Friday, July 17, 2015

Opinion: Is Iran Now Under the Tutelage of the Six World Powers?

Opinion: Is Iran Now Under the Tutelage of the Six World Powers? (aawsat), By Amir Taheri.

When talks between Iran and the P5+1 group led by the US started two years ago the stated objective was to prevent Tehran from acquiring the means of building nuclear weapons in exchange for the lifting of sanctions imposed by Washington, the United Nations, and the European Union.

This week, the talks produced a quite different outcome.

The six powers settled for minor changes in Iran’s nuclear program in the hope of delaying the making of a bomb by Tehran for eight to 10 years.

In other words the nuclear program remains largely intact.

At the same time the issue of lifting the sanctions was also fudged through a complicated procedure that would see most of them fully or partly maintained for up to 15 years.

Let’s sum up: The six powers didn’t get what they wanted on the nuclear issue. And Iran didn’t get what it wanted on sanctions.

Instead, a third thing happened.

Iran agreed to put itself under a form of tutelage exercised by the six powers with the blessings of the United Nations.

The “deal,” unveiled with great fanfare in Vienna, spells out the modalities of that tutelage in a 159-page document designed to camouflage reality.

The document uses long convoluted lawyerly sentences sometimes running into more than 180 words. (This does not beat Marcel Proust’s record with a single sentence running into 492 words!)

Under the “deal” Iran will be treated like a criminal put under probation with periodical assessments by the police.

To be sure, Iran did violate the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and admitted having done so. Iran also cheated the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on several occasions, and again admitted it.

The NPT and the IAEA have well-established rules for dealing with that kind of violation and cheating. However, those rules do not include putting the culprit under tutelage as is being done with Iran.

There have been several cases of violations and cheatings by other countries, including Germany and South Korea. In none of those cases the culprit was subjected to punishment disproportionate to the “crime” as is the case with Iran.

In Iran’s case, however, the “crime” is used as an excuse for the six powers to control large chunks of the Iranian economy, its trade, industry, and, by extension, foreign policies.

To start with, by keeping the Iranian “dossier” open for at least 15 years a message is sent to the whole world that Iran is not a “normal member” of the international community.

Who would wish to invest in a country that lives under the Damocles sword of “snap-back” sanctions and pariah-status for a generation?

Next, the six powers, acting as judge, jury and executioner, set up a commission to exercise oversight on Iran. That commission will meet every two years or earlier to assess the performance of the “criminal” under probation.

The commission has a veto with regard to 32 branches of Iranian industry and services, including oil, petrochemicals, aviation, automobile, banking, insurance, and shipping.

More broadly, the tutelage commission could intervene in all aspects of Iran’s foreign trade with the excuse of preventing Tehran from acquiring “dual use” items.

For at least five years, the six powers will also decide what kind of weapons Iran could buy.

More importantly, the six powers decide how much of Iran’ own oil income Iran could spend and on what. US President Barack Obama and his French counterpart François Hollande have publicly stated that Iran would not be allowed to spend as it pleases. The six powers commission may sign a check that goes to Qassem Suleimani but would not allow Suleimani to sign checks for Hassan Nasrallah.

In every case, of course, Iran could protest.

And, at the time of this writing, even Khamenei has refused to endorse a “deal” that, again, unless he intends to cheat on it, knows will damage Iran’s independence and sovereignty.

The Vienna text is worse than the deal offered to Iran in talks with the P5+1 in Almaty, Kazakhstan, in February 2013. Iranian demagogues have imitated their Greek counterparts under Alexis Tsipras who rejected a bad deal before swallowing an even worse one.

However, to blame everything on Zarif’s naiveté and lack of experience is unjust.

In the Khomeinist system, ministers and even presidents are often actors playing those roles. Real decisions are taken by a “deep state,” a network of military–security and clerical circles operating around the “Supreme Guide.”

The Vienna “deal” was unveiled in Hotel Coburg which used to be a castle and often used as a military headquarters.

In 1683, it was the headquarters of six Christian princes, led by the King of Poland, who defeated the Ottomans and stopped Islam’s further expansion in Europe. Hmmm.....Sounds like there's a real chance that both Iran and the US Will never sign the deal. Read the full story here.

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