing its intention to prevent the reapplication of the provisions if the issue giving rise to the notification is resolved within this period, intends to take into account the views of the States involved in the issue and any opinion on the issue of the Advisory Board. Iran has stated that if sanctions are reinstated in whole or in part, Iran will
treat that as grounds to cease performing its commitments under this JCPOA in whole or in part.

Since you have demonstrated you don't know the deal, i'll assume your opposition is your ODS.


If you need UN Security Council agreement for snapback, then it is dependent on quick Russian/Chinese agreement. (I believe it has to be within 30 days.) That doesn't sound like snapback to me. Is that an honest way for Pres. Obama to characterize it?
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Post 15 Jul 2015, 11:04 am

I think the reason it is snap-back is that the agreement is structured so that while it goes to the UN Security Council in order for sanctions NOT to be reimposed you need a majority vote and no veto. So you don't have to really get new Security Council agreement (past a veto) for sanctions to restart.

http://www.vox.com/2015/4/2/8336219/ira ... in-english
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Post 15 Jul 2015, 11:52 am

rickyp wrote:f
Upon receipt of the notification from the complaining participant, as described above, including a description of the good-faith efforts the participant made to exhaust the dispute resolution process specified in this JCPOA, the UN Security Council, in accordance with its procedures, shall vote on a resolution to continue the sanctions lifting. If the resolution described above has not been adopted within 30 days of the notification, then the provisions of the old UN Security Council resolutions would be re-imposed, unless the UN Security Council decides otherwise. In such event, these provisions would not apply with retroactive effect to contracts signed between any party and Iran or Iranian individuals and entities prior to the date of application, provided that the activities contemplated under and execution of such contracts are consistent with this JCPOA and the previous and current UN Security Council resolutions. The UN Security Council, expressing its intention to prevent the reapplication of the provisions if the issue giving rise to the notification is resolved within this period, intends to take into account the views of the States involved in the issue and any opinion on the issue of the Advisory Board. Iran has stated that if sanctions are reinstated in whole or in part, Iran will
treat that as grounds to cease performing its commitments under this JCPOA in whole or in part.

Since you have demonstrated you don't know the deal, i'll assume your opposition is your ODS.


No, you are suffering from a common malady among liberals: cognitive dissonance.

You told us:

rickyp wrote:Sanctions weren't going to last. Either China or Russia or even some of the European nations were likely to bail at some point. Iran's oil is that important.


But, now, when you have to defend the incompetence of the negotiators, you claim Russia, China, et al, will now vote to "snap back" sanctions they were ready to subvert in the first place? Suddenly, when Obama's legacy is on the line, Iranian oil is no longer "that important?"

Make up your mind--if you can.
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Post 15 Jul 2015, 11:54 am

freeman3 wrote:This article has it about right.http://www.theatlantic.com/internationa ... ma/398450/

Does anyone really think that sanctions would have persisted if we backed out of the negotiations and the details of what Iran was willing to do was publicized? We got a 15 year respite from Iran having nuclear weapons--that's a significant accomplishment. Achieving (significantly) more probably was impossible, the military option was very risky, and the effect of no deal with Iran willing to make significant concessions was a weakening of the sanctions.


Iran will have nuclear weapons in less than 15 years.
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Post 15 Jul 2015, 11:59 am

How great was this deal? In terms of "non-negotiables," Kerry/Obama batted just about .000

In 2013, Kerry declared of the Iranians, “There is no right to enrich.” Two years later? The final agreement allows Iran to keep 5,000 centrifuges, 2,000 more than Pakistan had when it secretly built a nuclear arsenal.

Nor will Iran be limited to current technology; Kerry has ceded Iran’s right to experiment with new-generation centrifuges exponentially more powerful than Iran has now.

But centrifuges are only one part of Iran’s illicit program. In 2013, Kerry told Congress the “whole point of the [sanctions] regime” was to force Iran to “dismantle its nuclear program.” But the deal to which Kerry agreed lets Iran keep everything in place.

This includes Fordo, the once-covert nuclear site Iran built under a mountain.

“They don’t need to have an underground, fortified facility like Fordo in order to have a peaceful nuclear program,” Obama said in 2013. Congress will likely ask what changed, since this deal allows Iran to keep Fordo.

It gets worse. In 1991, the International Atomic Energy Agency required South Africa to come clean on the past 20 years of its nuclear work in order to certify that it had ceased its nuclear weapons program.

Anything short of that, and the IAEA said it could not certify that all material was accounted for. And yet, Kerry caved on this, effectively crafting a deal the IAEA can’t certify.

But what about “anytime, anywhere” inspections? Again, the administration backtracked. First, they qualified by saying they’d be the most intrusive inspections on any country “not defeated in war.”

Then, Kerry backed down on demands that inspectors be able to conduct snap inspections on military sites. Those inspections are necessary because this is where, according to the IAEA, Iran worked on everything from components for a warhead to detonators.

Finally, he allowed Iran essentially to pre-approve any inspection. That’s the equivalent of having a criminal pre-approve a search warrant.

Then, of course, there’s the arms embargo. It gets lifted after a short period of time.

This not only means Iran can use its $100 billion signing bonus (equivalent to 15 times the annual budget of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) to buy weapons.

It also means Iran can export them to terrorist groups across the region.


They'll get Nobel Peace prizes. They should get shamed. Kerry/Obama are (indirectly) helping arm terrorists and kicking of a Middle East arms race.
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Post 15 Jul 2015, 3:21 pm

There's been a lot of expected knee jerk criticism from Republicans on the deal. Usually without understanding the specifics as the french foreign minister pointed out... But it appears that the people most expert in dealing with nuclear weapons are pleased...

