When Nuclear Deal Is Signed, Iran’s Supreme Leader Says Sanctions Must Lift

April 10, 2015 5:53 am
King Salman, the country’s newly installed leader, is 79, though many around him are a generation younger.
Saudi
Arabia is currently allied with the against in the
developing civil war in Yemen, which is fast becoming a major source of
regional instability. Mr. Kerry accused Tehran this week of direct
military support to the rebels there and warned Tehran to back off.
Ayatollah
Khamenei’s comments were the first time he has discussed the framework
that emerged from the nuclear talks last week in Lausanne, Switzerland.
His pronouncements are considered vital because they shape the “red
lines” for Iranian negotiators, though they have often showed
considerable flexibility in working out details that seem to adhere to
his literal meaning while still accommodating some Western demands.
TEHRAN — Iran’s
supreme leader on Thursday challenged two of the United States’ bedrock
principles in the nuclear negotiations, declaring that all economic
sanctions would have to be lifted on the day any final agreement was
signed and that military sites would be strictly off limits to foreign
inspectors.
The assertions by the leader, , could be tactical, intended to give both the negotiators and himself some political space to get Iran’s hard-liners accustomed to the framework of the nuclear deal reached a week ago with the United States and other world powers.
But
they sharply illustrated the difficult hurdles that lie ahead as
Secretary of State John Kerry and a large team of diplomats, energy
experts and intelligence officials try to reach a June 30 deadline that
would ensure that Iran could not race for a bomb for at least a decade —
and would establish a permanent inspection regime to catch any
cheating.
In his remarks, Ayatollah Khamenei
added several stinging criticisms of Iran’s regional competitor, Saudi
Arabia — calling its new leaders “inexperienced youths” — a sign of
rising regional tensions that could pose another threat to the
negotiations, even as diplomats strive to keep the issues on separate
tracks.
http://www.jokpeme.com/2015/04/when-nuclear-deal-is-signed-irans.html

Secretary of State John Kerry
has said that economic sanctions against Iran would be suspended in
phases, as the country complies with its obligations.

Credit
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

King Salman, the country’s newly installed leader, is 79, though many around him are a generation younger.
Saudi
Arabia is currently allied with the United States against Iran in the
developing civil war in Yemen, which is fast becoming a major source of
regional instability. Mr. Kerry accused Tehran this week of direct
military support to the rebels there and warned Tehran to back off.
Ayatollah
Khamenei’s comments were the first time he has discussed the framework
that emerged from the nuclear talks last week in Lausanne, Switzerland.
His pronouncements are considered vital because they shape the “red
lines” for Iranian negotiators, though they have often showed
considerable flexibility in working out details that seem to adhere to
his literal meaning while still accommodating some Western demands.
For
example, he had previously required that no nuclear facilities could be
closed, but under the framework accord one of them — Fordo, a deep
underground enrichment site — is being converted to a research center
where fissile material is banned. Another, a heavy-water reactor, is
being redesigned to prevent it from making bomb-grade plutonium.
On
Tuesday night the director of the C.I.A., John O. Brennan, said he
believed Ayatollah Khamenei had been persuaded, over the past two years,
that an accord was necessary to avoid an economic free fall in Iran.

Photo

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The C.I.A. director, John O.
Brennan, said he thought Ayatollah Khamenei had been convinced that a
deal was necessary to avoid severe economic problems in Iran.

Credit
Justin Lane/European Pressphoto Agency

But
the ayatollah himself said Thursday that he saw no need to make a clear
pronouncement on the deal because no signed agreement yet existed. But
he emphasized his longstanding position about the sanctions, saying that
they “should be lifted all together on the same day of the agreement,
not six months or one year later.”
The
Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, who spoke at a different event on
Thursday, echoed the supreme leader’s remarks but with a potentially
crucial difference, saying the sanctions have to be lifted on the day a
deal is put in place, potentially months after a signed agreement.
“We
will not sign any agreement unless all economic sanctions are totally
lifted on the first day of the implementation of the deal,” Mr. Rouhani
said during a ceremony for Iran’s nuclear technology day, which
celebrates the country’s nuclear achievements.
While
the June 30 deadline is still months away, the ayatollah’s comments
pose some significant potential challenges to Mr. Kerry and his
negotiating team.
Mr.
Kerry and President Obama have been saying that sanctions would be
suspended in phases, as Iran complied with its obligations. That is
critical to American leverage in making sure that Iran follows through
on its commitments to vastly reduce its uranium stockpile — a process
that will take months, if not longer — and decommissions centrifuges,
placing them in storage.
Since it was announced April 2,
American and Iranian officials have used different words to describe the
preliminary agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear program. Meanwhile,
Israeli leaders and members of Congress continue to express skepticism
over the framework. Negotiators have until June 30 to come up with a
final deal.

“Immediately”

Iran’s official explanation of the framework says sanctions that have punished Iran’s economy will be “immediately”
lifted once the agreement is implemented. On April 9, Iran’s supreme
leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in his first comments about the deal,
stressed that sanctions “should be lifted all together on the same day
of the agreement, not six months or one year later.”

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http://www.jokpeme.com/2015/04/when-nuclear-deal-is-signed-irans.html

President Obama’s View
Sanctions will be lifted in a phased approach, only after Iran lives up to its commitments under the agreement.
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Israel’s Impression
The deal removes sanctions “almost immediately” and makes Iranian compliance “unlikely.”

“Anyplace”

President Obama has said
inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency who will be
charged with verifying that Iran is complying with the agreement “can go anyplace” in Iran.

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Iran’s View
Iran has maintained that the deal
will not require inspections of military bases. Mr. Khamenei, above,
reiterated that inspections of military facilities would not be
permitted.
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Critics Say
Critics of the deal, like Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and Senator John McCain, chairman
of the Senate Armed Services Committee, insist that inspectors be
allowed to go “anywhere” in Iran, at “anytime.”

