In broad lines, the final nuclear deal, reached Tuesday, July 14, between six world powers and Iran – after a decade of on-and-off negotiations and repeated hold-ups – grants Tehran sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program. How quickly the sanctions are lifted and the exact nature of the curbs is detailed in the final version of the nuclear accord when it is released.
In the view of debkafile’s analysts, the accord is a major milestone in President Barack Obama’s drive to orient US foreign policy on a rapprochement with Iran (followed by Cuba), while turning a cold shoulder to America’s two traditional Middle East allies, Israel and Saudi Arabia. It anoints Tehran as the region’s leading power standing on the threshold of a nuclear weapon.
The foreign ministers of the United States, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia met for an hour after midnight for a last push to get the final text agreed. The last sticking points were Iran’s last-minute conditions for a deal: the immediate lifting of the UN Security Council embargo on Iran’s buying and receiving arms and the ban on its ballistic missile program.
Lifting the embargo would permit Iran to freely arm US-designated terrorist groups like Hizballah and Hamas, as well as Yemeni rebels. Russia and China, as arms suppliers to Tehran, backed Iran on this issue.
The agreement reportedly imposed a 10-year limit on Iran’s nuclear work and was calculated to delay nuclear breakout by one year.
A diplomatic source told Reuters that a UN Security Council resolution would be sought this month to confirm Iranian curbs on its nuclear program and relief from sanctions to be implemented in the first half of 2016.
The source said Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency had agreed on a plan for addressing unanswered questions about the suspected military dimensions of past Iranian nuclear activity by the end of 2015. He said that some sanctions relief was conditional on Tehran resolving this issue.
According to one of the last drafts of the accord, Iran has agreed to one visit to the Parchin military complex, where Iran is suspected of nuclear detonation testing, and possible interviews with Iranian nuclear scientists. Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has strongly banned both those steps. It is not clear how that issue was finessed in the final text.
The agreement now goes before the legislatures of the signatories. US Congress has 60 days to review the deal, with President Barack Obama faced with a hard sell in the Senate of am accord which he and Secretary of State John Kerry have fought for without quarter, and which many US lawmakers like Israel’s prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu have denounced as “a bad deal.”
The Iranians will keep the US on the hot plate even after the signing celebration.
The Majlis in Tehran will be asked to enact a law requiring the accord to be reviewed every few months and the power to annul it if the US does not pass the Iranian lawmakers’ test of compliance.
Khamenei this week denounced America as the “embodiment of global arrogance” – disregarding months of the close collaboration of Iran’s wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen with the Obama administration.
Indeed, American officers are running the war on the Islamic State in Iraq in close sync with Iranian Revolutionary Guards commanders. Washington moreover withholds large-scale arms from Syrian rebels out of consideration for Tehran’s ally Bashar Assad. When Saudi civilians are put to flight by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebel missiles, the Obama administration looks the other way.
The situation in these war arenas poses an even greater threat than the deal signed in Vienna Tuesday.
Even if Iran does give way on inspections at Parchin and even if every last sanction is lifted by 2016, the deal pales in comparison to the turmoil in the region largely instigated byTehran and Iran's promoption on the world stage . Anyway, many of the sanctions have been quietly lifted to win Iran’s acquiescence to the talks. Iran has never interrupted its development of intercontinental ballistic missiles.
For Obama, this is a big win, just as it is a major fiasco for Binyamin Netanyahu. The US president’s maneuvers for six years managed to hold off Israeli military action to cripple Iran’s nuclear weapons capacity. Now, after the conclusion of an international accord that leaves Iran’s nuclear program intact, the military option is a non-starter – at least for the near future.