Will the Fragile Nuclear Deal Survive?
It was good to hear the announcement yesterday that a framework for a deal with Iran had been made. Immediately we heard Israel complaining about the agreement with Netanyahu saying it would lead to the destruction of Israel. Not a surprising comment from Tel Aviv considering Israel does not really want any kind of a peaceful settlement with Tehran.
Right-wing Republicans in Congress immediately denounced the deal while several weak-kneed Democrats remained “cautiously optimistic”.
Two pieces of legislation Republicans are trying to push through the Senate - the Kirk-Menendez sanctions bill (S. 269) and the Corker-Menendez bill (S. 615) would impose procedural hurdles in the way of a deal - will likely be considered shortly after Congress returns to DC on April 14.
Republicans can’t torpedo the Iran deal without help from Democrats. In order to secure a veto-proof majority, Republicans in the Senate need to recruit at least 13 Democrats to support their anti-diplomacy bills.
The list of potential Senate Democrats who might side with the Republicans to kill the deal with Iran are:
(It should be noted that Sen. Schumer from New York is rumored to be the likely new leader for the Democrats in the Senate after Sen. Harry Reid retires next year.)
Middle East expert Phyllis Bennis writes about the agreement:
Both sides made major concessions, though it appears Iran’s are far greater.
Tehran accepted that U.S. and EU sanctions will not be lifted until after the UN’s watchdog agency verifies that Iran has fully implemented its new nuclear obligations — which could be years down the line. It agreed to severe cuts in its nuclear infrastructure, including the reduction of its current 19,000 centrifuges for enriching uranium to just over 6,000.
Tehran also consented to rebuild its heavy water reactor at Arak so that it will have no reprocessing capacity and thus cannot produce plutonium. Its spent fuel will be exported. The Fordow nuclear plant, moreover, will be turned into a technology research center without fissile material. And crucially, the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency will be allowed to conduct unannounced inspections.
The Washington Post reported:
Alireza Nader, a Rand Corp. senior policy analyst, agreed that the parameters of the agreement were “quite strong, and may even exceed the expectations of some critics. Iran appears to have made significant concessions, especially on the number of centrifuges and the verification . . . regime.”
Long ago I read that Iran wanted to build a civilian nuclear energy program because they are so reliant on sales of their oil and natural gas to run their economy. Due to diminishing supplies of fossil fuels they want to switch their domestic use to nuclear in order to extend their income from oil and natural gas sales. I am personally opposed to the use of nuclear power but once again find the US position on Iran's nuclear program to be one of total hypocrisy since Washington regularly promotes the use of nuclear all over the planet on behalf of corporate interests.