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Western powers reach deal with Iran over its nuclear program

Secretary of State John Kerry and leaders from five other world powers early Sunday reached a nuclear deal with Iran, following intense negotiations that took place over several days in Geneva.

The deal represents a historic breakthrough in the world’s decade-long nuclear standoff with Iran, and in the 35-year-long diplomatic freeze between Iran and the United States.

Agreement in Geneva: first step makes world safer. More work now. -JK #IranTalks

— Department of State (@StateDept) November 24, 2013

The deal was struck with astonishing speed given the history of failed negotiations, coming in just the third round of talks over less than two months. The breakthrough also comes less than three months after Iran’s new President Hassan Rouhani promised, in an interview with NBC News, to dramatically alter Iran’s relationship with the world.

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton said the agreement was an important step toward reaching a long-term comprehensive solution. She added that the deal shows participants’ “mutual respect and determination to find a way forward which is beneficial to all.”

At a news conference, Kerry said the agreement could not have been reached without the Iranians’ decision to come to the negotiating table. He said the next phase of negotiations – while even more difficult – will also be more consequential, and he added: “If this first step leads to what is our ultimate goal – which is a comprehensive agreement – that will make the world safer.”

We have reached an agreement.

— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) November 24, 2013

Iran and six of the world’s powers – the United States, France, Britain, Germany, China and Russia – agreed on a “first step deal” that is meant to limit advancements in Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for easing some of the economic sanctions that have deeply hurt Iran’s economy.

According to the White House, the deal stipulates that Iran will commit to halt uranium enrichment above 5 percent and also to neutralize its stockpile of near-20 percent enriched uranium. The Islamic Republic has also committed to halt progress on its enrichment capacity. Iran will also halt work at its plutonium reactor and provide access to nuclear inspectors.

These steps, President Barack Obama said late Saturday, will “cut off Iran’s most likely paths to a bomb.”

In exchange, the United States and its allies have agreed to offer Iran “modest relief” from economic sanctions and access to a portion of the revenue that the country has been denied through these sanctions. No new sanctions will be imposed, Obama said.

All six world powers had sent in their foreign ministers hours before the deal was announced, and several purposely gave the impression it was their participation that was needed to carry the ball across the finish line. Once the ministers arrived, the negotiations set a marathon pace, not ending until about 3 a.m. local time in Geneva (9 p.m. ET).

While the “first step” deal is currently set to last for a period of just six months, it has provided a massive sense of relief on all sides in Geneva as it is expected to make Iran less capable of  building a nuclear bomb for the time being, while at the same time easing the financial pain Iran’s economy has been enduring under the sanctions.

Perhaps most significantly, it also makes a final comprehensive nuclear agreement between Iran and the world suddenly more possible.

There is little doubt, however, that the sticking points included Iran’s insistence that it has a right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes, and the tacked-on proposal that Iran stop construction of a heavy water facility in Arak. Iran has said the facility is needed to create medical isotopes for cancer treatments, but it could also make Iran more quickly capable of building a bomb.

How exactly these sticking points were resolved will greatly influence the expected political fallout in the United States and Iran. Some members of Congress are threatening new sanctions in the U.S., and hard-liners in Iran are harshly accusing Rouhani and his Foreign Minister Javad Zarif of giving up too much in the negotiations. Indeed, a sense of national pride appears to drive a rising backlash from even moderates and liberals in Iran.

Adding to the hurdles, the deal is also designed to be not only temporary but reversible depending on whether the promises made by both sides are fully kept. One of the agreements, for example, is that Iran give inspectors broader access to nuclear sites, and allow spontaneous inspections.

Then there is also the matter of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s increasingly vociferous objections, and the negative impact the negotiations appear to have had on U.S.-Israeli relations. It will likely also affect U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia, a Sunni nation, which is threatened by signs of improved U.S. relations with Shia Iran.

Any final comprehensive agreement is expected to have vast implications on the political and financial landscape in the Middle East, given Iran’s oil resources, and the billions of dollars an end to sanctions could unlock.

Remarkably, the first-step deal announced Sunday, was virtually inconceivable before Rouhani’s dramatic phone conversation with Obama in September.

The speed of the negotiations, which now continue toward a final agreement, are a measure of how much both leaders want to end the nuclear standoff before the window of opportunity closes.


9 Comments on "Western powers reach deal with Iran over its nuclear program"

  1. Arthur on Sun, 24th Nov 2013 1:46 pm 

    Excellent news.

    Meanwhile, Israel is furious… ‘historic mistake’:

    How to contain them?

  2. noobtube on Sun, 24th Nov 2013 2:16 pm 

    The West lost.

    China, Russia, and Iran beat the self-important idiots from the United States, Germany, France, and the UK.

