Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search


Nipping Nuclear Buds: The Iran Deal

Nipping Nuclear Buds: The Iran Deal

by Dr. Binoy Kampmark
November 27, 2013

This was the limited deal, one designed to halt Iran’s quest for a nuclear weapons option and stave off the proliferating actions of other states. It is a deal replete with unresolved issues – but then again, it was not expected to. For one thing, what is on the table contains the classic contradiction of sovereignty – that other states may acquire nuclear options or have them, but not Iran.

So far, the details of the deal, brokered between Iran, and the Permanent five plus one (US, Great Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany) involve a six month corridor of taking various measures. The entire stockpile of 20 percent of enriched material to be diluted, or at the very least rendered unsuited for further enrichment. The stockpile of 3.5 percent enriched uranium is not to alter between now and six months. Excess material will have to be converted to oxide. There will be no more centrifuges to be installed. Numbers of current centrifuges are not to be operated.

Of vital importance is the emphasis placed on preventing Iran was undertaking the second option of creating a bomb, namely via the plutonium route. For that reason, the parties were in general agreement that the Arak reactor will not be further pursued along those lines. Construction will be halted.

Now what of the Iranians? They will have to, or at least have promised that they will, allow for some regime of inspection. Teheran has been promised that they will not receive any further sanctions in the next six months. Some will even be suspended, notably on various precious metals and gold. Money will be released for Iranians studying overseas. A certain portion of oil-revenue, some $4.2 billion, will be transferred. What is astonishing about these concessions is the extent of how belligerent the sanctions regime has been against the Iranian regime.

The observation being made here is that, while Iran is not gaining much, it is not giving much either. Iran will be allowed to continue some elementary form of uranium enrichment, though Washington has never taken a direct stance approving it. Israel, seeing demons everywhere, has asserted, at least rhetorically, that Iran has no such right to any form of enrichment.

The hawks aren’t happy by this latest development because their beaks have been blunted and their wings clipped – for now. Iran is a mortal enemy, to be shunned, to be boxed in the category of international untouchables. For the conservatives and hawks in the U.S. and Israel, all forms of discussion short of the gun and imposition is impossible. Former US Senator Joe Lieberman stated it in the most simple terms: there was “American blood on Iranian hands” going back to the bombing of the Beirut embassy by Hezbollah in 1983.

Lieberman shows again how he refuses to be blessed among the peace makers. Like a child retreating from the playground with wounded pride, he finds the Iranians incapable of being trusted. They had “a terrible record of not keeping agreements and frankly of lying.” Naturally, Washington’s assertions that it doesn’t spy on its friends and leaders of the misnamed free world shows purity of thought and action.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of North Carolina, showing the sophistication of an intoxicated pugilist, lamented the miniscule adjustments to the sanctions regime against Iran, claiming that “we had the chance to deliver a body blow.”

Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu has proclaimed this negotiated pathway a “historic mistake”, one which “reduces the pressure on Iran without receiving anything tangible in return, and the Iranians who laughed all the way to the bank are themselves saying that this deal has saved them.” The Gulf states are distinctly underwhelmed, fearing that this will hardly be enough.

None want to see Iran’s power in the region legitimised, even if the power is highly circumscribed. But what such states fail to realise is that they, themselves, can be triggers for the very non-proliferation they want to avert. Attempts to disable and cripple all forms of nuclear pursuit will simply be a recipe for that pursuit to become more aggressive.

The doves can hardly be said to be cooing either. This may turn out to be historic, but the true history of this occasion lies at one apex: the fact that diplomatic conversation has long last taken place. What we got, at least, was conversation, and a concession that such conversation is vital. Jaw-jaw, as mentioned by Winston Churchill, among others, tends to be better than war-war, as fascinatingly irresistible as the latter option may be.


Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne.

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Julien Troussier: Loving Trump

It’s 3am. Cannot sleep. Restless. Slide to unlock. Open the New York Times App. Look for the latest incident. He did it again. He lashed out. Fear. Anger. Outrage. I needed to see this. I needed to check that the madness was still there. More>>


Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>


Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Live Blog: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>


Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news