Middle Eastern Affairs · Non-Proliferation Affairs

Iranian Nuclear Agreement: The Thick End of the Wedge

On Tuesday an agreement was reached by the P5+1 powers with the Islamic Republic of Iran to curtail their nuclear program through the JCPoA agreement which will have to be signed onto by both nations and the U.N. Security Council. The following are a couple of positive things which I think came out of the agreement and that are likely to prevent the manufacture of nuclear weapons by the Islamic State of Iran.

The reconfiguration of the IR-40 Heavy Water Production Plant (HWPP), or the Arak HWPP, is a very positive step in my estimation. By Iran being forced to for one totally scrap the main enrichment component of the plant by removing the enrichment components. Or destroying them with injections of epoxy resin, leaving it’s only further use for Isotope research, this plant which will be the only Heavy water plant that Iran will have will allow for peaceful research with a non-weaponized component. When the reconfiguration of the plant is complete this will make it that much harder for the Iranians to backslide and will allow for the International community to have its trust built up about the Iranians intentions going forward.

Various parts of other plants are to be stored in Hall B of the Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant under IAEA continuous monitoring. This is also positive since the removal of weaponized components of the Plants and the continuous monitoring of these items will allow for verification and further safeguarding by the IAEA of anything which could be misconstrued for a weaponized function of the former Possible Military Dimensions (PMD) of the Iran nuclear program.

The Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant will be the only plant that will have fuel enrichment capablilites for R&D purposes, and will be neutered to be de-weaponized with all weaponization materials stored in Hall B of the Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant under IAEA continuous monitoring. This means not Fordow, not Parchin, or any other fuel enrichment plant (FEP) will have fuel enrichment capabilities for at least 15 years guaranteeing a severe limiting of the amount of nuclear related sites which will have the hallmarks of R&D for the purposes of nuclear fuel enrichment.

Most sanctions are equipped with a snapback mechanism for 15 years which doesn’t require a U.N. vote. The ability to have the sanctions come back into place is a powerful one since by having this available to them the United States can further leverage future negotiations concerning the PMD of the Iranian nuclear program. Also in the event that a situation arises that requires the Dispute Resolution Mechanism the U.S. should worse come to worse can rely on their own judgement an order to determine whether or not Iran is compliant with the JCPoA

A Robust and fair system for logging complaints and settling unresolved issues: The Dispute Resolution Mechanism guarantees that the games that Sadaam Hussein played with the world before the Iraq War in 2003 cannot be played this time against the backdrop of possible nuclear war. By agreeing before hand as to what conflict resolution will look like the powers involved have guaranteed that any sort of chicanery by the Iranians will be short lived and will lead to nothing but the snap back of sanctions, or even the specter of war.

Iran will have the ability, once the implementation period has begun, and the requisite sanctions have been lifted, to be able to participate in all facets of the world economy including purchasing commercial western airplanes, and banking in Europe. I think this is an important aspect of the agreement since it allows for Iran to participate in the western economy and they can then begin to become suffused with western ideas and customs in the Iranian government and amongst the Iranian people. This will mean that if Iran does indeed decide to backslide that they will be unable to extricate themselves from the world economy as quickly as they may have thought that they would be able to. Also this will prevent them from attempting to backslide in the first place since they will have a panoply of reasons manifest in front of them not to even attempt.

The U.S. and E.U. countries will participate with Iran on a raft of nuclear related R&D. Also Iranians will now be able to study nuclear science in the west including the United States. By intertwining the R&D of Iran with western countries on a whole host of subjects ranging from isotope, and cancer research, to fusion technologies, I think this is a positive step since as I said earlier this will allow for the Iranians to be comfortable with the idea of cooperating with the west and will intertwine them so to the point that they will not want to backslide on the agreement making the likelihood that less probable.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is not a perfect document in terms of concessions from the Iranians but it is a far broader and wide reaching document than some of the skeptics would care to admit. I believe that by pursuing this plan of action we can ultimately win the day which is why I feel compelled to support this line of reasoning.

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