So why can’t Iran have nuclear warheads when an occupier like Israel can have them? Why is it internationally perceived that if Iran makes nuclear warheads, Taliban would be going on around the streets carrying nuclear warheads on their shoulders?
Iran’s nuclear multipart agreement has raised critical questions about world politics, as it is the first time in three decades that the world powers have actually reviewed Iran as a nuclear power. At the point it looks as though Iran’s rights are finally being recognized, while the US and Europe are influencing Iran’s potential nuclear bomb to bring it down to a peaceful nuclear energy resource. Still, other stakeholders are viewing the situation quite differently.
Firstly, we should make it clear that in the pre-agreement days, Iran was inches away from being a nuclear power. Iran has enriched uranium to 20%, and it would have taken them a matter of only weeks to enrich it to 90%, which could fuel a nuclear bomb.
Iran’s Heavy Water Reactor at Arak – which was due completion next year – would produce nuclear isotopes which are useful for medical and agricultural purposes. But when operating, it would produce plutonium as a by-product in its spent fuel, and that plutonium would represent a serious proliferation risk, giving an alternative route to making a bomb that would not depend on uranium enrichment.
Israel already on its own had threatened to bomb the reactor before it starts its operations, pointing out that once it is fuelled, bombing becomes impossible as it would scatter radioactive fallout around a large region. But now, the West and Israel have called for construction work to stop as part of an interim deal aimed at buying time for negotiations on a more comprehensive long-term deal.
The interim agreement was reached last month with the United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia and China, plus Germany, the P5+1, which gave Iran some sanctions relief in exchange for nuclear concessions.
The Daily Beast reports, “The deal could reduce, even sharply, the biggest threat to regional peace, an Iranian nuclear bomb, and open paths to taming dangerous conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. And under the proposed deal, reportedly the only price to be paid for this would be giving Tehran a few billion dollars of its own money. No sanctions would be lifted that could not be quickly re-imposed,” writes CFR President Emeritus Leslie Gelb.
The Los Angeles Times has reported, “Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, thanked President Hassan Rouhani and his negotiating team in a message that called the Geneva talks a “success”, a crucial sign of support from the nation’s ultimate arbiter of national security issues.”
Iran’s economic conditions are not good because of the numerous sanctions imposed on it internationally; the relief given to Iran is vital for economic prosperity, and even Ayatollah Ali Khamenei understands that. The international powers – if thinking on positive grounds – may have a way to control if not eliminate the nuclear arms threat. This is only possible through a give and take relationship, as only demanding against the Iranian nuclear rights has always stopped progress towards a suitable midway. Iran would be wise to use the 7 billion dollars to improve the lives of its citizens who have suffered under the sanctions.
The Weekly Standard, a critic of the interim agreement, on the other hand, says, “In exchange for superficial concessions, Iran achieved three critical breakthroughs. First, it bought time to continue all aspects of its nuclear-weapons program the agreement does not cover (centrifuge manufacturing and testing; weaponization research and fabrication; and its entire ballistic missile program). Indeed, given that the interim agreement contemplates periodic renewals, Iran may have gained all of the time it needs to achieve weaponization, not of simply a handful of nuclear weapons, but of dozens or more,” writes John Bolton.
Israel, a staunch US ally, opposed engaging in negotiations with Iran from the start, and warned world leaders against signing an agreement that would allow the Islamic Republic to retain much of its nuclear capabilities while easing economic sanctions.
Israel has said that it is ready to act unilaterally to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, hinting at a potential military strike. The issue has been a sticking point in Israel’s relationship with the US, which has urged restraint on the military front.
CNN reports, “What was concluded in Geneva last night is not a historic agreement, it’s a historic mistake,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters. “It’s not made the world a safer place. Like the agreement with North Korea in 2005, this agreement has made the world a much more dangerous place.”
On the 10th of March, 1965, in the Eshkol-Comer memorandum, Israel gave written assurance that it would not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons in the Middle East. Israel although has never officially admitted to having nuclear weapons, and has instead been repeating over the years that it would not be the first country to “introduce” nuclear weapons to the Middle East; but when whistleblower Vanunu exposed Israel’s nuclear arsenal, it started a nuclear arms race in the region in which most Arab nations would feel threatened.
Estimates as to the size of the Israeli nuclear arsenal vary between 75 and 400 nuclear warheads, with most estimates at less than 200 warheads. Israel has refused to sign the NPT despite international pressure to do so, and has stated that signing the NPT would be contrary to its national security interests.
So why can’t Iran have nuclear warheads when an occupier like Israel can have them? Why is it internationally perceived that if Iran makes nuclear warheads, Taliban would be going on around the streets carrying nuclear warheads on their shoulders? According to my opinion, Israel is a bigger threat, responsible for many genocides in its short period of existence.
The Arab World
The deal is already feeding concerns of Arab governments and some proliferation experts that it could have the opposite effect. The deal represents a particular risk of proliferation in the Middle East, where many governments view Iran as a rival if not an existential threat, according to Arab and Israeli officials.
Leading Arab officials have publicly voiced concerns about allowing Iran to maintain enrichment because of its military use. Members of Saudi Arabia’s royal family, including Prince Turki al-Faisal, have said in recent weeks that Riyadh could seek to develop or buy nuclear weapons if more is not done to stop Iran.
One leading Saudi royal told The Wall Street Journal recently that his government could simply buy nuclear weapons from Pakistan to counter the Iranian threat.
Syria’s state media said that Damascus welcomed Iran’s nuclear agreement, calling it “historic”.
