Nukes and Empire: The West is on the Brink of Giving Iran Everything it Wants

This is a cross-post by Kyle Orton from The Syrian Intifada

The United States and Iran are seemingly days from signing an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program that has been brought about by a series of American concessions. If the deal is signed on the present terms it will effectively dismantle the sanctions against Iran and the international legal regime that recognizes the Iranian regime as an outlaw, will leave Iran on the threshold of nuclear weapons, and will provide legitimacy for, and billions of dollars toward, Iranian hegemony in the Middle East.

It was not a surprise that the nuclear negotiations with Iran went past the June 30 deadline; there had been signalling for some time that this would happen, and the same had already happened in March, when the Iranians pressed an American political deadline against the Americans, attempting to wrench concessions from the U.S. in order that the U.S. could meet a deadline that mattered to Washington but did not to Tehran. The same thing will doubtless recur this time.

The real deadline is now July 9, and the reason for this is instructive. If a deal is signed on July 9 or before, Congress only has thirty days to review it and vote it up or down; if a deal is signed on July 10 or after, the Congressional review period grows to sixty days. Not a high vote of confidence that the deal can stand up to scrutiny that the administration is weakening its own hand in negotiations merely to avoid extended Congressional review.

While the April 2 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was a fiction—America and Iran are working from a rolling text and both sides put out factsheets that varied quite widely on some important matters, with alarming agreement on the concessions to Iran—the JCPOAannouncement served its purpose: delaying Congress passing sanctions that would set an end-date to this negotiating process.

In looking at the JCPOA—in other words deciphering what had been “agreed” so far—there were several key areas where the U.S. had already caved, and a couple more where all the signs were that capitulation was in the offing.

The sunset clause that lifts all restraints after ten or fifteen years means Iran can get to a nuclear weapon by keeping the deal, which has led to unsubtle hints from Saudi Arabia that it will match Iran’s nuclear capabilities; the massive research and development loophole means Iran can put its program under the protection of American power for a decade or so while perfecting its weaponization capability; and the ballistic missile program, the delivery system for a nuke, is untouched by this deal.

Do read the rest of the post here