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By Christiane Amanpour, CNN
When the deal between Iran and the major world powers was announced in Geneva, Iranian reporters greeted Foreign Minister Javad Zarif with cheers at his press conference, and Iranians gave him and his team a hero’s welcome when they landed back home in Tehran. Such is the desire to get past this decades long crisis.
Many are cautiously hailing the six-month interim accord – which sees Iran freeze and rollback significant elements of its nuclear program in return for relatively modest and reversible U.S. sanctions relief.
One senior Western intelligence official describes it as significant in delaying Iran’s program and pushing back its so-called breakout ability towards a nuclear weapon.
Yet the official predicts a much more difficult set of negotiations ahead, which are aimed at finally settling Iran’s nuclear parameters as a limited and entirely peaceful program, in return for a total lifting of sanctions. This will require each side giving up much more than they have done this weekend in Geneva.
In the meantime the Obama Administration has a tough sales job ahead persuading Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the merits of this approach, and to stop him slamming this diplomacy as a “historic mistake”.
On Monday, I spoke with U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes about Iran's enrichment after a potential permanent deal, his reaction to Israel's criticism, and when sanctions will be lifted, which he said could start "within the coming weeks."
The deal is not “historic,” as some have said. In 2003, under the leadership of reform President Mohammad Khatami, Iran completely froze its nuclear program for about two years. Hassan Rouhani, now President, was then Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator.
So why was a deal not struck earlier?
Well for starters the George W. Bush Administration rejected an offer from Khatami to negotiate a final accord, and then the much-reviled Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected President. He immediately struck a highly combative tone, making the idea of negotiations all but impossible, along with his anti-Israel rhetoric and his anti-Semitic views.
It was Rouhani’s election that made negotiations possible – that and the crippling U.S., European and U.N. sanctions regime that has been ratcheted up over the past decade.
President Rouhani has done what many experts thought was impossible: get the crucial support for negotiations from Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, parliament, the press, and even the powerful Revolutionary Guard for now.
He told me as much when I interviewed him in September. That is something the previous reformist President Khatami never had back in 2003-05.
To those who say sanctions should not have been eased now while Iran is on the ropes, experts counter that while they have really hurt the Iranian economy, and the Iranian people, they have not caused Iran to “cry uncle” and abandon its nuclear program.
Indeed as Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif told me in that regard, decades of sanctions amounted to a failed policy: “Instead of 160 centrifuges that were spinning 10 years ago or eight years ago,” Zarif told me in an interview, “today we have 19,000 centrifuges. So that is what sanctions and pressures and intimidation has brought.”
The same point was echoed by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry after the interim deal was struck in Geneva this weekend.
Details of the current deal see Iran getting about $7 billion in relief over the six-month time frame, through the ability to start exporting things like oil, precious metals, and cars.
That is a fraction of the $80 billion Iran has lost in oil revenue alone since 2012, and the $100 billion in foreign bank accounts that will remain inaccessible to Iran, according to the White House. The core of the toughest ever sanctions regime stays in place.
Iran agreed to either dilute its stockpile of 20% enriched uranium to 5% or convert it to oxide, which makes it even more difficult to use in a nuclear weapon. Iran will be able to continue enriching up to the 5% level, but only if it does not increase its stockpile.
And Iran agrees to halt work on the heavy water Arak plant. Experts fear this could be used to re-process plutonium and provide a second route to a nuclear weapon.
Experts say Israel most fears fuel being introduced into the Arak plant, at which point bombing it would be massively dangerous due to the resulting nuclear fallout.
Indeed, my interview with hawkish Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, who leads the Jewish Home party, left no doubt that Israel would take military action to strike Arak before it comes fully on line.
Arak was a main sticking point in the interim deal just signed, and it will be just as tough an issue under any final deal, as intelligence sources tell me Arak must be turned from a heavy water plant to a light water reactor, which does not make weapons-grade plutonium.
President Rouhani has made it very clear that he wants a different path forward for Iran. And it’s not just about the nuclear program. He told me he wants an Iran of moderation, not extremism, and to achieve better relations with the West. And that is what the Iranian people want.
The deal is not built on blind faith; it is “trust but verify.”
The IAEA will be monitoring all aspects of the interim deal, and just before it was struck, the agency’s Director General Yukiya Amano told me Iran’s nuclear program has not been expanded for the past three months. He told me he noticed a shift in political will since Rouhani’s election and a stepped-up agreement on cooperation with the IAEA.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told French radio today that "Iran is committed to giving up the prospect of nuclear weapons; it's perfectly clear." He emphasized that the limited sanctions relief, which could start next month, was completely reversible.
