After years of antagonism on the nuclear issue between Iran on the one hand and the West (five Permanent Members of the Security Council (P5) + Germany) on the other hand, an agreement, albeit an interim one for a period of six months, had been reached in Geneva at the early hours on Sunday, 24th Nov. It is hailed as a breakthrough for patient diplomacy, a landmark nuclear deal which will bring peace and stability in the Middle East. The US Secretary of State, John Kerry; British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, William Hague; EU Foreign Policy Chief, Baroness Catherine Ashton all welcomed the deal and the leaders of world powers expressed satisfaction at this deal.
However, this very deal had caused an outburst of anger in Israel and Jewish circles all around the world, but that was not unexpected. On the other hand, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (and other Arab States) maintained discreet silence on the deal as this rapprochement between Iran and the West is going to undermine Arab influence on the West and that is bad news for Saudi Arabia. On this political hullabaloo, there is a distinct convergence of Arab and Jewish interests to undo this deal. It is no secret that Saudi Arabia never regarded Shia Iran as a friend of Saudi Arabia. In fact, as the saying goes, ‘your enemy’s enemy is your friend’. Saudi Arabia’s enemy Iran (which opposes Saudi Wahhabism) and Iran’s arch enemy Israel is now a friend of Saudi Arabia. It may be noted that this is not for the first time that Saudi Arabia sides with Israel. In Syria, Saudi money, arms and ammunition are going endlessly to Israeli sponsored rebel fighters to overthrow the moderate Assad regime. In many other hot-spots in the world where Islamic intra-religious conflicts are taking place, Saudi fundamentalists and their sponsored fighters are directly or indirectly aided and abetted by Israeli agents and intelligence!
For decades, America viewed Iran as nothing other than an evil regime. When Iran wanted to set up a nuclear power plant for the generation of electricity, it was immediately blamed to have the ulterior motive of going for nuclear weapons. Although Iran had persistently denied having any such ambition, the West would not accept it. This accusation was incessantly splashed around the world press by Jewish media – probably as an unconscious reaction to Israel’s own deceptive acquisition of nuclear weapons and fearing that Iran would do likewise. Moreover, the Jewish lobby in America (supported by Israel) with its strong electoral influence in American internal politics and the Saudi petro-dollars encouraged the West to keep on badgering on this issue, to impose sanctions after sanctions to cripple Iranian economy.
Only when Iran withstood this sustained pressure from the West and proved to be strong and resilient enough and became a key player, not only in Syria through its control of the Hezbollah in Lebanon but also in Afghanistan where America is badly bleeding now, did the West feel compelled to come to an agreement with Iran. Of course, political dynamics in Iran itself had also changed recently and helped the situation – the hardliner President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had been replaced in the last election in June of this year by a moderate President Hasan Rouhani. All of these developments joined up to propel Iran and the West to come to a compromise solution against the strident opposition of the unholy alliance of Saudi Arabia and Israel.
During the last eight months or so, American Deputy Secretary of State, William Burns and Vice President Joe Biden’s senior foreign policy adviser, Jake Sullivan met Iranian officials at least five times at various undisclosed locations, including the Gulf state of Oman, according to the Associated Press news agency. An opening round last month in Geneva between the six powers (P5 + Germany) and Iran paved the way for further negotiations. This round of negotiation started in Geneva on Wednesday 20 Nov and after nearly four days of gruelling sessions, in the early hours on Sunday (at about 3:00 AM) a final deal was struck. The main points of the deal are:
- Iran will dilute the existing stockpile of 20% enriched uranium and will desist enriching beyond 5% enrichment of uranium. (Around 4% enriched uranium is required for nuclear fuel)
- The IAEA inspectors will have greater and unfettered access to Iran’s nuclear sites including the Natanz and Qom sites
- No further development will take place in Arak site where plutonium was planned to be produced. (Plutonium is not used as a nuclear fuel. But it is an essential ingredient for nuclear weapon).
- In return Iran will have $7bn sanctions relief on various sectors including precious metals
- This agreement will last for six months during which time permanent agreement may be reached
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohamad Javed Zarif said that the agreement removes any doubt about Iran’s peaceful use of nuclear programme. Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei backed the agreement. The American President Barack Obama as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomed the deal.
