Iran Forecast, Nov 14: Keeping Nuclear Talks On Track

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ALSO IN THURSDAY FORECAST

IAEA Says Iran Slows Nuclear Program in Key Areas
Former Obama Administration Official Reveals Details of Geneva Nuclear Deal?

The Rouhani Government has kept nuclear talks on track, following this week’s clash between Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and US Secretary of State John Kerry over the last-minute failure to reach an interim deal in Geneva at the weekend.

Deputy Foreign Hossein Amir Abdollahian said on Wednesday, “If the opposing side is not greedy, Tehran will respond with positive actions.”

He added, “Some of the P5+1 member states showed their stances and the Iranian negotiations team did not move its needle outside of the principles of dignity, wisdom, and its interests.”

The Government received full support from key businessman Asadollah Asgarouladi, “We cannot cut relations with northwestern Europe and America for a long period of time because the Imam [Khomeini] also said that ‘we cannot be cut from them until Judgment. One day they must understand that we are right and acknowledge this righteousness and [then] we will begin with them.’”

Asgarouladi explained the developments at Geneva, “The negotiations process is good. On the first day one cannot say yes. A bride saying yes also requires a few visits.”


IAEA Says Iran Slows Nuclear Program in Key Areas

In its latest quarterly report, the International Atomic Energy Agency says that Iran has held up development of its nuclear program in key areas.

The Agency says that, while enrichment of both 5% and 20% has continued at previous rates, Tehran has not put its new IR-2M centrifuges — replacing its 40-year-old IR-1 models — into operation, and no more have been installed since August. The IAEA also reports that “no additional components” have been placed in the Arak heavy-water nuclear reactor, due to come on-line in late 2014.

Critics argue that the IR-2M centrifuges would accelerate Iran’s production of 20% uranium, which potentially could be elevated farther to the 90% level needed for military programs. They also allege that plutonium by-product from Arak could be put to military use.

The IAEA said Iran’s stock of 20% uranium in the form of uranium hexaflouride is 196 kilograms, still well below the 250 kilograms which could be potentially be used for one nuclear bomb. Tehran has added only 10 kilograms since August.

Former Obama Administration Official Reveals Details of Geneva Nuclear Deal?

A former Obama Administration official, testifying before a Congressional committee, appears to have revealed details of the interim nuclear deal almost signed at Geneva last weekend.

Colin Kahl, who was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East, told the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday that the first phase of the deal would be for six months.

Iran would suspend 20% enrichment of uranium, neutralize its 20% stockpile, refrain from building fuel assemblies at the still-under-construction Arak heavy-water reactor and from installing new centrifuges, allow more inspections of nuclear facilities, and restrict the growth of 3.5% uranium stock.

In return, Iran would receive under $10 billion in sanctions relief, including on the automobile, gold and petrochemical industries, and access to approximately $3 billion in hard currency assets frozen in banks abroad.

Far more restrictive oil and banking sanctions would not be eased in the first phase.

Kahl said the interim deal would have meant “it would take Iran twice as long” to produce enough highly-enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb.

The deal stalled last Saturday when French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius raised objections to recognition of Iran’s right to enrich and to construction of the Arak reactor.

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19 COMMENTS

  1. Israel warns of war from Iran ‘bad deal’, sees big sanctions cut
    http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/11/14/uk-iran-sanctions-israel-idUKBRE9AD03V20131114

    “One source briefed on the discussions told Reuters that Iran was being offered a chance to sell about $3.5 billion of oil over six months as well as $2-3 billion of petrochemicals and $1-2 billion of gold. The source, who criticised the offer, said it would also let Tehran import some $7.5 billion of food and medicine plus $5 billion of other goods currently barred.

    Netanyahu’s point man on Iran policy, Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz, said on Wednesday the relief package offered could lower the annual cost of sanctions to Iran by up to $40 billion – out of a total annual cost of $100 billion.

    “The sanctions relief directly will reduce between $15 to $20 billion out of this amount,” Steinitz said at an English-language event hosted by the Jerusalem Press Club.

    Asked about the. $20 billion to $40 billion estimate, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters: “that number, I can assure you, is inaccurate, exaggerated, and not based in reality.””

      • Pak,

        State Department spokesman Psaki is right — the claims from Israel, activists, & Congress that Iran is getting $40 billion in an interim nuclear deal are wildly exaggerated.

