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A Time for War. Envisioning a nuclear Deal with Iran. Part 1

September 30, 2013

I was thinking for quite a while how a possible nuclear deal with Iran might look like.
As I was strolling through the forest today I saw many people with baskets. It is the time of year when the people search for mushrooms here.
I like to be alone in the nature with my thoughts, undisturbed and undistracted to clear my mind, focus my thoughts and at the same time get inspiration.
Luckily I was able to find another place where I could be alone.
The previous encounters with the good people looking for mushrooms brought back memories.
I have fond childhood memories about me and my father searching for mushrooms in the forests.
Not only do I love nature and not only were the mushrooms delicious when my mother cooked them (frankly I have never tasted such delicious mushrooms again) but as any boy what I loved most was the adventure that was involded in this activity.
You might ask: What has this got to do with a nuclear deal with Iran?
It has a lot to do with it, I can assure you. As with anything in life we can draw valuable lessons from it.
As anyone who collects mushrooms can tell you, the two most important things you have to do is to identify the good mushrooms but much more important is that you are able to identify the unpalatable and poisonous ones.
This can be a matter of life and death. The champignon mushroom is widely known but there is another much less known, highly poisonous mushroom which looks almost identical to the champignon.
This mushroom (called in German Weisser Knollenblätterpilz) can cause death and the only way to reliably identify it and distinguish it from the champignon is to look underneath its ‘hat’ and look
at the color of the lamellae. The champignon has brown lamellae, the poisonous one white lamellae.
So, when it comes to Iran, we have to know how the bad, poisonous and lethal deal looks like in order to distinguish it from the real deal (no pun indended).
Because, no doubt, the Iranians will try to serve the world a bad deal.
In order to envision such a deal we first have to look at the players involved and at their motivations, ambitions and also their past behaviour.

Iran

After WW2 Iran became America’s strongest ally in the region and enjoyed friendly relations with Israel.
Unlike the Arabs the Iranians traditionally always had much better relations with the Jews and Israel.
Shah Reza Pahlevi had set in motion a radical plan of modernisation and reformation wich allowed Iranians and especially Iranaian women to enjoy religious freedoms unheared of in most islamic countries.
This brought the islamic clergy and all who saw the traditional islamic society in danger against him.
Unlike the most countries which had been islamized and arabizised through force by the Arabs the Iranians have a great civilisation and a proud history going back thousands of years.
And so it was no coincidence that the Persians kept their language and a great deal of their distinct culture after the Arab conquest.
The Shah might had even succeeded with linking Iran with its glorious past and as a consequence end the rule of islam over Persia.
But he had a serious personal flaw that would spell the end of his rule and the descent of Iran into dark ages never seen before in Iran’s history.
Sure, he was no democrat but had he been a wise monarch he might have saved his rule.
But as it was, he was a tyrant and he became more and more tyrannical using his infamous secret police, the Savak, to brutally crush any opposition.
Ayatollah Khomeini, living in exile in France lead the islamic opposition from there and was seen by many others opposing the Shah, like the Iranian left, as a figure of hope which caused them to
join forces with the islamic opposition but their hopes would soon be crushed.
After the revolution brought the Islamic clerics to power they got rid of their former allies in a bloodbath reminiscent of Stalin’s purges.
Since then Iran is in the iron grip of totalitarian theocratic dictatorship which doesn’t allow any kind of freedom or real democracy and which crushes any oppostion by brutal force.
Hanging of gays from cranes and religious persecution, even the death penalty for Christians has become a trademark of this monstrous regime.
The so-called presidential elections that they have in Iran are a bad joke because first of all, every candidate must be approved by the clerics and even the few who are allowed to run still have
no assurance that the vote would be anything that can be called free and fair as we have witnessed in the last ‘election’ of Ahmadinejad where the will of the people was brutally crushed by the thugs of the regime.
But even if a candidate makes it, it is important to remember that the absolute power comes from the ‘supreme leader’, the top ayatollah.
He can override any of the president’s decisions, especially on foreign policy or the nuclear program.
President Rouhani is hailed by many as a moderate or a reformer. He is neither.
He has been an apparatshik for the current regime since the time of Ayatollah Khomeini.
Being a cleric himself, he never has called for any reforms and he has never been qustioning the current regime.
Even now he makes clear that the system cannot be questioned.
He is part and parcel of this theocratic fascism.
Some even compare him to Gorbatchev. This is even more ridiculous because the only thing he has in common with Gorbatchev is that he wants to strike a deal to ease the economic burden for the system. Here does the similarity end.
Gorbatchev wanted to ease the unsustainable economic burden of the arms race with the US as well as the burden of the Afghan war.
BUt while both their motives were the same Gorbatchev was willing to make real concessions and also real reforms of the system because he knew that reforms were absolutely necessary to keep the system alive. In Gorbatchev’s case we have seen the conclusion of real arms control deals as well as the introduction of real reforms.
Nothing can be further from the truth in Rouhani’s case.
All we heared from Rouhani was sweet and nice talk.
Rouhani himself has made it clear, that Iran will not give up one iota of their nuclear ambitions.
How can this leave room for any substantial deal? It can’t.
Iran’s goals are to become a regional power and achieve Iranian hegemony over the region and also to drive the ‘big satan’ USA out of the region or at least reduce American influence in the region substantially.
Moreover they want to end Israel’s existence as well as an insurance that their regime becomes immune against regime change from the outside.
Nuclear weapons would be very helpful in achieving all these goals.
In my considerations I’ve tried really hard to give the possibility of a deal that is a real solution a chance and was open to that possibility but I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no chance in hell that it will happen.
The following consideration is the most compelling reason why such a deal ain’t gonna happen.
As we know the ‘supreme leader’ Khamenei calls the shots in Iran.
He could have started real negotiations for real solutions during Ahmadinejad’s time but he didn’t.
Rather he decided to take the punishment of biting sanctions and go ahead with the nuclear program.
As we know also, Khamenei is evil but he is not stupid and so we can reasonably assume that he knew that the West had to react in some form, most likely in the form of sanctions first, before he embarked on his nuclear journey.
Are we really to believe that he took the punishment of sanctions only to have a deal where just the sanctions are removed in exchange for an end to his nuclear ambitions?
Are we really to believe that he would strike a deal that would leave him just where he started and even worse if we take the costs of the sanctions into account?
Are we really to believe that he would strike a deal that would not advance Iran’s goals one millimeter?
In other words: Are we really to believe that he would strike a deal that gives him nothing?
In light of the fact that Iran has almost achieved their nuclear goal and in light of the fact that he knows that the US-president will do nothing except sanctions to stop him the answer to these questions is a resounding NO.
At best Iran will strike a deal that in reality let them go ahead with their nuclear program or they will strike a deal that will demand of America and the West a much higher price than the mere end of the sanctions.
In both cases the deal will be much to America’s and the West’s detriment.

