Sunday, November 24, 2013

Iran: Deal A 'Major Success'...Israel: Deal A 'Historic Mistake'

That pretty much sums it up. At least Iran considers this deal a 'major success'; a deal which allows them to continue to enrich uranium. As predicted, Israel is left standing alone. 

Even members of the U.S. congress consider this a bad deal for the same reasons cited by PM Netanyahu. As they say, 'the devil is in the details', and that certainly applies here. In the first article, where we see the overview of the details, it is clear that Iran has gotten everything that they wanted. 

The 'bottom line' appears to be the idea that Israel is now officially backed into a corner and probably has no option but to strike Iran's nuclear facilities. 

The powder-keg is almost ignited. 

[This article is the most comprehensive and detailed article available and is worth reading in full if you are interested in the comprehensive plan. Below are a few of the highlights]

Iran has committed to halt enrichment above 5%:
· Halt all enrichment above 5% and dismantle the technical connections required to enrich above 5%.
Iran has committed to neutralize its stockpile of near-20% uranium:
· Dilute below 5% or convert to a form not suitable for further enrichment its entire stockpile of near-20% enriched uranium before the end of the initial phase.
Iran has committed to halt progress on its enrichment capacity:
· Not install additional centrifuges of any type.
· Not install or use any next-generation centrifuges to enrich uranium.
· Leave inoperable roughly half of installed centrifuges at Natanz and three-quarters of installed centrifuges at Fordow, so they cannot be used to enrich uranium.
· Limit its centrifuge production to those needed to replace damaged machines, so Iran cannot use the six months to stockpile centrifuges.
· Not construct additional enrichment facilities.
Iran has committed to halt progress on the growth of its 3.5% stockpile:
· Not increase its stockpile of 3.5% low enriched uranium, so that the amount is not greater at the end of the six months than it is at the beginning, and any newly enriched 3.5% enriched uranium is converted into oxide.

The P5+1 and Iran also discussed the general parameters of a comprehensive solution that would constrain Iran’s nuclear program over the long term, provide verifiable assurances to the international community that Iran’s nuclear activities will be exclusively peaceful, and ensure that any attempt by Iran to pursue a nuclear weapon would be promptly detected.

The set of understandings also includes an acknowledgment by Iran that it must address all United Nations Security Council resolutions – which Iran has long claimed are illegal – as well as past and present issues with Iran’s nuclear program that have been identified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). This would include resolution of questions concerning the possible military dimension of Iran’s nuclear program, including Iran’s activities at Parchin. As part of a comprehensive solution, Iran must also come into full compliance with its obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and its obligations to the IAEA. With respect to the comprehensive solution, nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced that the deal reached in Geneva shows that world powers have recognized Tehran's “nuclear rights.” He added that Iran is eager to start talks immediately on a comprehensive nuclear agreement.
He said in a statement in the Iranian capital broadcast live on state Press TV that talks on a"comprehensive agreement will start immediately" and that Iran had a strong will for them to commence right away. 
The Iranian president said that the success of the talks with the P5+1 group was due to the guidelines set out by Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei.  
Khamenei said that the prayers of the Iranian nation had helped ensure the success of the negotiations, and said that the initial Geneva nuclear deal would provide the basis for further steps toward a lasting deal.
"This can be the basis for further intelligent actions. Without a doubt the grace of God and the prayers of the Iranian nation were a factor in this success," Khamenei wrote in a letter to President Hassan Rouhani published by the IRNA state news agency. 
After the deal was signed, Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araghchi wrote on Twitter that Iran’s enrichment rights had been recognized in the negotiations. 
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov confirmed the news, acknowledging that the deal accepted Tehran’s right to enrich uranium. 
“This deal means that we agree with the need to recognize Iran's right to peaceful nuclear energy, including the right for enrichment, with an understanding that those questions about the [Iranian nuclear program] that still remain, and the program itself, will be placed under the strictest IAEA control,” Lavrov told journalists. 
Considering the “whole body of circumstance,” Lavrov said, “there are no losers [in the Geneva deal], all sides are winners.”

Iranian officials hailed a nuclear agreement signed with six world powers early Sunday, calling it a large success for the regime in Tehran and confirmation of the country’s right to enrich uranium.

The agreement, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said, represented “a big success for Iran” and an indication that “all plots hatched by the Zionist regime to stop the nuclear agreement have failed,” according to a report from state-sponsored Islamic Republic News Agency.