While the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected the deal calling it “a historic mistake,” surprisingly, Saudia Arabia, which is in a Sunni-Shiite proxy war with Iran for influence in that part of the world, on Monday cautiously welcomed the deal, saying that if there were “good intentions” it could be a first step towards a comprehensive solution, according to AFP.
This is a big change from its previous public stance against any lessening of pressure against Iran.
While Israel wants Iran to totally surrender its nuclear program, and any enrichment capability, no-one at the negotiating table believes that to be a realistic or likely outcome, since it has not happened yet after punishing years-long sanctions.
The conclusion therefore is that either a full-scale war, or a negotiated settlement are the only options.
The Obama Administration has demonstrated with its refusal to intervene in Syria, that it has no intention of committing to another Middle Eastern war.
Israel could conduct some unilateral punishing strikes but those would not end Iran’s nuclear program.
All that’s left is a negotiated settlement – which will necessitate even more painful concessions on all sides.
UPDATED (10:20pm GMT): This post was updated to include a link to Amanpour's interview with Ben Rhodes.
War is necessary for peace.
War is never the best option unless you are a extreme right republican, there is not military solution to the Iran Question only a political solution, the deal may not be the best deal, but is sure a good start..
and the democrat answer is to drop bombs from drones or fire missles 1000 miles away. that way they don't have to feel the pang of guilt associated with war.
'cause Wilson, Roosevelt, Truman & Johnson were all right wing Republicans
Let's see the author was born to an Iranian father and raised in Tehran. She was also the niece in-law of General Nader Jahanbani, who commanded the Imperial Iranian Air Force. So of course there is no slant.
Or if you're a left wing ideologue President. How many wars have we been in since the Peacemaker was voted in? Or I'm sorry we don't define killing people with weapons as war anymore what is it a strategic kinetic movement or some horse nonsense like that?
Nice nonsense accord with Iran now back to you screwing our country into the stone age with your insanely stupid obamacare bill.
Are you and others saying War is what leads to peace in the middle east? Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Korea and much more over centuries of WAR. How many Americans should go to war in Iran? How many is it acceptable to die there?
I don't yet trust Iran, but I also did not believe Bush and Cheney about war. Bush and Cheney turned out to be very wrong in Iraq and Afghanistan. We are at least, not losing any more Americans in Iraq and many lees in Afghanistan after next year. Bibi does not and should not dictate our attempts at some sort of long term non- nuclear Iran. Will Bibi stop building settlements yet saying he wants peace? He has lied for decades and now is no different. He and Iran need to prove themselves as peaceful leaders to stop 2000 years of strife.
When you are dealing with Khameni bent on his shia dominance in M.E. – yes. Any other sane leadership – No.
WMD lies are necessary for war
This will not unfortunately work. The Israelis know it and so should this president. But he's ignoring it for some unknown reason.
So you mean to say that 5 top leaders for the world + Germany are all wrong?
War is necessary to keep the world economy going. The US economy is pegged to constant war to feed the pentagon, retired generals, Haliburten and many other military contractors. So, to be honest, the best we can expect is peaceful co-existance but not peace.
War is necessary for peace??
Sounds very much like "We had to destroy the village in order to save it."
There IS not negotiating with EVIL! History substantiates that!
Any yet, so many nations do negotiate with the United States. Go figure.
I don't believe you :)
So let's bomb everybody, yay? Starting with your house, what do you think?
Some US-Iran history. The CIA helps overthrow a democratically elected leader, then 35 years later Iran Air Flight 655 from Tehran to Dubai on 3 July 1988 was shot down as it flew over the Strait of Hormuz by SM-2MR surface-to-air missiles fired from the United States Navy USS Vincennes. All 290 on board, including 66 children and 16 crew, perished. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran_Air_Flight_655
You think war is required but you have never seen war because there hasn't been a war on the U.S mainland since the Civil War. It's easy to say it is necessary when you at home 5000 miles away from the war.
Another brilliant move by our Administration. Can't top Obama in the Bozo department.
If I rad you right you may prefer a military solution. having said that how is Iraq and Afghanistan going?
The Iraqis and Afghanis are doing great. We have given them about 10-50 billion in cash and they deposited the promptly on overseas accounts. So, yes they are doing great. Now, the wars we lost with them was profitable for the US contractors. The only losers are the US soldiers who died for nothing.
If CNN's proven "experts" Zakara and Amanpour say it's a good deal it must be ...
Another brilliant move was bush happening causing the escalation. Then there was Supporting Iran agsinst Iran, then flipping sides supporting Saddam in Iraq... then flipping again and invading Iraq. does this nonsense have an end? not if your GOP
Yeah Greg – President Obama should just Nuke the the entire rest of the world.
