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Major Deal Agreed on Tehran Uranium

by MUHAMMAD SAHIMI in Los Angeles

17 May 2010 23:3717 Comments

Tripartite negotiations yield agreement reflecting all crucial elements of U.N. plan.

[ comment ] Iran, Turkey, and Brazil announced Monday, May 17, that they have reached an agreement under which Iran will send most of its stock of low-enriched uranium (LEU), which is enriched at 3.5 percent, to Turkey to be stored and safeguarded there by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In return for the transfer of 1,200 kg of LEU, Iran will receive 120 kg of uranium fuel rods, enriched at 19.75 percent, for the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR). The TRR produces medical isotopes for approximately 850,000 patients. Its fuel, supplied by Argentina, will be finished in about a year. The LEU will be considered Iran's property until it receives the fuel for the TRR.

Brazil's leftist President Luiz Inàcio Lula da Silva announced a few weeks ago that he would travel to Tehran to help resolve the standoff between Iran and the United States and its allies. Although the talks were supposed to involve Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, he was at first cautious. Last Thursday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that Erdogan would not travel to Iran unless the administration of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was ready to make a deal. "The matter is not just to hold a three-way meeting," he said. "We want to get results if such a meeting is to be held." The next day, Erdogan said that his planned trip to Tehran was "no longer possible for me, as Iran has not taken that step on the issue."

The United States appeared unhappy with the mediation by Turkey and Brazil, both currently non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Davutoglu last Friday and tried to persuade him to abandon the the initiative. She publicly predicted that the three-way effort effort would fail, declaring, "Every step of the way has demonstrated clearly to the world that Iran is not participating in the international arena in the way that we had asked them to do." But it appears that while Clinton was making this statement, her boss, President Barack Obama, had quietly encouraged Turkey to proceed.

Once it appeared that a deal was possible, a Turkish delegation rushed to Tehran. Intense negotiations took place between the three parties, with Iran's side led by Ahmadinejad, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, and chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili. President da Silva called the resulting agreement a "victory for diplomacy."

The official text of the statement announcing the agreement follows:

Having met in Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, the undersigned have agreed on the following declaration:

1. We reaffirm our commitment to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and in accordance with the related articles of the NPT, recall the right of all State Parties, including the Islamic Republic of Iran, to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy (as well as nuclear fuel cycle including enrichment activities) for peaceful purposes without discrimination.

2. We express our strong conviction that we have the opportunity now to begin a forward looking process that will create a positive, constructive, non-confrontational atmosphere leading to an era of interaction and cooperation.

3. We believe that the nuclear fuel exchange is instrumental in initiating cooperation in different areas, especially with regard to peaceful nuclear cooperation including nuclear power plant and research reactors construction.

4. Based on this point the nuclear fuel exchange is a starting point to begin cooperation and a positive constructive move forward among nations. Such a move should lead to positive interaction and cooperation in the field of peaceful nuclear activities replacing and avoiding all kinds of confrontation through refraining from measures, actions and rhetorical statements that would jeopardize Iran's rights and obligations under the NPT.

5. Based on the above, in order to facilitate the nuclear cooperation mentioned above, the Islamic Republic of Iran agrees to deposit 1200 kg LEU in Turkey. While in Turkey this LEU will continue to be the property of Iran. Iran and the IAEA may station observers to monitor the safekeeping of the LEU in Turkey.

6. Iran will notify the IAEA in writing through official channels of its agreement with the above within seven days following the date of this declaration. Upon the positive response of the Vienna Group (US, Russia, France and the IAEA) further details of the exchange will be elaborated through a written agreement and proper arrangement between Iran and the Vienna Group that specifically committed themselves to deliver 120 kg of fuel needed for the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR).

7. When the Vienna Group declares its commitment to this provision, then both parties would commit themselves to the implementation of the agreement mentioned in item 6. Islamic Republic of Iran expressed its readiness to deposit its LEU (1200 kg) within one month. On the basis of the same agreement the Vienna Group should deliver 120 kg fuel required for TRR in no later than one year.

8. In case the provisions of this Declaration are not respected Turkey, upon the request of Iran, will return swiftly and unconditionally Iran's LEU to Iran.

9. We welcome the decision of the Islamic Republic of Iran to continue as in the past their talks with the 5+1 countries in Turkey on the common concerns based on collective commitments according to the common points of their proposals.