America

For readers not familiar with my writings I want to make clear that the name ‘Obavez’ refers to the American president who acts more like the president of a banana republic like Hugo Chavez.
There is much that could be said about America and America’s national interest in this game.
In a sane world America’s decisions would be dictated by America’s national interests but the current inhabitant of the White House makes such predictions extremely unreliable.
Under his presidentship the decisions taken were dictated by his ideological views or by his personal ambitions.
There is a disturbing pattern that directly impacts the US-policy with regards to Iran.
When the president came to power he tried to reset the relations with both Russia and Iran and he even offered Iran his hand.
Both attempts failed miserably but even worse the leader of the free world stayed mute and silent when the Iranian people tried to free themselve from the shackles of the thecratic tyranny.
Not a word of at least moral support or moral condemnation.
He has shown a consistent pattern of throwing America’s friends and allies under the bus.
The first to have a taste of this were the Poles who saw that America would not station the promised missile defenses in Poland, cleatly an appeasement for the Russians.
Then we saw how America finished off Qadaffi who though no ally of America had promised to end his WMD-program and his support for terrorism. At least he kept his part of the deal.
Not only did this show how much a deal with America is worth but it also turned Lybia into a paradise for America’s deadly enemy Al Qaeda and it lead also to the death of ambassador Stevens and other Americans in Benghazi.
Then we saw how America’s reliable ally Mubarak was not only dumped by America but he was practically forced to go by America.
Yes Mubarak was no good guy but what came after him was infinitely worse.
Then we had the unforgettable ‘open mic’ episodes where he promised Putin to be more flexible after his reelection and where he made very negative remarks about Netanyahu.
And all the while we also witnessed how Obavez put constant pressure on Israel, America’S most reliable ally in the region to make totally unacceptable and unrealistic concessions while at the same time he refused to give clear assurances and red lines with regards to Iran.
Worst of all, when he did set a clear red line concerning Syria he failed to act upon it.
We saw a Kabuki theater with him filplopping and him and his staff contradicting each other and even themselves.
We saw a president who was willing to grab the very first possibility to get out of his comittment and who was not serious about his red lines making a joke of himself and his administration.
With all this in mind we can clearly see how this man has caused Amerca’s allies to lose trust in the US and America’S enemies losing any fear of the US.
Obavez has lost almost any respect among the allies as well as the enemies.
With all this in mind is it any wonder that noone can take America serious and more important that the Iranians can’t take America serious?
Obavez will grab the first deal that allows him to safe face by not having to use military force and which also allows him to pretend that the Iranian proplem is solved, damned be the details of such a phony deal.

