Saturday, April 11, 2015

Sanctions Should Be Lifted In a Single Step – IRGC Commander

Issue of How Sanctions Are Lifted Could Result in Failure of Nuclear Talks
IRGC Commander Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari said today in Tehran that the nuclear talks could end in failure over the issue of how sanctions are lifted.

“The importance of (nuclear) talks in the framework of our heroic flexibility rests on the proposition that in lieu of compromises offered by Iran all sanctions should be lifted in a single step,” Gen. Jafari said.

“No matter how the talks end, whether the sanctions are lifted or not, we must preserve the main values and mottos of our system. If we show any flexibility, it is within the framework of the principles and policies of our system (“nezam”) and for preserving the high esteem and power of our Islamic system and the interests of the Iranian nation,” Jafari said. “I believe the Supreme Leader’s concerns are those types of concerns.” (Fars News Agency, 11 April)

“Regarding the lifting of sanctions, there are ambiguities which need to be transparent, and we need to know that this subject of how sanctions are lifted could result in failure of the talks.”

Photo credit: IRGC Commander Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari (Fars News Agency)


Anonymous said...

US position would be insane if they think they can keep the sanctions in place and expect Iran stop its nuclear program. What kind of a "deal" and "negotiation" strategy is this? Even the Zionists had better negotiating ploys! I for one have always believed that there is ZERO chance of any deal and Iran should just test a nuke and let the chips fall where they may?

Nader Uskowi said...

Misinformation everywhere! EU foreign policy chief Mogherini and Iranian foreign minister Zarif read a joint statement at the conclusion of the lengthy Lausanne negotiations saying the two sides have agreed to lift EU/US sanctions after IAEA verifies that Iran has implemented its key nuclear commitment, and the UNSC sanctions will be lifted when a new resolution is adopted that would incorporate certain restrictive measure on issues including Iran's ballistic missile program. This is not from U.S. fact sheet, but from joint statement read to the press and public by Iran's own foreign minister.

The IAEA verification of Iranian implementation of nuclear commitments cannot happen on the day the agreement is signed, unless Iran starts its lengthy process of putting those commitments in place before the 30 June deadline, which is highly unlikely. What is more likely outcome is the lifting of specific sanction as Iran completes implementation of specific measures spelled out in the final comprehensive agreement, a process that might take some time to complete.

Agreeing on a new UNSC resolutions on topics like the missile program also could be time consuming. Doable, but probably not on the day the comprehensive agreement (JCPOA) is signed.

So what is the issue? Khamenei, and now Jafari, is insisting that all sanctions should be lifted on the day the agreement is signed. This is a condition that might be unworkable, as explained above. So cooler heads will hopefully prevail and find ways to draft a JCPOA that complies with the framework agreement reached in Lausanne, and having in mind the sensibilities of Iranian leadership on the issue of how sanctions are lifted. Khamanei and Jafari also need to put forward conditions that could have realistic chance for being implemented.

Unknown said...

Well, I understand that verifying Iran's compliance takes time, but Khamenei has every right to be concerned, because once he's implemented the agreement it will be very difficult to reverse his compliance, meanwhile sanctions would still be in place and their suspension would be the topic of a heated debate in the UNSC, and God knows what then!

Also, restrictions on Iran's ballistic missile program? What kind of restrictions? This program shouldn't be a proliferation threat now that the nuclear issue has been (or is being) resolved.

I mean the demands being made here are silly and excessive.

Nader Uskowi said...

There are always two sides to any argument. Khamenei's concerns should be balanced against the concern of those countries who would argue that if the P5+1 lift all sanctions at once on the day the agreement is signed, then Iran might not implement all its commitments, hoping that after the sanctions are gone, they would be that much harder to be restarted. Hence, the need for the cooler heads to strike a balance here acceptable to both.

The ballistic missile issue is not a new demand by the West. It is part of one of the four UNSC resolutions that have been adopted unanimously during Ahmadinejad's administration, and still standing (namely UNSCR 1929, Paragraph 7). The resolution prohibits development of missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons, a restriction that has been put as part of preventing Iran's ability to deliver a nuclear warhead, but a restriction that is very vague and if it stays it has to be redefined, like defining those missiles in terms of payload or range. Not an easy task.

Unknown said...