10. Turkey and Brazil appreciated Iran's commitment to the NPT and its constructive role in pursuing the realization of nuclear rights of its member states. The Islamic Republic of Iran likewise appreciated the constructive efforts of the friendly countries Turkey and Brazil in creating the conducive environment for realization of Iran's nuclear rights.

Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu said the new deal meant Iran was willing to "open a constructive road. There is no ground left for more sanctions or pressure." The agreement appears to be nearly identical to a U.N.-drafted plan that the United States and its allies have been pressing Iran to accept since October 2009. They have expressed the fear that Iran would accumulate enough LEU to enrich to the 90 percent level needed to produce a nuclear weapon, despite the absence of any evidence that the Islamic Republic intends such production.

It remains to be seen whether Washington and its allies will declare satisfaction with the Tehran agreement, even though Tehran appears to have given up several of its original demands for the nuclear exchange. The deputy spokesman for Germany's right-wing government, Christoph Steegmans, stated, "The key question is whether the agreement fulfills the demands that the U.N. and the International Atomic Energy Agency has made of Tehran," which includes the suspension of all uranium enrichment activity. Along with the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, Germany is a member of the 5+1.

However, suspension of Iran's uranium enrichment program was not part of the fuel exchange deal reached between Iran, the IAEA, and the 5+1 group in October 2009. In fact, the main goal of the fuel swap has been to reduce tensions between Iran and the West, as Iran's stockpile of enriched uranium has been growing, albeit at a much slower pace than neoconservative alarmists and Israel's lobby in the United States have claimed. At present, suspension of its uranium enrichment program is considered a red line by Iran.

Iran gave up its earlier demands that the swap be simultaneous and take place in Tehran. It had also demanded that the exchange take place in several stages, rather than all at once. The only major difference between the announced agreement and last October's is that the new one stipulates that if Iran does not receive the fuel rods for the TRR within a year, Turkey must return the LEU.

French Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said, "Let's not be duped by this. A solution for the medical reactor, while necessary, would in no way resolve the problem posed by the Iranian nuclear program. The exchange of uranium that is envisaged amounts to a confidence gesture, a side issue." French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said that the IAEA must be the first body to respond to the agreement, a sentiment also expressed by German spokesman Steegmans, who declared, "It of course remains important that Iran and the IAEA reach an accord. That cannot be replaced by an accord with other countries."

In London, Alistair Burt, a junior minister in the British Foreign Office, said, "Iran's actions remain a serious cause for concern, in particular its refusal to meet for discussions of its nuclear program, or cooperate fully with the IAEA, and its decision to start enriching low enriched uranium to 20 percent."

Catherine Ashton, spokesperson for the European Union's foreign affairs chief, applauded the agreement, but said the problem of Iran's intentions remained: "This is welcome but does not solve the fundamental problem, which is the international community has serious concerns about (the stated) peaceful intentions of Iran's nuclear program."

As might be expected, Israel is not happy about the deal, because it eliminates the rationale for imposing crippling sanctions to thwart Iran's supposedly imminent development of a nuclear weapon. A senior Israeli official told AFP, "The Iranians have manipulated Turkey and Brazil. They have already pulled off such a trick in the past -- by pretending to accept such a procedure to lower tensions and reduce the risk of harsher international sanctions, then refusing to follow through."

President da Silva will attend a joint E.U.-Latin America conference in Europe this week, giving him the opportunity to explain the details of the agreement to the European countries and push for their consent. Namik Tan, Turkey's ambassador to the United States, urged the Obama administration to carefully consider the agreement and accept it. He told the Associated Press that Turkey believes that the deal meets all U.S. demands. "We have delivered what they were asking for." He added, "If we fail to get a positive reaction, it would be a real frustration."

The agreement will surely be viewed by many in the West as a face-saving escape by Iran from the looming confrontation with the United States and its allies. On the other hand, Dr. Ali Akbar Salehi, the MIT-educated head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran and one of Ahmadinejad's vice presidents, said last week that Iran sought a deal "to give Western countries an opportunity to save face and find a way out of the current situation." In reality, this is probably a face-saving result for both sides.

The agreement has advantages for many parties. It produces at least two main benefits for Iran as a nation. First, it forces Washington and its allies to recognize Iran's uranium enrichment program as legitimate (if such recognition outside the NPT was actually needed). This was the point made on Monday in Tehran by Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, who said that the trilateral fuel swap agreement recognizes Iran's right for peaceful nuclear energy.

