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A Victory for Diplomacy

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Source: To The Point Analyses

Peace on a Nuclear Free Earth
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Part I -- The Diplomatic Deal with Iran 

By now most readers know that the five permanent member nations of the UN Security Council -- the United States, China, France, Russia and the United Kingdom -- plus Germany, (referred to as the P5+1) have reached a six-month interim diplomatic settlement with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Within this six-month period the P5+1 powers and Iran will seek to conclude a permanent and comprehensive agreement. Readers may also know what Iran has to do according to the agreement, because most of the Western media have repeatedly listed those terms. Either skimmed over or skipped altogether are those things the P5+1 has to do for Iran. Here is a brief synopsis of the agreement:

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For the next six months Iran has undertaken to:  

-- Limit its uranium enrichment program to 5% level -- the level suitable for nuclear power plant fuel -- while diluting its stockpile of 20% enriched uranium to below the 5% level. The 20% enriched uranium was used by Iran for medical treatment and research, but the paranoia of the Western powers in particular caused it to be seen as fuel for nuclear weapons.  

-- Hold to present levels the size of its low-enriched (5%) stockpile.  

-- Halt efforts to produce plutonium (a particularly efficient nuclear weapons material).  

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-- Limit its use of present centrifuges and not construct future ones. The centrifuges are the devices that take "uranium gas" and concentrate it into nuclear fuel. It is the through calibration of the centrifuges that the percentage of enrichment is determined.  

-- Allow daily inspections of its nuclear facilities. 

There are other obligations as well, but these are the principal ones. All of these demands are a reflection of the obsessive conviction of influential and noisy elements in the West, and particularly on the part of the Zionist-influenced U.S. Congress, that Iran is determined to produce nuclear weapons. This obsession has persisted even though Western intelligence agencies repeatedly testified that there was and is no evidence for this assertion. Essentially, this entire affair is the product of unsubstantiated right-wing Zionist anxiety, which in turn has infected pro-Zionist elements in the West. 

The fact that this suspicion of Iran has been built up around a fantasy made it easier for the Islamic Republic to agree to the present deal. They never did plan to build a bomb, so giving up the imaginary program was giving up nothing. On the other hand, what Iran is worried about are matters of principle. For instance, as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, it has a legal right to enrich uranium. It wants that right recognized. Accepting an enrichment process to the 5% level appears sufficiently face-saving for Tehran to agree to the interim settlement.

So what did Iran get in return? For the next six months the P5+1powers and particularly the United States have undertaken to:

-- Impose no new sanctions on Iran. 

-- Suspend present sanctions on (a) gold and precious metals (b) Iran's auto sector, and (c) Iran's petrochemical exports. This should give Iran up to $1.5 billion in revenue.   

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-- Cease interference with Iranian oil exports at their present levels.   

-- Allow for safety-related repairs and inspections for Iranian airlines.   

-- Release frozen Iranian funds earmarked to pay the tuition of Iranian students attending colleges in third countries.   

-- Facilitate humanitarian transactions (such as Iran's importation of medicine), which, even though not covered in the sanctions, had been periodically made difficult by U.S. government bureaucrats 

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Lawrence Davidson is a history professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He is the author of Foreign
Policy Inc.: Privatizing America's National Interest
; America's
Palestine: Popular and Offical Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli
; and Islamic Fundamentalism. His academic work is focused on the history of American foreign relations with the Middle East. He also teaches courses in the history of science and modern European intellectual history.

His blog To The Point Analyses now has its own Facebook page. Along with the analyses, the Facebook page will also have reviews, pictures, and other analogous material.

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