The Devil and the Details

April 20, 2015

Dear Reader,
Greetings and Good Day,

“We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future.” G.B. Shaw

Much was written and said about the Iranian Nuclear Agreement, and we can all expect that a lot more will come until the Islamic Republic will be declared clean, as was the case with South Africa.
Issues of contention, remain high on the agenda of talks, reprising this week after a brief repose.
In order to help on both sides to reach a deal, let us examine motivations, differences and incentives. As we say the devil and the details.
It is known that the Islamic Republic seeks by a nuclear deal to eliminate simultaneously all existing sanctions once and for all, the earliest the best, and impede new ones at any cost, possibly basing the clearance to be declared on parole.
It is also known that the US seeks to scale back sanctions by phasing out this process and by keeping in vigor a hit back option, coupled to an unfettered inspections regime until clearance is a certified reality.
The hidden cost in the negotiation is for Iran to project its hard power and manipulate the geopolitical theater of the Arab/Israeli conflict, while for the US it is to outsource the security and stability dynamics of the Middle East by managing a delicate balance of regional powers. The gap can be an abyss leading to permanent confrontation, or translate into cooperation on regional basis leading to lasting, peace between actual and future nation/states.
While differences are clear, it is yet obscure how these will be bridged and what will the visible costs be for failure of talks.
For starters, failure in talks is not an option for all parties involved in the P5+1 / Iran talks, simply because the strategic hindrance will be unthinkable.
Iran must exit isolation while exploiting the opportunities to generate normalcy, and the US must steer east while keeping in place a strategic imperative, to avoid proliferation, although Israel is nuclear solo until a denuclearized zone is agreed.

Iran has it clear that nurturing international relations and trade agreements needs a credible mentor (IAEA) and without the inspections to past, existing or new nuclear sites, isolation cannot be broken. The dilemma of the revolution will become to develop soft power topics to spread values of tolerance, development, acceptance and co existence, between the peoples of the ME. A new era is at its dawn.
The US by contrast knows well that the tempo of sanctions release is less important than the values Iran will develop to become a reliable partner in the “Domino of the Rims”.
Iran looks at sanctions as a Damocles’ spade on its neck, and can’t see any other huge benefit ahead, guided as it is by realism, the US looks at inspections as the only way to demean deception, concealment and treachery guided by realism and constrained by checks and balances.
What is required is a Teutonic effort not to rally fears of the electorate in the upcoming Iranian majlis election, as already happened to the Knesset. This effort needs to guarantee the rights and narrative of the Palestinian nation, it needs to cement the diplomatic negotiation and international arbitration of dredging in the South China Sea, in tandem with aiding Iran to deliver its true values and finally checking on Russia not to go rogue.
Considering that the architecture of the deal is well known, number of centrifuges, duration, scope of nuclear sites, quantity of enriched uranium, breakthrough one year, traceability of the process from quarries to laboratories, it is accurate to say that additional protocols tackling differences will be the significant shift.
As we have two months to reach a concluding act to the marathon talks, it would be pivotal to concentrate on the differences or additional protocols, which are sanctions release and inspections.
Inspections on past, future and existing nuclear Iranian sites and program, can be carried out only by the IAEA and this process will be lengthy, tedious and complex, yet it is an independent portion of the agreement.
What powers can do is to help the IRGC benefit from inspections and transform this into an opportunity where commanders will evolve their perspective to become positive, by obtaining in exchange of inspections, new technology in space exploration, in surveillance, and in conventional arms, henceforth inspections until clearance is declared can become a vehicle to advance the military doctrine into modern warfare, aid and assistance.

Sanctions include two distinct blocs, one is related to assets (cash deposits, confiscated properties, etc,) mostly imposed by the US; and the second to capabilities be these import/export restrictions, technology access denial or else, imposed by several actors ( UN, EU, US congress and others).
Sanctions on capabilities can be withdrawn rapidly in case of agreement and it is auspicious this can happen simultaneously although the timing of each body differs, meetings at the UN are not the same as the summer holidays of the US congress or the venues of the EU.

Capabilities will be empowered by the potential of a deal, where trade will be boosted and a lot of exchange will supersede the tempo of the sanctions phasing out or snap back in case of clamorous and manifest disregard or “vacatur”. Who will arbitrate in that case? Isn’t it?

Sanctions on assets can follow two different scenarios, these can be delayed indefinitely in case of disregard, or they can be ended in case of manifest cooperation with IAEA as follows, one third as retroactive cash premium (it is a fait accompli that Iran negotiated strenuously and peacefully so far and it deserves a prize) to be paid before Norouz 2016, another third after 3 annual IAEA positive reports and ultimately the last third at clearance.

As simple as this, Palestine will be declared a state with boundaries to be finalized, the future of Syria will depend on the transition when accepted by Tehran, the struggle in Yemen can easily end when shared governance will be accepted, as much as the ISIS retreat will be secured when Iraqi sharing governance will include the Sunnis.

This brings us to Lebanon where both Saudi and Iranian influence is very bad, and affecting the political panorama. The rational is to continue with the Lebanese army preparedness, and appoint a new commander, start the state reforms and elect a new secular female president and finally curb the national debt and widen the job opportunities and start ups for youngsters.

“No one is free who has not obtained the empire of himself. No man is free who cannot command himself.” Pythagoras

This post is dedicated to Lebanese peace, to the Iranian Peoples and to the state of Israel.

Thank You,