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Kissinger and Shultz: What a Final Iran Deal Must Do

Posted by Henry Kissinger  

10:55 AM Dec 03, 2013

The Wall Street Journal - Opinions and Analysis

December 2, 2013

Henry Kissinger & George Schultz in WSJ: "As former secretaries of state, we have confronted the existential issue of nuclear weapons and negotiated with adversaries in attempts to reduce nuclear perils. We sympathize with the current administration's quest to resolve the Iranian nuclear standoff through diplomacy. We write this article to outline the options as we see them emerging from the interim agreement for a policy based on the principle of 'trust and verify.' ... For 35 years and continuing today, Iran has been advocating an anti-Western concept of world order, waging proxy wars against America and its allies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and beyond, and arming and training sectarian extremists throughout the Muslim world. During that time, Iran has defied unambiguous U.N. and IAEA demands and proceeded with a major nuclear effort, incompatible with any exclusively civilian purpose, and in violation of its obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty in effect since 1970. If the ruling group in Iran is genuinely prepared to enter into cooperative relations with the United States and the rest of the world, the U.S. should welcome and encourage that shift. But progress should be judged by a change of program, not of tone. The heart of the problem is Iran's construction of a massive nuclear infrastructure and stockpile of enriched uranium far out of proportion to any plausible civilian energy-production rationale. Iran amassed the majority of this capacity-including 19,000 centrifuges, more than seven tons of 3.5%- to 5%-enriched uranium, a smaller stock (about 196 kilograms) of 20%-enriched uranium, and a partly built heavy-water reactor that will be capable of producing plutonium-in direct violation of IAEA and Security Council resolutions... The record of this decade-plus negotiating effort combines steadily advancing Iranian nuclear capabilities with gradually receding international demands... The interim agreement reached on Nov. 24, though described by all sides as temporary, thus represents a crucial test of whether the seemingly inexorable progress to an Iranian military nuclear capability can be reversed... Until now, the U.N. resolutions and IAEA directives have demanded an immediate halt to all activities related to uranium enrichment and plutonium production, and unconditional compliance with an IAEA inspections regime as a matter of right. Under the interim agreement, Iranian conduct that was previously condemned as illegal and illegitimate has effectively been recognized as a baseline, including an acceptance of Iran's continued enrichment of uranium (to 5%) during the agreement period. And that baseline program is of strategic significance. For Iran's stockpile of low-enriched uranium is coupled with an infrastructure sufficient to enrich it within a few months to weapons-grade, as well as a plausible route to producing weapons-grade plutonium in the installation now being built at Arak. Not surprisingly, the Iranian negotiator, upon his return to Tehran, described the agreement as giving Iran its long-claimed right to enrich and, in effect, eliminating the American threat of using force as a last resort. In these circumstances, the major American negotiating leverage-the threatened reimposition and strengthening of sanctions-risks losing its edge. For individuals, companies and countries (including some allied countries), the loss of business with Iran has been economically significant. Most will be less vigilant about enforcing or abiding by sanctions that are the subject of negotiations and that seem to be 'on the way out.' This risk will be enhanced if the impression takes hold that the U.S. has already decided to reorient its Middle East policy toward rapprochement with Iran. The temptation will be to move first, to avoid being the last party to restore or build trade, investment and political ties. Therefore, too, the proposition that a series of interim agreements balancing nuclear constraints against tranches of sanctions relief is almost certainly impractical. Another tranche would spell the end of the sanctions regime. It will need to be part of a final agreement... The danger of the present dynamic is that it threatens the outcome of Iran as a threshold nuclear weapons state. If the six-month 'freeze' period secured in Geneva is to be something other than a tactical pause on Iran's march toward a military nuclear capability, Iran's technical ability to construct a nuclear weapon must be meaningfully curtailed in the next stipulated negotiation through a strategically significant reduction in the number of centrifuges, restrictions on its installation of advanced centrifuges, and a foreclosure of its route toward a plutonium-production capability. Activity must be limited to a plausible civilian program subject to comprehensive monitoring as required by the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Any final deal must ensure the world's ability to detect a move toward a nuclear breakout, lengthen the world's time to react, and underscore its determination to do so. The preservation of the global nuclear nonproliferation regime and the avoidance of a Middle East nuclear-arms race hang in the balance... The next six months of diplomacy will be decisive in determining whether the Geneva agreement opens the door to a potential diplomatic breakthrough or to ratifying a major strategic setback. We should be open to the possibility of pursing an agenda of long-term cooperation. But not without Iran dismantling or mothballing a strategically significant portion of its nuclear infrastructure

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