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Eye on Iran: Senators Writing New Sanctions in Case Iran Cheats

Eye on Iran: Senators Writing New Sanctions in Case Iran Cheats

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AP: "Leading Democratic and Republican senators are crafting legislation to reinstate the full force of sanctions and impose new ones if Iran doesn't make good on its pledge to roll back its nuclear program, brushing aside the Obama administration's fears about upending its diplomatic momentum. Sens. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Mark Kirk, R-Ill., hope to have the bill ready for other lawmakers to consider when the Senate returns Dec. 9 from its two-week recess, according to legislative aides. Many in Congress are skeptical, if not outright hostile, to the deal reached by Iran and world powers over the weekend in Geneva. The Kirk-Menendez measure would require the administration to certify every 30 days that Iran is adhering to the terms of the six-month interim agreement and that it hasn't been involved in any act of terrorism against the United States. Without that certification, sanctions worth more than $1 billion a month would be re-imposed and new sanctions would be added. The new measures would include bans on investing in Iran's engineering, mining and construction industries and a global boycott of Iranian oil by 2015. Foreign companies and banks violating the sanctions would be barred from doing business in the United States. The senators hope to send the bill to the White House before the end of the year, said the aides, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak by name on the matter." http://t.uani.com/1cMxfeH

Free Beacon: "The final details of a nuclear agreement signed over the weekend between Iran and Western nations will not actually go into effect until further negotiations take place at a later date, according to a senior administration official and sources on Capitol Hill. Even as Iran and the P5+1 announced late Saturday night that they had reached a six-month interim deal that curbs Iran's nuclear program while giving Tehran the ability to continue some uranium enrichment activities, it is now clear that the six-month freeze will not go into effect until the P5+1 negotiators and Iran agree to a final plan to implement the interim agreement. 'Technical details to implement the Joint Plan of Action must be finalized before the terms of the Plan begin,' a senior administration official told the Washington Free Beacon on Monday. 'The P5+1 and Iran are working on what the timeframe is.' Congressional sources confirmed that the freeze would not actually begin until the parties agree to sign a supplemental agreement that puts the framework into effect. That means the six-month clock referenced by the administration and media has not yet started. Iran can continue its most controversial nuclear activities as negotiators work to finalize the interim deal reached over the weekend." http://t.uani.com/1hekz63

Reuters: "Sunday's agreement to curb Iran's nuclear program contains an apparent gap that could allow Tehran to build components off-site to install later in a nuclear reactor where it has promised to halt work, experts said. They said any impact of the omission is likely to be small if Iran follows other undertakings in the interim accord, which is designed to restrain Tehran's nuclear program for six months in return for limited sanctions relief. But the gap, which one diplomat described as a potential 'loophole', could provide a test of Iran's intentions, and demonstrates how difficult it will be to reach a final deal to resolve Iran's nuclear standoff with the West once and for all... In the deal, Iran agreed that it will 'not make any further advances of its activities' at Arak, language that also covers its two big uranium enrichment plants, Fordow and Natanz. Footnotes hammered out in the final hours of the talks set out a range of activities that would be forbidden at the reactor. For the half year covered by the agreement, Iran is barred from starting the reactor up, bringing fuel or heavy water to it, testing or producing more fuel for it, or installing any remaining components. But no language explicitly prevents it from making components elsewhere, which could then be installed later. Former chief U.N. nuclear inspector Olli Heinonen, now at Harvard university, said the measures were good, but could have been better: 'I would have also included the manufacturing of key components,' he told Reuters in an e-mail." http://t.uani.com/1cpSl2D

Nuclear Agreement

Fox News: "Iran has pledged to chemically convert its cache of enriched uranium into a less dangerous substance as part of a deal struck on Sunday, but that conversion can be undone through a well-known process, experts tell FoxNews.com. The weekend deal reached by the U.S. and five other world leaders to curb Iran's nuclear program in exchange for lifting some sanctions requires Iran to take uranium that had been enriched to 20 percent -- most of the way to weapons-grade -- and convert it into uranium dioxide (UO2). But that process is readily undone, explained Charles D. Ferguson, president of the Federation of American Scientists. 'This is a meaningful barrier right now, but it's not a permanent barrier,' Ferguson told FoxNews.com. 'They might have the ability to make a facility to reconvert it ... close to a dozen countries have that process.' ... It's reversible, but not that quickly,' Albright told FoxNews.com. 'There are several chemical steps, but Iran knows how to do them.'" http://t.uani.com/1geNDHB

