Thursday, July 10, 2014

Hague: Nuclear Deal ‘Far from Certain’

British Foreign Minister William Hague said in an interview published today by Austrian daily Wiener Zeitung that significant differences remain between world powers and Iran in negotiations in Vienna over Iran’s nuclear program. Hague said a deal is “far from certain,” but all possibilities should be exhausted.

“Achieving an agreement is far from certain,” Hague said. “Significant differences remain... which are yet to be bridged. But I am convinced that the current negotiations are the best opportunity we have had in years to resolve this issue.” (Wiener Zeitung/Reuters, 10 July)

This week, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had apparently raised the bar for the Iranian negotiators by saying Iran needed to significantly increase its capacity to enrich uranium to meet its long-term energy needs.

Iran’s official news agency IRNA quoted Khamenei on Tuesday as saying Iran would need some 190,000 “separative work units” or SWU, the overall enrichment capacity expressed in a specialist term. Based on that figure, the Iranian negotiators now have to negotiate for more than 200,000 centrifuges. The country currently has only about 10,000 centrifuges in operation.


Mark Pyruz said...

Actually SL of IRIG's identification of 190 kSWU is not directly applicable to the current generation of centrifuges now in operation. Iran makes no secret of the fact that it intends to progress with technologically more efficient centrifuges. Hence, the leap toward 200,000 is not a realitic rendering of Iran's present and future civil nuclear power fuel needs.

It looks more and more like this negotiation process will go on for some time (past the current term). That is not entirely a bad thing.

But to think Iran is on its knees and desperately seeks relief from economic coercion is to misread the Iranian position.

Nader Uskowi said...


You should let Ayatollah Khamenei speak for himself, he's very clear on what he wants. Khamenei is calling for 190,000 SWUs. That translates into either more than 200,000 IR-1 centrifuges, the type Iran is using the most, or lower numbers of more advanced machines. The practical effect, no matter what types of machines are used to produce 190,000 SWU, is the same: capability to produce enriched uranium at industrial scale. Khamenei could not have been more exact in describing Iran's position.

Iran does not have any industrial-scale uranium enrichment program now. Agreeing to postpone such capability until after the expiration of any comprehensive agreement (which will have a sunset clause) is not asking Iran to surrender, that's your evaluation. Asking a country to postpone starting a new industry, that it has never had, to after the agreement is ended is a sensible approach to a compromise. And compromise is needed to strike a deal.

Anonymous said...

Nader UskowiJuly 10, 2014 at 11:41 AM
Yes,unfortunately nader irans been here before when it halted enrichment for 2 years as a gesture to the west,the west however wanted this to become a permanent "temporary suspension",the other problem here would be the duration of any so called "postponement".When it comes down to it the west will at some point have to simply accept the fact that iran will require either a substantial enrichment capacity to ensure its ability to fuel both its existing reactor and the future ones it intends to build or a substantial stockpile,like a fuel bank,of fissile material for the same purpose,its either one or the other

Nader Uskowi said...

Iran has voluntarily begun the negotiations which ended in the interim agreement, JPOA, last November, and the current round of negotiations for a final agreement. If the Iranian government's analysis was similar to yours, it would not have bothered to begin these negotiations or sign the JPOA. For these negotiations to succeed, Iran also needs to accept compromises. That's the nature of any negotiation.

Let's go back to the basics: The goal of these negotiations from the perspective of P5+1 (including those of Russia and China) is to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons, or at least prolong its breakout capability. They have made that abundantly clear and the Iranians were aware of those goals when they entered the negotiations. Now the Iranians want to get an agreement from P5+1 to build an enrichment industry they've never had, which would require steps that would run against P5+1's stated goals. The P5+1 argues instead that any agreement will have a sunset clause written into it, and the Iranians can do anything they want, including creating a new industry, when the final agreement expires. That's a reasonable approach. Cooler heads must prevail so we can book these talks in the win columns for both sides.

Anonymous said...

Let us all go back to the basics as Nader is indicating, the fact that Iran should not be even able to have the capability of producing nuclear arms. Let us look at Iran's map. To its East it has Pakistan with 80-100 nuclear bombs and complete air, naval and ground delivery mechanisms. It has a population of almost 200 million people who are very poor and is a good ground for all types of fundamentalism and the state is actually having semi control of certain regions. Saudis, another big country in the region has good ties with Pakistan and I bet they have already either purchased or are in the process of acquiring some bombs from the Pakistanis in order to maintain power. Pakistan is also in a constant conflict with India, yet another nuclear armed nation regarding borders. Turkey another neighbor of Iran is a NATO member and US nuclear bombs reside in Turkey under NATO command and they can be used to defend NATO countries, ie. Turkey in case of need. Kazakhstan and Russia, both sharing waterways are nuclear powers. To our West in the region we have Israel which is in constant conflict with its neighbors and is also threatening Iran and has the air, naval, sub surface and ground delivery mechanisms.
So my question to these 5+1 they think they are dealing with idiots? Iran's national security will go beyond any division they might have seen in the Iranian political life, when it comes to the external threat the Iranians are indeed very unified people. As such they should look for not pushing Iran too hard and try to understand Iran's short and long term security concerns. Any government in Iran that adheres to stupid agreements and sign any agreement which will put Iran in dangerous situation will not survive for a long time and 5+1, especially the Western bloc should know that the successors will most probably not recognize any unfair deal signed.
As such a fair deal with a win-win situation will the only one which will last for a long time and be respected by all involved parties.

