Ahead of upcoming 5+1 negotiations on iran’s nuclear program, obama buys political leeway
Negotiations on iran’s nuclear program to resume next week. Experts are to meet first, followed a week later by political negotiators from the 5+1 countries and iran. Until 24. A decision is to be made in november. Iran is hoping for a suspension of sanctions, as are some western economic leaders. From washington an interesting signal is contributed to it. A treasury department study indicates that president obama may decide to suspend sanctions without a vote in congress.
The exact content of the treasury department study is not disclosed in the new york times report linked above. The study remains secret. The only thing that is emphasized is that the white house is stumped on this: should an agreement be reached in the negotiations with iran on the further development of civilian nuclear energy and review criteria for non-weapon use, obama will "do everything in its power to avoid congress voting on the agreement".
Whether or not this can actually be enforced is likely to be the subject of much debate if an agreement is actually reached in the talks at the end of november. Until then, the decision gives the u.S. Government more leeway, allowing it to tempt with the sanctions-suspension card and keep domestic opponents of a deal at arm’s length. As is well known, there are some forces in congress that oppose sanctions relief and, on the contrary, want to strengthen sanctions even more.
To the skeptics resp. Opponents of the nuclear agreement with iran are directed by the israeli prime minister’s constant warning, which he reiterated yesterday. Iran threat is much worse than is, netanyahu says – "for the whole world, first and foremost for israel". He fears an agreement that grants too many concessions. Based on the strategy netanyahu has used so far in peace negotiations with the palestinians, there is little to suggest that he wants an agreement at all.
We face the threat of a deal (between the group of six and iran) that could bring iran to the threshold of possessing nuclear weapons. Iran can produce the material for a nuclear bomb in a short time with its thousands of centrifuges. (translation: ria novosti)
If iranian president hassan rouhani has his way, he has some hopes that an agreement will be reached. He was quoted as saying last monday that a consensus had been reached on general ies "only details on which an agreement must be reached". He also hinted at the possibility that the expiration date of the geneva agreement on the 24-hour peace treaty might be extended. November could be extended.
Considering that iran’s supreme spiritual leader, ayatollah khamenei, recently publicly advocated an expansion of iran’s centrifuges and spoke of the future number of 190 nuclear reactors in the country, it is difficult to say whether this will happen.If the number of centrifuges needed by iran is not enough to make western reporters sit up and take notice, one can imagine that the number of centrifuges needed by iran will rise "under 10.000", which the west is negotiating with, will be difficult to enforce in the conservative bloc in iran.
It is possible that western negotiators will compensate for concessions on the highly charged ie of the number of nuclear weapons allowed from the 10.000 mark by demanding stricter criteria at other uranium enrichment stations or tightening the requirements of the inspection system – but that the details only play second fiddle is a rather optimistic assessment based on the experience of the negotiations so far.