In Geneva on Sunday, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius confirmed at a press conference that the deal recognized Iran’s right to civilian nuclear power.
A reported copy of the interim agreement, posted online by Iran’s Fars News, included recognition of the right to enrichment in a bullet list of goals for a final deal.
Araqchi, who served as lead Iranian negotiator in the talks, had emphasized earlier that Iran would not accept an agreement that did not recognize the right of the Islamic Republic to continue to enrichment uranium.
Speaking to Press TV, Zarif said the nuclear crisis is now “abating,” and, as part of the deal, no new sanctions will be imposed on Iran during the six-month interim period before final negotiations.

“In the final step, the (uranium) enrichment process will be accepted and at the same time all the sanctions will be lifted,” he said, according to a New York Times translation. Tehran seeks to have a nuclear program that will be “free of international pressure,” he added.
In Tehran, people were optimistic over the deal, Al Jazeera reported.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday the deal reached with six world powers in Geneva "recognized Iran's nuclear rights" by allowing it to continue to enrich uranium and that Tehran's enrichment activities would proceed similar to before.
He said in a statement in the Iranian capital broadcast live on state Press TV that talks on a "comprehensive agreement will start immediately" and that Iran had a strong will for them to commence right away.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said at a Sunday morning press conference in Geneva that Iran will never stop enriching uranium. Zarif told reporters that enrichment will continue and "will be a part of any agreement now and in the future," although halting it is a significant portion of the agreement.

The nuclear deal reached between Iran and six world powersearly Sunday morning was “a historic mistake,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday, excoriating the agreement and vowing to keep Tehran from getting a nuclear weapon.

“What was accomplished last night in Geneva is not a historic agreement; it’s a historic mistake,” Netanyahu said at the start of Sunday morning’s weekly cabinet meeting. “Today the world has become much more dangerous, because the most dangerous regime in the world took a meaningful step toward acquiring the most dangerous weapon in the world.”

Netanyahu’s remarks came just hours after Iranian delegates and world powers reached a first-step accord in Geneva aimed at easing Western concerns that Tehran could one day attain nuclear weapons.
“For the first time the world’s leading powers agreed to the enrichment of uranium in Iran, while ignoring the Security Council resolutions that they themselves championed,” the prime minister said. “These sanctions have been removed for cosmetic Iranian concessions that can be canceled in weeks. This agreement and what it means threaten many countries, and including, of course, Israel. Israel is not bound by this agreement. The regime in Iran is committed to Israel’s destruction and Israel has the right and responsibility to defend itself, by itself, against any threat.”

President Shimon Peres released a less fiery statement Sunday saying that Israel prefers diplomacy but the deal “will be judged by results, not by words.”
Addressing the Iranian people, Peres said, “You are not our enemies and we are not yours. There is a possibility to solve this issue diplomatically. It is in your hands. Reject terrorism. Stop the nuclear program. Stop the development of long-range missiles. Israel like others in the international community prefers a diplomatic solution.”

Netanyahu’s  words came after a morning which saw a bevy of Israeli ministers criticize the deal, with only a handful of lawmakers backing it.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said the agreement had created a ”new reality in the whole Middle East, including the Saudis.”
When asked if this would lead to an Israeli military strike on Iran, Liberman said Israel “would need to make different decisions.”
Home Front Command Minister Gilad Erdan told Army Radio that it would now be more difficult for Israel to act for the duration of the six-month agreement.
Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz, who is responsible for monitoring Iran’s nuclear program, said there was no reason for the world to be celebrating. He said the deal, reached in Geneva early Sunday, is based on “Iranian deception and [Western] self-delusion.”
“Just like the failed deal with North Korea, the current deal can actually bring Iran closer to the bomb,” Steinitz said. “Israel cannot take part in the international celebrations based on Iranian deception and self-delusion.”
MK Reuven Rivlin (Likud) wrote on Facebook that American attempts to calm Israel would only worry him more.
“There is no doubt that the agreement exposes differences, not just tactical but also strategic, between us and between the West and the US.”
Economics Minister Naftali Bennett called the deal “bad, very bad.”

Iran's nuclear deal with global powers was met with wary silence from Arab states on Sunday...All Arab countries apart from Syria and Iraq are ruled by Sunni Muslims who mainly regard Shi'ite Iran as a foe and have been deeply uneasy over the prospect of any rapprochement with the West that would benefit Tehran.