You TeaBillieKKK's are all the same ...
Wat to go CNN! Let's see the author was born to an Iranian father and raised in Tehran. She was also the niece in-law of General Nader Jahanbani, who commanded the Imperial Iranian Air Force. So of course there is no slant.
I have returned from Germany with peace for our time
They believe that Khameni and his Islamic guards are more sane than Hitler and the Nazis. But radical Islam is by far more deadly than national socialism.
Radical Islam far more deadly than National Socialism??
How absurd. Nazi Germany was a major industrial superpower, arguably the scientific and technological leader of the world, at least when Hitler first took over. The radical Muslims are nothing even remotely of the kind. Far from it. They are a backward-looking, atavistic, anachronistic, antediluvian movement, and history has already passed them by. They control no nation with a significant amount of military power, unlike Nazi Germany, which was a very real threat to conquer all of Europe, if not the entire world.
Leroy, if radical islam had the weapons that Hitler did they would start a war that would be much, much worse than WWII. I'd take 1000 Hitlers if only Mohammad never existed. Islam will be the death of us all.
I remember Obama with Hitler mustache on one picture. Look like tea party was right
I remember when Reagan raised Taxes numerous times to pay for his outrageous spending...
Great response - exactly what I was thinking.
He was one of the greatest comedians since Monty Pyton.
Yeah, I too feel that the deal was inadequate. Iran's nuclear infrastructure should have been sufficiently set back, so that it could not easily reverse their concessions by merely taking the political decision to do so.
So Bush is at fault here again? What kind of nut job reporter this is? Why didn't Obama negotiate with Ahmadinejad? No answer? No response?
Go back and study the problem again is obvious you have not a clue, Bush refused to negotiate with Katamy, and then came up the ultraright Adminajad.. Bush lost the opportunity due his lack of understanding..
I'm Jewish and I am cautiously optimistic about this deal. So, do you want to take your comment back, you bigot? Don't just assume because Netanyahu wants something that every other Israeli (much less Jew) wants the same.
Maybe you should have paid attention during the reign of Mahmoud Amanidenjad. He was a loud mouth negative leader in Iran and no one could negotiate with him. Things have changed for the better and since Iran has reached out, we have reached back and come up with a better solution than George W Bush did. Bush was again the idiot on foreign policy.
Bush refused to negotiate with Khatami, and greatly magnifed the power of Iran by taking out both Saddam Hussein and the Taliban, both sworn enemies of Iran.
It's almost as if Bush and Cheney were TRYING to make Iran the regional superpower.
The British made the country of Iran with the express purpose of being the dominant regional superpower because Persians were a moderating force in the Middle East..in the 40s.
Fool me one shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.. It looks like once again iran has duped the world. I wonder if the negotiators used Chamberlain's methods of negotiating
Actually increases the odds of war. Iran will without a doubt proceed in developing nuclear weapons capacity, thereby forcing the hand of Israel to act.
Instead of relaxing sanctions, they should have been enhanced to try to bring about actual capitulation.
So when is Israel signing up the non proliferation agreement?
What is good for the goose is good for the gander!!!
Stopping proliferation is quite a different matter than stopping the advent of nuclear capacity of a country vowing to wipe another country off the map.
Argument seems a bit jaded and naive. Its also an interesting position from one raised in Tehran
At least Obama isn't flying onto a navy ship and declaring "mission accomplished".
A profoundly hopeful moment. The early creation of a Palestinian state and a good outcome in Syria would add up to some fine work by the Obama Administration, especially Secretary of State John Kerry.
This is madness. It is a Delay Of Reckoning, and nothing more.
The only ones complaining are the jews.. I am OK with it..!!
I am Jewish and I am not complaining about it. In fact, I think Netanyahu should relax a little and go with the rest of the world leaders on this.
I think there's a pretty good chance we're going to regret this....
Netanyahoo is by himself on this issue and is wrong on many levels. That we now have an agreement with Iran is better than not having one. Look at the Bush legacy – Iran reached out to him with only 160 centrifuges. His Texan bombast and his Wyoming cowboy Cheney VP refused and NOW IRAN HAS 19000 centrifuges. Idiots. So this is a welcome break away from the same ole same ole rightwing bs and we will now have greater oversight to Iran and its nuclear development.
When Iran had 160 centrifuges, they said they were for nuclear power. Now ask yourself why they need 19000 centrifuges? Obviously, the Iranians were not negotiating honestly in 2003; Bush was wise not to come to the table. History has shown they were using negotiations with the EU during the same time period as an attempt to stall foreign intervention that would curtail development of a nuclear bomb.
