A Confused World Reacts To The Iran Nuclear Deal

Tyler Durden's picture

The following statement was made by British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, on September 30, 1938 in front of #10 Downing Street, London, after his arrival home from the notorious Munich Conference of 1938.

We, the German Fuhrer and Chancellor, and the British Prime Minister, have had a further meeting today and are agreed in recognizing that the question of Anglo-German relations is of the first importance for our two countries and for Europe.

 

We regard the agreement signed last night and the Anglo-German Naval Agreement as symbolic of the desire of our two peoples never to go to war with one another again.

 

We are resolved that the method of consultation shall be the method adopted to deal with any other questions that may concern our two countries, and we are determined to continue our efforts to remove possible sources of difference, and thus to contribute to assure the peace of Europe.

 

My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honor. I believe it is "peace for our time." Go home and get a nice quiet sleep

75 years later, last night appeasement came to Iran:

(L to R) British foreign secretary, German foreign minister, EU foreign policy chief, Iran’s foreign minister, Chinese foreign minister, US secretary of state and Russian and French foreign ministers in Geneva on November 24, 2013.

It remains to be seen if appeasing Iran will lead to yet another anschluss or worse, but for now one thing is certain: nobody really knows what to make of last night's historic nuclear "deal" with Iran. Because when even the two main participants are unable to agree on what was decided...

... how is everyone else expected to fare any better?

In any case, here is a sampling of the immediate reactions, most of which were as expected. First, Israel:

  • Israel Foreign Minister Lieberman: Iran's greatest diplomatic victory since the Islamic revolution

Which is a good thing right? Wrong:

"What was concluded in Geneva last night is not a historic agreement, it's a historic mistake," Netanyahu said. "It's not made the world a safer place. Like the agreement with North Korea in 2005, this agreement has made the world a much more dangerous place."

Not surprisingly, Israel hates any deal that diffuses tension in the region and lowers the probability of war. Iran, on the other hand was giddy:

Hassan Rouhani hails nuclear deal as turning point for Iran

 

A smiling Hassan Rouhani stepped on to the spiral staircase of the presidential palace to announce to an anxious nation the first nuclear deal reached with world powers in a decade – a major achievement which capped his first 100 days in office.

Departing from the austere conference hall press events of his predecessors, and opting instead for a White House Rose Garden-style appearance, he declared that the Islamic Republic had won global powers’ recognition of Iran’s right to enrich uranium.

 

Billing it as a turning point for Iran – both internationally and at home – the centrist president elected on the hope of ending Iran’s isolation and fixing a collapsing economy made the most of the little sanctions relief offered by the Geneva agreement. Putting his own spin on the deal – and along the way directly contradicting American officials’ assertions – Mr Rouhani said the sanctions regime “had been broken” by the agreement, “whether others like it or not”. With the passage of time, he predicted, the cracks “will widen.”

 

In another sign of his media savvy as president, Mr Rouhani produced relatives and children of four scientists killed since 2010, part of a covert war against the nuclear programme. Each family was presented with a roll of honour.

 

Mr Rouhani reserved some of his final words for the supreme leader, declaring his appreciation for the Ayatollah’s guidance and stressing that negotiators had worked within these guidelines.

A delighted Rouhani promptly took to twitter:

Also not surprising is that unlike last time when the deal was scuttled in the last minute due to a block by France, this time Obama made a few phone calls to his socialist peer:

  • French President Francois Hollande “welcomes the conclusion of the Geneva negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program” in e-mailed statement by his office today.
    "The accord that was reached respects the demands imposed by France on the issues of uranium storage and enrichment, suspension of new facilities, and international control"
  • Agreement “constitutes a step toward the ending of Iran’s nuclear military program, and therefore toward the normalization of our relations with Iran”
  • "France will continue to work to reach a final agreement on this issue. The intermediate accord reached last night represents an  important step in the right direction”: Hollande

The other negotiating parties hailed the deal. From Iran's PressTV:

China, Germany and Russia have hailed the deal between Iran and the Sextet over Tehran’s nuclear energy program.

 

After more than four days of intense negotiations, Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany sealed an interim deal in Geneva on Sunday morning to pave the way for the full resolution of the West’s decade-old dispute with Iran over its nuclear energy program.

 

According to the Iranian Foreign Ministry, the deal allows Iran to continue its activities at Arak, Fordow and Natanz facilities. The agreement also stipulates that no additional sanctions will be imposed on Tehran because of its nuclear energy program.

 

China on Sunday welcomed the deal, saying the agreement with Tehran would "help safeguard peace and stability in the Middle East".