Second, it can forestall the harsh sanctions that the United States and its allies have been threatening. With Iran's economy in shambles due to the incompetence and corruption of Ahmadinejad's government, the sanctions would bring extra hardship and misery to tens of millions of Iranians, while doing nothing to weaken the hardliners' grip on power. If anything, such sanctions would only have strengthened their position.

The agreement is also beneficial to Iran's Green Movement and the struggle for democracy, because it makes it highly unlikely that military attacks on Iran will take place, at least in the near future. The hardliners would use such attacks as an excuse to wipe out all opposing voices as threats to Iran's national security and territorial integrity. In addition, the hardliners' accommodation of foreign demands renders their accusations that the Green Movement is under foreign control even more absurd than they have already appeared.

The hardliners also benefit from the agreement. They cannot fight two simultaneous wars, one domestic and one external. With the anniversary of the rigged election of June 12, 2009, rapidly approaching and crippling sanctions looming, they needed to calm one front in order to focus their energy and resources on the second. The recent executions of five dissidents, the scathing attacks on Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi for their criticism of the killings, and the threat by Tehran's chief prosecutor, Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi, to execute at least six more all indicate the hardliners' belief in the need to keep Iran's citizens in a state of fear.

Can the Obama administration take "yes" for an answer? That remains to be seen. But unlike the Europeans' chilly reactions, the first U.S. response appears to be positive. Admiral James Stavridis, NATO supreme commander, said the agreement was "a potentially good development," according to the AFP. "I think that's an example of what we all look for, which is a diplomatic system that encourages good behavior on the part of the Iranian regime." He added, "Obviously, we have a million miles to go."

But good behavior should also be expected of the United States and its allies, and both sides need to cross their share of those million miles to meet in the middle.

Copyright © 2010 Tehran Bureau

From L to R: Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan raise their hands together after the Islamic republic inked a nuclear fuel swap deal in Tehran on May 17, 2010 under which 1,200 kilos of low enriched uranium will be shipped to Turkey, potentially ending a standoff with world powers gearing for new sanctions against Tehran. Photograph by Atta Kenare, AFP/Getty Images

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I think whatever one's doubts about Ahmedi and his team and their dealings with the internal opposition, on the diplomatic front their pro-active engagement with non-aligned members of the UNSC has paid off and they deserve congrats for that. Many Western politicians the likes of Clinton and Merkel are deeply in the pockets of their Israeli friends and whatever Iran does they are unlikely to change their allegiances. To have two, albeit non-permanent members, supporting its position will have a definite impact on the attitudes of the others. There is a real chance that international relations will have a more level playing field than they have ever had in the UNSC.

rezvan / May 18, 2010 4:12 AM

bravo dr sahimi,again you amaze me,with such an indepth anaylsis of the situation.
i have to give this regime B+ for their poltical game playing,if things go as expected,we can see that iranians bought time and eventually got their way.if we can trust their intentions'
great article

fay moghtader / May 18, 2010 7:08 AM

I caannot agree more rezvan.

The most important achievement in this agreement is what Rezvan has eluded to, the sidelining of the EU and US. We can say whatever we want about Ahmadi, but his administration has down one-two punch never seen in international community. First, they countered US international offensive nuclear position against Iran by a conference of their own, in Tehran, which resulted a neutralization of the Obama position in the NPT conference in NY. Second, Iran has opened an alternative path to international diplomacy by negotiating and agreeing with 2 non-alient member nations, thus empowering the non-aligned movement for the first time. It is likely, if successful, Iran can return to this path to defuse future internation tensions with the single minded west.

One more thing that is visible, is that the Iranian government does depend on public opinion, and the notions that sanctions are good for hardliners and that they don't care about people is too simple of an explaination. This deal shows the regime cares about its constituency and has responded with an international diplomatic coup.

Even though I dissagree Iran's 2009 election was fraudulant or that Iran's economy is any trouble, once again, Mr. Sahimi has added to our knowledge by writing a comprehensive article. I thank him.

Pouya / May 18, 2010 8:30 AM

Let's not all pat Ahmadinejad on the back all at once.....

Surely the neo-cons will find a way to scuttle this deal.

Who benefits by keeping the threat of another war on the horizon? Answer that and you will begin to figure out what is going on in the Middle East and Central Asia.

Mohammad Alireza / May 18, 2010 5:40 PM

Good question -- can the US take "yes" for an answer. (particularly given the suspicion that parts of the Obama Team, eg DR, all along were assuming that Iran would reject the deal -- so that we could then have greater international cover for sanctions, pre-emptive this or that, etc.) Ah, but those "dastardly" Iranians, they've actually done something quite within their national interests. How fiendish, how un-civilized!?