There will be a lot of political debate about this in the weeks ahead, but on Tuesday, it seemed a good number of Western nonproliferation advocates and arms control experts were satisfied with the Vienna agreement.

That included Thomas Shea, a veteran former inspector with the IAEA, the U.N.'s atomic agency, who oversaw the design and implementation of safeguards for the world's evolving nuclear facilities.

"This is a stunning accomplishment," said Shea, who is now a Vienna-based consultant, speaking to WorldViews in Washington. "I’ve been a part of this business for 40 years at this point and I’ve never seen anything that begins to approach the comprehensiveness of this agreement."


https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wo ... inspector/
https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wo ... inspector/
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Post 15 Jul 2015, 4:38 pm

In response to DF's cite to an article criticizing the deal...

(1) 5,000 ? Don't you need like 20,000 to make a bomb? And the centrifuges have to be of the older variety. What about the fact that Iran has to reduce its uranium supply by 98 percent? Or enrich only a small amount to 3.67 percent (you need 90 percent)? Iran has to reduce its 10,000 Kg of enriched uranium down to 300 kg of 3.67 percent enriched uranium. Or that Iran is has to rebuild its only plant able to produce weapons-grade plutonium (Arawak) according to international design ;
(2) Fordo is supposed to be turned into a research center open to international scientists
(3) surprise inspections on military sites? What country would agree to that
(4) pre-approved? Well, they can delay things 24 days--whether they can hide something significant that they're doing because of that delay appears problematic. And repeated delays without cause should result in a finding that they are violating the agreement;
(5) Iran can produce advanced centrifuges? After 8 years...
(6) embargo on missiles and arms ended after a short time ? 8 and 5 years are not short times. The International Atomic Energy Agency could end this earlier with a definitive determination that Iran has only a peaceful nuclear program but the US would have a lot of sway on any such determination.

The biggest criticism is that there is only a 10-15 year delay on Iran getting back into building a bomb. But unless someone can give a compelling alternative scenario...it appears the best that can reasonably be expected.
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Post 16 Jul 2015, 2:27 pm

freeman3 wrote:In response to DF's cite to an article criticizing the deal...

(1) 5,000 ? Don't you need like 20,000 to make a bomb? And the centrifuges have to be of the older variety. What about the fact that Iran has to reduce its uranium supply by 98 percent? Or enrich only a small amount to 3.67 percent (you need 90 percent)? Iran has to reduce its 10,000 Kg of enriched uranium down to 300 kg of 3.67 percent enriched uranium. Or that Iran is has to rebuild its only plant able to produce weapons-grade plutonium (Arawak) according to international design ;
(2) Fordo is supposed to be turned into a research center open to international scientists
(3) surprise inspections on military sites? What country would agree to that
(4) pre-approved? Well, they can delay things 24 days--whether they can hide something significant that they're doing because of that delay appears problematic. And repeated delays without cause should result in a finding that they are violating the agreement;
(5) Iran can produce advanced centrifuges? After 8 years...
(6) embargo on missiles and arms ended after a short time ? 8 and 5 years are not short times. The International Atomic Energy Agency could end this earlier with a definitive determination that Iran has only a peaceful nuclear program but the US would have a lot of sway on any such determination.

The biggest criticism is that there is only a 10-15 year delay on Iran getting back into building a bomb. But unless someone can give a compelling alternative scenario...it appears the best that can reasonably be expected.


You missed the point: which is how far Obama/Kerry have come in terms of "non-negotiables." Everything they said HAD to be in the deal has been removed.

Meanwhile, they are giving Iran relief from the non-nuclear weapons ban, which had nothing to do with the deal while at the same time failing to secure the release of four Americans because "it had nothing to do with (nuclear weapons)." Disappointingly inconsistent.
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Post 16 Jul 2015, 2:29 pm

Good article from my close friend, Dennis Ross:

Knowing Iran has cheated is one thing; ensuring that there is a price for every transgression—no matter how small–is another. The agreement provides for “snap back” sanctions, which essentially lifts the suspension of sanctions in the event of an Iranian violation. Clearly, the snap-back function is designed to deal with a major breach of an agreement, particularly because Iran explicitly states in the agreement that it will stop implementing its nuclear obligations if sanctions are re-imposed. So what happens if Iran cheats along the margins? For example, if they enrich uranium to 7% not the permitted 3.67%. The snap-back function makes little sense in this circumstance but the Joint Commission that brings together all the negotiating parties could obviously address such an issue of non-compliance. In this case, however, Iran will likely to declare it made a mistake and say it will stop doing it.

Sound fine? Not really. Given Iran’s track record, it will likely cheat along the margins to test the means of verification and see how it might be able to change the baseline—and there needs to be a penalty for each such act of non-compliance and preferably not only by the US.

I say this because deterrence is going to be even more important as a result of this deal. Indeed, for me the greatest single problem with the agreement is that Iran is going to be left as a threshold nuclear state at the end of fifteen years. The agreement requires Iran to dismantle none of its enrichment infrastructure and starting in year 15, it can have as large a nuclear program as it wants. The gap between threshold and weapons status is small and will not take long to bridge.

As such, deterrence is what will matter. Iran must have no doubts that if we see it moving toward a weapon that would trigger the use of force. Declaring that is a must even now. Proving that every transgression will produce a price will demonstrate that we mean what we say.


Given President Obama's record (Ukraine, Yemen, Syria, etc.), I'd be shaking in my sandals if I were the mullahs.