The reality is that Iran has been developing nuclear weapons. The real question now is, if they are now willing to accept an agreement, have they recently achieved nuclear capability or a credible threat that they have? Or is this just more stalling.
Now watch CIA being told not to watch Iranian nuke sites too scrupulosity for fear of exposing Khameni's plot, admitting a mistake and having to deal with it.
But Americans prefer war over dialogue.
Why don't do what we always do, and bomb Iran, Syria, Russia, China, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, Venezuela, Korea and any other nation that doesn't do exactly what we demand?
wait till we have a GOP in WH
I hope this is the first step to a "build down" of threats throughout the region.
"President Rouhani has made it very clear that he wants a different path forward for Iran. And it’s not just about the nuclear program. He told me he wants an Iran of moderation, not extremism, and to achieve better relations with the West. And that is what the Iranian people want."
Except Rouhani can go only as far as the Ayatollah will let him go. The idea that Rouhani is the leader of Iran is an illusion, which makes useful fools of people like Amanpur.
you, like all GOP, have no solution to anything, just complain.
The deal is better then war? How friggin stupid is that statement? Now we get to go to war with a nuke armed Iran. Absolutely insane logic from a moron liberal.
Seems like there are a lot of people posting here who were devoutly hoping for the Apocalypse and Armageddon, and who are now gnashing their teeth that the madness they so desperately want is not going to happen.
The SANE people, of course, are quite happy about these developments.
If this deal would bring Iran closer to getting nukes, why would Obama and the other countries agree to it?
It is without deals like this that Iran will eventually get nukes. Technology is getting more advanced, smaller and cheaper all the time. Even if bombed, they will eventually be able to hide a nuke plant somewhere. The only long-term solution is to develop a friendly relationship with Iran and reduce the power of the crazy extremists over there.
Wow!absolutely amazing and interesting to see Iran nuclear talk stumble,but still talk going on at Geneva continue,
Its very interesting and amazing to see all over the world,people try to find answer how the deal looks like,and how this deal be more important for Iran prospect.
My amazing,genius,expert,smart honey Margaret Brennan CBS news mentioned the deal looks like in different steps of agreement!interesting analysis.just try to explain how deal looks like,if we succeed..
1) most priority to nuclear fuel uranium enrichment,
interesting point Margaret mentioned if Iran ready to reduce nuclear fuel from high level to lower level,which use for peaceful purpose like produce electricity,medical equipment.not for nuclear weapons.
Margaret mentioned if deal will done,lift preliminary sanction like unfreeze assets and banking account!
second step may be
2) if P5+1 approve first step agreement,second step looks like
Margaret mentioned if world power and Iran agree in full agreement,Iran has to show transparency and faith to complete deal to show infrastructure and some secret army sites,which is in list of united nation map as suspect sites,if Iran agree,it will be like open book for Iran to show to the world as Iran use nuclear program for civilian purpose not for make weapons.
Margaret mentioned if deal will done,united states,united nation will lift all sanction over Iran,which help Iran to grow economically and will be helpful to Iranian people.
Margaret also mentioned Geneva talk going on and P5+1 leaders,continue to talk with Iran leaders regarding deal,according to Iran president if negotiation deal will prove successful,it will be beneficial to for Iran,our neighbors,for west and all countries who involved in.deal is mutual interest for all,and for Iran and should be in framework of logic,interesting but lets for hope we as people get something form peace talk something like peace??
You know it's a bad idea because Obama wanted it, and he gets everything wrong.
Obama just sold America to Satan
Ha ha ha ... yep, your little Red Man with Horns loves President Obama.
Satan loves that Obama killed Bin Laden.
Satan loves that Obama just reduced our Federal Debt from $1tr to $500billion this year alone.
Satan loves that US Military veterans, and cancer victims, NOW are eligible for health care after the GOP prohibited them.
Satan loves that President Obama forced Syria to give up their chemical weapons.
Satan loves that President Obama ended both Bush Oil wars.
And of course, Satan loves that our President ended Federal Discrimination on the basis of preference and religion.
You know ... this Satan fella, along with President Obama, may be the best thing that happened to America in 20 years!
I totally agree on this... Obama, even with having such difficult time to impose his policies due to them being obstucted, is still doing pretty well. A few glitches on the ACA website and the policy cancellations are things that will bring him down.
It is the extreme hate among the misinformed people that is bringing Obama's rating down. They will see, in the future, Obama will be considered as one of the better Presidents.
