SHAFAQNA – Those who believe the Iranian nuclear program should be dismantled “favors escalation that makes a calamitous conflict with Iran” and belong to a “war camp,” the New York Times said in an article on February 12.
According to the article, written by columnist Roger Cohen, Iran has mastered the fuel cycle and no power would ever be able to “dismantle knowledge” of a nation.
A settlement to the Iranian nuclear program dispute through a rigorous deal would have enormous political and economic benefits, the newspaper said.
The following is an extract of the New York Times article:
As a deadline nears for a possible deal with Iran on its nuclear program, discussion is being clouded by false debate. A curtailment camp that sees a viable avenue to ring-fencing limited Iranian enrichment so that the country cannot acquire a bomb confronts a dismantlement camp that believes any deal is bad and every Iranian centrifuge must go.
The Obama administration officials leading the talks are committed curtailers. They seek a tough deal involving intensive verification over an extended period of a much-reduced enrichment program compatible only with civilian nuclear energy and assuring that Iran is kept at least one year from any potential “breakout” to bomb manufacture.
The dismantlers, who believe a deal would be disastrous, are led by Benjamin Netanyahu with strong support in the Republican-controlled Congress, even before the Israeli prime minister addresses a joint session early next month. Netanyahu, whose planned visit has angered Obama, argues that he has an “obligation to speak up on a matter that affects the very survival of my country.”
The falseness of the debate lies in the disingenuousness of the dismantlers. Iran has mastered the fuel cycle. It did so before Obama took office. The country knows its way around basic enrichment technology. Thousands of centrifuges are spinning, although many fewer than would have been without the effective interim agreement concluded in late 2013. What then does it mean to dismantle knowledge? You cannot bomb a people’s knowledge out of existence. Yet this in essence is what the dismantlers propose.
In reality, the dismantlement camp favors escalation that makes a calamitous conflict with Iran more likely; it is a war camp. Iran, a signatory of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, will not voluntarily eliminate a nuclear program that is a source of national pride and to which it believes it has a right.
That leaves bombing Iran in an attempt to achieve dismantlement. Yet even optimistic assessments suggest the most a military campaign might achieve is setting the Iranian program back a couple of years. It would also lead the United States into a war with the sworn Shia enemies of ISIS just as America and its allies do battle with the Islamic State, as well as place Israel at war with Persians and Arabs for the first time. As double whammies in folly go, this would be up there.
A little over a month remains until a March 24 deadline for at least the “political framework” of a deal. The main differences are over an unrealistic Iranian demand that all sanctions be lifted at once if a deal is reached, and over cuts or modifications to the almost 10,000 operating centrifuges. Because Western officials believe Iran is prepared to send almost all its current stockpile to Russia, which would set back its “breakout” potential, there is more American flexibility on the number of centrifuges. Still, the number would probably need to be at least halved.
These are real but not insurmountable differences. Ushering Iran toward the world through a rigorous deal would have enormous political and economic benefits. As Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, said recently: “We need to seize this opportunity. It may not be repeated.”