Reuters: "President Barack Obama took on critics of a newly brokered nuclear deal with Iran on Monday by saying tough talk was good for politics but not good for U.S. security. The president seemed to want to make a victory lap with his remarks on Monday, which were mainly focused on immigration reform. He noted he had ended the war in Iraq and would end the war in Afghanistan next year, two things he also pledged to do as a candidate. If Tehran follows the agreement, Obama said, it would chip away at years of mistrust with the United States. To his critics, Obama was especially direct. 'Tough talk and bluster may be the easy thing to do politically, but it is not the right thing for our security,' he said." http://t.uani.com/1b1sAmv

AP: "A nuclear deal between the U.S., Iran and other world powers has been described as a trust-building step after decades of animosity that hopefully will lead to a more comprehensive deal down the road. But for many of the 66 Americans who were held hostage for 444 days at the start of the Iranian revolution, trusting the regime in Tehran feels like a mistake. 'It's kind of like Jimmy Carter all over again,' said Clair Cortland Barnes, now retired and living in Leland, N.C., after a career at the CIA and elsewhere. He sees the negotiations now as no more effective than they were in 1979 and 1980, when he and others languished, facing mock executions and other torments. The hostage crisis began in November of 1979 when militants stormed the United States Embassy in Tehran and seized its occupants. Retired Air Force Col. Thomas E. Schaefer, 83, called the deal 'foolishness.' 'My personal view is, I never found an Iranian leader I can trust," he said. 'I don't think today it's any different from when I was there. None of them, I think, can be trusted. Why make an agreement with people you can't trust?'" http://t.uani.com/1cpUKKB

Reuters: "When push came to shove in the closing hours of marathon negotiations in Geneva on Iran's nuclear program, it was President Barack Obama, back at the White House, who approved the final language on the U.S. side before the historic deal was clinched. It was perhaps only fitting that Obama had the last say. His push for a thaw with Tehran, a longtime U.S. foe, dates back to before his presidency, and no other foreign policy issue bears his personal stamp more since he took office in early 2009. Behind the risky diplomatic opening is a desire for a big legacy-shaping achievement and a deep aversion to getting America entangled in another Middle East conflict - motives that override misgivings to the Iran deal expressed by close allies Israel and Saudi Arabia. That may explain why Obama, even as he left the troubleshooting to Secretary of State John Kerry and gave him much of the credit for securing the diplomatic coup, has taken 'ownership' of the Iran issue like no other... Conservative critics say Obama's distaste for intervention, in particular his shying away from the bombing of Syria over chemical weapons use, has hurt U.S. credibility with Iran, a key ally of Damascus, and across the Middle East. 'One has to wonder if a better deal would have been possible ... had Iran believed there was a real military threat and had the United States not seemed to be so very desperate for a deal,' said Elliott Abrams, a foreign policy aide under Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush." http://t.uani.com/1bQEccR

Reuters: "Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states, despite their mistrust of Iran, gave a qualified welcome on Monday to Tehran's interim deal with world powers over its disputed nuclear programme. U.S.-allied Saudi Arabia, locked in a struggle with Iran for influence across the Middle East, is worried that its adversary is secretly seeking atomic weapons, a charge Tehran denies. 'If there was goodwill, this agreement could represent a preliminary step towards a comprehensive solution to the Iranian nuclear programme,' Saudi Arabia's cabinet said in a statement carried by state news agency SPA. The kingdom said it hoped further steps would follow that would guarantee the rights of all states in the region to peaceful nuclear energy. Earlier, Qatar and Kuwait came out in favour of the deal struck on Sunday after marathon talks in Geneva, saying they hoped it would help to preserve regional stability and security... On Sunday a senior Saudi foreign policy adviser said he was deeply concerned that the deal could give Iran more scope to extend its power in Arab countries, signalling Riyadh's unease at the possibility of a Western rapprochement with Tehran. 'The government of Iran, month after month, has proven that it has an ugly agenda in the region, and in this regard no one in the region will sleep and assume things are going smoothly,' said Abdullah al-Askar, chairman of the foreign affairs committee in the Shoura Council, an appointed quasi-parliament that advises the government on policy." http://t.uani.com/1c5T4Ys

