Start Date of 6-Mo. Agreement Decided: Jan. 20 asks:  Were the 8-weeks that led up to the January 20 implementation date for ‘technical’ or ‘financial’ reasons?

iranTalkers around the tableOpinion:  I don’t know about you, but I have read too many news stories, like the one below from the NY Times, that labels the cause of the delay in starting the 6-month nuclear agreement as “for technical discussions.” Most probably thought at first, okay, that’s reasonable.  But two months?  Unless what they really meant were ‘technicalities’ of the November 24 Agreement itself and what certain words and terms mean. ‘Technical negotiating’ teams were assigned to meet in Geneva.

To Iran especially this was, and is, and always will be about financial discussions, not technical.  Does anyone believe that Catherine Ashton of the EU or John Kerry or Wendy Sherman from the U.S. knows the inside of a centrifuge?  Or a nuclear reactor?  Or a nuclear bomb?

Evidence #1: The very first ‘technical’ talks took place in early December a few weeks after the agreement was signed. After two days, the entire Iranian team bolted the meeting and flew home. The reason: they received word from Tehran the U.S. was still enforcing the existing sanctions regime on new trade deals. Does that sound like a technical matter, or financial?

After a couple of weeks delay, and the holiday season (in the West) the Iranians were finally told to get used to it.  Just because they were getting some sanctions relief, did not imply the entire program was scuttled!

Evidence #2: The ‘technical talks’ apparently concluded this past Sunday night, January 12. Last week the lead negotiators were in Geneva again for technical talks, and then Wendy Sherman of the State Dept. flew off to Russia.  Lo and behold John Kerry and the P5 popped up in Paris on Sunday night and announced that ‘technical details’ were all satisfied. And the six-month deal will begin on January 20. (But it kind of depends on what you mean by the word ‘begins’ is.)  And this sudden news had nothing to do, of course, with Washington political talk.

This critical last step of the ‘technical talks’ was not only to confirm the start of the six-month countdown to a Permanent agreement. It also laid out a multi-billion dollar installment payment plan! It starts with a cool $550 million on February 1. Apparently, it requires 10-days for the U.S. to cut a check that large and get it cleared.

The Iran side also announced today via twitter talks will resume sometime in February – date not set.

Mohammad Javad ZarifNo, the ‘technical talks’ were always about financial, not technical, matters. Iran may TALK about real technical issues over the next six-months, but it’s really the financial aspects that matter most, which they desperately need. But don’t expect them to say it or show it. They endured over a decade of harsh sanctions on the backs of their own people. They did however allow one big smile after the November deal was inked!

Why is it more about finance and trade and less about technical matters to the Iranians? They know they will never voluntarily stop their nuclear enrichment program. Or the pursuit of a bomb that could flatten Israel in one stroke.  Not a chance.  It may take them longer or they may do it quickly.  Their hatred for the U.S. as the ‘Great Satan’ in the world and protector of ‘Little Satan’ is only cooled for now as a means to an end. The Ayatollah even said so publicly last week!

They gained two months from ‘technical’ delays, and soon Phase 1, aka the ‘pause’ button, adds six more months and serves Iran’s greater national goals … and they get paid while doing so. Many in Washington are saying it will take a year to complete the six-month deal!  Only in DC!

Conclusion: Regardless of the six-month temporary agreement’s outcome, good or bad pertaining to nuclear issues, insists the best opportunity to enter humanitarian negotiations to liberate three American hostages is now.  Right now!

Some don’t like it that we are even talking with Iran.  I’m not pleased either that we started talks without pre-conditions! But we are talking now; so it’s better to continue discussions than to break off all relations. However, it is important, essential really, that the plight of three U.S. citizen hostages needs to be raised immediately.  Not after five months and then we say, “Oh we failed to mention earlier the cases of our three citizens that you are holding for no good reason.  Could we please have them back?”

No, this demand must be made NOW, be raised continually and be settled before Phase 2 is signed!

Related from:  The NY Times, January 13, 2013


Iran-Talks-Geneva congratsPARIS — Iran and a group of six world powers completed a deal on Sunday that will temporarily freeze much of Tehran’s nuclear program starting next Monday, Jan. 20, in exchange for limited relief from Western economic sanctions.

The main elements of the deal, which is to last for six months, were announced in November. But its implementation was delayed as negotiators worked out technical details.

The agreement faced opposition from Iranian hard-liners and Israeli leaders, as well as heavy criticism from some American lawmakers, who have threatened to approve further sanctions despite President Obama’s promise of a veto.

It comes as Tehran has sought to expand its influence in the Middle East by providing weapons and sometimes members of its own paramilitary Quds Force, in what Western nations view as destabilizing activities in countries including Syria, Bahrain and Yemen, according to interviews with intelligence, military, diplomatic and government officials. However, both the United States and Iran have sought to insulate the nuclear negotiations from the tensions over Iran’s regional policies.

On Sunday, the Obama administration hailed the temporary agreement as an important step that would halt many of Iran’s nuclear efforts, giving international negotiators time to pursue a more comprehensive and durable agreement that would roll back much of Iran’s program and ensure that it could be used only for peaceful purposes.

Mr. Obama said last month at a conference in Washington that he thought there was at best a “50-50” chance of negotiating such a comprehensive agreement. On Sunday, he said he had “no illusions” that a long-term deal would be reached easily.

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