We are still a long way from a formal international agreement restraining Iran’s nuclear program, but the contours of a deal — both an interim accord and the final agreement — are slowly coming together. It won’t be perfect, but our worst mistake would be to make an impossible ideal the enemy of a tangible, “good enough” agreement.
When negotiations resume this week in Geneva between the United States, Britain, France, China, Germany and Russia on one side, and Iran on the other, the two parties will concentrate first on sealing an interim deal that would freeze Iran’s nuclear progress in return for some modest relief from sanctions; if that happens, negotiators would turn to hammering out details of the final, critical agreement.
That final agreement is expected to cap Iran’s uranium enrichment and halt its construction of a reactor to harvest plutonium. Moreover, it would bind Iran with far more intrusive inspections than those currently in place (or ever imposed on Iran), and it should carry the threat that sanctions could be quickly reimposed if Iran were ever caught cheating. Thus, Tehran could not manufacture even a crude nuclear weapon quickly, and it would be highly likely that the world would know about it long before such a weapon were ready.
If we can get it, such a final deal should be more than adequate to remove the Iranian nuclear program as a source of fear and instability in the Middle East.
Of course, it still wouldn’t be perfect. It would not eliminate Iran’s nuclear program. It would probably allow Tehran to continue some enrichment. In theory, this residual capability could become the foundation of a new Iranian drive for nuclear weapons, possibly even a secret one.
Read more at The Washington Post.
[Targeting Rouhani’s brother] is a very convenient way to cause pain to the family without necessarily provoking a crisis of office. The general message that the rest of the system is trying to send to Rouhani is not to get too far ahead of himself, to not allow his decisive election victory to give him illusions of greater autonomy and authority than his position actually has.
There's often a temptation to look for some kind of logic [in the arrests of students and dual nationals in Iran]... I think that this particular case [of Xiyue Wang] highlights the fact that the logic is simply the paranoia of the Islamic Republic—its judiciary and its security services in particular.
This is just a system [in Iran] that views individual foreigners who come to the country, particularly people with some language capabilities, as inherently suspect.