Many commentators in the west have welcomed the results of the Iranian surrender on the nuclear issue as a victory for the BRICS, as a sign of the weakened position of the United States, and as a win-win deal for Iran and those who forced it to its knees. Thousands of words have been written about the benefits to Iran of released funds and economic development to come and how the US surrendered some of its power and agreed to this “deal” because it wants to concentrate its efforts elsewhere.
But are any of these things true? The fact is that Iran, a sovereign nation that has the right to develop its economy as it sees fit and to defend itself as it sees fit, has been stripped of its ability to develop its civilian nuclear programme as it deems necessary and has been forced to abandon most of it by nations that themselves not only have fully developed nuclear programmes for civilian use but also are armed with nuclear weapons, and have used them against civilian populations.
Iran, an ancient and great power throughout history, has now been essentially disarmed by its enemies in the NATO powers and also by its neighbours, China, and Russia, which latter country, while complaining about the French double dealing regarding the Mistral Affair, itself reneged on a deal to supply Iran with anti-aircraft defence systems that could protect it against US or Israeli air attack. No doubt this was due to pressure from the US as well and perhaps can be forgiven if not forgotten in its own struggle to avoid war. China also has an interest in placating the US in the face of constantly increasing American threats. But the fact remains, that if the US or Israel decide to launch a nuclear attack against Iran from a distance there is nothing that Iran can do to retaliate. It is essentially defenceless.
If Iran had succeeded in getting the US, and its allies to abandon their nuclear weapons in return for its concessions, then something bold and world shaking would have taken place, but the nuclear disarming of the very people that still threaten Iran and the rest of the word was never on the agenda, although the Iranians bravely pointed out the obvious double standards countless times in statements made in and out of Iran.
The unjustified claims by some commentators that the US has somehow retreated or even, as some claim, that the US has changed its strategy from opposing Iran to drawing it into the US orbit through economic engagement, are distorting what took place in Vienna and the reality of the “deal” that was struck and now given the imprimatur of the Security Council.
No one reading the statement of John Kerry made on July 14th in Vienna about the Plan of Action, as the agreement is called, or its terms, can understand anything else than that Iran has suffered a severe blow and one from which it will not be allowed to recover until the Americans and their gang have put in power a regime they completely control. To understand this let’s look at some of the highlights of this “deal,” a word I put in quotes because it implies equal bargaining power when in fact Iran was ganged up on by the most aggressive and militaristic alliance known to man. And to do that, let’s use the statement of the American foreign minister, John Kerry so we can truly understand what has really happened to Iran.
Kerry said the Plan of Action,
“is….a step away from the prospect of nuclear proliferation…it is a step away from the spectre of conflict and towards the possibility of peace.”
Note the careful language. “The prospect of nuclear proliferation” really means the possibility of Iran defending itself from nuclear attack by the United States. “A step away from conflict and towards the possibility of peace” means “we won’t attack Iran if it obeys all our diktats but an attack is in our discretion at all times.”
Kerry continued, “Believe me, had we been willing to settle for a lesser deal, we would have finished this negotiation long ago,” and, “our persistence has paid off.”
This is not the language of a government that has been weakened or lost the game, a United States that sees itself as the loser or has been weakened. No, it is the gloating of the spider as it picks apart a fly.
Kerry is very specific about the Iranian defeat. He says,
“Iran’s breakout time-the time it would take to speed up its enrichment and produce enough fissile material for just one nuclear weapon…has been increased from one year to a period of at least ten years.”
The effect of this is that if Iran believes that either Israel or the USA is planning to attack it, instead of being able to arm itself within a few months, it won’t be able to do it at all.
The leaders of the government in North Korea must be shaking their heads in amazement at such folly. They know very well the Americans cannot be trusted and the Americans and Israelis are laughing up their sleeves, despite the crocodile tears by Netanyahu and the US Congress who play the propaganda game that the Plan of Action is a give away to Iran, all play acting for the cameras and to give Iran some air of having won something in this defeat.
If there is still doubt, here is the most startling aspect of the Plan of Action. Kerry states,
“this agreement has no sunset. It doesn’t terminate. It will be implemented in phases…some of the provisions are in place for 10 years, others for 15 years, others for 25 years…and certain provisions-including many of the transparency measures and prohibitions on nuclear work-will stay in place permanently.”