    The sun is setting on the Western empire.

    Maybe the Earth can finally get some relief from these fools.

  3. Feemer on Sun, 24th Nov 2013 2:32 pm 

    I still think they are going to get a bomb. We wasted months on talks and in a few more months or a year we will for some reason be surprised to see they have a bomb. I oppose civil and military uses of nuclear, and I think the West lost. The sun is definitely setting on the west. We need to speed up our transition to renewable energy and make our lifestyles more sustainable.

  4. bobinget on Sun, 24th Nov 2013 3:58 pm 

    This ‘agreement’ as it stands, means Iran is able to access a portion of its own funds tied-up in Western Banks.
    Those funds will enable Iran to continue supporting the Assad regime in Syria. Don’t tell GW Bush this but war is and always has been terrible expensive.

    Of course Israel is correct, this is a ‘bad’ deal. Not for the same reasons Israelis maintain however.

    This ‘show’ was put on as a last minute effort to avert a war that is bound to destabilize the entire Mid East and beyond.
    No collective group, including the UN, has put forward any viable solution to the all important “Syrian Question” .

    It seems force of arms is the only focus of late. An almost entirely pro Israel Congress will do as their bosses say and attempt to queer this ‘bad deal’ in the next session. Tea Baggers see an opportunity to bash Obama, they won’t ignore. If told more sanctions or not lifting existing sanctions will lead to war, so be it. To any “True Believer”
    Of prime importance to TBaggers is to put Obama in his proper place.

    Pro Israel Democrats will give in to Tea Baggers’ on this one or face charges of being ‘soft on terrorism’ or some such nonsense.

    Now the ball is in the King’s Court. Will the Kingdom, having never fought a major war, decide to go in for the ‘kill’
    using some of that 100 billion bucks worth of killing power now or wait till Iran develops or buys ‘N’ weapons from hard pressed Pakistan or North Korea? It might be a tough sell to KSA population who are softer then down pillows.
    IF the Saudis can be made to believe Victory is certain, #1. The homeland is in real danger #2 Allah is for sure on their side, #3. Then and only then will they permit Americans to die for their country.

    BTW, Egypt is nagging KSA for its second (and perhaps final) four billion dollars worth of Saudi oil. Will the Saudis arm
    Egypt with nukes? We will see what happens if this pledged oil fails to deliver.

    The wild card here could be Russia. Should Russia sign a mutual defense pact with Iran, (Stalin/Hitler?) Game changer alert. Israel is in the USA/KSA corner. Iran, the Chinese and Russian. Place your bets ladies.

    I do recall US/USSR talks to lower a nuclear threshold. Both sides did something about delivery systems, bomb disposal.

    If we are asking a nation not to arm in advance of arming, We need to give something back besides their lunch money
    and shoe shine kit. WE needed to assure Iran; Israel or Saudi Arabia or the US will not do preemptive war. As far as we know, preemptive war was NEVER taken off the table. During the last ‘cold war’ we had MAD and first strike principals.
    The Bush Doctrine disposed of those time tested diplomatic devices.

    When any nation is forced into any one-sided agreement it is by nature surrender, not a viable pact. The western nations
    and Russia gave NOTHING in return and nothing should be expected.

    One last note, sectarian wars with heavy religious overtones as is the case here, are never settled by armed force.
    We should say, they are never settled.. full stop.

  5. Arthur on Sun, 24th Nov 2013 4:19 pm 

    Indeed noobtube, the Washington run West lost, shortly after backing down on Syria as well. China probably told Washington the truth in a session behind closed doors and warned for economic and financial consequences if Washington would go too far with it’s NWO agenda.

    For the rest nobody has an interest in Iran acquiring nukes, neither the EU, US, Russia nor China, so a deal was possible. Expect Syria now to recover in the long run from the western instigated ‘civil war’, which is paradoxically better for Israel than finding itself surrounded by Jihadis.

    Feemer says: The sun is definitely setting on the west.

    As noobtube said, the era of the global supremacy of the western white man is over and it is time to abolish the West, a leftover from the East-West Stalin-Roosevelt coalition against the European mother civilization. What is going to emerge is the North (GDP $20T, not rising), in clear opposition of the South (Africa, Arabia, India), an economic and military alliance between Paris-Berlin-Moscow, balancing a rising Chinese power (GDP $7T and rising).