All of those people who do not want a diplomatic solution and want a war should just volunteer their life and their money to pay for a war. It seems that many Republicans want another Middle East war even though the Iraq one was a disaster and wasted trillions of dollars. A war with Iran would easily cost more than $10 trillion dollars and cause the death of many thousands of Americans. It will make Iraq look like a small skirmish. Of course if the Republicans get their war, they will not want to pay for it with taxes but instead borrow trillions of dollars from China.
Republican Ron Paul wanted the US to bring our troops home and close the over 700 US foreign military bases in over 100 countries. He understands that the US economy cannot heal until the US stops being the world cop. The US currently spends between $200 and $300 billion a year defending Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf. Almost all of the oil goes to Asia and Europe. Let Asia and Europe defend the Persian gulf.
The EU has been the main defender against Piracy under operation EUNavfor. Involving ships from many EU countries under EU mandate. Rescuing over 200 hostages from pirates so far. Far beyond US efforts. Youtube has many video`s on this. Unfortunately US news channels like CNN never show this. Mostly showing and talking about the US while claiming to an international news channel.
A war that only the dirt bags in Israel and Saudi Arabia wanted!
Israel's answer to everything is to tell the US. "Let's you and him fight."
They continue to pressure and crush the Palestinians in their Gaza Ghetto and Israel sees no irony.
Wow. Republicans again proving they are the enemy of what is good for the country.
Shhh, Wall Street might hear you Christiane as they love war. They are lobbying to kill any thought of peace as it's a threat to their profits!!! They just managed to get Obama to extend Afghanistan to 2025, they can't allow a peaceful settlement with Iran!!!
To be blunt she is a third rate political analyst, masquerading as a second rate reporter who has never had a good hair day. Unlike most analysts she seems to approach every situation with a predetermined viewpoint
To be blunt, you are obviously another TeaBillieKKK.
Notice all you did was criticize. None of you have good ideas of your own.
Americans are famous for blaming everything on everyone else. Next time, just look in the mirror instead of dissin' on your Congressman, who is just the guy YOU elected.
Before you blow some more hot air – tell me, you WERE one of the 95% of Americans who wanted Desert Storm and the Iraq war. Right? Don't lie – I know I was againest it from Day 1, with at MOST 5% of other Americans. So we look down on you 95% for really helping to ruin America. Doesn't matter that 60% of you admitted you were wrong – you did the damage, and this is just another offshoot of your 9/11 Bush Oil War, that YOU launched. (Don't blame Bush – he just followed your advice).
Based on most of these posting it appears no one knows what they're talking about, just blowing a lot of hot air based on what they hear and not what's known.
good lord. amanapur never met an arab she didn't love...and you can argue the iranians are not arabs, but they are anti-israeli and therefore okay in her books and the rest of the dolts at CNN...hooray, hooray...we've won the day...the iranians have promised not to build the bomb after all...they said so. amanpur says its true...what more can you ask?
So in other words, the US blinked and just handed Iran the bomb. We have an utter moron in the White House.
Although, Chritiane Amanpour is not my cup of tea because she is often very partial and pro USA in her statemnets and interviews, this article is one of the most balanced from her pen.
So I dearly hope that sane voices among the American political elite will prevail over hawks and war mongers. Iran has suffered enough and now is the time to give peace a chance.
oh Christiane...for once, tell the truth. stop with your ideologically driven anti Israel animus.
did anyone notice the 40 pencils next to Netenyahu? Why would anyone need that many pencils at a meeting? Unless they are all beavers...
Imagine all the people, living life in peace. Just sayin'...
this is like believing obama would not lie to us.
Okay, so please explain to me. If this is baaaad and the deal will give nuclear power to Iran, what is the solution? Going to war RIGHT NOW against Iran and China and Russia? Hmm, why do I think that even the people saying this would complain about it after a couple of days? lol You guys know you are just complaining because it's Obama, come on now. Doesn't make any sense.
Now just wait and see what he will do with this setellment.
Nuclear power for peaceful purposes, ridiculous! Iran already has oil and gas. If you want power for peaceful use just develop solar, wind or hydro power. Nobody needs nuclear power for peaceful purposes. Nuclear power has always had only one aim and that is making fuel for bombs. The electric power generated by nuclear plants is a good fringe benefit. Iran’s drive for nukes is either reckless ambition or a very ill conceived bulwark strategy. If you are sitting on huge oil reserves the western world has already been eyeballing you for years. The addition of nukes in Iran will make Israel feel very uneasy. Iranian leaders pressing for nukes is just handing the USA a very good military reason to enter their boarders and liberate Iran from their resources. All in the name of peace; how ironic, nuclear power for peaceful purposes, again I say ridiculous!
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