“No Longer”

In a statement following the announced framework, Mr. Obama said Iran would “no longer”
enrich uranium at its Fordo facility. But the American statement also
says Iran has agreed not to enrich uranium at Fordo for “at least 15
years.”

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http://www.jokpeme.com/2015/04/when-nuclear-deal-is-signed-irans.html

Iran’s Emphasis
More than 1,000 of the centrifuges
will be kept at Fordo, and modifications could be reversed if the United
States does not hold up its end of the deal. Above, President Hassah
Rouhani.
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http://www.jokpeme.com/2015/04/when-nuclear-deal-is-signed-irans.html

Israel and McCain
Want the facility to be closed completely.

“Snap Back”

Obama’s View

The United States will “preserve the ability to snap back” sanctions if Iran violates the agreement.

http://www.jokpeme.com/2015/04/when-nuclear-deal-is-signed-irans.html

Israeli Skepticism
Israel questions the effectiveness of this mechanism.

“Limited”

The American statement says
Iran will be prohibited from using its advanced centrifuges to produce
uranium for at least 10 years. Before those 10 years are up, Iran will
be able to conduct some “limited” research on the centrifuges.

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http://www.jokpeme.com/2015/04/when-nuclear-deal-is-signed-irans.html

Iran’s Statement
The Iranian statement omits the word “limited.”
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http://www.jokpeme.com/2015/04/when-nuclear-deal-is-signed-irans.html

Change Sought
Israel and Mr. McCain want the final agreement to prohibit all research on centrifuges.
On
Wednesday night, on the “PBS NewsHour,” Mr. Kerry said that in any
final agreement, Iran would also have to resolve outstanding questions
with the International Atomic Energy Agency over suspected military
dimensions of the nuclear program. “It will be part of a final agreement,” he said. “It has to be.”
Mr.
Kerry’s assurances did little to mollify the deal’s many congressional
critics, who pounced on Ayatollah Khamenei’s comments as proof that the
nuclear deal is unworkable.
“As
each new day reveals a new disagreement, it’s increasingly clear that
Iran, in fact, failed to reach agreement with the United States and its
partners on a political framework that addresses all parameters of a
comprehensive agreement,” said Senator Mark Kirk, Republican of
Illinois. who has led an effort to impose new sanctions on Iran — a step
President Obama says is clearly intended to blow up any progress that
has been made.
In his remarks Thursday, Ayatollah Khamenei seemed to rule out any inspections inside military bases or compounds.
That
could become problematic. While Mr. Obama and Mr. Kerry have said the
inspection requirements they have negotiated would be among the most
intrusive in history, they have not said whether they would extend to
military sites. Several of the sites the United States is most concerned
about in Iran are on military bases, including Fordo. Inspectors have
visited the site regularly, and the atomic energy agency has,
periodically, been allowed onto other military bases.
Similarly,
the timing of sanctions relief is far more complicated than simply
setting a date. Even with cooperation from the Iranian side, the
technical issues are so complex that agency officials say resolving them
will be a lengthy process.
Mr.
Obama can suspend some of the United States sanctions with the stroke
of a pen, but actually terminating them would require congressional
action.
Other
sanctions are based on United Nations Security Council resolutions. Mr.
Kerry said in Lausanne last week that under a final deal, if one is
reached, a new set of resolutions would be passed, ending many of the
sanctions but keeping proliferation controls in place.
Even
if sanctions are legally eliminated, major corporate players may
initially be reluctant to do business in Iran. Banks have been heavily
fined for violations and would want assurances about the new rules.
Investors may fear that sanctions could “snap back” if there was a
dispute between Iran and the West, leaving their investments stranded.
Ayatollah
Khamenei may have thrown another new factor into the equation by
suggesting there was plenty of time to consider a deal and review the
actions of opponents, and said the deadline of June 30 was in no way
sacred.
“They
might say that we have only three months left. Well, if three months
becomes four months the sky won’t come falling down,” he said. “Just as
the other side pushed the negotiations back by seven months,” he added,
referring to an extension decided in November.
However,
June 30 is the date at which the current extension of negotiations runs
out. So unless it is renewed — something both sides have previously
rejected — the temporary limits on Iran’s enrichment activities will
terminate that day. And after June 30, Congress has threatened to impose
new sanctions if a satisfactory deal is not in place.
Ayatollah
Khamenei did not criticize those details of the framework that had
already been agreed to, even though some of them, if put in place, would
represent big compromises from all parties, including Iran.
He
repeated that while he was not optimistic about negotiating with world
powers — especially with the United States — he did support the talks
and Iran’s diplomatic team.
“I
have agreed to this particular instance of negotiations and I support
the negotiators,” Ayatollah Khamenei said, according to his official
website, Khamenei.ir.
In recent days, almost all major figures in the Iranian establishment have come out in support of the framework agreement,
while adding the usual caveat that Iran’s rights must be guaranteed.
Most, including Friday Prayer leaders and military commanders, have said
they supported the talks.
Yet,
speaking to an audience of religious chanters in his Tehran office, the
ayatollah said the government should allow critics of the deal to speak
their minds, “as it will help unity” in the country.
It
must be clear, the ayatollah said, that the negotiations were not going
beyond the nuclear field. “But,” he continued, “if the other side
refrains from its normal bad actions, this will become an experience
that we can continue on other issues. If we see that once again they
repeat their bad actions, it will only strengthen our experience of not
trusting America.”
With the ayatollah’s unusually strong remarks about the Saudis on Thursday, the sectarian-tinged fighting in Yemen seemed potentially to be developing into yet another wedge between Washington and Tehran.
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