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“In the case of Iran getting the bomb, I’ve always assumed that the roughly 200 weapons … in Pakistan now were rent-a-bombs for Saudi Arabia — that the moment Saudi Arabia sees that the Iranians have the bomb … they’ll use their Hertz preferred credit thing to get a couple of bombs sent over.” — Sen. Mark Kirk to Foreign Policy Initiative, Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and the Bipartisan Policy Center briefing on Capitol Hill, Nov. 20, 2014
By extending nuclear talks with Iran for seven more months, the major powers avoided total collapse but also raised the stakes, “ensuring that failure, if that is what eventually happens, will be all the more cataclysmic,” according to the Guardian. My take, however, is that a bad deal with the Iranian regime is likely to destabilize the Middle East.
How could a bad deal destabilize the region?
It might look something like this: Iran pockets, without reciprocity, the backing away by the major powers from U.N. Security Council Resolutions (UNSC) and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from demands for full disclosure of “possible military dimensions” (PMD) of Iran’s nuclear program. Consequently, regional actors follow the lead of Riyadh and Jerusalem — getting the bomb (as Sen. Kirk outlined) and bombing Iran, respectively.
According to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), on Nov. 18 Iran’s Fars news agency — which is affiliated with the country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps — revealed U.S. demands from Tehran in the talks. Although Iran is to permit snap inspections at every Iranian facility, including military ones now off limits to inspectors, there is no explicit mention of PMD.
The MEMRI report is troubling. But a Reuters article from Saturday is even more so: It reports that the major powers “will likely stop short of demanding full disclosure of any secret weapon work by Tehran to avoid killing an historic deal.” PMD is a baseline for verification. Inspectors require a yardstick to compare with the current Iranian nuclear program. PMD is the gold standard for the IAEA to operate in Iran.
A backdown on PMD erodes credibility of the U.N. Security Council and the IAEA in face of Iranian obstructionism. UNSC Resolution 1929 of June 9, 2010 stated that Iran has not cooperated with the U.N. watchdog agency, “to exclude the possibility of military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear programme.” The IAEA stated on May 25, 2012, “Since 2002, the Agency has become increasingly concerned about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed nuclear related activities involving military related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile.”
This issue has been raised regularly throughout the talks.
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During 18-24 November, the Vienna talks resumed between major powers and Iran. The narrative: How many of Iran’s 19,000 centrifuges should be mothballed to prevent breakout before inspectors can detect a race for the bomb; one or two chambers for testing high explosive devices in secret weaponization work, (if two, inspections would be harder); and ongoing cheating around sanctions because there is “no such thing as a good Iranian bank.”
Although the front story is important, consider the backstory: war for Washington between realists and conservatives over a moral and strategic case for keeping faith with friends.
Realists deal with states as they are and pay less attention to how they treat people. Conservatives are more likely to take into account the odious nature of a regime like Iran, its abysmal human rights record, and strategic value of keeping faith with its people. President Barack Obama is a realist who ignores how Tehran treats people and discounts being faithful, if Washington closes an arms control accord with Tehran.
President Ronald Reagan was a conservative who condemned the Soviet Union as an “evil empire,” succeeded in reducing oppression of Soviet people, and negotiated arms control with Moscow. Reagan and Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev concluded the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces accord in 1987 and established the foundation for the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which concluded in 1991 during Bush 41. Reagan and his successor made strides inpersuading Moscow to accept the Helsinki Final Act, which allowed for human rights to flourish in the Eastern bloc, break away from Moscow, and demise of the Soviet Union.
Obama properly uses “pure evil” to condemn beheading of an American citizen by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS); he does not censure the Iranian regime, which engages in public hangings of political dissidents and encourages Baghdad to oppress the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI)—Iranian dissidents in Camp Liberty, Iraq.
Given Obama’s realism, he ignores the plight of friends left behind in Iraq after the withdrawal of U.S. military forces. Even with reintroduction of military advisors embedded in Iraqi and Kurdish units to degrade and destroy ISIS, there is little attention to friends we left in Iraq, vulnerable to persecution. But Obama is not alone leaving friends behind. A Republican realist, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, abandoned Vietnamese who helped U.S. troops during the war until it was too late in 1975.
During a 2007 campaign speech, Candidate Obama stated, “We must also keep faith with Iraqis who kept faith with us.” But later, Team Obama has allowedresettlement in the United States of “only a tiny fraction of our own loyalists.”
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Prof. Raymond Tanter, President, Iran Policy Committee and Publishing Professor Emeritus, The University of Michigan, Former Senior Staff Member, National Security Council, United States of America
World Summit on Counter-Terrorism: Terrorism’s Global Impact ICT’s 12th Annual International Conference.
To watch the complete speech please go to: http://bit.ly/1uiLb6U
Raymond Tanter appeared on Al Jazeera Arabic 20 September 2014. The topic was U.S. participation in negotiations on the Iranian nuclear file. At issue is whether this involvement may conflict with coalition-building against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Secretary Kerry had indicated “Tehran could play some role” against ISIS, even though it was not a formal party in the coalition.
Tanter spoke against the idea of approaching Tehran because the Iranian regime was responsible for the divisive policies in Iraq that created the political space for ISIS to evolve: Sunni Iraqis defected to ISIS partly due to Iranian-sponsored sectarian actions.
These Iranian efforts made it possible for ISIS to make dramatic gains in northwest Iraq. The same disruptive Iranian policies placed in even greater jeopardy members of an Iranian dissident group—People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI)/Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK), trapped in prison-like conditions in Iraq.
As negotiations to build a coalition against ISIS go forward, expect enhanced efforts by Tehran to link them with hints that it would make concessions in the nuclear talks based on ISIS negotiations. Avoidance of linkage between ISIS coalition-building and the nuclear talks should be a priority of Washington.
To watch the complete interview please go to: bit.ly/120JCo8
To watch the complete interview please go to:http://bit.ly/1rVwnxB
WASHINGTON (AP) — An Iranian opposition group said Friday that Tehran’s leaders have consolidated several scattered nuclear research efforts in a single new defense agency geared to streamline weapons development.
The Mujahedin-e Khalk, or MEK, told The Associated Press that Iran’s defense ministry established the new agency in March to merge various nuclear-related programs.
The State Department had no immediate comment on the report. Some of MEK’s past claims about Iran’s nuclear program have been confirmed, while others have not. But a former international nuclear inspector said Friday he has heard a similar report.
An MEK spokesman said the new agency, the Organization for New Defense Research is led by Moshen Fakhrizadeh, a physicist long suspected of running Iran’s secret nuclear projects.
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Raymond Tanter was a scholar of The Washington Institute researching U.S. policy options toward Iran and a former member of the White House National Security Council staff during the Reagan Administration.
Russian aid and attempts to thwart the Western.
Follow-up to the theme of the Ukrainian crisis and Russian humanitarian aid convoy joins us from Moscow, former Russian diplomat,Vyacheslav Matuszov and from Washington a former official at the National Security Council, Raymond Tanter.