Reuters: "Lebanon's Hezbollah on Monday hailed a nuclear deal between its patron Iran and world powers as 'a major victory' for Tehran... 'What was achieved through this agreement is a major victory for Iran and to all the people of the region and it is a defeat for the enemies of these people,' Hezbollah said in a statement. '(It is) a model victory and world class achievement which the Islamic state adds to its record which shines with victories and achievements.'" http://t.uani.com/1aTX2Cl

Sanctions

AFP: "The partial easing of sanctions on Iran in the weekend nuclear deal will only have a small benefit for the Iranian economy, a senior US Treasury official said Monday. The official said that the country's economy remains in deep recession and will get little boost from the narrow measures agreed to expand Tehran's access to international trade and finance. 'In relation to the depth of the economic distress that Iran is currently facing, this package is really quite modest and economically insignificant,' the official said in a briefing for journalists. 'It will not move the needle' in terms of the country's economic performance. The official, who declined to be named, also warned international businesses that most sanctions remain in place on Iran and said they should not assume they can trade freely with the country now. 'Any business, any bank, any broker, anybody who thinks it's open season to go into Iran today, I think is sorely mistaken. We will enforce these sanctions,' the official said... 'The size of this deal is just not economically significant to Iran,' the official said. 'The vast bulk of our sanctions that we have built up over time all remain in place. We'll be continuing to apply the pressure on Iranians just as we have in the past.'" http://t.uani.com/IevGwE

AFP: "Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's cabinet marked its 100th day Monday, riding the success of a landmark nuclear deal that has for now vindicated his push to engage with the West. Backed by top decision-maker and supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Rouhani embraced the agreement as a victory for Iran that has forced the world to recognise its nuclear 'rights' and chipped away at punishing international sanctions. 'The sanctions regime will begin to shatter with the (implementation) of this agreement,' said Rouhani, of the six-month deal that aims to buy time for clinching a comprehensive accord." http://t.uani.com/1fFPp71

WSJ: "The Obama administration is mounting an aggressive campaign to head off new congressional sanctions against Iran, arguing they would jeopardize the high-stakes deal sealed this past weekend to curb Tehran's nuclear program... A possible compromise circulating in Congress is sanctions legislation that wouldn't take effect until after the initial six-month period of the Iran agreement, and only if the final accord didn't meet certain benchmarks. However, the White House, coordinating with other nations involved in the negotiations, doesn't want any new sanctions adopted-even those that might not take effect for an extended period because it feels it will poison the negotiating environment, senior officials said. 'The international community is now invested in the six-month negotiations,' a senior administration official said. 'If we did anything that made it look like we're not taking that window seriously or are moving prematurely to pressure, we could jeopardize the international unity both in the negotiations and in the enforcement of the sanctions regime.'" http://t.uani.com/1b2dqgJ

Free Beacon: "Analysts suggest Iran's oil exports could increase by up to 50 percent under the interim nuclear agreement, despite insistence from Obama administration officials that there is no significant relaxation of oil sanctions in the six-month deal. The agreement allows Iran's customers to purchase oil at their 'current average amounts,' waiving the current U.S. sanctions rule that requires these countries to 'significantly reduce' their Iranian oil imports every six months. The deal also relaxes insurance and transportation sanctions, making it easier and less expensive for Iran to export oil. 'The explicit if partial relaxation of crude oil sanctions [in the agreement] is unexpected and at odds with repeated official signaling that oil sanctions would be untouched in the interim deal,' oil market analysis firm the Rapidan Group said in an email statement on Sunday... 'This weekend's outcome strengthens our expectation that Iran's exports would tick up toward 1.5 mb/d during any interim deal,' said the Rapidan Group." http://t.uani.com/1a01Y4R

Reuters: "Iran is quietly mobilising more ships to store and transport oil, aiming to keep its fields working and mitigate losses of several billion dollars a month from sanctions which remain in place for at least another six months, trade sources familiar with the matter say... 'Iran will try and export its crude to any country that will accept it and if that involves methods to conceal how it is done, they will do it,' said Varzi, who now runs an energy consultancy in Britain... 'They desperately need as many tankers as they can get hold of as they are producing more oil than they can shift which is a big problem for them,' one European based trade source said. 'Iran is also trying to use vessels not previously associated with them to take the heat of their main domestic fleet.'" http://t.uani.com/18D6OZQ