Reading this one could have the impression that Iran is a conquered nation being dictated to by the victors as Germany was at Versailles. The effect is to surrender its rights as a sovereign nation forever to a gang of nuclear criminals who refuse to renounce the use of nuclear weapons themselves. Iran will have to suffer the humiliation of constant inspections and interference for generations to come.
It gets worse. Two thirds of Iran’s centrifuges will be removed and the infrastructure that supports them, built at huge expense and effort, will be placed under the lock and key of the International Atomic Energy Agency, an organisation largely controlled by the USA. The design and construction of future nuclear reactors must be approved by the Unites States and its allies.
And what does the USA offer in return for these concessions? Nothing, but the unfreezing of Iranian monies kept in western banks for years earning money but there will be no compensation for lost profit or opportunity from these monies, and a promise of the future lifting of the illegal trade and economic embargo placed on Iran by the USA under the cover of the name “sanctions” which, it openly admits, hurt the Iranian people.
This collective punishment will only be lifted, “when Tehran has met its key initial nuclear commitments”-in other words when Iran has removed the possibility of defending itself with nuclear weapons.
But can Iran really expect things to change once they have done that? The Americans promised similar things to the North Koreans under Clinton in the early 90s. They too shut down their nuclear reactors used for weapons production in return for economic assistance. But the Americans reneged once they had shut the systems down. Fortunately, the Koreans realised quickly what the game was and brought those systems back on line and now have an effective deterrence against an American attack. What will Iran do when the Americans renege on this deal? Unfortunately, not much, since, unlike the Koreans, they have allowed daily inspections and daily interference in their internal affairs and any attempt to bring its systems back on line will no doubt be used as an excuse for further “sanctions” or an attack.
Kerry stated clearly,
“I want to underscore: if Iran fails…in these commitments, the US, the EU, and even the UN sanctions that initially brought Iran to the table can and will snap back into place.”
In summing up why Iran has been forced into this terrible position Kerry stated the real reason very clearly,
“Anybody who knows the conduct of international affairs knows that it is better to deal with a country if you have problems with it if they don’t have a nuclear weapon.”
No reporter asked him why that didn’t apply to the United States as well but we cannot expect courage from the international press these days.
But what is Kerry really saying except that “we the USA cannot enforce our will on those who can resist. We prefer to deal with defenceless opponents. It makes it easier to bully them.”
The he added insult to injury by stating that ‘sanctions” against Iran put in place for concerns about “terrorism,” “human rights,” and ballistic missiles, will remain despite this agreement. So the pressure on Iran can be expected to increase with this agreement, not decrease.
Kerry made this clear when he added,
“the USA will continue our efforts to address concerns about Iran’s actions in the region, including providing key support to our partners and allies and by making sure we are vigilant in pushing back against destabilizing activities.”
This statement is aimed at Iran’s support of Syria, Hezbollah and Iraq. The Plan of Action will be used as a device to try to control and limit Iranian solidarity with the governments now being attacked by the US and its proxy forces in the region.
At the end of his statement Kerry said that the agreement averted, “an inevitable conflict that would come were we not able to reach agreement”.
What he means is that the Iranians knew that if they did not submit, the United States and Israel would attack them. He then misquoted Clausewitz and said “I know that war is the failure of diplomacy and the failure of leaders to make alternative decisions.”
What he meant was, “Iran had two choices, submit or cease to exist and the Iranian leadership decided to try to continue to exist.”
So this is the state of the world after Hitler. Now new Hitlers have arisen and new diktats are issued against countries that resist. Instead of Czechoslovakia we have Yugoslavia, instead of Austria, we have Greece, Instead of Spain we have Syria and Iraq, Afghanistan. Instead of Poland we have Ukraine but always the constant targets remain, Russia and China.
Far from seeing a United States in retreat or a pause, surely, we see a United States that has increased its room for manoeuvre in its drive for world hegemony. It seems to me that we cannot expect any peace coming from this Plan of Action, but more war, as Iran will be pressured to give up its support of Hezbollah and Syria and Iraq so that the NATO powers can advance their drive to the east. With this Iranian debacle, with Iran under control and out of the military equation in real terms, that plan has just been advanced one more step.
Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto, he is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada and he is known for a number of high-profile cases involving human rights and war crimes, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.