The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Iranian Concerns About the Nuclear Deal Are Reasonable

Picture of Ali Khamenei

Picture of Ali Khamenei

We have, today, the news that Khamenei is dubious about the nuclear deal.  His two main complaints are:

  • He wants sanctions ended immediately;
  • He does not want military facilities inspected under the guise of enforcing the deal.

These are more reasonable than they seem at first blush. The current deal calls for an end to sanctions when the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) concludes that Iran has met its part of the deal.  Seems fair enough, but, as Gareth Porter writes:

Iranian negotiators have pointed out to Western diplomats that the IAEA could take up to 15 years to arrive at a final judgment, as it did in the case of South Africa, the source said.

A senior Iranian official told the International Crisis Group last November that IAEA officials, responding to Iran’s question about the time required, had refused to rule out the possibility that it would take more than ten years to complete its assessment of Iran’s case.

And, as Porter points out, much of what Iran is agreeing to do is effectively irreversible.

As for the close inspection of military facilities, remember that such inspections were done in Iraq before the invasion of that country and the results were used to help draw up the bombing targets in the war. The IAEA teams will certainly include people who will share the information with America and Israel, after all.

I want to put this entire mess in perspective:

First, Iran having nukes would change nothing except making it impossible to invade Iran. That’s what we’re really talking about. If Iran were to use its nukes pre-emptively, Iran would become a glass parking lot.

Second,  China and Russia messed up by allowing UN sanctions on Iran. Royally screwed up. The West has been picking off, or attempting to pick off states in order to isolate them, from Libya and Iraq to the Ukraine, with massive pressure on Venezuela. It simply is not in either Russia or China’s interest to allow such states to be destroyed.

Third, Libya gave up its weapon program. Iraq had no weapons program. Giving up your weapons program (ie, giving up your sprint capacity) is really dangerous. As commenter MFI noted, Qaddafi wound up getting sodomized by a knife because he made a deal with the West to give up his program.

The sanctions are absolutely crippling and I understand why many Iranians are absolutely desperate to make a deal. But some deterrent must be maintained. If it isn’t, well, the record of what happens to such countries is simply not good.  This is one reason why Khamenei is leery–he knows his neck is on the line, and his death could be very unpleasant.

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  1. Tom

    Correction: Iran’s neck is on the line, not Khameni’s, he is not long for the world.

    As for Sanctions, Iran can ride them out, it can feed itself, and it is so far holding its own in the proxy wars and with Russia upping the game in the Ukraine and China needing to get more Oil with Saudi’s running out and Iraq and Syria’s pretty much out of the game, Iran will see relief by default.

    What Iran should do is point out US is violating the terms of the NPT, the sanctions are illegal, which they are, and refuse to negotiate any further and retrench. As China’s new bank gathers steam and IMF becomes more meaningless as more countries slide into revolt against the national leaders they bought, Iran stands to gain.

    The only wildcard is IS which has weathered the storm against it and is stronger than ever now having grown from 15,000 strong this date to 245,000 strong today in Syria and Iraq alone.

    Western back groups consistently screw up fighting them because they adopt American tactics without American firepower and can’t advance without massive American Air Support and even then, IS mobile groups simply penetrate deep to the rear, wrecking supply lines and assault groups take back ground. Many towns keep changing hand multiple times because IS makes calculated strategic decision whether its worth it to concentrate forces in a city and risk making them a target as opposed to letting them move at will to atritt their enemies and weaken the combat forces so they collapse and they can then inflict heavy causalities in the route.

    Iran for its part is mobilizing Militias who aren’t burdened with US doctrine and our willing to die in large numbers to take back ground and its why Militias have taken back more ground than the Kurds and why many Kurdish strongholds are now held by ISF/Militias.

    Kurds don’t have the will to die and die in large numbers to achieve vvictory and its getting many of them killed for nothing in the rear.

  2. Ian Welsh

    Khamenei could live another 10 years. And some deaths are a lot worse than others.

    As for your plan, there’s still years of suffering between there and there. Not saying it is impossible, it’s not, but the alternative financial system is not yet fully in place.

  3. JustPlainDave

    Libya didn’t really have a weapons programme. It had a bunch of stuff it procured from the Khan network, but the vast majority of the stuff was still packed in boxes when US / UK personnel came on site. If memory serves, they didn’t have even a single full working P1 cascade installed.

  4. JustPlainDave

    Sorry, forgot to mention – initial Iranian capability would be very unlikely to make them immune to invasion. Initial capability wouldn’t be effectively weaponized and Western powers would loose their tiny little minds – one would not, I think, see a repeat of the Indian gambit.

  5. Everythings Jake

    Seems like part of the deterrent any Middle Eastern country would want is freedom from drones of the bomb dropping variety.

  6. Tom

    @Ian Welsh

    If Iran gives in, they’ll never get their full rights back and will be vassalized and fucked over like the rest of the world that gave in but once.

    Iran just has to go like Cuba, refuse to give in, maintain its own terms as non-negotiable, and be ready to die for them. The US can’t defeat 40,000 leg mobile Taliban, Iran is far more powerful and more importantly its missile arsenal is easily in range of the Gulf Oil Infrastructure which in a shooting war they can quickly destroy delivering a massive economic defeat to the US and a massive economic victory to Russia.

    Iran has to be willing to suffer and die in order to live independently and make it clear if the US attacks they’ll die economically alongside Japan and Europe.

  7. V. Arnold

    Ali Khamenei; all sanctions must be lifted with the signing of the agreement.
    Obama; incremental lifting of sanctions.

    Iran’s has been treated like a step child in these negotiations. The total lack of knowledge of who the Iranians (Persians) are, historically is unforgivable. But par for the course of the U.S. of today.
    Iran will walk away from this if the sanctions aren’t lifted in toto. They have too many other options than to eat the shit offered by the U.S.

    The profound ignorance exhibited by the U.S. is just inexcusable in this, the 21st century.
    I just hope they (Iran) have the S-300 system.
    The overall hubris (by the west) is just unfathomable…

  8. Cvp

    The deal has nothing to do with weapons. The Iranians would have easily taken this deal 10 years ago—it’s only on offer now because the U.S. thinks it can now successfully use the non-proliferation regime to extract economic and political concessions they’d never be able to justify demanding above board.

    The real issue here is whether the U.S. can get away with corrupting the process in this fashion.

  9. Cvp

    That is too say, Iran’s capitulating on economics and trade, and everybody gets to be pretend-happy about the “unrelated” “breakthrough” in nuclear talks, and have a pretend-debate about the “implications” of this, and look the other way while the U.S. pursues an unconscionable policy of using a brutal sanctions regime to dictate another country’s economic and trade policies.

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