Reuters: "Foreign shipping companies, fearing a loss of business in Western nations because of sanctions, have backed off from deals with Iran. This has put the onus on Iran's main tanker operator, NITC, but sanctions have restricted its access to insurance and the certification that allows its ships to call at major ports. Among vessels now being used by Iran are some previously controlled by Irano Hind, an Indian-Iranian joint venture recently wound up due to sanctions, trade sources said. The former company's fleet included at least three oil tankers. Trade sources said one of those vessels, the Ramtin, which shipping databases showed was now Iranian-flagged, had made at least one ship-to-ship transfer off the coast of Singapore and Malaysia last month. Ship-tracking data showed the vessel had called at Iran's Larak Island oil terminal in September... Ship-tracking information shows that Iran has aimed to provide assistance to its main regional ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, as civil war grinds on. Another former Irano Hind vessel, the Iranian-flagged Tour 2, delivered crude oil to Syria last month, port loading and ship tracking data showed...A further three tankers controlled by NITC also made deliveries to Syria last month, data showed... Separately, the Falcon Pride oil tanker has made regular runs between Iran's Assaluyeh anchorage to the port of Jebel Ali in the United Arab Emirates, carrying Iranian light oil, known as condensate, ship tracking and trade sources said." http://t.uani.com/18D6OZQ

Reuters: "India could step up imports from Iran next month and start transferring billions of dollars owed it for oil as early as next week following a deal to curb Tehran's nuclear programme... The new agreement would let Iran receive about $4.2 billion in oil money from accounts held abroad if it fulfils commitments under the deal over the next six months. India is Iran's second-largest buyer and currently owes Tehran about $5.3 billion for oil shipments, according to government and refining sources. The deal also lifts insurance restrictions on Iranian shipments, which could allow Indian refiner HPCL to import an extra 50,000 barrels per day (bpd) in December to March - about a quarter more than the daily average over the first nine months of 2013... Payments could potentially resume through Turkey's state-run Halkbank, a route used until February when it was blocked by sanctions. National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) asked Indian refiners in mid-October to settle some of their payments in euros via Halkbank as soon as possible." http://t.uani.com/IelHIc

Reuters: "The sheer complexity of the interim Iranian nuclear deal and the expected slow pace of implementation tempered optimism among traders in the Gulf emirate of Dubai on Monday over the impact of up to $7 billion in sanctions relief. But the expected concessions have been enough to give a psychological boost to the Iranian business community in Dubai, the main gateway into the economically isolated country. Despite a decade of sanctions, Iran has managed to get most of the commodities and goods it needs via Dubai's flourishing re-export market. But new embargoes imposed by the United States and its allies in late 2011 and early 2012 hit hard." http://t.uani.com/19Y8Dwt

Bloomberg: "Sasan Ghorbani says the Iranian auto industry conference he's organizing in Tehran next weekend is suddenly a hotter ticket than he'd expected. Visas will be made available upon arrival to meet a surge in demand after the last weekend's Geneva agreement to ease trade restrictions on Iran, said Ghorbani, head of the Islamic Republic's auto-parts manufacturers association. 'Everyone asks us, Did you know that sanctions would be lifted days ahead of this conference?' he said in a phone interview yesterday. 'To be honest, we didn't.' Among confirmed participants in the Iran Auto Industry International Conference on Nov. 30 are Renault SA and Italy's Pininfarina SpA, according to the event's website." http://t.uani.com/1cpWTpL

AFP: "French carmakers Peugeot and Renault look to be among the clearest beneficiaries of the interim deal that lifts some sanctions on Iran, with both hoping to leap back into the Middle East's biggest auto market... Iran itself counts car manufacturing as its second-biggest industry after oil, accounting for 10 percent of its gross domestic product... PSA Peugeot Citroen 'is closely following the development of the situation concerning Iran, but we are not about to resume our sales activities tomorrow,' a company spokesman told AFP in Paris... The caution shown by PSA Peugeot Citroen stemmed in part by the fact that it has US group General Motors as a partner. That relationship was seen as instrumental in it having to quit Iran despite the heavy operating loss of around a hundred million euros ($135 million) it represented between 2011 and 2012. Also to factor in is the temporary and 'reversible' nature of the deal with Iran, which is to apply for a six month period during which the Islamic republic and world powers will try to reach a permanent and comprehensive pact." http://t.uani.com/IevGwE

