The sanctions on Iran

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Iran’s nuclear capabilities discussion turned into sanctions

Iran’s nuclear capabilities discussion turned into sanctions

Not all nations are happy with the results of the Geneva meeting

Article: Alec Salloum – News Writer

As of Nov. 24, an interim accord has been reached concerning nuclear sanctions imposed on Iran.  The accord took place in Geneva, Switzerland, and saw the United States, China, Russia, Germany, France and Britain in attendance.  The rulings of the accord should be implemented over the next six months.

From the preamble of the Joint Plan of Action document, “The goal for these negotiations is to reach a mutually-agreed long-term comprehensive solution that would ensure Iran’s nuclear program will be exclusively peaceful.

Essentially, the agreement that was reached seeks to allow Iran to resume its nuclear programs for alternative power, all while preventing Iran from building nuclear weapons.  However, the parties involved, and those directly affected by the rulings, seem to be uncertain on the exact terms of the agreement.

Immediately following the meetings, US Secretary of State John Kerry stated, “Let me be clear, this first step does not say that Iran has a right to enrichment.  No matter what interpretive comments are made it is not in this document.”

Rather unfortunately, the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke on his slightly different interpretation of the deal.  Believing that Iran’s nuclear right had been recognized and validated, including enrichment.  On the same day, in the same building in Geneva where Kerry made his statement Rouhani said, “This right has been explicitly stipulated by this agreement, stressing that Iran will go on with enrichment.”

This concerning discrepancy of understanding has led to some global concern.  So for the sake of clarity, when discussing uranium enrichment the accord specifically states in its second point that Iran “will not enrich uranium over five per cent for the duration of the six months.”

Additionally, the stockpile of uranium enriched over 20 per cent will half be allowed for “working stock”, and the other half diluted through down blending to five per cent.

For reference, a typical nuclear weapon utilizes 80 per cent, or more, enriched uranium. Despite this, lower percentiles can in theory still be used.

This new accord comes after over a decade of tumultuous relations between Iran and the West.  The United States especially has been apprehensive of the Middle Eastern power, and has imposed an economic embargo.

Additionally, sanctions specifically on nuclear power can be traced to American policy.  One document explained that “sanctions should target Iran’s energy sector that provides about 80 per cent of government revenues.”

Though this is likely a contributing factor, fear of nuclear armaments is still the cornerstone of these previous sanctions.  In response to new sanctions, President Obama said, “For the first time in nearly a decade, we have halted the progress of the Iranian nuclear program, and key parts of the program will be rolled back.”

However, not every nation is as optimistic about the results from the Geneva meetings as the United States.  Israel and Saudi Arabia have been vocal on their disapproval of the sanctions.  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his disdain, stating “What was achieved … in Geneva is not an historic agreement; it is an historic mistake.”

In the past, the Jewish nation has felt the sting of Iranian backed terror cells, and if nuclear weapons were developed, is a prime target for attack.  Similarly, Saudi Arabia, a majority Sunni nation, has negatively reacted to the news.

Despite these apprehensions, there exists greater transparency in the Iran nuclear programs.  There also exists policy that will allow organizations into Iran to inspect nuclear sites and ensure no breaches are made to the sanctions.

Image: U.S. Department of State

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