        I saw this start with a dubious “study” by the Foundation of the Defense for Democracies a couple of months ago. It’s based on bad economics, distortion of the US Government’s actions, and a mis-understanding of the legal position.

        The co-author of the report, Mark Dubowitz — who also penned a polemical op-ed with Reuel Marc Gerecht for the Wall Street Journal this week — spread the distortion in his testimony at a Congressional hearing yesterday.

        S.

        • Basically, the US is introducing the exact mechanic applied in North Korea- they beg for foreign aid in return they don’t fire missiles toward south. In case of IRI, they beg for their own money bit by bit, in return they slow down the nuclear activities.

        • The Foundation of the Defense for Democracies was always pretty bad, but since Obama came to office they have been downright ridiculous. It has gotten so bad that when I see their name on something I immediately stop reading. It must be Dick Cheney or somebody like that running it. They put out a lot of propaganda and hyperbole mixed with an occasional kernel of truth.

  2. Iran develops sea rescue drone prototype in Tehran
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24929924
    http://robots.net/article/3623.html

    “Iranian engineers have tested a drone designed to rescue people at risk of drowning.

    The Pars robot has eight propellers and can carry up to three life rings which it can drop within arms-length of potential victims.

    At its fastest, the drone was able to release a life ring to the target within 22 seconds of launch, beating the lifeguard who took about 90 seconds to reach him.”

  3. Sunnis and the Jews are now holding hands

    Israel discovers the truth :

    1. There is no military option. The Iranians have made too much progress, they’ve gotten too far, and there’s no way to make them not know what they already know.

    2. The centrifuges are faster than the sanctions. The economic sanctions are hurting Iran’s economy and causing problems for the regime, but they won’t make Natanz and Fordo disappear.
    ( Is it allowed to ask for Parchim, too? )

    3. We (Obama and Netanyahu) have to say that all options are on the table, but we also have to understand that for a long time now, there haven’t been any options and there hasn’t been any table. Going to Geneva is a miserable effort to postpone the end, so that a nuclear Iran doesn’t emerge now, on Barack Obama’s watch, but immediately afterward.

    The logical result:

    “The Americans aren’t stupid, but they’re worn out. Therefore, their mood is that of Nixon going to China. They’re nurturing a genuine belief that, just as they made peace with Beijing in 1972 they’ll make peace with Tehran in 2014.”

    http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.557934

    But one questions remains: Who will now equippe Saudi Arabia with nuclear bombs to restore the regional balance?
    Pakistan or “Vive la France”?

    • Given the way Syria and Iraq currently look the military option on Iran has looked universally stupid for some time. Threatening military action to get a better deal is one thing. Actually carrying it out is something entirely different. It could and probably would spiral out of control very quickly. With Syria and Iraq already burning it actually could start to resemble world war III as crazy as that sounds. I used to think that was a wild exaggeration. Not anymore. Nobody really wants it.

  4. Occupation under the pretext of combating terrorism

    Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamad Zarif reveals Tehran’s regional strategy. “I (Zarif) think all of us, regardless of our differences over Syria, need to work together on the sectarian issue,” adding,
    “Fear-mongering has been a prevalent business.”

    Zarif, according to the BBC, also accused Arab leaders of “fanning the flames of sectarian violence.”

    “Iraq, Syria and Lebanon are now effectively “occupied” by Iran under its pretext of “fighting Takfirist terrorism.” This pretext is now being peddled at the highest levels to the international community, couched in Zarif’s diplomacy, Rouhani’s alleged moderation, and an “expressed” Iranian readiness to reach an agreement on the nuclear issue.”

    “In the meantime, the Syrian opposition is facing immense international pressure to participate in Geneva II without preconditions, and so it seems that Zarif has made the breakthrough he was striving to achieve.”

    ———————————————————————————————————————

    “Realistically, we are now facing an Iran that surely possesses nuclear technology.

    ———————————————————————————————————————

    International experts say that Iran could develop a nuclear weapon within a matter of months. Therefore, the international community must openly discuss the “political approach” towards a state which is now–whether we like it or not—a “nuclear state.”

    For Iran, politically, there is one certainty. It requires an acknowledgement of its “regional superpower” status, when the price of Tehran’s regional ambitions will no doubt be paid by others. Thus, Iran’s neighbors have every right to be concerned about any international deal agreed with Iran that does not include curbing its regional political ambitions. These ambitions, in at least three cases, have reached the extent of effective occupation.

    http://www.aawsat.net/2013/11/article55322328

    Therefore, the question again: Who is now equipping Saudi Arabia with nuclear weapons?

