As Iran and members of P5+1 move closer in signing a nuclear accord with Iran, the role of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is paramount in monitoring and verifying Iran’s commitments and obligations. According this analysis, “the fact sheet released by the US State Department regarding the Plan of Action places the agency squarely in charge of verification, calling for the agency to, inter alia: have access to both declared and undeclared facilities through Iran’s implementation of an Additional Protocol; provide “continuous” monitoring of the removal and storage of centrifuges; investigate suspicious sites or allegations of covert facilities anywhere in the country; and continue its investigation into the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program…..The agency is the only international, technical organization capable of this kind of nuclear stock-taking and verification, and it possesses experience in dealing with extraordinary situations—witness its roles in South Africa and Iraq.”
By Roger Shanahan, The Australian, May 9, 2015
“”In one Middle Eastern country, the practice of any religion other than Islam is banned, women are not allowed to drive, the screening of films is forbidden, there are no elections and last year 87 people were publicly beheaded.
In the other, religious minorities have seats reserved in parliament, and churches, synagogues and Zoroastrian temples to pray in, there are three female vice-presidents in the government, the country’s film directors have a worldwide reputation and one of its films won an Oscar in 2012, parliamentary and presidential elections take place, and the state does not behead people.
Yet the former country is a close ally of the West while in the past the latter has been labelled part of the “axis of evil” by the US.” Read the Full Article Here.
New WSJ/NBC public opinion pollreveals the continuing support of the American public for diplomacy with Iran.
Even though critics of Obama’s diplomacy have mounted a relentless public campaign to persuade Americans that it is better to put more pressures on Iran in order to force its government to capitulate on its nuclear program, it seems that the American public is reluctant to exacerbate the conflict with Iran: “When given two options, 54% of adults said they think it is important to have an agreement in place with the Iranians, compared with the 37% who believe the emerging framework is too risky and that economic sanctions would be a more effective deterrent to prevent the country from building a nuclear weapon.”
Since his election, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has maintained an optimistic posture on possibilities of a comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran—or as he calls it, a win-win deal for all. “I think a final settlement can be achieved … the world is tired and wants it to end, resolved through negotiations.” A large group of Iranian civil society activists have added their voice to diplomacy for support for the nuclear deal. A majority of Iranians support nuclear negotiations. Similarly, in a July 2014 public opinion poll conducted by the Program for Public Consultation and the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland, 61% of Americans favored a nuclear deal with Iran.
The latest mid-term elections in the United States has led to a Republican majorities in both the Senate and the House. Although this change of power in U.S. Senate could lead to Republicans demanding a a more hawkish foreign policy, particularly with respect to Iran, the current nuclear negotiations between Iran and the United States and the Europeans has gone too far to be reversed now. Of course, with a Nov. 24th deadline looming on the nuclear talks between Iran and P5+1, the negotiators enter the last month of negotiations with an urgency to complete a deal before this deadline. Both President Obama and President Rouhani have bet a huge amount on the success of a nuclear deal with Iran, and long-term engagement that will lead to normalization of relations between Iran and the United States. They have invested a lot to risk a failure, and the stakes could not have been higher for the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. The urgency of reaching a nuclear deal with Iran, and the conflict with ISIS were the focus of another secret letter from President Obama to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, his fourth letter to Khamenei since 2008.
Iran and United States have intensified their nuclear negotiations with difference teams meeting to agree on a draft agreement. It is possible that they want a draft agreement by September 22nd, the date Iran’s foreign minister, and possibly President Rouhani, will come to New York to attend United Nations General Assembly. It was reported that Iran has agreed to a maximum of 7,000 centrifuges. This could break the ice, and with high ranking officials meeting in Geneva, there is cautious optimism.
David Ignatius of the Washington Post has traveled to Iran to measure Iranian reactions to the latest nuclear accord with the West. In his interviews with various Iranians, he manages to get a rare interview with the editor of a hardline daily called Kayhan. The editor has a history of sabotaging any initiative that seeks to normalize relations with the United States, because “the identity of both sides is involved in this conflict…It didn’t ‘just happen.’ It is structural. The problem will be solved when one side gives up its identity, only then.” Yet, hardliners like him conveniently ignore how they economically have benefitted from prolongation of this so-called “identity crisis.”