The Deal

There are actually two possible deals.
The first one would demand that the Iranians halt their nuclear program completely, put much of the enriched uranium under international control possibly outside Iran.
This deal would scale Iran’s program and their stockpiles back to such an extend that Iran would need a significant amount of time (like one year) to get back to the point it is now.
Though the whole Iranian program would be put under international control much more rigid than now it would still leave tiny loopholes that would allow Iran to continue its program but on a much smaller scale than now.
This would be the kind of deal that the world would accept but it is unlikely to happen because of what the US would have to give in return.
As argued by Putin in his letter to the Americans the rational for haveing WMDs is to protect yourself from ouside intervention and foreign attempts of regime change by force.
This sounds good but in reality Putin had a life insurance for oppressive regimes which butcher their own citicens in mind.
Anyway, in order to make the need for nukes obsolete the Iranians would argue that they need an insurance against attacks by the US.
Although not an absolute insurance, they would demand that the US would permanently drastically reduce its military presence in the region and regular patrols by the US-navy would be much more limited in scale than now. Of course all this would be combined with ‘confidence building measures’ and all kinds of procedures and restrictions to make the American presence safe for Iran.
I believe that even for Obavez such a deal would be too much.
WHich brings us to the second, even more dangerous deal.
The Iranians would agree to keep their Uranium stockpile at the current level. They would be allowed to continue enriching but only to keep the stockpile at the current level, replenishing uranium
that has been used in reactors.
This would allow both the US and the Iranians to save face. The US could say that Iran is not allowed to go further than today. The Iranians could say that they are allowed to continue enriching.
BUT.
Here comes the dangerous part that would be burried in the fine print and the legalistic lingo.
Iran would be allowed to continue developing and building all other components like more centrifuges, a warhead, the detonating mechanism and ICBMs capable of delivering nukes anywhere on the planet.
In effect they would be allowed to put all the pieces except the uranium in place but not actually build the nuke.
The Iranians would be even willing to allow a much stricter control of their nuclear stockpile.
But being allowed to build as much centrifuges as they want and with a huge amount of them they simpply could throw the inspectors out of the country, withdraw from the NPT and build one ore more nukes in one week if they chose to do so.
For countries like Saudi Arabia which have neither the intelligence nor the military power to prevent the Iranians from doing this in time this would make NO DIFFERENCE from Iran actually having a nuke.

The second part of this article will explore the ramifications for all the players involved in detail.
I hope that I can put it up this week or next week (as my workload permits).

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3 Responses to “A Time for War. Envisioning a nuclear Deal with Iran. Part 1”

  1. Luis Says:

    I just watched the press conference of Obama and Bibi together.
    Not that I didn’t know we have a serious problem with this President. Obama was remote, not even once was he looking in Netanyahu’s direction while talking…very bad body language from our point of view( Israel, I mean).
    I must also say that because of all of that inside talking prior to the press conference, Bibi didn’t looked very well and a great stress one can saw on his face and words. Not a pleasant sight, anyhow.

    From all these elements which we learned from their body language and tone we think we are in a position to predict the line of the Israeli prime minister speech, which is expected to be delivered on the UN podium.

    Netanyahu will be very aggressive and certain people will be surprised by the tone and the line which will be adopted by the Israeli PM, while what was to be expected from him it was a relative moderate line this time, especially when the American Iranian party just begun. It must also be said that the Israeli press was very pleased by this meeting, which contradicts the felling we got while watching those two giving statements.
    Now, we’ll have to wait and see what really has Netanyahu to say to this world.

  2. artaxes Says:

    Luis, you are always welcome here.
    I’ve no problem with you posting on this or ‘that’ site.
    Regarding the Munich Syndrome that our world suffers:
    I’m aware that Israel has the teeth that Chechoslovakia didn’t have.
    The fact that “Mr. Hope and Change” and “Mister Hope and Change 2.0” want to dance the tango without considerations for Israel does not make Israel irrelevant.
    It’s up to Bibi to silence the orchestra.

  3. Luis Says:

    Comprehensive analysis and article. I also appreciated the story segment in it, that regarding the mushrooms. We all may learn a thing or two from it. I also paid attention to the fact that would be a second part, concerning the players in the region. I’ll take the privilege – I hope I may – to say a few things on this issue, before the second part of the article will appear here.

    A cardinal player in this region is Israel and its actual prospects – ”honey” from Iran and ”such” a president in an important White house – are not so good. It seems to us that Israel will be forgotten out of the building where the new Munich Appeasement 2013-2014 style will be signed by the new – old same players of the History. However, Israel is not 1938 Czechoslovakia, which gave up without a fight and the 2013 Jews are not like their 1941-1944 brothers, which where slaughtered, killed and assassinated on an industrial scale, exactly after such ”agreements” were accepted.

    Israel, is in fact, a wild card in this regional complex game and it should be related as such in any future constellation or political – military situation. Israel cannot leave certain things to pass under its radar. It wont happen, no matter what the pundits think.

    Note: I’m not posting on that site anymore. So, if its ok with you, we’ll see each other here, from time to time. Luis


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