    • The moment that someone “equips” Saudi Arabia with nuclear weapons is the moment that the US pulls back its entire security umbrella, leaving exposed a Saudi Arabian military that, while aesthetically strong, is entirely hollow and unwilling to fight. And who is going to replace the US as Saudi Arabia’s security guarantor? France?

      The Saudis, awash with money, and with the help of their brethren in Pakistan, have invested in a very expensive bluff – that is all. The idea of nuclear weapons being bought and sold on the black market is unpalatable on the gravest of scales, and no-one – not the Americans, not the Europeans, not the Russians, not the Chinese, and not the Indians – will allow it to happen. I wish the Saudis the best of luck in their endeavour to become nuclear armed.

      Regardless, there is a big difference between having a few nuclear weapons, and having the nuclear infrastructure to develop and manufacture nuclear weapons. Someone should create some sort of conceptual framework to incorporate this into the principles of MAD.

      As for regional security, Iran occupies no-one, and its actions have been predominantly defensive. Hezbollah, for example, was established to successfully repel an Israeli invasion of Lebanon. It continues to repel Israeli incursions into Lebanese territory; it now has democratic representation in Lebanese politics (as a kingmaker); and it has engaged in mass-scale reconstruction projects, lifting thousands of Lebanese out of post-war deprivation.

      Iran also facilitated America’s invasion and overthrow of the Taliban. In fact, Iran almost did the job on its own, long before the 9/11 attacks.

      Iran’s involvement in neighbouring Iraq is to be expected, since, well, Iraq is Iran’s neighbour, and their relations go back thousands of years. Iraq also spearheaded a destructive invasion of Iran (funded, armed, and guided by its friends in the West), leading to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. So Iran has to be especially careful of how Iraq post-war development takes shape (post-war development being the result of an invasion by its former friends in the West).

      Et cetera.

      • 1. Wrong direction.
        The statement was no prompt to upgrade Saudi Arabia. It was the hint that it is not possible for anyone to change physical laws. Note: If anyone disturbs the equilibrium of Middle East countries the pendulum will strike back.

        Example: If Iran gets the Bomb the neighbours will finance more arms and doing everything to restore the lost balance.

        If you look to arabic newspapers you can easily figure out that this point is almost reached. Beyond that the only one who is pleased about more weapons is the IRGC.

        But for this case you can forget an opening of Iran and economic growth.

        2. “having the nuclear infrastructure to develop and manufacture nuclear weapons.” This is exactly what the iranian regime has tried to build up during the last 10 years.

        3. “Hezbollah”

        Nasrallah said: Any attempt by Hezbollah’s Sunni-led political opponents to link a deal for a new cabinet with demands for its withdrawal from Syria would be futile.

        “Anyone who speaks of Hezbollah’s withdrawal from Syria as a condition to form a new government…is imposing a crippling condition,” he said, and the organisation would not bargain the region’s future “for a few useless cabinet portfolios”.

        You should look into Lebanon to recognize that Hizbollah – the long arm of Khamenei – isn`t fighting Israel at the moment. In order of Khamenei he is supporting the mass murderer Assad. This is why Nasrallah is currently heavily criticized in Lebanon and among other arab countries.

        4.”Iraq”
        Iran has helped to split Iraq (Sunni and Shia) and is responsible for the fight between. No reason to be proud of it. If Iran could provide any help
        to reassure the country why was Maliki visiting Obama asking for help?

        It remains: Iran is at a crossroads. The road to economic prosperity is different from the path to nuclear armament. To take both isn`t possible.

        • 1. Who said Iran is getting a bomb? Not any Western or Israeli intelligence agency, nor the Iranians themselves. Netanyahu has been saying that Iran is only a few months away from a nuclear weapon since… at least 1992. But the truth is quite different: there is only circumstantial evidence to suggest that Iran may have temporarily researched the mechanisms for a nuclear weapon in the early 2000s. Otherwise there is zero evidence to say that Iran’s nuclear programme is geared towards producing nuclear weapons. As so aptly demonstrated by current affairs, an Iranian nuclear weapon would work against Iran’s national interests.

          That the “Arabic newspapers” (read: Arab states) are worried about an Iranian nuclear weapon does not suggest that they are worried about an Iranian nuclear weapon – they are worried that the West will re-engage Iran and afford it legitimacy both in the region and internationally, thereby diminishing Arab influence (which, to make things worse for the Arabs, is wholly a function of their rentier economies and dependency on Western security).

