Four Emerging Myths About the Iran, P5+1 Deal

John Glaser, November 25, 2013

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The deal reached between Iran and the P5+1 is top news today and probably much of this week. In one of the few instances of a media buzz word accurately describing a major news event, I do think the agreement, although simply an interim deal, is historic. It wasn’t very long ago that even low-level diplomacy with Iran was totally out of the question.

The deal was finalized in the wee hours of Sunday morning, but already there are a number of myths being propagated throughout the media. Here are a few to watch out for:

1. Iran got too much sanctions relief. Actually, Iran got almost no sanctions relief. The bulk of the goods for Iran is that they got about $7 billion of their own overseas assets, out of approximately $100 billion, unfrozen. Some minor, negligible sanctions were eased on gold and precious medals transactions and to facilitate the delivery of spare parts for Iran’s outmoded airplanes. These will have little positive effect on the Iranian economy, which is a large part of Rouhani’s domestic selling point for diplomacy. The crippling economic sanctions on Iran’s oil and banking sectors – widely considered the most devastating – remain in place.

2. Iran’s enrichment program is left largely intact, leaving room for Iran to cheat. This deal freezes or rolls back the entirety of Iran’s uranium enrichment program. Half of it’s stockpile of 20% enriched uranium, the aspect of the nuclear program most cited by Iran hawks, will be oxidized and the other half will be irreversibly converted into fuel rods for the Tehran Research Reactor. For the whole of the 6 month period over which this agreement reigns, Iran agreed not to enrich any uranium past 5%. Furthermore, no “further advances” will be made at the facilities at Natanz, Fordow, or Arak. And finally, declared facilities will be inspected daily – not weekly – daily to ensure compliance.

Iran has no incentive to cheat. The hawks’ argument that Iran will use this interim deal to breakout and dash for a nuclear weapon are foolish and illogical. The Iranian regime has staked its domestic and international credibility on this diplomatic path. If it falls apart because they defied the very deal they pushed for and agreed to, they’d look ridiculous. Moreover, it’s clearly preferable in the Iranian cost-benefit analysis to willingly roll back their enrichment program in exchange for thorough sanctions relief and greater international prestige arising out of their acknowledged cooperation.

Not to mention the fact that Iran cheating would give the U.S. or Israel a perfect excuse for bombing, which Iran obviously doesn’t want.

3. The historic deal only materialized because of crippling economic sanctions. This ignores the record. Iran offered the U.S. an even better deal back in 2003 and they were rebuffed by a recalcitrant Bush administration who chose to isolate and sanction Iran instead of respond to diplomacy. In response to increasing U.S. sanctions, Iran’s enrichment program expanded and intensified. In 2003, Iran had 164 centrifuges operating and no 20% enriched uranium. After a decade of escalating sanctions, in 2013 Iran had 19,000 centrifuges and a sizable stockpile of 20% uranium. Only when Rouhani was elected and Iran was engaged in secret negotiations with Washington with the prospects of peaceful compromise on the horizon did Iran halt its installation of new centrifuges and put enrichment on hold.

4. This deal sets the parties up for failure in more comprehensive upcoming talks. This one isn’t all myth, but most media explanations argue this with the wrong reasons. Take, for example, this ridiculous Josh Rogin piece which argues Iran doesn’t feel pressured to comply with the agreement or to cooperate in a second-phase deal because Obama didn’t bomb Syria. The old “credibility” argument.

Yes, reaching agreement between all the parties for a more comprehensive and lasting deal 6 months down the road will be harder than it was this time around. But not if the U.S. and its allies are willing to compromise a little. This first phase deal is mostly Iran making concessions and the international community saying, ‘Ok, we’ll play.’ This won’t fly the next time around. The U.S. and its allies can’t get used to such lopsided deal and expect it to happen again. They will have to make concessions too and demonstrate they are serious about lifting sanctions. If they can manage that, then a more comprehensive deal is perfectly within reach.




22 Responses to “Four Emerging Myths About the Iran, P5+1 Deal”

  1. Some crazy websites and chat rooms are reporting that Iran is getting billions in foreign aid from the US, mischaracterizing unfreezing assets.

  2. Hmm, that sounds like Town Hall, aka, Clown Hall.

  3. " I do think the agreement… is historic."

    Sure. Just like it is always historic when any empire slightly changes its tactics in a 70 year stretch of nonstop torture of a small country with the aim of achieving imperial hegemony over it.

