Sunday, January 17, 2016

234.3 - Good News: Iran deal advances

Good News: Iran deal advances

In some other Good News, the Iran deal is back in the news. That's the the one that involved Iran agreeing to modify its nuclear research and power program in a way that would prevent it from using it to build nuclear weapons in exchange for a lifting of political and economic sanctions against it.

Well, Secretary of State John Kerry said on January 7 that implementation of the deal may be only "days away" and that Iran is on track to meet its pledge to sharply reduce its ability to manufacture the nuclear weapons it probably was not trying to build in the first place and no, Kerry did not say that last part.

In fact, there was a report that, in line with the agreement, Iran had removed the core of its Arak heavy water nuclear reactor and filled it with cement, an act which Reuters, with notable British understatement, said would "reduce the plant's ability to produce plutonium." Yes, replacing the core with cement would do that.

Iranian officials denied that particular report, but indicated at the same time that the process of "modernizing" the Arak plant, which would involve removing the core, is underway.

It's possible the conflicting reports are due to jockeying among political factions in Iran; if the core has been removed, it would not be the first time that a report of Iran taking steps to accede to the demands of the so-called P5+1 nations was denied only to be confirmed later.

What can't be denied is that Iran has significantly reduced the number of its centrifuges, transferred the bulk of its low-enriched uranium stockpile to Russia, and agreed to sell some of its excess heavy water to the US. Things are progressing.

Congressional war hawks
I say now as I have said in the past in discussing this that I was and am uncomfortable with this deal not only because, again, there was no solid proof Iran was trying to build a nuclear weapon - certainly the frequent breathless predictions that Iran was anything from just a couple of years to a few months away from having nukes never came true - but also because it smacks of rank imperialism, of a group of big nations telling a smaller one "you will do this because we say so, like it or lump it."

But I approved it - accepted it is the better term - because the alternative was the real possibility of a stampede to war on Iran. And indeed, that idea still sits in the back of the heads of various Congressional troglodytes, who even now are pushing a bill that would block the lifting of sanctions on Iran - which is supposed to be our part of the deal - until the Administration can "certify the entity is not a terror financier, human rights abuser or involved in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction." In other words, they want to wreck the deal by moving the goalposts not just further back but completely out of the stadium.

Even if that bill passes Congress, which it likely won't, it would be vetoed and there is no way such a veto would be overriden. But it does serve as a reminder that there are those in Congress (and not all of them are GOPpers) who have blood in their eyes and war lust in their groins who would, if given the opportunity, have US soldiers on the ground - I should say more US soldiers on the ground - not only in Syria and Iraq but in Iran as well. For some people, war is the only option they can think of. Which is why I accept the Iran deal and regard the progress as good news.

Sources cited in links:’s-arak-nuclear-reactor-begins-process-‘modernization-792190

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