"The government of Iran, month after month, has proven that it has an ugly agenda in the region, and in this regard no one in the region will sleep and assume things are going smoothly," Askar said.
At the time he spoke, Saudi Arabia had yet to give any official response, and Askar stressed that he was giving his personal views. Other Sunni-ruled Arab states also had yet to respond on Sunday.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) said that he “remains concerned that this deal does not adequately halt Iran’s enrichment capabilities.” In a statement released shortly after a deal was announced, Cantor warned that “the United States must remain vigilant and respond immediately and severely to any cheating or wrongdoing by Iran.” Anticipating the furious responses voiced by US allies Israel and Saudi Arabia, Cantor added that the US “must rebuild our alliances in the region and stand firmly with our closest partners against Iranian aggression.”

Cantor’s concerns were echoed by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (Republican of California), who said that he has “serious concerns that this agreement does not meet the standards necessary to protect the United States and our allies.”

Royce implied that he would summon Kerry before his committee to “address the many concerns with this agreement,” which he said entailed a dismantling of the “sanctions pressure built up over years.”
Even some members of the Democratic minority in the House offered limited optimism regarding the deal. Rep. Eliot Engel, the leading Democrat on Royce’s committee, said that he was “concerned that this interim agreement does not require Iran to completely halt its enrichment efforts or dismantle its centrifuges.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (Republican of South Carolina) tweeted that “unless the agreement requires dismantling of the Iranian centrifuges” – which it does not – “we really haven’t gained anything.” Sen. John Cornyn (Republican of Texas) was far more cynical in his 140 characters, tweeting that it is “amazing what WH will do to distract attention from O-care” [Obamacare].

Sen. Marco Rubio (Republican of Florida), agreed, warning that the deal “makes a nuclear Iran more likely” and calling on Congress to increase sanctions “until Iran completely abandons its enrichment and reprocessing capabilities.”

“This agreement is a blow to our allies in the region who are already concerned about America’s commitment to their security and it sends the wrong message to the Iranian people,” he continued in lengthy written statement. “Just days ago, Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei, who will oversee implementation of this agreement, was calling Israel a ‘rabid dog’ and accusing the United States of war crimes. Yet today President Obama is asking us to accept the pledges of this regime, which still refuses to end its support for terrorism and admit the illicit nature of its past nuclear work.”

“This is a bad deal. It grants Iran exactly what it wanted - both a significant easing in sanctions and preservation of the most significant parts of its nuclear program,” an official in Netanyahu's office said. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has slammed the international deal over Iran's nuclear program, branding it a “historic mistake.” He accused the P5+1 of allowing Tehran a step further “towards obtaining the world's most dangerous weapon.”
Netanyahu condemned the deal at a cabinet meeting on Sunday and said the world has become a more dangerous place.
"What was achieved last night in Geneva is not a historic agreement, it was a historic mistake,"Netanyahu told his cabinet. “Today the world has become a much more dangerous place because the most dangerous regime in the world took a significant step towards obtaining the world's most dangerous weapon.”
Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz, in charge of monitoring Iran's nuclear program, has said there is no reason for the world to be celebrating.
He says the deal that was reached in Geneva on Sunday is based on "Iranian deception and self-delusion." 

The United States and Iran secretly engaged in a series of high-level, face-to-face talks over the past year, in a high-stakes diplomatic gamble by the Obama administration that paved the way for the historic deal sealed early Sunday in Geneva aimed at slowing Tehran’s nuclear program, The Associated Press has learned.

The discussions were kept hidden even from America’s closest friends, including its negotiating partners and Israel, until two months ago, and that may explain how the nuclear accord appeared to come together so quickly after years of stalemate and fierce hostility between Iran and the West.

But the secrecy of the talks may also explain some of the tensions between the US and France, which earlier this month balked at a proposed deal, and with Israel, which is furious about the agreement and has angrily denounced the diplomatic outreach to Tehran.

President Barack Obama personally authorized the talks as part of his effort — promised in his first inaugural address — to reach out to a country the State Department designates as the world’s most active state sponsor of terrorism.

The talks were held in the Middle Eastern nation of Oman and elsewhere with only a tight circle of people in the know, the AP learned. Since March, Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and Jake Sullivan, Vice President Joe Biden’s top foreign policy adviser, have met at least five times with Iranian officials.

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