Thing is, if Iran goes back on its word it will face a united P5+1 and we know what that means. However. if America goes back on its word then there is nothing that can be done. I'm sure Republican and Israeli behavior gives Khamenei every reason to be concerned.

But yes, something should be worked out. On that I agree.

As to defining Iran's missiles in terms of payload or range, that means full inspection of military sights, even secret silos! Is this really what Khamenei is obliged to do? Open up military sites to foreign (even enemy) inspections?

No military dimension to the nuclear program means the missiles won't carry anything other than conventional warheads.

Nader Uskowi said...

Well, I don't think Iran would want for example to develop an ICBM to carry few kilos of TNT! Not worth it. So probably the solution is easier than it sounds, and probably would not require the inspection of the silos or such. Iran would need to test its missiles under development, and a test of an ICBM could not be kept secret. There are lots of experiences on the issue regarding U.S. and USSR/Russia treaties. If there is a will, there is a way to make the compromises needed to cut the final deal. Probably even without any provisions on ballistic missiles.

Anonymous said...

Anyhow, UNSC Resolution 1929 cannot and will not be technically applicable as its wording currently stands, Nader is right, it has to be defined to become somewhat credible, would it be politically or technically. Indeed, its implementation as is by Iran today to the letter would mean no less than the two following steps by Iran :

1 - Handing over the entirety of its current stockpile of ballistic missiles of every type and range going from SRBMs like the Fateh-110s to the highest end of declared IRBM assets such as Sejil-2s, late production variants of Shahab-3s , Ghadr-Fs and Ghiams. After all, any of these missiles can be fitted with a nuclear warhead.

2 - Once step 1 is completed, verified and validated by relevant UN authorities, the board will expect to oversee the voluntary dismantlement of every production, development, testing and R&D infrastructure linked to the aforementioned arsenal, in order for Iran to be fully deprived of both the end-assets and the industrial capability to ever build them again, and finally become compliant to Paragraph 7 as it is written today. In other terms : not realistic for anyone with an ounce of reason and political pragmatism, since the hardliners and moderates alike in Tehran will have a point in describing it as total and unconditional surrender, the kind you do when your country has been defeated with the enemy either sitting at your table dictating the terms of an armistice, or standing at the gates making demands so that your urban centers are spared. Iran might have been crippled by economic sanctions, but we aren't there yet militarily.

In that regard, I doubt any member of the P5+1 credibly believes or even has the ultimate intention of realistically pushing Iran at destroying the only real strategic deterrent it has at its disposal in parallel to its ageing, semi-upgraded air-force which is also still the subject of several set of sanctions preventing it from replenishing its inventory with modern 4+ generation fighters, and will thus be the subject of a broad consensus among Iranian political and military ranks. After all, having strategic weapons and relevant military branches falls within the universal right of countries to be able to defend their sovereignty and territorial integrity from outside attacks, and cannot decently be challenged, would it be for Iran, Israel, the KSA, Russia, China, the US or Zimbabwe for that matter.

We aren't even talking about compromises, but rather mechanically needed amendments to a semantically flawed resolution hopefully soon to be rendered void by a new strategic context brought by a final nuclear agreement.

The P5+1 cannot have it both ways in keeping sanctions on the transfer of advanced aircraft AND ask for the shredding of its missile replacement adopted by the Iranian doctrine. And we can expect strong resistance from China + Russia to follow through on anything that harsh on the Iranian military, specially in the new context of the critical changes of their respective strategic relationship with Washington following the Pivot to Asia, and the Taiwan + Ukraine situation. To illustrate this, just a few hours ago Russian President Vladimir Putin invalidated a 2010 decree put in place by former president Medvedev that prohibited the transfer and sales of advanced S-300/400 air defense equipment to Iran, putting a de-facto end to the longest standing military dispute having taken place between Moscow and Tehran since the very implementation of the UNSC sanctions, that speaks volumes to the changes taking place fast with regards to their relation to the Iranian state. IN addition to this, every UN resolution condemning missile tests by Iran since 2010 have been vetoed by both countries in the past, I do not see the trend changing for the worse anytime soon, and quite the contrary.

So long as Paragraph 7 makes no explicit mention of ICBMs, it will collect dust while Iran's missile programs will be in full steam.