World View: 'Historic' Iran Nuclear Deal Raises Worldwide Controversy

World View: 'Historic' Iran Nuclear Deal Raises Worldwide Controversy

This morning’s key headlines from

  • President Obama hails historic Iran nuclear agreement
  • Israel’s Netanyahu condemns a historic mistake
  • Nuclear deal greeted with joy in Iran and Russia
  • Members of Congress from both parties object to Iran deal

President Obama hails historic Iran nuclear agreement

Foreign ministers from (L-R) Iran, EU, U.S. and France laugh and hug after reaching agreement in Geneva on Sunday (AFP)
Foreign ministers from (L-R) Iran, EU, U.S. and France laugh and hug after reaching agreement in Geneva on Sunday (AFP)

Iran and six major powers, meeting in Geneva, agreed Sunday morning ona historic deal that freezes key parts of Iran’s nuclear program inexchange for temporary relief on some economic sanctions.

President Barack Obama hailed the agreement:

“Today, that diplomacy opened up a new path toward aworld that is more secure — a future in which we can verify thatIran’s nuclear program is peaceful and that it cannot build anuclear weapon.

While today’s announcement is just a first step, it achieves agreat deal. For the first time in nearly a decade, we have haltedthe progress of the Iranian nuclear program, and key parts of theprogram will be rolled back. Iran has committed to haltingcertain levels of enrichment and neutralizing part of itsstockpiles. Iran cannot use its next-generation centrifuges,which are used for enriching uranium. Iran cannot install orstart up new centrifuges, and its production of centrifuges willbe limited. Iran will halt work at its plutonium reactor. Andnew inspections will provide extensive access to Iran’s nuclearfacilities and allow the international community to verify whetherIran is keeping its commitments.

These are substantial limitations which will help prevent Iranfrom building a nuclear weapon. Simply put, they cut off Iran’smost likely paths to a bomb. Meanwhile, this first step willcreate time and space over the next six months for morenegotiations to fully address our comprehensive concerns about theIranian program. And because of this agreement, Iran cannot usenegotiations as cover to advance its program.”

White House and Washington Post

Israel’s Netanyahu condemns a historic mistake

Directly contradicting Obama’s statement that the nuclear agreementwith Iran opened “a new path to world that is more secure,” Israel’sBenjamin Netanyahu said that the world had become a more dangerousplace:

“What was accomplished last night in Geneva is not ahistoric agreement; it’s a historic mistake,” Netanyahu said atthe start of Sunday morning’s weekly cabinet meeting. “Today theworld has become much more dangerous, because the most dangerousregime in the world took a meaningful step toward acquiring themost dangerous weapon in the world.

For the first time the world’s leading powers agreed to theenrichment of uranium in Iran, while ignoring the Security Councilresolutions that they themselves championed,” the prime ministersaid. “These sanctions have been removed for cosmetic Iranianconcessions that can be canceled in weeks. This agreement and whatit means threaten many countries, and including, of course,Israel. Israel is not bound by this agreement. The regime in Iranis committed to Israel’s destruction and Israel has the right andresponsibility to defend itself, by itself, against anythreat.”

The Arab states have been largely quiet so far about the deal, butAbdullah al-Askar, a foreign affairs official from Saudi Arabia, said:

“I am afraid Iran will give up something on to getsomething else from the big powers in terms of regionalpolitics. And I’m worrying about giving Iran more space or a freerhand in the region.

The government of Iran, month after month, has proven that it hasan ugly agenda in the region, and in this regard no one in theregion will sleep and assume things are goingsmoothly.”

Askar added that if Iran builds a bomb, then a number of othercountries will do the same, including “Egypt, maybe Turkey, SaudiArabia, maybe the Emirates.” Times of Israel and Reuters

Nuclear deal greeted with joy in Iran and Russia

Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov laughs hysterically as his car pulls away from the conference venue (AFP)
Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov laughs hysterically as his car pulls away from the conference venue (AFP)

The nuclear deal was hailed as a victory by the two most powerful menin the country, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and presidentHassan Rouhani. The general public greeted the agreement withjoy and pleasure, because it signaled the beginning of the endof Western sanctions that had hobbled the economy. Manyof them thanked Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif fornegotiating the deal.

“Thank you negotiators! Thank you Mr Zarif!”


Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov called it a “win-win” foreveryone:

“The very long and difficult negotiations on theIranian nuclear program have ended, an agreement has been reached,and this deal crowns [our] longstanding relations, during whichwe’ve seen both ups and downs. …

Iran has agreed to a range of additional measures apart from thosethat the agency is already undertaking. So I believe that in thelong run, it’s win-win for everyone. [The negotiators] felt thatthe declarations [from Iran] about wishing to find a solution hada serious basis. This became apparent in the negotiating positionsof our Iranian colleagues.”

AFP and Russia Today

Members of Congress from both parties object to Iran deal

According to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Iran has the right toa peaceful nuclear program, but does not have the right to enrichuranium or plutonium. According to Iran’s foreign minister JavadZarif, Iran has a sacred right to continue to enrich. Thisdisagreement was left unresolved by the deal.

Many people are comparing the Iran situation to that of North Korea.The North Koreans negotiated a deal to get sanctions removed in returnfor ending their nuclear program, and then they ignored the deal, andnow have nuclear weapons.

The Iran sanctions have always been largely bipartisan, and there werebipartisan objections to the Iran deal. Here’s the statement ofGeorgia Republican Saxby Chambliss, which is fairly representativeof the objections:

“Now is not the time to ease sanctions when they areworking. We’ve got all the leverage in the negotiation and we’velet them out of the trap.

We have trusted the Iranians before just like the North Koreans onnuclear issues, and what have we gotten for it? They continue tohide their development of these weapons. And you know in spite oftheir agreement here to reduce the enrichment, the 20 percentstockpile they have enriched, they can go to North Korea and buythat from them in a heartbeat.

I think you’re going to see a strong movement in the United StatesSenate to move ahead to tighten sanctions. Now there will have tobe some timeframe in there. They’ve done this deal. And this canbe done without the approval of Congress. So for the next sixmonths it looks like this deal is going to be in place. And it maybe that we have to pass a resolution that puts sanctions oneffective three months, four months, six months, whatever it mightbe.”

According to Senator Carl Levin, Democratic chairman of the SenateArmed Services Committee, “If Iran does not consent to a comprehensiveagreement that ensures it cannot acquire a nuclear weapon, there is abroad consensus in Congress to impose even tougher sanctions.”Atlanta Journal-Constitution and AFP

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