Just-Auto: "News of this weekend's apparently dramatic breakthrough in negotiations between Iran and the so-called P5+1 countries looking to limit any nuclear ambition on Tehran's part, has been hailed by domestic and French automakers...No precise details of any sanctions lifting have yet been disclosed, but Iranian automaker Iran Khodro (IKCO), PSA Peugeot Citroen and Renault, have hailed the apparent breakthrough that will give Tehran six months to comply with initial Western nuclear requirements. 'There is a new atmosphere in Iran - we are very hopeful,' an IKCO spokesman told just-auto from Tehran. 'This is the first breaking of these sanctions. And also [there could be] new partnerships from other automakers that can come to this market, which is attractive for foreign investors. This is a new day for automakers. More than [just] previous partners, we can also host more automakers which are interested to come to invest in the automotive sector of Iran.'" http://t.uani.com/17V1q62

AFP: "A new sense of economic optimism has reverberated across Iran since the signing over the weekend of an initial deal between Tehran and world powers that is aimed at reining in Iran's nuclear ambitions. For a second straight day Monday, the local currency, the rial, rose about 2 percent against the U.S. dollar, regaining some of the value it has lost since last year, as the promise that some sanctions against Iran would be eased under the accord gave rise to hopes that the Islamic republic's long economic isolation might come to an end... 'What has happened during Rouhani's 100 days has given peace and calm back to the Iranian people,' said Saeed Laylaz, a local analyst. 'The value of our national money has increased, putting an end to our economic free fall.'" http://t.uani.com/184P8mh

Reuters: "After a near two-year hiatus, Iranian private buyers are inquiring about purchasing 300,000 tonnes or more of milling wheat, signalling that a deal on Tehran's nuclear programme over the weekend is having an effect, European traders say. One trader said up to 500,000 tonnes may be being sought by Iranian private interests. Trade disruption caused by western sanctions over Iran's nuclear activities meant Iranian wheat buying has been concentrated almost entirely in the hands of the state purchasing agency, the Government Trading Corporation (GTC), with private buyers absent from international markets... 'Iranian private wheat importers apparently believe the sanctions deal at the weekend could open the international banking system to them again pretty rapidly,' a trader said. 'I received a large number of inquiries about buying wheat from private Iranian interests today largely for February/March (2014) shipment.'" http://t.uani.com/IiKNps

WSJ: "The European Union expects to ease sanctions on Iran in January with foreign ministers likely to back the process at a meeting next month, senior officials said Monday as the bloc moved quickly to implement the weekend's nuclear accord.  'The technical work has started already,' said Michael Mann, the spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. 'We expect it should be complete by mid-January.' French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said earlier Monday he expects the process of easing the restrictions to start at a meeting of EU foreign ministers next month. The officials are due to hold their monthly gathering Dec. 16." http://t.uani.com/1b2fPb4

Syria Conflict

Reuters: "Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Tuesday that Tehran was prepared to take part in the Syria peace talks in Geneva, slated for January 22, if invited. 'Participation of Iran in Geneva 2 is in our view an important contribution to the resolution of the problem. We have said all along that if Iran is invited, we will participate without any preconditions,' Zarif told Iran's Press TV... But for Western governments, Iran's reluctance to endorse last year's international accord on Syria has been a bar to its attendance at the talks, widely referred to as 'Geneva 2.'" http://t.uani.com/Ikz6Pk

Human Rights

Fox News: "The wife of imprisoned American pastor Saeed Abedini says she and her family are devastated after learning that the Obama administration did not try to secure the release of her husband as part of the newly signed deal on Iran's nuclear program. Saeed Abedini, an American citizen, has been imprisoned in Iran for more than a year for practicing Christianity. The talks over Iran's nuclear program were seen by his family and those representing them as one of the most promising avenues yet for securing his release. But the White House confirmed over the weekend that Abedini's status was not on the table during those talks. 'It's devastating,' the pastor's wife Naghmeh Abedini told Fox News Radio." http://t.uani.com/1iOIVT5

USA TODAY: "President Obama's administration appealed to Iran on Tuesday for the return of retired FBI Agent Robert Levinson, who disappeared six-and-a-half years ago and is believed to be held captive. 'As we approach the upcoming holiday season, we reiterate the commitment of the United States Government to locate Mr. Levinson and bring him home safely to his family, friends, and loved ones,' said a White House statement. The statement noted that Levinson is now 'one of the longest held Americans in history.'" http://t.uani.com/1aVC0Dh

Opinion & Analysis

David Albright in WashPost: "In the short run, the deal agreed to by Western powers and Iran over the weekend accomplishes a great deal. In the long run, however, many key issues still must be settled... Under these conditions, Iran's nuclear 'breakout' time would lengthen for the first time since its capability began approaching dangerous levels in the past year. If Iran used all of its installed centrifuges, the time it would need to produce a weapon would expand to at least 1.9 to 2.2 months, up from at least 1 month to 1.6 months. With IAEA monitors checking at Natanz and Fordow every day, this increase would allow the United States and its allies time to respond before Iran produces enough weapons-grade uranium for a bomb. Iran will also be delayed in reaching the point where it has sufficient centrifuges and enriched uranium to produce, undetected, enough weapons-grade uranium for a bomb. The Institute for Science and International Security estimated in July that, absent a deal, Iran could achieve this critical capability in mid-2014. The interim deal will delay Iran from achieving this destabilizing threshold, even if the deal's constraints end after six months... Important questions remain about the limitations in a final deal: What would be the exact limits on the size and scope of Iran's centrifuge program? Iran has 18,000 to 19,000 installed centrifuges. Under a final deal, would Iran have, say, 5,000 to 10,000 IR-1 centrifuges and a breakout time closer to six months? How long would these limits last? Would the enrichment plant at Fordow, buried deep in a mountain, close? The interim deal froze essential work at the Arak reactor, but its fate remains unsettled. Will that reactor be shut down or converted into a light-water reactor? If it operates as a heavy-water reactor, one day Iran could secretly separate weapons-grade plutonium produced there for nuclear weapons.To be credible and justify significant sanctions relief, any long-term deal would need to ensure that Iran's centrifuge capacity is highly limited and that these limits will further increase breakout times, preferably toward six months. It should be limited to one enrichment site, which means Fordow should be closed. These limitations should last for more than a decade. Stocks of domestically produced enriched uranium should be minimized, particularly since Iran would be able to buy enriched uranium fuel commercially far cheaper than it could make it. The Arak reactor will need to close or be converted to a more benign reactor. Iran will also need to accept greater IAEA inspections to ensure that it is not cheating on a long-term agreement. Given its track record, Iran can be expected to resist these limitations, but U.S. officials must remain firm." http://t.uani.com/IfDxdx

Robert Satloff in TNR: "Journalists and headline writers who characterized Geneva as a 'freeze' or 'halt' of Iran's nuclear program have a strange definition of these words. When Jack Lord or Telly Savalas caught up with a bad guy, pulled a revolver and yelled 'freeze' or 'halt,' the culprit wasn't being told to 'keep moving, just more slowly'; he was being told to stop-or else. Geneva, however, does not stop Iran's nuclear program. Under the agreement, thousands of centrifuges-including many of the advanced IR-2 version-will continue to spin and produce enriched uranium, though within defined limits. Among the many moving parts of Iran's complex, multifaceted program, the term 'freeze' applies to two components-the accumulation of 20 percent enriched uranium (which will be converted into another form) and the nuclear-related progress of the Arak heavy-water reactor project. Both achievements are substantial and important but the program itself is not, by any stretch, frozen... If the deal's major success is less consequential than many portray it, few commentators have focused on what may be its most consequential aspect-an apparent promise that, at the end of the process, Iran may eventually be able to enrich as much uranium as it wants, to whatever level it wants. That emerges from language buried in the paragraphs of the Joint Plan of Action, the formal name of the Geneva deal, that concern the parameters of a final agreement that is supposed to be negotiated over the next six months. The specific terms state, 'The final step of a comprehensive solution ... would involve a mutually defined enrichment programme with mutually agreed parameters consistent with practical needs, with agreed limits on scope and level of enrichment activities, capacity, where it is carried out, and stocks of enriched uranium, for a period to be agreed upon.' There appear to be two huge elements in this sentence: that Washington and its partners are on record now agreeing that the final accord will allow Iran to enrich uranium, putting the last nail in the coffin of six United Nations Security Council resolutions calling on Iran to suspend its enrichment activities, even temporarily; and that any limitations the final agreement may impose will not be final at all but only for 'a period to be agreed upon.' This paragraph trumps the faux argument over whether Iran has a 'right to enrich'; in practice, it could have an international stamp of approval to enrich. In this, this paragraph could be read as saying that if Iran acts like a Boy Scout long enough-one expects the 'agreed period' to be measured in years, not months-Iran's ayatollahs may receive formal international blessing for nuclear activities that, for a long time, have flouted the will of the international community. Taking the long view, therefore, the final deal contains a potentially huge payoff for Iran. Kicking the problem down the road-usually phrased more diplomatically as 'stretching Iran's potential breakout time'-is a key element of the Obama administration's approach. And from two other overlooked lines in the Geneva deal, there is a real possibility that the two sides won't reach agreement on the actual terms of that final deal until after the midterms in November 2014... On the surface, it stands to reason that Iran has an interest in getting a final deal as quickly as possible. After all, the most punishing economic sanctions remain in place under the 'first step' deal and Obama promised renewed vigilance in sanctions enforcement when he announced the Geneva accord. But with the signing of this deal, the perception of leverage will begin to tilt away from Washington and toward Iran, which may want to see how this deal improves its regional standing before it heads into talks for a final agreement. When viewed in combination with the outcome of the Syria chemical weapons episode, for example, there is little doubt that America's threat of force has lost much of its credibility. The most Geneva portends for Iranian violation is the end of sanctions relief and perhaps additional sanctions; though Obama made a passing reference to his role as commander-in-chief in his weekend remarks, he quickly followed that he has 'a profound responsibility to try to resolve our differences peacefully, rather than rush towards conflict.'  This will have an effect in two ways. First, countries around the world that followed Washington's lead on sanctions as an alternative to having the crazy Americans bomb Iran may now restrain their enthusiasm for obeying rules that cost them billions of dollars. And second, regional powers that deferred to the Obama administration's strategy for dealing with the Iran problem may begin to take matters into their own hands.' http://t.uani.com/1cpNnm

UANI Advisory Board Member Jack David in NRO: "The announcement that the P5+1 (the five U.N. Security Council members plus Germany) reached a nuclear deal with Iran has just been made. A few details of the deal have been announced and there likely will be others. But what has been reported so far is sufficient to conclude, as Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said of the draft deal reported two weeks ago, that 'this is a very, very bad deal.' The Iranian 'concessions' thus far announced are unimpressive: Iran will stop enriching uranium beyond 5 percent; it will install no additional centrifuges; it will convert the 100 pounds or so of 20 percent-enriched uranium which quickly can be converted to weapons-grade uranium to something harder to convert to weapons-grade uranium. Iran has not agreed to dismantle any of the thousands of centrifuges it has installed and continues to operate; to send any of its 20 percent-enriched uranium out of the country; to close the nuclear facilities which will soon provide it with plutonium with which to make nuclear weapons; to stop its testing of long-range missiles; or to cease its support of terrorist activities by Hezbollah and others... The U.S., by pressing forward with this very, very bad deal has further eroded its dwindling international credibility. No country in the Middle East will perceive U.S. agreement to this deal as anything but further evidence of its weakness, further evidence that the U.S. is content to undermine its historical alliances, expressions to the contrary notwithstanding." http://t.uani.com/17QjE6z

Dennis Ross in Politico: "Those who fear the consequences of this initial deal worry that the United States is so concerned about diplomacy failing that it will, in fact, accept a bad deal that leaves Iran in a position where it has a breakout capability. Saying that no deal is preferable to a bad deal is a good slogan. But the Israeli and Saudis, among other critics, have no idea what the Obama administration thinks a bad deal might be. The text of this interim agreement reveals little in this regard, even while it says the comprehensive deal that follows it will address 'mutually defined enrichment programs with mutually agreed parameters consistent with practical needs.' Will the Iranians define their enrichment needs as limited? For our friends, the answer is no-and worse, they see that even if we are not explicitly conceding 'the right to enrich,' we are accepting in it in practice. All the more reason to let them know what we consider a bad deal and will not accept: anything that fails to roll back the Iranian program to small numbers of centrifuges, permits more than a bomb's worth of enriched uranium in-country, allows a heavy water plant and lacks transparency measures sufficient to verify these limitations. Defining a bad deal will not only reassure our friends; it will also help sustain our policy at home and ensure the Iranians have no illusions about what we can accept." http://t.uani.com/1c6zknD

Steve Hanke in Cato at Liberty: "With the announcement on Saturday night that Iran and the P5+1 group reached a tentative deal over the Iranian nuclear program, the Iranian rial appreciated 3.45% against the dollar on the black market. The rial jumped from 30000 IRR/USD on Saturday November 23rd to 29000 IRR/USD on Sunday November 24th. A daily appreciation of this magnitude is rare. In fact, it has occurred fewer than ten times since the beginning of 2013. Indeed, this indicates that the diplomatic breakthrough is having a positive effect on Iranian expectations. Over a year ago, I uncovered the fact that Iran experienced a period of hyperinflation (in early October 2012), when its monthly inflation rate peaked at 62%. Since then, I have been actively monitoring and reporting on the IRR/USD black market exchange rates and calculating implied inflation rates for the country. Since Hassan Rouhani took office, on August 3rd, Iranian expectations about the economy have turned less negative. Thus far, it appears Rouhani has been successful in ending the long period of economic volatility that has plagued Iran, since the US imposed sanctions in 2010. This has been reflected in the black-market IRR/USD exchange rate, which has held steady around 30,000 in recent weeks (see the accompanying chart)... There are three main factors at work here. The first is a concerted effort by the Rouhani administration and the central bank to curb Iran's inflation. This stands in stark contrast to the previous regime, whose strategy was to simply deny that inflation was a problem. The second is that that Iran's economy has proved remarkably 'elastic' - meaning that the country has ultimately adapted to the sanctions regime and has found ways to keep its economy afloat in spite of them. The third factor in the rial's recent stability is an improvement in Iranian economic expectations. This is where the P5+1 talks come into play. Iranians recognized that easing of the sanctions regime would be a bargaining chip in any nuclear negotiations. In consequence, their economic expectations improved as the talks progressed. Indeed, Saturday's announcement gave these expectations a shot in the arm. In light of the rial's recent stability, I have delisted the rial from my list of 'Troubled Currencies,' as tracked by the Troubled Currencies Project." http://t.uani.com/1ewV3VX

UANI Outreach Coordinator Bob Feferman in Algemeiner: "If Franklin Delano Roosevelt were alive today, how would he deal with negotiations with Iran and their claim of the right to enrich uranium? No doubt he would apply the Four Freedoms as the foundation to addressing the Iranian nuclear issue. In his 1941 State of the Union speech given prior to America's entry into World War II, President Roosevelt laid out the moral case for supporting the allies in the fight against Nazi Germany. Roosevelt identified what he called 'The Four Freedoms': the freedom of speech, the freedom of worship, the freedom from want, and the freedom from fear. The Iranian regime violates all four freedoms on a regular basis... While Iran continues to spin its centrifuges and gets closer to nuclear weapons capability, we must not allow Iranian leaders to 'spin' the world about its purported nuclear rights. We must remember that Iran continues to assault human rights and denies the central four freedoms - not only to its own people, but to others in the region as well. Nuclear rights are not an inalienable human right. In concluding his speech, Roosevelt said, 'Freedom means the supremacy of human rights everywhere. Our support goes to those who struggle to gain those rights or keep them. Our strength is in our unity of purpose.' We all have the right to live in freedom from the fear of Iran's radical theocratic regime armed with nuclear weapons. All those who seek this freedom must remember Roosevelt's words: 'Our strength is in our unity of purpose.'" http://t.uani.com/I9pMgV

Dan Levinson in WashPost: "On Tuesday, my father, Robert Levinson, becomes the longest-held hostage in U.S. history. Sadly, his 6 years 8 months in captivity surpasses the 2,454 days that Terry Anderson, the former Associated Press bureau chief in Beirut, was held from his family. My father was last seen March 9, 2007, on Kish Island, Iran, but he is not a missing person. Our family received a hostage video three years ago and photographs in 2011. In the video - in which he appears frail and visibly thinner than the 220 pounds he weighed when he was taken - my dad pleads for the U.S. government to help secure his release. In the photos, which were e-mailed to us, he is shackled. He has an unkempt beard and holds cryptic messages, the intended meaning of which we still do not understand." http://t.uani.com/IegyiO

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