A Deal With Iran — The White House Spin that It’s a Great “First Step”

The national security team at the White House, knowing all day Saturday that a deal with Iran could be looming, prepared a “fact sheet”: 11 pages, in the final draft that was released after an agreement was announced after 3:00 a.m. Sunday (Swiss time) in Geneva.
John Kerry: "potentially a significant moment," bu not "an end unto itself"

John Kerry: “potentially a significant moment,” but not “an end unto itself”

The White House says Iran has agreed to restrictions on its uranium enrichment — and a halt in progress on the plutonium track to a possible nuclear bomb (using the heavy water reactor under construction at Arak).  In exchange, the United States and other Western countries will ease some of the sanctions (in a “reversible” way), enabling Iran to get its hands on billions of dollars.

Secretary of State John Kerry said some may feel that this is a bad deal — but he wondered what their recommended alternative might be.

President Obama specifically said that Israel and America’s allies in the Arabian Gulf have good reasons to be “skeptical” about Iran’s intentions.

Many experts on the Middle East express very deep suspicions about Iran, its nuclear ambitions, and its limitless abilities to “play games” and out-and-out lie.

Kerry commented, in Geneva, that Iran’s actions (its “choices”) have caused instabilities and security concerns in many countries. And he said that the goal before the Geneva talks — preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons — remains the “singular goal” now for the U.S. and its allies.

He also noted that the talks with Iran were “respectful,” although they were “tough.”  Keep in mind that this is the first major negotiated agreement between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran since Iran released 52 American hostages in January 1981.

The deal signifies a major change in international relations, as the U.S. and Iran are working and negotiating with an apparent tone of cooperation.

Here is an excerpt from the White House fact sheet:

The P5+1 and Iran also discussed the general parameters of a comprehensive solution that would constrain Iran’s nuclear program over the long term, provide verifiable assurances to the international community that Iran’s nuclear activities will be exclusively peaceful, and ensure that any attempt by Iran to pursue a nuclear weapon would be promptly detected.The set of understandings also includes an acknowledgment by Iran that it must address all United Nations Security Council resolutions – which Iran has long claimed are illegal – aswell as past and present issues with Iran’s nuclear program that have been identified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

This would include resolution of questions concerning the possible military dimension of Iran’s nuclear program, including Iran’s activities at Parchin. As part of a comprehensive solution, Iran must also come into full compliance with its obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and its obligations to the IAEA. With respect to the comprehensive solution, nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. Put simply, this first step expires in six months, and does not represent an acceptable end state to the United States or our P5+1 partners.

November 24, 2013

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