FLASH July 20, 2015 | publicatii - Politica La Est
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FLASH July 20, 2015

On July 14, 2015, it was finally signed the agreement between “5+1” group of powers ( the five veto UN/SC great powers and Germany )  and Iran which has been prolonged since the last deadline ( and sui generis agreement )  on April 2nd this year. This recent signed deal in Vienna has been received enthusiastically in different political circles in US ( the  Obama administration and the democrats primarily ) and worldwide, but also criticized especially in  Israel, Saudi Arabia and other Mideast Arab countries. What should be kept in mind assessing the significance of that agreement is that it was signed not only by the USA , where there are the most acerbic critics, but by the other great powers interested not only in the   nuclear non-proliferation global regime, but also in the security , stability and solving problems in the Mideast.
       Avoiding the extreme positions in this regard I have selected to propose to our readers a  balanced analysis written by the head of Council on Foreign Relations of USA, the well -known expert in the international relations , Richard Haass.
       From the beginning of his assessment , Hass warns that after the implementing the agreement ( “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” ) “no one should confuse this outcome with a solution to the problem of Iran’s nuclear ambitions or its contributions to the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East. On the contrary, depending on how it is implemented and enforced, the agreement could make matters worse. “  The importance of the deal , according to Haass,  could be detected firstly in  prolonging the period in which Iran could become a nuclear power: “The net result is that the accord should lengthen the period it would take Iran to produce one or more nuclear weapons from several months to as much as a year, making it more likely that such an effort would be discovered in time. The prospect that the JCPOA could keep Iran without nuclear weapons for 15 years is its main attraction. Sanctions alone could not have accomplished this, and using military force would have entailed considerable risk with uncertain results. “  But, continues Haass, “the agreement permits Iran to keep far more nuclear-related capacity than it would need if it were interested only in civil research and in demonstrating a symbolic ability to enrich uranium. The agreement also provides Iran with extensive relief from economic sanctions, which will fuel the regime’s ability to support dangerous proxies throughout the Middle East, back a sectarian government in Baghdad, and prop up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
       Of course, there are other shortcomings of the deal which are highlighted by Robert Haass. But among the most important flaws he mentions two. Firstly that the agreement will trigger of a powerful arms race in the Mideast among the powers anxious of the possible breakout of the agreement by Teheran. And , secondly that after 15 years Iran could ignore the past  constraints and will become legally a nuclear power. In order to block such possibilities Haas has two proposals which should be taken into account for the future: “It is important that the United States (ideally, joined by other countries) let Iran know that any action to put itself in a position to field nuclear weapons after 15 years, though not explicitly precluded by the accord, will not be tolerated. Harsh sanctions should be reintroduced at the first sign that Iran is preparing a post-JCPOA breakout; this, too, is not precluded by the accord. Iran should likewise be informed that the US and its allies would undertake a preventive military strike if it appeared to be attempting to present the world with a fait accompli. The world erred in allowing North Korea to pass the nuclear-weapons threshold; it should not make the same mistake again.“  Also, Haass underlined the fact that the relationship of USA with Israel should be a priority of the next administration.
       Haass’ position regarding the recent Iranian nuclear deal is not at all out of critics. See one of the comments to his assessment of the deal concluded on July 14, 2015 regarding the nuclear way of Iran for the next 15 years:   ”What agonizes Haass is that Netanyahu and King Salman of Saudi Arabia belong to the losers of this deal. Iran has been notoriously hostile to the Jewish state since the 1979 revolution, and it supports the Palestinians in their struggle for statehood and finances Hamas, and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, in fighting the Israelis. Netanyahu had vowed to kill the deal, and he had squandered much capital in damaging Israel’s prized strategic relationship with Washington. Critics at home say he exaggerated the extent of an Iranian threat. Indeed he did it to distract Israelis from their economic woes. But the focus on Iran’s nuclear programme has also drawn unwanted attention to Israel’s undeclared nuclear arsenal – outside the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Saudi Arabia has been quiet about the deal, yet it worries about a possible rapprochement between the US and Iran, its arch rival in the region. The Sunni Arabs feel betrayed by Washington's appeasement with Iran, arguing it has neglected their security concerns. Salman strongly opposes Iran’s role in Iraq, Syria, Bahrain and Yemen. The Sunni-Shia sectarian conflict is an alarming element in recent decades, after a history of a long-hostile relationship. It's true that the Middle East is ‘already nightmarish enough without the added risks posed by a number of would-be nuclear powers’, especially if Saudi Arabia would follow suit and develop its own ‘nuclear programme’. Perhaps it's not ‘Obama’s claim that the agreement has 'stopped the spread of nuclear weapons in this region' being premature’, but the fear of Iran's opponents. Haass ought to know that it will also be essential to urge Iran and the Sunni Arabs to build ‘strategic trust’, if the US wants stability in the region”.
       It is out of question that some of the critics of the above assessment will be heard in the US Congress when the agreement will be discussed.
 
See: Richard N. Haass, Living With The Iran Nuclear Deal, Jul 14, 2015 https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/iran-nuclear-deal-problems-by-richard-n--haass-2015-07#
 
 
MIHAIL  E. IONESCU

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