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Proposed Senate Bill Risks Undermining Geneva
Proposed Senate Bill Risks Undermining Geneva
by Stephen Lendman
On November 21, Senator Bob Corker (R. TN) introduced "S. 1765: A bill to ensure the compliance of Iran with agreements relating to Iran's nuclear program."
It's also called the Iran Nuclear Compliance Act (INCA) of 2013. It was referred to committee. No official summary is available. Nor the full text. Further action will follow. Perhaps before yearend.
House and Senate members are largely in lockstep on Iran. They're militantly hostile. Some more so than others.
Sentiment favors stiffer sanctions. House members passed more in July. Senate action depends on how discussions proceed going forward.
Corker is the ranking Republican Senate Foreign Relations Committee member. He wants so-called loopholes closed on terms agreed on in Geneva.
He wants pressure on Iran maintained. He wants interim agreement terms prevented from becoming final. Perhaps he and others want resolution blocked entirely.
On November 30, sketchy details of Corker's bill were released.
It calls INCA's purpose a way to "protect the existing sanctions regime and ensure that ongoing negotiations with Iran regarding its illicit nuclear program move forward toward a final agreement that meets the minimum criteria for international law and security."
It gives Obama 60 days to conclude interim agreement terms. It's not satisfied with Geneva. Further talks resume this week. More on that below.
According to Corker's office, Geneva "weakens the leverage necessary for a strong final deal, legitimizes Iran's enrichment activities, and provides Iran more time to further develop its nuclear weapons program."
Corker wants Congress to "reject any guarantee of enrichment."
He gives Obama 180 days to conclude a final agreement.
"During this 240 day period, the president may not waive, suspend, or otherwise reduce any sanctions imposed on Iran, whether by statute or through executive order, unless the president certifies to Congress that:
(1) providing such relief it is in the vital national security interests of the United States; and
(2) Iran is in full compliance with" P5+1 agreed on terms."
"After this 240 day period, (Obama can't) waive, suspend, or otherwise reduce any sanctions against Iran, unless the President certifies to Congress that the final deal with Iran includes the following key elements:
(1) the above conditions continue to be met;
(2) Iran fully complies with its basic international obligations, including six UN Security Council Resolutions, the most recent of which the Obama administration supported in 2010.
(3) Iran provides a full accounting of all of its nuclear weaponization and related activities and commits and takes efforts to suspend such activities."
Note: Iran can't prove a negative. It can't provide details of a nonexistent nuclear weapons program.
Iraq's alleged WMDs didn't exist. Saddam couldn't prove it. War followed. Waging one on Iran may be planned ahead.
If Iran fails to comply with agreed on terms, Corker's bill reimposes concessions Obama agreed to. It goes further. It includes stiff demands. They go beyond what sketchy details explained.
Corker wants Iranian nuclear enrichment halted. He wants all reprocessing activities stopped. He wants Arak's heavy water facility construction ended.
He wants full suspension of heavy water activities. He wants full compliance with IAEA demands. He wants full access to Iranian military sites alleged to be related to nuclear weaponization.
He wants Iranian missile and other potential nuclear delivery systems suspended. He wants a full accounting of all alleged nuclear weaponization activities.
He wants far more than any country would agree to. Senate Democrats initially rejected his ideas. Reports suggest bipartisan support is increasing.
According to INCA:
The measure "gives the administration the necessary flexibility to pursue diplomacy with Iran, while protecting the multilateral sanctions regime that brought Iran to the table in the first place."
It "keeps the negotiations focused on the endgame and keeps the pressure on the Iranians to comply with all of their international obligations and abandon their pursuit of nuclear weapons."
P5+1 countries and Iran resume talks in Geneva this week. Unresolved issues will be discussed. They involve so-called "technical aspects."
Iran won't relinquish its right to enrich uranium. President Hassan Rohani calls it a "red line." Iranian nuclear facilities won't be decommissioned.
He's optimistic on rapprochement going forward. He calls further talks the "best test" of whether long ago lost US trust can be restored.
At the same time, "Iran-US problems are very complicated and cannot be resolved over a short period of time."
Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi stressed Iran's uranium enrichment rights. "There is no suspension (under interim terms), and enrichment would be part of the solution in the final step of the nuclear deal," he said.
The State Department acknowledged a window before Geneva terms take effect. Iran isn't obligated to implement them in the meantime.
Unresolved details continue being discussed. No specific timeline is acknowledged. According to State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki:
"The next step here is a continuation of technical discussions at a working level so that we can essentially tee up the implementation of the agreement."
"Obviously, once those technical discussions are worked through, I guess the clock would start."
"Obviously, there'll also be a reconvening of the political track with the P5+1, which Under Secretary Sherman will continue to be our lead negotiator on."
"In terms of what the Iranians are or aren't doing, obviously our hope would be, given we are respecting the spirit of the agreement in pressing for sanctions not to be put in place and beginning the process of figuring out how to deliver on our end of the bargain, that the same would be coming from their end in the spirit of the agreement."
It bears repeating. Iran's nuclear program is entirely peaceful. It has no weaponization program. No evidence suggests one.
Israel claims otherwise. So does Congress. Anti-Iranian sentiment bodes ill for efforts going forward. It remains to be seen how things work out.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen [at] sbcglobal.net.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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