Wednesday, September 26, 2018
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Leaked US-Led Iranian Nuclear Deal

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

On June 25, AP News headlined "Iran would get nuclear help in proposed deal." Ahead of a June 30 deadline likely to extend into July, AP reported obtaining a leaked document offering so-called US concessions claiming aid for Iran's nuclear industry.

Details are in one of several technical appendices. It has numerous points on which parties disagree.

An eight-page Civil Nuclear Cooperation document includes ways P5+1 countries are willing to compensate Iran for closing parts of its nuclear program Tehran finds unacceptable.

On Tuesday, Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rejected unacceptable terms - including freezing nuclear research, inspecting military sites and gradual sanctions relief instead of immediately if and when final agreement terms are reached.

On Wednesday, Iranian lawmakers enacted legislation banning access to military sites and scientists.

Harvard's Belfer Center think tank director Graham Allison told Senate Foreign Relations Committee members that prohibiting military site inspections is a "show-stopper."

The proposed US-led offer of peaceful nuclear technology Iran largely has (especially with Russia involved in building its nuclear reactors) rings hollow.

Washington wants Tehran's legitimate nearly completely constructed Arak heavy water reactor able to produce plutonium converted into a light water facility using Western technology.

Iran would retain "the leadership role as the project owner and manager." A separate term involves transforming its Fordo nuclear facility into one solely for producing isotopes for medical and scientific purposes.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rejected unacceptable terms - including freezing nuclear research, inspecting military sites and gradual sanctions relief instead of immediately if and when final agreement terms are reached.
It's built deep underground within a mountain for protection - for obvious reasons. Its operations are entirely legitimate. Why should Iran agree to compromise them?

What's proposed provides grist for the mill on both sides. Iranians justifiably want their sovereign rights respected. Congressional hardliners follow Israeli Lobby demands wanting Tehran weakened, isolated and denied its legitimate program as now constituted.

Former US officials Dennis Ross, Joe Lieberman, David Petraeus, Gary Samore, and Stephen Hadley among other hardliners published an open letter urging greater toughness - claiming the Iranian deal being negotiated doesn't "prevent (it) from having a nuclear weapons capability" despite knowing its leader and top officials want none and urge a nuclear free Middle East.

The writers bashed Iran irresponsibly - the same baseless criticism heard for decades claiming it supports terrorism, intervenes regionally extrajudicially, has a threatening ballistic missile arsenal and oppresses its own people, while ignoring Israel and other real Middle East rogue regimes.

The letter said unless talks are "concluded along the lines outlined (by its signatories) and buttressed by a resolute regional strategy," it'll likely fail the test of a "good" agreement.

Iranian officials insist their program is entirely peaceful according to Nuclear Non-Proliferations Treaty (NPT) provisions. No evidence disproves them.

Whether anything can be consummated satisfying all sides remains to be seen. Most important is Washington's sordid history of breaching agreements it reaches. Will this time be different? Don't bet on it.

AP concluded citing an unnamed US official close to talks saying "the sides (are) still apart not only on how transparent Iran must be but all other ancillary issues as well."

For its part, Tehran conceded much more than it's gotten back in return. If talks fail, Washington will bear full responsibility - shared by its go-along European partners Britain, France and Germany.

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