Iran, in the past decades, has allocated massive sums of money for investments in Syrian infrastructure. This includes building gas pipelines to pump Iranian resources across the region. They are also sending money, guns, and military trainers to help Mr. Assad survive, since his government remains a rare friend in the Arab world and they fear a long-term hit to their regional interests if he falls.
Both the al-Assad government in Syria and Hezbollah are vocal critics of the US policy and of its allies in the region, including Saudi Arabia and Israel. They may view warming relations between Tehran and Washington with suspicion, and strain their alliances with Tehran.
Meanwhile, Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said earlier this month that the only alternative to an agreement between Iran and the West was regional war, and that his party would emerge stronger from any deal over Iran’s nuclear program.
For the Syrians themselves, it is hard to see how these planned so-called “Geneva II” talks (following “Geneva I” in the summer of 2012, which accomplished nothing) will change much. The rebels are not willing to compromise yet on Assad remaining in power. Assad is unwilling to go – and there are no signs that his regime is willing to jettison him in exchange for the survival of its core. And the “rebels” are not really anywhere near to approaching a united group – not ideologically, not in terms of command and control, and certainly not in terms of visions for the future. The whole question of who will speak for the rebels at Geneva remains a minefield.
The Afghan-Pakistan relations have been strategically very important, as Pakistan has helped Afghanistan throughout the last few decades on many important aspects, including the Russian and American invasions. Pakistan has paid the price for its friendship, as a lot of destruction and terrorism has outflowed from Afghanistan to Pakistan. India, an enemy of Pakistan, also a strong ally of the US, on the other hand, has in recent years invested huge sums of money in Afghanistan and its industry. Tensions are rising as the US is leaving Afghanistan soon and India’s strong hold in the region would be destroyed by the Taliban in no time.
The relief given by the nuclear treaty has led the pending development projects to resume. India and Pakistan have both quickly jumped in to take advantage of this. India has been trying to make roads and pipelines to Iran, which would be a strategic nightmare for Pakistan. Also, India would increase its influence on Afghanistan by the new infrastructure. This would lead the already hostile and unfriendly relationship to another extent where India would try to exploit Pakistan even more.
Meanwhile, the good news for Pakistan is that Qatar has agreed to export LNG to Pakistan, while Iran has agreed to review the gas tariff and exemption from heavy penalties to fast-track the IP Gas Pipeline Project, according to official sources. Major breakthroughs are the import of LNG from Qatar to Pakistan and the IP gas pipeline. Under the IP gas project, 21.5 million cubic meters (mcm) per day of Iranian natural gas would be exported to Pakistan for electricity generation up to 5,000 megawatts.
Qatari LNG is primarily for the powerhouses in Pakistan to generate 2,500 megawatt electricity. Moreover, EVTL terminal would first import 200 mmcfd LNG and then 400 mmcfd, while Pakistan wants to import 2 bcfd LNG in two years. Following the deal between Iran and the world powers, it is believed that sanctions would be relaxed and Pakistan would be able to bridge the widening power demand-supply gap.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Foreign Office said that Pakistan and Iran had decided to speed up implementation of the IP Gas Pipeline Project and devise a roadmap to counter the challenges, and have an effective coordination on this significant project.
The US government estimates that Iran has lost about $80 billion in revenue as oil sales slumped by 60% since the start of 2012 as a result of the sanctions. Iran sits on about 9% of the world’s proven oil reserves. In the gas industry, Iran has the world’s largest proven reserves (according to BP’s estimates), yet, in some years, it imports more than it exports.
Oil production has never returned to the peak it reached in 1974. Output collapsed in the aftermath of the Islamic Revolution at the end of that decade. It has partly recovered but remains less than half that earlier high. Iran now, after the agreement, is allowed to increase its oil sales above one million barrels per day for six months.
“From a big picture perspective, the deal… opens up the possibility of at least one million barrels per day of Iranian crude returning to world markets by the fourth quarter of 2014,” said ClearView Energy Partners analyst Kevin Book.
Brent crude for January delivery fell 2% in early London trading, before recovering to around $111 Monday evening. Light crude in New York also dipped Monday before recovering somewhat, finishing down $0.75 to $94.09 a barrel.
If the Geneva deal turns out to be the prelude to a wider and lasting agreement, Iran could become an even more important factor in world energy. Fuel-intensive companies, such as airlines and travel firms, received a boost on the stock markets as a result.
“There are a lot of sanctions that have been eased, which will allow Iran to slowly re-enter the global economy,” Jonathan Barratt, chief economist at Barratt’s Bulletin told the BBC. “And as for oil – it’s just a six-month waiting period. If they tick all the boxes during that time, they will be back in that sector as well.”
The failing power of the US to force decision on the international community is a sign of relief for many. Other oppressed nations are getting courage from the Iran nuclear deal, as if the US can relieve sanctions for a potential nuclear bomb threatening Israel, then the other nations can also stop being bullied.
The world powers are willing to recognize Iran’s capabilities and are negotiating a midway. As in a recent article I wrote on Iran’s nuclear crisis, I told that peace talks have proven in history to be more effective, instead of force and violence over the nations; and now, when finally Iran has had an agreement, the world seems to be a more pleasant place.
The nuclear agreement has helped the world in many ways; international oil prices would go down if the peace continues, and countries like Syria, Pakistan and India have instantly jumped in to start building their region as safer and much more economically stable. Iran is already benefiting economically from the deal, and if they continue making peace, it would result in the world’s economy being much more stable and would give much relief to most distressed nations.