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The Iranian nuclear deal –trick or treat?

By dr Magnus Norell, Infosphere AB

 After the announcement that Iran had agreed to a nuclear-swap deal – with Brazil and Turkey as mediators and midwifes – it took only a couple of days for the US (and her allies) to issue a reply, of a sort. On Tuesday, May 18, the Obama administration announced that it had reached an agreement with other major powers – including Russia and China – to impose new sanctions on Iran (the fourth round of sanctions if the agreement leads to a decision in the UNSC).

 With the governments of Turkey and Brazil forcefully defending the deal with Iran as solid and likely to render any new sanctions un-necessary, and as the beginning of a solution to the nuclear conflict between Iran and the (primarily) the West, the deal was swiftly criticized as ‘too little, to late’. In truth, the deal negotiated between Iran, Turkey and Brazil, mirrors the proposed deal from October last year. A deal that Iran at first agreed to and then, after stalling, reneged on.

 In essence, the new deal proposes that Iran transfers 1200kg of enriched uranium to Turkey, which is then swapped for 120 kg of enriched uranium fuel rods that Iran is supposed to use in its research or medical reactors. This is much better deal than the original one from last year in that that agreement didn’t include any swapping – then, Iran would transfer 1200 kg, Russia and France would reprocess them, and the resulting product (20 percent enriched fuel rods) would then return to Iran.

 Iran has strived consistently to ward off new sanctions, and it is hard not to look at the deal agreed to with Turkey and Brazil as another way of buying time. The deal, for example, didn’t really include any solid time-lines for the swapping, giving Iran ample time to build up a larger stockpile of enriched uranium (since the last proposed deal fell through, Iran has doubled its stockpile).

 However, if the UNSC vote to impose the new sanctions, Iran is still in a corner, faced with, potentially at least, new tougher sanctions. This, of course, provided that Russia and China really do agree to the new sanctions. The jury is still out on that, but the last few days has yet again proved that the Iranian regime is very good at creating rifts both within the UNSC and the Vienna group. This time – if the agreement announced by Secretary Clinton holds – the West managed to counter the Iranians, but whether this is enough to seriously slow down the Iranian quest for nuclear weapons is highly questionable.



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