Iran, world powers reach nuclear agreement

Negotiations between Iran and six world powers concluded in a nuclear agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), on July 14. Under the JCPOA, Iran agrees not to create a nuclear bomb in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will have permanent access to Iran's nuclear facilities to monitor activity, and the US, UK, France, Russia, China and Germany will continue to meet with Iran's leaders at least every two years to review implementation of the agreement. The European Union sanctions will be lifted either eight years from the date of adoption or when the IAEA verifies Iran's nuclear materials are being used for non-aggressive purposes—whichever is sooner. However, all sanctions will be put back in place if Iran violates the terms of the agreement. Iran must remove two-thirds of its centrifuges, ship all spent fuel from the reactor out of the country, and limit uranium research and development to a single facility. President Barack Obama stated in an address that he plans to veto any legislation from Congress that blocks the implementation of this deal.

This nuclear agreement was reached after the 20-month negotiations continued through several deadlines in hopes of progress. Over the past several years Iran has been subject to numerous sanctions for its contentious nuclear program. Iranian leaders have repeatedly claimed that the developing nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, but the international community, Israel in particular, worries that Iran's enrichment program was designed for military purposes.

From Jurist, July 14. Used with permission.

Note: The JCPOA builds on a 2013 interim agreement, the Joint Plan of Action. The negotiations have been consistently opposed by Israel, and were a key issue in Benjamin Netanyahu's controversial Congressional address in March. Israel is believed to actually have nuclear weapons, and has been in a missile race with Iran in recent years. Iran's clerical establishment has issued fatwas that seem to both condone and condemn nuclear weapons. Many commentators have noted that this agreement comes as the US is in a de facto alliance with Iran as part of the Great Power convergence against ISIS.

  1. ‘Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Card’ for Qassem Suleimani?

    Well, well. Lee Smith reports in The Tablet that under the Iran nuclear deal, UN sanctions are to be lifted on Qassem Suleimani, the notorious commander of the Quds Force who has overseen campaigns against Sunni militants in both Syria and Iraq. There seems, not surpirisingly, to have been an effort to hide this little detail.

    The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action that the Obama administration and its P5+1 partners struck with Iran Tuesday morning includes a long list of entities and individuals who will no longer be under the yoke of UN sanctions for nuclear-related issues. Some of them will enjoy immediate relief from sanctions while others will have to wait eight years.

    Among the latter is Qassem Suleimani, the head of the Quds Force, the Revolutionary Guards expeditionary unit. Suleimani is responsible for exporting Iranian terrorism and Iranian-sponsored terrorism—like Hezbollah's—abroad. His other duties include managing Iran’s war on behalf of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. When asked why the JCPOA was giving a get out of jail free card to a man responsible for so much violence, death and suffering, John Kerry contended that he wasn't. It's some other guy with a similar name, said Kerry, incorrectly. The State Department later backpedaled and confessed that while Suleimani was getting off the U.N. list, he was still under U.S. sanctions and would never get off that list.

    Taking Suleimani off the UN list was non-negotiable, the administration said. Same with all the other entities and personages, many hundreds of them, including scores of IRGC officials, as well as various corporations the clerical regime used in order to purchase, steal, and transfer sensitive nuclear materials. If some of the names sound peculiarly non-Persian, that's because the regime set up all sorts of front companies in order to avoid sanctions.

    Cute, eh? Even if the Iran negotiations didn't start off as part of a strategy to woo the Islamic Republic as an ally against ISIS, it is sure looking like that's what it evolved into…

  2. Strange bedfellows oppose Iran nuclear deal

    A Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran have launched a website urging pressure on the US Congress to nix the deal. The advisory board is made up of Jospeh Lieberman and his pro-Israel ilk. They argue that the deal is full of "loopholes," does not allow "anytime, anywhere inspections," would "fuel a Middle East nuclear arms race" by provoking the Saudis and other Sunni powers to pursue The Bomb, and includes no restrictions on Iran's missile program. In a case of very strange bedfellows, their press clips page includes a story from Israel's arch-reactionary Arutz Sheva trumpeting the claims of ultra-left Iranian opposition group Mujahedeen Khalq.

    Maryam Rajavi, president of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) who currently lives in exile in Paris, has strongly condemned the nuclear deal sealed by world powers with Iran on Tuesday, warning of the disastrous consequences for the region—and for Iran.

    In an interview on Thursday with the London-based Arabic paper Asharq Al-Awsat, she said the Iranian regime is now in a position of power vis-a-vis the West, and will try to develop a nuclear weapon despite the deal, causing a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

    The head of the NCRI, which holds a parliament in exile, noted that the deal stipulates the lifting of sanctions and a renewal of investments, providing Iran with the means to widen its funding of terror in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and other states.

    The NCRI is Mujahedeen Khalq's civilian wing, which purports to be an exile government. This points to a wider convergence of Sunni and Zionist forces against the deal, with a few secular (if cultish, in the case of NCRI) elements thrown in, just to make a stranger mix…

    We would like to know what Maryam Namazie and Shirin Ebadi have to say about this…

  3. Iran nuke deal cheers Assad, worries rebels

    The Jerusalem Post reports reactions to the Iran nuclear deal in Syria. Dictator Bashar Assad, in a telegram congratulating Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on the deal, called it "a major turning point" for the entire region. "We are confident that the Islamic Republic of Iran will support, with greater drive, just causes of nations and work for peace and stability in the region and the world,"

    Meanwhile, Iyad Shamse, leader of a rebel group in northern Syria called the Asala and Tanmieh Front, said: "This agreement will make the region more dangerous. Our fears from this agreement are an increase in Iranian influence in the region and this is what is making Assad happy… We are worried."