Nader Uskowi said...

Iran not producing nuclear weapons is not a principle that came from me: P5+1 AND Iran have agreed on it and already signed an interim agreement based on that. You cannot re-negotiate that term anonymously and here on this blog! You need to argue that with the government of Iran and its supreme leader.

Anonymous said...

Nader Iran especially since the inauguration of Rouhani's administration as been calling for a win win agreement what the SL called heroic flexibility. The reality which cannot be denied by any objective analyst is that every time the other negotiating partners of Iran lead by USA makes unreasonable demands Iran hardened its position, if you doubt me on this you are free to check the nuclear negotiations time line.

Yes the west as always imposed stiffer sanctions after the breakdown of each negotiation periods but without any doubt they have always had to give concessions after resumption of new negotiations, does zero centrifuge to few centrifuges ring a bell, does zero enrichment to 5 percent enrichment rings a bell, does dismantle of all nuclear related activities to containment ring a bell?

Look Iran recognised that there will always be a price to pay and sacrifice to be made for every attempt to assert her independence but also great benefits to be reap if it persevere. Just late last year the US sec of state John Kerry outline what clearly back this view saying Iran after the sanctions increased its centrifuges from few hundreds to 19,000 indicating failure of such extreme position taken by the US. Imagine what Iran would do if this round of negotiations break down again.

The IRI as paid dearly for taken such position as sanctions have had a great adverse effects on its economy and GDP but in spite of that even in 2013 Iran recorded a growth in her HDI and cracks are already showing in the sanction regime. You are welcome to check this out if you doubt me.

Nader unfortunately not everybody believe in sacrificing their freedom and independence in order to fill their belly. The western nations would do well to recognise IRI as an independent player that cannot be subjugated either through force or carrot and stick approach, Iran's rights needs to be respected and recognised just like Nixon and Kessinger did with China.

It would do well for them to use the same vigor towards Israel undeclared nuclear weapons programme, yes I remember Israel is not a member of NPT so the law that apply to NPT members doesn't apply to Israel nuclear activities, as if any law apply to Israel except those made by Israel. Oh! sorry we are not talking about Israel on this blog, please forgive my deviation and ignorance.

Anonymous said...

Nader, I think you have misunderstood the whole process. If the agreement was enough there would be no need for any "negotiations". Iran, including the Supreme Leader has clearly said they don't seek any nuclear arms. Having said that the 5+1 says they take Iran's word seriously but they want to put in mechanisms to ensure that Iran will not deviate from its civilian path anytime in the future. As such you have the ongoing negotiations in which it is 5+1 who dictates and defines "what those measures and mechanisms are". The main goal and aim of these procedures and mechanisms is to ensure the lead time for producing any nuclear bomb is maximally extended and the capability thereby is minimized. That is the bottom line of the entire discussion, nothing else.
Iran's Supreme Leader has clearly indicated what the minimum Iran wants should be in its televised speech and it is expecting the negotiating team to ensure the minimum is there or the deal will not be perceived as a win in Iran. And an unfair deal will not be lasting, that is for any negotiation, not only the case for Iran. As such, given the Iranian security concerns the 5+1 should comfort a win-win situation for both parts.
Don't worry about being anonymous, NSA knows exactly who is who on the Internet according to Snowden! So it is not much anonymousity we enjoy these days online ;-)

Unknown said...

I don't get it. From the comments on this thread I understand that the P5+1 wants another temporary agreement with Iran, after which Iran can do whatever it likes, and sanctions will come back as a result?

Nader Uskowi said...

What is it I misunderstood? That the goal of negotiations is to prolong the breakout time if Iran were to decide to build a nuclear weapons? That's understood, not misunderstood.

Anonymous said...

Then we are fine and let us hope for a fair deal soon....or a complete collapse in the negotiation where both parts due to their ego will not reach an agreement and in which both parts will take serious steps going forward. In that unfortunate path Iran calculates a division in the 5+1 in which Russia will no longer support a tough stance against Iran and in which Iran will no longer be the one who constantly asks to be understood and pleases the super powers. Hopefully we will skip that path as it will not be the desired outcome for any part.

Nader Uskowi said...

Not another temporary agreement, but a final agreement with a sunset clause built into it.

Unknown said...

So, when this sunset clause is reached, sanctions will be back? How long are we talking here?