 

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle also hailed the agreement and said the nuclear deal marks “a turning point.”

 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also praised the deal and stressed it would benefit all sides. "Nobody lost, everyone ends up winning," he said.

Kerry's own spin may not have actually mentioned "peace in our time" just yet, but it was vigorous regardless:

  • “We believe very strongly that because the Iranian nuclear program is actually set backwards and is actually locked into place in critical places, that that is better for Israel than if you were just continuing to go down the road and they rush towards a nuclear weapon”
  • “The basic architecture of the sanctions is staying in place. There is very little relief. We are convinced over the next few months, we will really be able to put to the test what Iran's intentions are,” Kerry told CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley.
  • “When you're dealing with nuclear weapons, it's not an issue of trust,” Kerry said. “Verification is the key.”

And the punchline:

  • Kerry: If Iran's nuclear program is really only for peaceful purposes, then "prove it"

Just how does one prove they are not doing something they are not doing? Anyway, all of this is merely more theatrics. As the AP reports, the deal was prepared secretly months in advance following secret talks between the US and Iran:

The United States and Iran secretly engaged in a series of high-level, face-to-face talks over the past year, in a high-stakes diplomatic gamble by the Obama administration that paved the way for the historic deal sealed early Sunday in Geneva aimed at slowing Tehran's nuclear program, The Associated Press has learned.

 

The discussions were kept hidden even from America's closest friends, including its negotiating partners and Israel, until two months ago, and that may explain how the nuclear accord appeared to come together so quickly after years of stalemate and fierce hostility between Iran and the West.

 

But the secrecy of the talks may also explain some of the tensions between the U.S. and France, which earlier this month balked at a proposed deal, and with Israel, which is furious about the agreement and has angrily denounced the diplomatic outreach to Tehran.

 

The talks were held in the Middle Eastern nation of Oman and elsewhere with only a tight circle of people in the know, the AP learned. Since March, Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and Jake Sullivan, Vice President Joe Biden's top foreign policy adviser, have met at least five times with Iranian officials.

 

The last four clandestine meetings, held since Iran's reform-minded President Hassan Rouhani was inaugurated in August, produced much of the agreement later formally hammered out in negotiations in Geneva among the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China, Germany and Iran, said three senior administration officials. All spoke only on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss by name the highly sensitive diplomatic effort.

 

The AP was tipped to the first U.S.-Iranian meeting in March shortly after it occurred, but the White House and State Department disputed elements of the account and the AP could not confirm the meeting. The AP learned of further indications of secret diplomacy in the fall and pressed the White House and other officials further. As the Geneva talks appeared to be reaching their conclusion, senior administration officials confirmed to the AP the details of the extensive outreach.

Politics aside, Bloomberg reports on the actual elements of the deal:

Iran will get as much as $7 billion in relief from economic sanctions over six months under the first-step agreement reached today in Geneva, the Obama administration said.

 

In return for Iran limiting its nuclear program, the interim agreement provides for the release of $4.2 billion in frozen oil assets and will let Iran continue exporting oil at current levels, rather than forcing continued reductions by buyers, as would be required under current law, according to a White House statement.

 

The accord also will “suspend certain sanctions on gold and precious metals, Iran’s auto sector and Iran’s petrochemical exports, potentially providing Iran approximately $1.5 billion in revenue,” the administration said.

 

Israeli officials and some U.S. lawmakers have said sanctions should be tightened, not eased, to keep pressure on Iran. Rejecting those pleas, the U.S. and the five other countries negotiating with Iran have agreed to “not impose new nuclear-related sanctions for six months if Iran abides by its commitments under this deal, to the extent permissible within their political systems,” according to the White House statement.

 

The no-new-sanctions pledge will be tested when the U.S. Senate returns for legislative business on Dec. 9 after a Thanksgiving break. A group of 14 senators from both parties issued a statement last week pledging to “pass bipartisan Iran sanctions legislation as soon as possible.”

 

Critics of an interim accord in Congress and in Israel have predicted Iran would reap $20 billion or more in relief. U.S. officials have rejected such estimates and have said the accord won’t lift the most punishing sanctions -- those on oil sales and banking. The Obama administration estimated in its statement that Iran will continue to lose $4 billion a month in crude it otherwise would have exported.

Finally, while the cynics may say this was merely yet another attempt to redirect attention from the Obamacare debacle especially since Iran's nuclear power plants have been controlled by US-Israel made computer virus Stuxnet for years, we will one-up their cynicism and this was all merely an advertising photo op for Nike: