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Russian political scientists welcome Geneva agreements as "important precedent"

November 25, 2013, 11:24 UTC+3 Zamyatina Tamara
© EPA/MARTIAL TREZZINI

MOSCOW, November 25. /ITAR-TASS/. Agreement on the Iranian nuclear program that was reached by the P5+1 (five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany) and Iran in the early hours of Sunday sets an important precedent in terms of cooperation between Russia and the U.S. for the purpose of reduction of threats to peace, notable Russian political scientists, Dr. Sergei Rogov and Dr. Alexei Arbatov said Sunday.

The agreement on reducing the tensions around the Iranian nuclear program marks “a doubtless success of the Russian and American diplomacy,” said Dr. Rogov, the director of the Institute for the U.S. and Canada Studies reporting to the Russian Academy of Sciences.

“Efforts undertaken by Russia and the U.S. towards forcing Teheran to suspend its nuclear program for six months - as much as the Syrian government’s consent to destroy the arsenals of chemical weapons - testify to the fact that Moscow and Washington are capable of attaining the elimination of the weapons of mass destruction in the interests of peace,” he said.

“These arrangements are but the first step to resolving the Iranian problem diplomatically rather than militarily,” Dr. Rogov said.

“The U.S., members-states of the European Union and the Arab countries likewise perceived the Iranian program in the nuclear sphere and a possible advent of missiles as a threat to peace,” he went on.

“The U.S. stayed in the condition of a cold war against Iran for thirty-five years and there was a danger that the cold war might grow over into a real ‘red-hot’ conflict - something that Israel was pressing for. This danger has not been fully removed but at least it has been staved off for some time and a compromise solution has been reached,” Dr. Rogov said.

“Although the Geneva agreement embodies a temporary solution and is slated for six months only, it reflects the readiness of the two sides to make concessions. On the part of Iran, this is the renunciation of a further buildup of the reserves of highly enriched uranium that might become a raw material for a nuclear bomb, while the West has agreed to ease up the sanctions against Teheran, albeit partially.”

“On the whole, that’s an important precedent in Russian-U.S. cooperation in the multipolar world format,” Dr. Rogov said.

The Geneva agreement that binds Iran to refrain from enriching uranium to a level higher than 5% over six months and to “wash down” to 5% some 200 kg of the uranium initially enriched to 20% has put aside the threat to peace for some time, said Dr. Alexei Arbatov, the director of International Security Center at the Institute of the World Economy and International Relations.

He provided some details, saying: “Given the availability of 200 kg of uranium enriched to 20%, Teheran had to make just one step to 90% weapons-grade uranium, which it might have utilized in a nuclear bomb or in sea-based nuclear reactors installable on submarines.”

In addition to this, Iran is expected to stop construction of a heavy-water nuclear reactor in Arak that might be used for the production of plutonium.

“That’s also a serious shift in the settlement of tensions,” Dr. Arbatov said. “While the previous draft agreement demanded that Teheran should not commission the heavy water power unit in Arak, the current agreement says Iran will not finalize construction of the facility and will freeze the project,” the expert said.

Along with it, Dr. Arbatov asked a question: Why does Iran need enriched uranium at all, to say nothing of plutonium? The agreement in effect at present says that Russia supplies nuclear fuel to the country’s only nuclear power plant at Busher and then takes the waste fuel back for utilization.

This means that the Iranians do not need nuclear fuel of their own for peaceful purposes because only the countries having nuclear armaments or a ramified nuclear power industry stand in need of it. But Iran does not have it and this means military goals are the only ones it could be possibly enriching uranium for.

What remains to be done in this situation is to recognize Teheran’s right to possessing low-enriched uranium only and exclusively in the quantities needed for a civilian nuclear industry, Dr. Arbatov said.

He pointed out Teheran’s consent to the placement of control by the International Atomic Energy Agency /IAEA/ at the nuclear facilities of the Islamic Republic, including the plants in Natanz and Fordo, as well as the consent to refrain from installing additional centrifuges and building new enrichment facilities, and to scrap the industrial processes necessary for the obtaining of plutonium.

As for the position taken by Israel, which criticized the Geneva agreement, Dr. Arbatov believes the Israeli government is still experiencing a threat on the part of Iran and it demands the mothballing under the IAEA control of all the uranium already enriched and its removal from the Middle East.

“But that’s just a matter of time,” he said.

Dr. Rogov described as unprecedented the pressures the Israelis tried to put on the Sextet of negotiating countries and the highly derogatory comments from Tel Aviv upon the finalization of the Geneva accords.

“This is a testimony to the absence of reliable guarantees for a full settlement of the situation around the Iranian nuclear programs,” he said.

Dr. Arbatov believes that the agreements reached in Geneva will not affect the continued deployment of the U.S. antiballistic missile system in Europe, although the Americans cite the importance of thwarting possible missile launches from the Iranian territory as the main reason for the continuation of this military effort.

“The Geneva agreements do not say anything on the problem of the Iranian missiles although the text of the document hasn’t been published yet and it’ll definitely require scrutiny,” he said. “The Americans will be carrying out the antiballistic missile program in Europe to the extent the financial status of the U.S. and NATO allows this but still the Geneva agreements definitely make this program devoid of urgency.”

“Very definitely, Iran will not create nuclear weaponry but the so-called Arab spring, damn it, that has spread from Morocco to Afghanistan doesn’t give guarantees against the arrival of Islamic radicals to power anywhere in the Middle East, and hence there is no guarantee the region will not explode, translating all of its hypothetical threats to peace into reality,” he warned.

 

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