What America wants from Iran

In the context of the improving relations between Iran and America, a piece has been written that discusses the hoped for consequences with a rapproachment with Iran for America.

He writes “We know what Iran would want out of any agreement: freedom from the Western sanctions that have decimated its economy and international recognition that it is entitled to have a civilian nuclear program. More specifically, Iran would want the United States and its allies to lift the measures that have led foreign countries to significantly cut their purchases of Iranian oil, reducing Iran’s monthly oil revenues by nearly 60 percent over the past two years, and that have forced overseas financial institutions to freeze their ties with Iran’s central bank, driving the value of its currency down to historic lows and effectively cutting Iran off from the global financial system. We also know the broad terms of what the United States would want: clear evidence that Iran had dropped its pursuit of nuclear weapons and would no longer have the equipment or radioactive material necessary to start it up again. That would require Tehran to agree to a long list of specific American demands”.

He goes on to list the demands of the United States in dealing with the nuclear issue. He argues that this would include “The most important single ingredient for a nuclear weapon is a large quantity of enriched uranium, and Iran has been steadily amassing more and more of it. The country is estimated to possess 185 kilograms of uranium that has been enriched to a purity level of 20 percent, enough to make about 18.5 kilograms of weapons-grade uranium. If Iran amasses 250 kilograms of the lower-level uranium, that would be a red line for the Israelis, because the amount could be used to produce 25 kilograms of the more potent uranium — just enough to build a single nuclear weapon”.

The article adds that “officials would also demand that Iran shutter one of its two known enrichment facilities, Natanz and Fordo. Natanz is an older facility that has long been used to produce uranium enriched to low levels of purity. Fordo, a more sophisticated facility, is of enormous concern to American and Israeli policymakers because it’s buried deep underground and would be difficult to destroy by air. The German newspaper Der Spiegel has reportedthat Rouhani is ready to decommission Fordo, a potentially major concession, but the Iranian government has denied any willingness to shutter the facility”.

If this is true and Fordo would indeed be closed, Iran would have turned the page and if the Supreme Leader agreed with the closure, then  real progress could be made on the removal of some of the sanctions.

The next issue would be centrifuges, “Last month, the outgoing chief of Iran’s nuclear program saidhis country had 18,000 of the centrifuges needed to enrich more uranium, with about 9,000 of them already fully operational. Any agreement between Washington and Tehran would put in place new limitations on the number and quality of those pieces of machinery”. The article suggests that as a face saving measure, Iran could dismantle the ones that are not in use.

The piece mentions that in 2002 how it was “revealed that Iran was building a so-called heavy-water reactor near the city of Arak. That kind of plant can be used to produce plutonium, a key ingredient in nuclear weapons. The facility has not yet been completed, however, and Albright says that the West would insist that Arak be completely shut down as part of any deal. There’s a simple reason for that: Once operational, bombing the plant could lead to massive radiation leaks, potentially poisoning tens of thousands of Iranians. If no deal is struck, Albright says, Israel would strongly consider destroying Arak before it came online. Kahl notes the United States could try to forestall an Israeli strike by offering to provide Iran with a light-water reactor, which would provide the same amount of energy as a heavy-water plant without being able to produce the high-quality plutonium needed for a bomb”.

There is no certainty that a deal covering all of these points will be reached. Iranian objections to any one of these points, could, potentially, derail the deal and move the US and Iran back to where they were last year but in an unhealthy and perhaps dnagerous acrominous atmosphere.

The article concludes, “Kahl, the former Pentagon Middle East official, said that no agreement, no matter how detailed, could permanently persuade Iran to fully abandon its decades-long quest for nuclear weapons. Still, he said, a flawed agreement would be better than no agreement at all”.


11 Responses to “What America wants from Iran”

  1. A big deal? | Order and Tradition Says:

    […] have written that Dr Rouhani’s latest moves are almost entirely postitive. Others have noted what America needs from Iran in order to “permanently” end the nuclear issue, but some […]

  2. Iranian leverage? | Order and Tradition Says:

    […] death for Rouhani. However there is some uncertainty that this is what is actually being proposed. Western demands on Iran are complex and hard to achieve but a reduced enrichment that is verifiable would go a long way to […]

  3. Temporary setback | Order and Tradition Says:

    […] as it said it would and similarly, the Saudi’s could come around to a US deal with Iran if one does happen and most of the terms are agreed to and the nuclear issue is finally resolved peacefully. It would put the Saudi-Iranian relationship […]

  4. “Offers more leverage” | Order and Tradition Says:

    […] She argues that ”the Iran case does not meet the first three conditions. The goal, suspension of Iran’s nuclear program, involves a core national security concern for Tehran. […]

  5. A Saudi bomb | Order and Tradition Says:

    […] Iran must show that its purpose is for civilian energy and not weapons. If it were to do this, America would certainly be less concerned about Iran’s programme but even this may not be enough to stop the Saudis at this […]

  6. To bomb, or not to bomb | Order and Tradition Says:

    […] is extended, to negotiate a final, comprehensive solution. At the very least, U.S. officials have suggested that the ultimate deal must permanently cap Iran’s enrichment at five percent; substantially […]

  7. An impossible deal? | Order and Tradition Says:

    […] it has been written elsewhere exactly what the US and others want when it comes to a deal with Iran. However, what should be rejected […]

  8. Crimea and Iran | Order and Tradition Says:

    […] It is hard enough to get all parties to agree a deal and then have an added layer of complication with Russia. The Europeans tend to be much more eager to agree a deal and are, on the whole less concerned about a nuclear Iran than America. Yet, even within Europe there are divisions on this. Germany and France are the most dovish, while the UK is closer to the American line. Then there is the complication of having agreed a deal getting it ratified. On this front both America and Iran are the hardest. The hardliners in both the Senate and in Iran are continuing to push for a deal that doesn’t exist and in all probability won’t ever exist. If either side push too hard the ratification process could be the sticking point. All of this is in addition to the current crisis in Ukraine and the understandable calls for hard, punitive sanctions on Russia. All of this assumes a deal is done in the first place, which despite signs is by no means certain. […]

  9. Order and Tradition Says:

    […] primary point of contention is the level of uranium enrichment to be allowed. Naturally the inspections regime will be toughened as well but “Iran insists it needs to expand its capacity to refine […]

  10. Graham and Menendez write a letter | Order and Tradition Says:

    […] should be said that any inspections regime should be intrusive in order to allay American fears, but at the same time giving the inspections regime such a specific and lengthy timeframe would all […]

  11. Support for walking away? | Order and Tradition Says:

    […] the talks in Vienna between Iran and the P5+1 have gotten stuck on the details, primarily the number of centrifuges Iran operates and Iran’s ability to conduct nuclear research and development. Accepting […]

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