Mousavian: Iran deal a milestone achievement in the cause of nonproliferation

Tehran, July 15, IRNA – Iran’s former top nuclear negotiator Hossein Mousavian says the historic agreement reached between Iran and P5+1 on Tuesday represents a milestone achievement in the cause of nonproliferation.

He also believes that the diplomatic agreement marks a major step towards decreasing tensions and hostility between Iran and the United States.

What follows is the story by John Mecklin, editor of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists:

After serially breaking a variety of self-imposed deadlines, six world powers and Iran reached agreement on plans for long-term limits on the Iranian nuclear program and the easing of international economic sanctions on that country.

The five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany (or P5+1) and Iran signed off on the complex agreement, more than 80 pages in length, Tuesday in Vienna. Negotiations were slowed for days by disagreements about the timing of sanctions relief, the degree of access international inspectors would gain to Iranian military sites, and, particularly, a UN ban on conventional weapons sales to Iran, which includes a ban on ballistic missile-related transactions.

The agreement reached this week places restrictions on a broad array of Iranian nuclear activities—including uranium enrichment and plutonium separation—and calls for the International Atomic Energy Agency to monitor the country’s nuclear sites. The restrictions and monitoring regime aim to prevent Iran from producing nuclear weapons. As the restrictions take effect, a complex regimen of economic sanctions against Iran will start to be unwound.

The agreement will almost certainly face contentious US congressional review and heated debate around the world. The Bulletin has asked top international security experts with a variety of perspectives and backgrounds to offer their assessments of the agreement. Their comments will be published over the course of several days, as they have time to study the complex, lengthy, and unprecedented document. (Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists)

Invited Expert Commentary

Ambassador Seyed Hossein Mousavian

Research scholar and former diplomat

Princeton University

14 July 2015

This roughly 100-page agreement, meticulously crafted by the tireless and sagacious diplomats of Iran and the P5+1, represents a milestone achievement in the cause of non-proliferation. This deal ensures a fully transparent Iranian nuclear program in a verifiable way, adopts new sets of measures guaranteeing there can be no diversion towards weaponization in Iran, acknowledges Iran’s right to enrich uranium on its soil for peaceful purposes, and secures the removal of the draconian sanctions regime imposed on Iran.

Furthermore, this deal serves as a model for how to address future proliferation challenges throughout the world. A template has been created for how countries can develop nuclear energy programs without eliciting concern that they may develop nuclear weapons. Several principles can be enshrined into international non-proliferation law based on this agreement, including ceasing the production of plutonium and the separation of plutonium, halting the production of highly enriched uranium, and prohibiting the stockpiling beyond peaceful domestic needs of nuclear fuel.

Broader steps that can also be taken after the implementation of this agreement include establishing a nuclear-weapons-free zone (NWFZ) in the Middle East, a longtime goal of Iran. The Middle East is already in an incredibly volatile state, and the possession of nuclear weapons by any power only serves to exacerbate instability and tension throughout the region. There is a clearly an urgent need for the establishment of a NWFZ in the Middle East, and this nuclear agreement sets a positive precedent in this regard.

This diplomatic agreement also marks a major step towards decreasing tensions and hostility between Iran and the United States. It can be used as a starting point to address other areas of conflict between the two nations, specifically on issues related to regional rivalries and security-related issues such as terrorism. Iran and the United States both stand to benefit immensely from increased cooperation with one another. By compromising on the nuclear issue, the door is opened. (Bulletin of the Atomic Sciences)