Tuesday 24 February 2015

O's Deal With The Devil Enters Final Phase...................from Dan Friedman

[Good luck, Mr. Netanyahu. You can’t get here too soon! df]
By Omri Ceren, TIP
Things are starting to move fast on Iran now. Driving the discussion today will be:
(1) The distribution of this quarter’s already-leaked IAEA report
(2) This story that the Associated Press just put out, about the “phased deal” that the US and Iran seem on the brink of signing
I’ll ping you with the IAEA stuff later this morning, but the debate over the phased deal is blowing up on social media so I wanted to make sure you had this in your hands quickly. What’s technically going on is a debate over the “sunset clause” but it’s already being described as building the Iranians an on-ramp to a nuclear weapon. Here are the key bits from the AP:
The United States and Iran are shaping the contours of a deal that would initially freeze Tehran’s nuclear program but would allow it to slowly ramp up activities that could be used to make nuclear arms over the last years of the agreement’s duration… The idea would be to reward Iran for good behavior over the last years of any agreement, by gradually lifting constraints on its uranium enrichment program imposed as part of a deal that would also would slowly ease sanctions on the Islamic Republic… The U.S. initially sought restrictions lasting for up to 20 years; Iran had pushed for less than a decade.
The “sunset clause” is a built-in concession where Iran will slowly be allowed to become a nuclear power with all of the obligations and privileges accorded to NPT members – plus some extra ones like the “right to enrich” they extracted a year ago – until after 10 or 15 years they will have no restrictions short of actually building and detonating a nuke. They’ll be allowed to enrich as much as they want, to whatever level they want, however they want. In the meantime the West would have taken the brakes off the Iranian economy, stabilizing the regime and removing any non-military options to halt a move toward weaponization.
Again, this debate is a little underdeveloped, but it’s slowly gaining momentum because people are realizing that the deal puts the Iranians on the glide path toward nuclear weapons acquisiton (as opposed to what it was supposed to do, which is prevent that acquisition). If you’re doing a deep dive on it, here are some think tankers who – months and years ago – began to sketch out the consequences of an automatic or short sunset clause:
* Iran Task Force, Foundation for Defense of Democracies – The Significance of the Sunset Clause (July 2014)http://www.defenddemocracy.org/content/uploads/general/Sunset_Clause_Significance.pdf
* Michael Eisenstadt, Washington Institute – Building on the Joint Plan of Action: Toward a Sustainable Nuclear Deal with Iran (Dec 2013)http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/building-on-the-joint-plan-of-action-toward-a-sustainable-nuclear-deal-with

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