by Emily B. Landau, Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
At this early stage, the most one can offer is a preliminary assessment of the nuclear deal’s text.
All of the details are certainly important, and will need to be scrutinised, not least to see whether and where the formulations might be ambiguous – leaving room for misinterpretation and abuse down the line.
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But many of the outstanding features of the deal, and indeed its flavour, have been known for some time. And it is the big issues that are cause for grave concern in many quarters, including in Israel, like the fact that many of the provisions will sunset after 10 years, regardless of whether there is any change in Iran’s basic nuclear aspirations or regional behaviour. This is reason enough to view the deal negatively.
Another big issue is that the deal was presented before clearing up the military aspects of Iran’s nuclear programme.
So Iran retains its false narrative that it has done no wrong in the nuclear realm, with adverse implications as far as the wording and provisions of the deal.
Why should Iran be part of the committee that discusses any future violations?
If Iran had clearly been exposed as a state that has been cheating for decades, this would be an obviously unwarranted provision.
The inspection regime is a far cry from what the US promised from day one, and does not include the “any place, anytime” right of inspection that is imperative when facing a known cheater.
The issue of continued R&D work on more advanced centrifuges – that can be quickly installed and operated were Iran to defect from the deal, or after it sunsets – is another dangerous element. And there’s more.
But it’s pretty much a done deal and the next step is to prepare to deal with the implications of the international community having legitimised Iran’s nuclear threshold status.