    That we consider this laudable in the USA (Not saying John Glaser considers it laudable – he just said "historic". But a huge amount of people are praising Obama for this.) shows you this country's general level of morality; it's on par with Germany under Hitler and imperial Japan.

    EVERYTHING the US is doing in these "talks" is illegal. The USA has no authority to subject Iran to such negotiations. This is all illegal, dictatorial force under international law, and the criminal state USA should be scorned, ridiculed and outcast for these actions. Only the USA, Britain, France, and Israel are doing this. Virtually all the rest of the world recognizes Iran's legal rights under international law, and individual countries like the USA have no authority to alter these rights in any way.

    If this were Germany, people would be lauding Hitler for his great "diplomacy" and "negotiating" skills if he told a group of Jews that they could have some of their medicine back if they gave up some of their legal rights to use nuclear energy.

    That's not laudable. That's illegal use of dictatorial force. That's a criminal state trying to implement hegemony.

    The only legal thing the USA could do is join the world and stop bullying Iran. In fact the USA is violating nuclear rights with this coercion. All countries under the NPT are required to help other countries achieve and use nuclear energy. The USA is illegally using economic, physical, and threat of more physical force to limit Iran's legal rights.

  4. So Israel is a "Good Country" and is allowed to do bad things like oppress the Palestinians in the territories, steal their land and resources, invade and bomb other countries, own weapons of mass destruction aka Nuclear weapons and discriminate against the natives of its land (its Palestinian citizens). Iran on the other hand is a "Bad country" and so even though it has not invaded another country, does not steal others resources and land, does not have nuclear weapons, does not discriminate against its minorities – it is still under sanctions. Furthermore it does not want nuclear arms – but is pressurized to limit its potential to produce nuclear weapons. Its called being civilised and democratic!!!

  5. […] of the four emerging myths about the Iran-P5+1 deal has reached a fever pitch. Turn on basically any network news channel and […]

  6. What isn't a myth about this deal is that the Israelis are using it to extract another 'price' from the palestinians, with the acquiescenvce of the 'offending' United states of Amerika.

  7. yes you are right . I heard that as well and that shows how much these people actually know both the news media and the politicians or perhaps it is done purposely to brainwash people that iran is getting free money from u.s and turn them against any deal.

  8. The so-called "deal" is actually a non-deal deal crafted to make Obama look like he accomplished something, just as the unworkable, unaffordable non-health care healthcare act failure is proffered as an "accomplishment".

    Obama's inability to get anything done against Republican obstructionism — because he doesn't know how to fight — has left him with nothing but failure dressed up in the phony rhetoric of success. It's Obama's way, his version of Bush's "Mission Accomplished".

  9. There are people all through the Obama Administration who are committed to sabotage any final deal. That is because it is the position of Netanyahu. Every administration has had a great many people placed in it by special interests that put a high value on having their people in key places to further their own goals with government power. For the AIPAC Lobby, that has been in this area, and they are deeply embedded in this Administration, as they have been in all others. Other lobbies do the same in their own areas of interest. This is how it is done.

    AIPAC made no secret of this for decades, finding, protecting, and promoting people who could be in a Republican or Democratic Administration, and sometimes in both. The deny it, but also brag about it and explain what they've done, depending on the audience.

    The success of this organized and deeply entrenched interest group in deliberate sabotage of a deal will the the single most important thing to watch as this plays out. If there is no good final deal, it will be because Netanyahu won and prevented it. He'll then complain loudly about it and demand Iran be attacked because of what he did.

  10. So how many Israeli's and Palestinians are in Iran? They have Nothing to do with this topic, so let's discuss the Actual Topic at hand. It seems like Israel/Palestine Conflict is like something some of you would bring up during foreplay!
    Iran and the US have been at ends for years. Just having them talking is better than missiles and bullets flying!
    Once you say one side is Bad, then we have an issue.
    Although Iran is unfortunately been sponsors of groups that have committed acts of Terror. facts Hezbollah is an arm of Iran,. also Fighting In Syria has a lot of Iran involved.
    This is all you need to know about this deal.
    Israel, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, and Kuwait have the same viewpoint.

  11. […] of the four emerging myths about the Iran-P5+1 deal has reached a fever pitch. Turn on basically any network news channel and […]

  12. "Iran and the US have been at ends for years."

    Interesting interpretation. The USA has been complicit in the deaths of conservatively 1,025,300 Iranians, through two invasions, chemical weapons attacks, an overthrow, and endless sponsoring of terrorism against Iran.

    The US alleges that Iran, through funding, has been complicit in the deaths of 241 US citizens.

