Iran Analysis: Explaining A “Good or Better Deal” Than Expected


PHOTO: US Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, July 14, 2015

Arms control specialist Jeffrey Lewis writes for Foreign Policy magazine:

See also Iran Special: A 5-Point Guide to the Nuclear Agreement
Iran Analysis: Nuclear Deal — Understanding A Victory That Comes With Costs

…The deal — can we call it the “Vienna Plan,” please? — looks pretty much like the framework deal that was reached in Lausanne in April. I went through the documents, including the White House fact sheet, as well as my own notes from conversations with administration officials. It would seem that the agreement is as good or better in all important respects than what officials described in the spring.

The reduction in centrifuges remains substantial — the limits are the same as those reported when the framework was announced. Moreover, little worries I had, like whether Iran would agree to remove piping and other infrastructure along with the centrifuges themselves, were resolved favorably.

The Vienna Plan also provides a path to resolve the outstanding issues with the International Atomic Energy Agency regarding Iran’s past covert nuclear weapons program (known delicately as “possible military dimensions”) and provides a public description of something U.S. officials had only described in private — a R&D schedule that limits Iran’s development of new centrifuges over the next eight to 10 years.

And, if like me you think “breakout” or the time it would take to turn nuclear material into one bomb, is a dumb measure, the agreement also has lots of provisions to deal with “sneak-out,” or an attempt to get a bomb covertly. These provisions include granting inspectors access to military sites and monitoring of centrifuge workshops and uranium mines. But this shouldn’t be a surprise: It was in the bag in Lausanne.

It is worth looking at this chart issued by the Supreme Leader’s office showing all his “red lines” in the talks. It turns out the Iranians gave in on several of them and found rather creative solutions to a few others. You can make your own list, but I think they compromised on (1, 3, 5, 7, 8, and 9):


What had to be resolved in Vienna was the tricky issue of sanctions. It was always clear that there would have to be an implementation period so that Iran could say sanctions came off “immediately” while the United States could claim the opposite.

One of the amazing things is how many of the pearl-clutching stories about how the agreement was going off the rails turned out to be nonsense. Most of these were written by the New York Times’ David E. Sanger, and they won’t age well….

Read full article….

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  1. America and Obama needed the deal more than Iran did and that’s why Iran was able to squeeze so many unacceptable concessions (like lifting sanctions on war criminal Soleimani) out of the U.S.

    • DRSS well Obama needed the deal not America, since he is slavishly obsessed with letting the Ayatoilet do as he pleases. Obama lifting the sanctions on the US troop killer Darth Soliemani would be like if Truman gave presidential pardon to Wehrmacht General Anton Dostler-who was executed for killing 15 US POWs.

  2. Iran Nuclear Saga—No Deal Yet

    “There are significant differences between the English and Persian texts of the JCPOA. Iran tries to hide the fact that it has ignored some of the “red lines” fixed by the “Supreme Guide,” notably regarding the instant lifting of all sanctions and the rejection of arbitration by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

    The US, for its part, wishes to camouflage its retreat on “red lines” fixed by President Barack Obama, especially with regard to inspection of Iranian military sites and the length of time Iran would remain under international probation.”

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