          2. Iran’s nuclear infrastructure has been developed because of the nation’s need for research and development, for example: for the generation of clean energy; for the healthcare industry, including to treat cancer patients; for agriculture, including both the production of fertilisers and for water desalination (Iran has a severe sweetwater shortage); and for general scientific research.

          3. Iran and Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria was necessary after it became clear that the likes of Turkey and Saudi Arabia were hellbent on overthrowing the Syrian state by arming and fund anyone willing to fight Assad, in the process destroying the state itself. This is a flagrant violation of international law, and Iran has the right to defend the sovereign state of Syria from foreign aggression. Furthermore, both Hezbollah and Iran have national interests to consider – just take a look at northern Syria to see why an opposition-run Syria is a danger to the region and to the entire World. Also, Syria was the only Arab country to openly support Iran during Iraq’s invasion, so the favour is being reciprocated. Having said all that, the only solution to the crisis is a political settlement. Yet it is the West and its regional partners that have pointedly refused one.

          4. Iran did not “split” Iraq, nor is it responsible for the sectarian fight. The “split” of Iraq is a natural process, the type of which we are also seeing in Syria (did you forget about the Kurds, who were the first to “split” from Baghdad?). These states are “splitting” because they should never have been whole in the first place. Furthermore, not one Iranian politician or preacher has used sectarian language, by, for example, calling for the annihilation of the Sunni people. The vast majority of ongoing attacks in Iraq are undertaken by Sunni extremists, including those funded and armed by the Persian Gulf Arab states.

          Iran helped stabilise Iraq after the American invasion and occupation. Using its influence over a vast number of Iraqi groups, Iran brought to an end the infighting to help establish a functioning government. Remember – Maliki actually hates Iran, and Iran is not particularly fond of Maliki either, yet Iran brokered a deal for him to come to power, for the sake of stability. As for Maliki’s visit to the US, it just goes to show that his hands are not tied by Iran.

          5. Iran is not the only one at a crossroads; the West, especially the Americans, are also at a crossroads. As we are seeing throughout the region, the order is changing. Either the Americans stick with the status quo and watch their influence further erode, while clinging on to backwater states that produced, among other things, 15 of the 9/11 attackers, Osama bin Laden, and Pakistani madrassas. Or they can mend relations with Iran, and have a regional partner that is on the road to democracy, that is young and well-educated, that has a Western outlook, and that is economically/technologically advanced. Hence why your bigoted viewpoint is such a danger to peace and stability.

          • 1.+ 2 .””There are three key elements required for the development of (iranian) nuclear weapons. The first, and most technically challenging, is acquiring fissile material in the form of weapons-grade uranium or plutonium. The second is the design and construction of an explosive device capable of initiating a chain reaction. The third is a vehicle for delivering the device to a target.

            Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made the strategic decision to develop nuclear weapons capability some time ago, as evidenced by the well-documented work Iran did on weaponization-specific research that was clearly unnecessary for a peaceful nuclear program.

            Iran has continued to pursue all three elements of a nuclear weapons program.

            It possesses the raw material and the expanding infrastructure with which it can rapidly produce weapons-grade uranium and it is building a reactor that gives it the capacity to produce fissile material in the form of weapons-grade plutonium. It possesses a stockpile of enriched uranium large enough to fuel at least seven nuclear weapons after further conversion. Its total declared natural uranium stockpile is enough for several dozen nuclear weapons. It has conducted research and experiments related to the development of technology required for building a nuclear warhead.””

            http://www.irantracker.org/nuclear-program/zarif-opening-the-door-to-a-bad-iranian-nuclear-deal-october-15-2013

            3. Hezbollah and Iran have one interest:
            To keep their people under surpression.
            The use of Hezbollah and the Iranian Quds Force is in breach of international law.

            4. “”Since 2005, numerous public reports about Tehrans
            support for Shia militia groups have solidified the impression that Iran’s presence in Iraq continues to
            play a destabilizing role, especially in the way Tehran actively seeks influence over Iraq s Shia population and clandestinely supports militia operatives against
            U.S. forces

            As such, Iran` s Iraq policy is believed to be driven by sectarian politics with the objective of building a vast patronage system of clients and collaborators across Iraq.””

            http://csis.org/files/publication/twq12winterrahimi.pdf

            [edited by moderator]

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