    That's 1,025,300 to 241, and that's being generous to the imperial monster.

    That's a ratio of 4,254 to 1.

    And this is "at ends", huh?

    You would have been one of the Germans saying Germany was "at ends" with Poland, etc.

    The USA kills and commits and sponsors terrorism to an extent and in ways that Iran couldn't dream of achieving even if it wanted to.

  13. It has been reported that the sanctions imposed on Iraq in the '90's caused the deaths of up to 500,000 children. (Worth it per dragon-lady Albright). Yet I have never heard of the body count from the Iran sanctions. Is Iran withholding it? It would really be instructive if there were a figure. Sanctions are, after all, an act of war.

  14. As Mr. Glaser points out, the scariest part of this deal is what will happen after 6 months. The irrational neocons and Israel-firsters are foaming at the mouth now. If additional concessions are given to Iran at that point, regardless of perfect compliance, we can all see the headlines. (Same as now only worse!) Let's face it. These haters will never stop until they get their war. Let's hope that, behind the scenes, Russia and China apply enough pressure to force a permanent agreement and put these war lovers in their place.

  15. Thanks John for informative summary of "myths". I see it Iranians got nothing for a lot. Any thinking person must see it, if of course he/she does not have hidden agenda. The people yelling to the contrary of a visible reality as Netanyahoo should be in mental institution and not a Prime Minister of a country.

    Sanctions on Iran should be ended as they are illegal. As outsider wrote "Sanctions are, after all, an act of war" and it is an illegal war.

  16. the sanctions caused the deaths of AT LEAST 500,000 children. Up to a million. And this is not including adults.

  17. […] return for agreeing to stop doing what it had no intention of doing, Iran will get the slightest relief from the economic sanctions that inflict so much suffering on the […]

  18. @Joe T.: "Israeli's and Palestinians … have Nothing to do with this topic, …"

    Me: Wrong. The common theme is 'murder for spoil;' in Palestine it's soil, in Iran it's oil. A brief, non-inclusive summary:

    Iran's troubles began latest when British warships were being changed from coal to oil, pre-WW1.

    Proof is the arrangement Britain subsequently forced upon Iran, whereby Iran was 'allowed' to keep ~1/6th of the profits from their own oil.

    Palestine's troubles began when Zionists decided to covet Palestinian soil, latest ~1905, revved-up when Balfour declared British support in 1917, got worse when Jabotinsky's 1923 "Iron Wall" defined the policy of force = eternal war.

    One proof is this; Ben-Gurion(1936-39): "We must see the situation for what it is. … But in the political field we are the attackers and the Arabs are those defending themselves. They are living in the country and own the land, …"

    A 2nd proof is Z-terrorism peaking 1947-48 with Plan Dalet, Deir Yassin massacre, etc. etc.. Not so BTW, the war against the former legal owner/occupiers in Palestine was no civil war, since the attackers were almost exclusively Z-immigrants (some illegally) = aggressive invasion.

    Proof of US engagement with Zs was demonstrated latest when Truman recognised the (rogue) state of Israel, 1948. Israel remains an un-remedied crime-scene.

    Proof of the UK/US link to Iran was demonstrated latest when their 'secret services' carried out the coup against the democratically elected PM Mossadegh, 1953 = Operation Ajax.

    Generally, the US rogue-regime supports the Z rogue-regime, both of which periodically threaten to attack Iran, possibly with nukes = "All Options!" Worse is that the Zs claim to own the US Congress, and each and every US/Z-leader must be psychopathic, as proven by their continued murder for spoil; US since latest 6&9Aug'45 and Zs since latest Jabotinsky, 1923. Specifically, Netanyahu demonstrated his mental state and faculties in the UNGA recently, with his red-lined cartoon A-bomb.

    Could all this (plus lots more) really be news to Joe T.?

  19. […] cambio de dejar de hacer lo que no tenía intención de hacer, Irán ha conseguido una mínima reducción de las sanciones económicas que están haciendo tanto daño a los […]

  20. Sanctions do not affect the leaders of the countries that are being sanctioned. They only affect the average people there. Sanctions against Iraq led to starvation. The US and UK were bombing Iraq even after Gulf War I and before Gulf War II. The sanctions have also hurt the economies of Libya, Syria, Iran,
    North Korea and Cuba. Ronald Reagan was against sanctions for South Africa but favored sanctions against Cuba and other enemies of the US.

  21. […] return for agreeing to stop doing what it had no intention of doing, Iran will get the slightest relief from the economic sanctions that inflict so much suffering on the […]

  22. hmm