Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Pre-Iran Deal Text Thoughts

After days of anticipation, anonymous diplomats on both sides (Western and Iranian) have told reporters that there is a deal between the P5+1 and Iran potentially resolving the nuclear dispute.

While the text of the deal is not available yet, and they've yet to even announce the deal, what we've seen so far includes bits about IAEA access to military sites, and the arms and ballistic missile embargoes. It was also reported that all of the airplane related restrictions will be lifted, giving a much needed reprieve to Iran's dilapidated domestic air travel industry.

A big worry from the West is that the possible military dimensions (PMD) of Iran's nuclear program will remain unaddressed in the deal. To ensure that Iran doesn't cheat and create a nuclear weapon, the West wants the IAEA to have unfettered access to Iranian military sites, especially Parchin. Reuters seems to think that Iran will have the right to refuse access to the IAEA, though this refusal would mean that the P5+1 and Iran would convene and 'arbitration board' to discuss the reasons why the IAEA wants access and why Iran does not wish to give it.

Of course the West would want complete access to everything, but this is unrealistic. If Iran decides to cheat this could be a problem as the implementation, the timetable and the resolution process in a situation like this can be sensitive.

The arms and ballistic missile embargoes are a bit tricky because of how the White House's fact sheet claimed that these would continue. It was not stated that these would be phased out over time, so my primary concerns of an immediate lifting of the embargoes are alleviated for the time being. We also do not know exactly when the 5 and 8 year periods begin, and what the terms are.

A major concern for me, even though I've been fairly supportive of the entire process under Obama (including outreach, sanctions and negotiations) is the inclusion of non-nuclear issues into the agreement. Iran has many problems including human rights and terrorism, but there have been efforts to keep these, and other regional concerns such as Yemen, Syria and ISIS (not to mention the Israel/Palestine conflict) out of the nuclear negotiations.

The aircraft industry restrictions pre-date the nuclear dispute and therefore one would think that this is not a part of the negotiations. While I personally think this should obviously be removed because it appears to be a civilian matter (there may be military or other reasons for these restrictions that I am unaware of), I find it troubling that they have been included along with the arms and missile embargoes. Even if these sanctions were motivated by the nuclear dispute, it is disturbing that even though White House explicitly stated that these non-nuclear issues would remain as is, they have somehow been included. It does not give much confidence in the PR abilities of the administration.

More to come (probably in a different blog)

*'Snap-back' sanctions are not addressed because they are too complicated and impossible to gauge without the actual text

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