News / Middle East

Iran Accord Was Hard, But Next Phase Will Be Harder

Iran Accord Was Hard, But Next Phase Will Be Harderi
November 24, 2013 7:42 PM
With the first stage agreement to limit Iran's nuclear program finally achieved after a decade of dispute, diplomats will have little time to rest. They are on a six-month clock to reach a comprehensive agreement, a task they acknowledge will likely be even more difficult than reaching the interim accord. VOA's Al Pessin reports from the negotiations site in Geneva.
Al Pessin
With the first stage agreement to limit Iran's nuclear program finally achieved after a decade of dispute, diplomats will have little time to rest. They are on a six-month clock to reach a comprehensive agreement, a task they acknowledge will likely be even more difficult than reaching the interim accord.

It was a triumphant moment for the foreign ministers of Iran and the six-nation U.N. contact group, well after three in the morning on Sunday. But their hard-won moment of satisfaction won't last long. Even more difficult issues lie ahead, including permanent, verifiable limits on Iran's nuclear program and the potential lifting of all nuclear-related sanctions.
In spite of the show of camaraderie, there is still a serious shortage of trust, and skeptics in the West, the Gulf, Israel and elsewhere worry that with some relief from the sanctions in hand, Iran won't go any further.
From the Maplecroft risk assessment firm in Britain, Torbjorn Soltvedt told VOA that with sanctions being slightly eased, some countries could try to get around what's left.
“It is then clearly quite possible that the sanctions regime will erode and that Iran will play a long game and essentially advance the nuclear program so as to close the gap between a latent capability and a full blown nuclear breakout,” said Soltvedt.
But U.S. officials say that won't be so easy, with strong enforcement still in place, along with the most damaging of the sanctions.
Iran analyst Ali Vaez of the International Crisis Group agrees.

“The most important part of the sanctions regime, the crown jewels, which are the oil and financial sanctions, will remain in place. And therefore Iran will have the motivation to come back and negotiate the comprehensive agreement, which is much more difficult to negotiate and would require much more painful concessions,” said Vaez.
Indeed, the impact of the sanctions on ordinary Iranians is believed to be what propelled the relatively moderate candidate, Hassan Rouhani, to the presidency in last May's election, making this accord possible.
The former British ambassador to Iran, Richard Dalton, believes Iranian officials, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini, have made a strategic decision to do what is necessary to put the nuclear dispute, and the economic sanctions, behind them.
“They will not be saying to themselves, 'We just have to sit this one out and we will emerge with an economy that can trade with the rest of the world freely.' I believe they will go all out in this six-month period to achieve a comprehensive agreement,” said Dalton.
But that doesn't mean it will be easy. Iran will be asked to give up much of the nuclear fuel enrichment program it has built over many years at great expense, and to allow intrusive inspections to prove it is not secretly trying to build a nuclear bomb.
There will likely be many more long days and nights of negotiations as the six-month deadline approaches.

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Comment Sorting
by: PermReader
December 03, 2013 7:15 AM
Verbosity of the Iran defenders or oppositioners can`t hide the fact: the aggreement is the second after the "Arab spring" the Obama`s present to the Middle East: " the nuclear spring".

by: Rob Swift from: Great Britain
November 26, 2013 4:30 PM
This is another triumph for President Obama.
The people of Iran are delighted.
Iran ranks as the second largest supply of oil and third largest supply of gas in the world. 30 years of western sanctions have seen the oil sold to Russia, which then sells it on to the west at ten times the price.
In Iran, the state kills anyone who changes their religion from Islam to another faith.
In Response

by: Hassan from: Iran
November 27, 2013 12:17 PM
iran also execute thousands and thousands of Arab minorities who where systematically suppressed for decades in a deliberate and systematic ethnic cleansing.... The "final solution" for the religious Sunna Arab and other minorities in Iran has been in progress for decades - the "West" has known about it and has done NOTHING to prevent it from progressing. and now Obama legitimized the murderous clerical ruling corruption of Iran. just at the point when it was about to collapse... WHY..??

by: Change Iran Now from: USA
November 25, 2013 6:49 PM
This deal falls short of the verified suspension and dismantling of Iran’s nuclear weapons program. It allows Tehran to retain and continue developing its fissile material production capability and its delivery systems and effectively grant it a pass on its weaponization-related activities. It puts Iran’s leaders in a position to rapidly cross the nuclear threshold at a time of their choosing and it should be recognized for the bad deal that it is.

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
November 25, 2013 9:45 AM
Six months is a long time enough for Iran to perfect the gains of the leeway it has received on Sunday morning. Saying even the supreme leader will concede anything is the lie from the mouth of a Briton. Instead all Iran wants to do is use the monies released to pay up its debts relating to the nuclear program and make new engagements that will achieve their objective in another short time. Israel's mistakes are many, like revealing its intelligence network to Turkey which later betrayed it, Israel will once again commit such suicide by telling Obama what it plans to do with Iran's nuclear sites.

Before the next negotiation, given the finances it will be receiving in the interim, Iran will be able to achieve a nuclear bomb. Iran, Pakistan and North Korea - an axis of terror possessing nuclear bombs aimed at the West: just to imagine it generates shivers, looks like dooms day. To spite Israel the west will dig their own grave. Presently USA feels the weight of dousing Pakistan and North Korea nuclear programs heat, the addition of Iran may become heavier for it to carry, and a little sagging will involve release of nuclear fume in the air. What if one of the long range nuzzles spits its dump, and it is aimed at Britain, France, Germany or USA?

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