Iran always insisted that it is her fundamental and inalienable right of national sovereignty to have peaceful civil nuclear power generation capability. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN watchdog, states quite clearly in its charter that “The Agency shall seek to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world.” As long as Iran does not step over to the acquisition of nuclear weapons, it is within its right to set up civil nuclear power plant(s) and the IAEA is bound to help her, as Iran is a signatory of the IAEA Charter. Moreover, Iran is a signatory of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) which states “The NPT aims to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to foster the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to further the goal of disarmament. The Treaty establishes a safeguard system under the responsibility of the IAEA, which also plays a central role under the Treaty in areas of technology transfer for peaceful purposes.” Iran has not violated any one of these Treaty clauses and the claim that Iran is surreptitiously developing nuclear weapons is totally unfounded and mischievous.
On the other hand, the country which is the most strident critique of this deal — Israel — had violated all of these provisions. Israel had developed nuclear weapons more than 50 years ago against UN restrictions and resolutions. In fact, Israel had violated more UN resolutions, restrictions etc. than any other country in the world! Still Western countries did not impose any sanction on her despite flagrant violations of international norms. Israel only said, “It would not be the first country to introduce nuclear weapon in the Middle East.” This highly dubious and extremely ambiguous phase ‘the first country to introduce’ is, what Israel wants the rest of the world to believe, that Israel is not becoming nuclear weapon state to introduce nuclear weapons in the Middle East. But, in actual fact, Israel is saying that it does not want to detonate nuclear bomb in the Middle East first! Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons, defying UN resolutions, is an open secret. Mr Mordechai Vanunu, a former Israeli research technician, provided explicit details and photographs to the British newspaper, Sunday Times, of Israeli nuclear programme in 1986. Israeli secret service agents lured him from London to Rome and then he was drugged and kidnapped from Rome. He was imprisoned for 14 years and kept captive within the country after his release in 2004.
At the moment it is estimated that Israel possess between 75 and 400 nuclear warheads of various capacities, with the best estimate as 200 warheads. The delivery systems are intermediate range ballistic missile, intercontinental ballistic missile and aircraft delivery system as well as submarine launched cruise missile. Thus Israel is one of the most advanced nuclear weapon state at the moment. Blaming another state on the fictitious assumption that the state can possibly acquire nuclear weapon in future and that will ‘make world much more dangerous place’ is nothing short of hypocrisy of the highest order.
Saudi Arabia with its Wahhabi ideology may stand shoulder to shoulder with the Zionist Israel to decimate Shia Iran, but that is causing an outrage to the whole of Islamic world. These Wahhabi banner holders (Jamaat, JMB, Taliban, al-Qaeda, etc.) would declare at the top of their voices fraternity with Muslim brothers and at the same time join the arch-enemy Israel to kill other Muslims with whom they disagree. The whole scheme smacked of hypocrisy and deception and it is definitely morally reprehensible.
The most strident denunciation of the deal came from Israel when its Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu said that the deal was not a “historic agreement”, but a “historic mistake”. He arrogantly proclaimed that Israel would not be bound by the agreement and it reserves the right to defend itself. He said that Israel will seek help from its friends all over the world. In other words, he threatened that Israel will galvanise Jewish lobby in America and elsewhere to undermine the deal.
Already right wing Republican Congressman, Marco Rubio said that the deal will make it easier for Iran to acquire nuclear weapon and even some Democrats have expressed concern that the deal may not be workable and more sanctions against Iran are possible. This shows that the Jewish lobby is already in full gear to strike. President Barack Obama realising the power of the Jewish lobby in America phoned Benjamin Netanyahu to assure him that America will do nothing to harm Israel. It is said that Obama has a very hard task ahead of him to convince and appease Netanyahu, otherwise Jewish Congressmen can scupper the whole deal by introducing further sanctions against Iran. Any new sanction is going to be a breach of agreement and hence the deal will collapse. It is a case of tail wagging the dog!
A Rahman is a retired Nuclear Safety Specialist in the UK. He is an author and a columnist.