    Priorities of the North:

    1) energy transition as fast as possible
    2) keeping the Constitution alive in North-America and preventing Euro-America from sliding into Chinese orbit after the fall of the dollar and instead draw it into the North
    3) keeping the Southern colonizers out of Europe (motto: ‘Africa for the Africans, Arabia for the Arabs’). Cancelling of all ‘refugee’ treaties, development aid, the lot. Illegals are thrown out. You are on your own, globalism is over for ever. Multiculturalism a dirty word.
    4) full acceptance of the multi-polar world order. Africa is all yours, noobtube. Good luck with it. We’ll trust you to be fine without supervising white paternalism, right noob?
    5) disarming Israel of it’s nuke’s in exchange for a permanent territorial solution, like privileged EU partnership and military assurances from the North.

  6. eugene on Sun, 24th Nov 2013 5:38 pm 

    Far as I’m concerned there never has been a real “nuclear standoff”. It has always been the US stamping our feet like a raging two yr old. Common sense is not part of our agenda and our agenda is do as you’re told or die. Now we’re just an aging bully with a big gun which makes us dangerous as aging bully’s are even worse than young ones.

  7. DC on Mon, 25th Nov 2013 12:45 am 

    Indeed, the ‘nuclear standoff’ has been a red herring all along. Iran is no threat to its neighbors, the US, much less the world. The real ‘threat’ is that Iran refuses to be integrated into the global network of US client-states. The mere fact that a resource-rich nation that exists without US and UK corporate control, is an intolerable affront to our corporate overlords.

    This explains why there is so much hate for Iran and Russia these days. And why so much effort goes into destabilizing both.

  8. BillT on Mon, 25th Nov 2013 2:02 am 

    Arthur, as usual, we disagree on some points. I do not see Russia joining in any alliance with Europe beyond some trade beneficial to Russia.

    The EU is a debtor gang of individual sovereign countries, never to actually be united. France is dying. Germany is dying but under better cover. The Med countries are financially raped by the North and dead. Eastern Europe is being absorbed back into Russia.

    Russia will ally with China because they have to. And China will finance Russia through trade for the Russian resources China needs.

    If Russia comes into Europe, it will be as controller, not partner. Not in the long term anyway. Europe, like the US, has little to offer anymore except war and a financial system that is killing them. This is the Century of the East.

  9. Arthur on Mon, 25th Nov 2013 10:10 am 

    I do not see Russia joining in any alliance with Europe beyond some trade beneficial to Russia.

    Yesterday there was a 100,000 pro-EU demonstration in Kiev-Ukraine. Putin himself has repeatedly said that he views Russia as part of Europe.

    Russia will ally with China because they have to.

    No they don’t. The current SCO alliance is purely the reaction to US imperial ambitions and a last minute ad hoc alliance without cultural overlap or substance. The Russian desire to become European is centuries old and started with Peter the Great, then Catherine the Great and now Wladimir the Great. Russia is member of all sorts of European organisations, including the populist Euro Songfestival and European socker tournaments. There is no similar Russian-Chinese counterpart. Both the EU and Russia have a Christian heritage. China is ten times as populous as Russia and could get an appetite for Siberia, once it will no longer be kept in check by the US.

    The EU is a debtor gang of individual sovereign countries

    Not true, take a look at the graph at the top:

    You’ll see that Germany and Italy (the former Axis have zero financial problems. None of the EU countries (and not even the US) has serious state debt problems, only Greece has, but that is a fruit fly country. The real trouble is in the unsustainability of the welfare state, that’s your pension Bill. In this respect the situation in the US is by far the worst of all, even worse than Greece. On top of that the US has a very dangerous unstable ethnic mix, unlike Europe. There were threads on this forum recently about the possibility of an EBT time bomb going off in the US. Three days without EBT services and a massive explosion of social unrest (with strong racial undercurrents) could be triggered with irreversible results. Think ‘you loot, we shoot’ signs, not just in New Orleans, but on a continental scale. That could trigger a wave of secession’s from Washington, notable starting with the ‘red states’.

    If Russia comes into Europe, it will be as controller

    This could indeed happen initially when we in Europe get rid of our multicultural liberal elite of US satraps, just like Eastern Europe got rid in 1989 of it’s own communist lefty Moscow satraps. But Europe has far more civilizational gravitas and mental resources than Russia, that lost it’s (Germanic) elite during the horrors of communism. Russia is a very weak country.

    This is the Century of the East

    Nope. It is true that the center of gravity of world politics will move back from North-America to Eurasia, like it was before 1945. But we are going to see a bipolarity of Europe (including Russia) and China for the foreseeable future. It is true that ‘the white race’ can no longer control the planet as was the case for centuries, until 2008 (or Zionist control rather, since 1945), but European civilization will continue to dominate, unless the mother of all disasters will happen and the Zionists succeed in establishing another USSR on US soil, using the immigrants as a proletariat against the European core of the US and start an anti-European alliance with communist China. The big open question will be how the downfall of the US is going to be managed. That’s going to be the next big event, exactly as Dmitry Orlov predicts.

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