Containment: The Only Viable Policy on Iran's Nuclear Ambitions
So, has the proxies of Iran's President Rouhani wheel and deal with the Americans and others regarding Iran's nuclear ambitions and quest for a bomb, Iran is feeling confident. Rouhani has received the blessing of his supreme leader, who for the time being, must be cordial and friendly to get crippling sanctions lifted (all part of containment). The Iranians even presented their discussion points in fluid English along with a powerpoint that dazzled. Yes, the Iranian government is a wily coyote, for sure.
Iran knows President Obama does not want to attack Iran over this issue, which is far more complicated than tossing some missiles at Syria, that Obama promised to do but did not. So, they know Obama WANTS a deal to avoid it, almost at any cost, despite what Obama is saying publicly. But, Rouhani is also at the mercy of his supreme leader and the numerous military factions, for now, they say talk to the USA. But, when the terms of any agreement actually are debated, Rouhani will face pressure. Not all Iranian factions are happy with Rouhani especially those who want the nuclear bomb, but getting the sanctions lifted is the current priority.
At the core is that the West wants Iran to stop all enrichment and what they have done so already, shipped out of the country. This is totally the Iranian position who wants to continue some enrichment for peaceful purposes and leave what is already done in Iran.
So, the remaining lesser appealing alternatives are:
1. Allow Iran to enrich to 5% or less, non-military grade and allow Iran to keep far less than the current 19,000 centrifuges to appease their need to have a right to enrich to a limit set by the agreement. Allow thorough inspections and make the Arak site non-operative, Fordow shut down and all nuclear activity conducted only at the Natanz site. This is the best of the lesser scenarios because it allows Iran to continue under scrutiny and delays any nuclear advances for years.
2. The bad agreement is a one where Iran indicates it will dismantle or do this in exchange for sanctions being lifted to a degree. The sanctions are what has brought Iran to the table. It is the only ace the West has. This is the kind of deal Iran wants for it allows them to continue their quest for the bomb by conceding elements their program no longer really needs. It depends on what the parties are willing to concede.
3. Then, there is a similar reciprocal type agreement with partial steps to test the trust of each side. So, Iran might agree to not continue enriching to 20% weapons grade if sanctions are lifted. But, what about the stockpiles already at that level, what about the 19,000 centrifuges spinning still, or Arak is still operational?
At this stage, Iran has indicated it is willing to limit their enrichment if the West lifts sanctions. They have insisted that it is their right to have nuclear energy and closing any nuclear facilities has not been discussed.
Nuclear enrichment is a dual use enterprise, peaceful and military. It just seems Iran wants to minimize the damage to get the sanctions lifted. Oddly, even the Russian delegation has stated that these talks are nothing to get excited about because the two sides are miles and miles apart. So, maybe Iran is close to a nuclear bomb and is buying time. If you recall, last year, most parties agree Iran could have one in a year.
Well, 365 days have passed.