I am puzzled by one line in your analysis, that "the hardliners also benefit from the agreement." Perhaps. On the other hand, there are those inside the DC beltway who have built their reputations of late claiming that "the hardliners need an American bogey," that it's somehow their raison d'etre. (a view I don't share)

Yet might it not also be suggested that Iranian reformists benefit from this deal too -- precisely IF tensions with the US are reduced. They won't so easily be tarred with the brush of being fifth columns for a looming foreign attack.

escot / May 18, 2010 8:23 PM

Alas, it appears that the US cannot take yes from the Iranians for an answer. Clinton today is whistling Dixie in claiming the Russian & China are on board to vote for new sanctions on Iran. (because the US has now moved the cheese, saying that Iran must cease all enrichment.) That sophistry w will fly with the "sanctions at any cost crowd" (Gary Sick's telling phrase), but I'll be amazed if the US can even now get a majority of the Security Council to go along with such "schoolyard behavior".....

escot / May 18, 2010 9:08 PM

Shouldn't you people have waited a little longer for the reactions from all parties involved before declaring victory? Just like the hostage crisis, they dragged it so long that it came back to bite them. The problem with Iranians in general is lack of management. It shows in the way the country is run, in the way the Green movement is handled and now the nuclear issue. Finally, when nothing works out, simply blame it on the Shahollahies or the Zionists. When are we going to learn? There is no future for the Iranian people with the Barbaric Republic. Stop rushing to write an article to direct public opinion. It does not work anymore. Your methods are outdated and ineffective.
Where is your information on the additional $1B contract Iran signed with Brazil this week as payoff for the nuclear agreement? What did we offer to Turkey? Diplomatic prestige?

The United States won agreement from China, Russia and other major powers on tough new sanctions against Iran's nuclear program Tuesday, a day after Tehran sought to stave off penalties through a deal to swap nuclear materials.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told a Senate committee that the five veto-wielding members of the U.N. Security Council — Britain, China, France, Russia and the U.S. — along with Germany would present the full council with a draft resolution later Tuesday, capping months of diplomatic maneuvering and painstaking negotiations.

Clinton said she spent Tuesday morning on the phone with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov "finalizing the resolution." Details were not immediately released, but the sanctions are expected to broaden economic penalties on Iranian officials and institutions.
The agreement appeared to be a significant victory for the Obama administration, which doggedly pursued sanctions since Iran rebuffed U.S. overtures last year. The pursuit was complicated by initial resistance from Russia and China, either of which could have vetoed the deal.

But in recent weeks, Russia and China have been persuaded to support at least some degree of increased pressure on Iran.

Perhaps more significantly, Clinton's announcement came just one day after Iran, Brazil and Turkey said they had agreed on a plan for Iran to swap nuclear materials.

Many believed the last-minute agreement would blunt the U.S.-led drive for a fourth round of U.N penalties on Iran.

Clinton said the agreement on a new resolution by the major powers was a rejection of Iran's efforts to forestall penalties.

"This announcement is as convincing an answer to the efforts undertaken by Tehran over the last few days as any we could provide," Clinton told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

"We don't believe it was any accident that Iran agreed to this declaration as we were preparing to move forward in New York," she said. "With all due respect to my Turkish and Brazilian friends, the fact that we had Russia on board, we had China on board and that we were moving early this week, namely today, to share the text of that resolution put pressure on Iran which they were trying to somehow dissipate."

Niloofar / May 18, 2010 11:51 PM


The other side of what you have correctly stated that 'we do not seem to learn fro our past' is that many of us Iranians are also very good at criticizing just about anything, however seldom offering a solution or even a glance in the direction of a possible solution.

What is your solution? What do you suggest as a sensible direction.


Jamal / May 19, 2010 1:37 AM

I'll keep it simple: By now Hillary Clinton will have have called the Israelis and asked, "What do you want us to do now"?

Aarky / May 19, 2010 7:17 AM

Thank you for your question Mr. Jamal. In response please allow me to quote one of our scholars who has correctly written, "A letter signed by 175 hard-line Majles (parliament) deputies was delivered to Sadegh Larijani, the judiciary chief, asking him to put Mousavi on trial. They claimed that because the executed people were mohareb (enemies of God), Mousavi's protest of their killing is a comparable offense. On Tuesday, Larijani responded, saying the letter interfered in the judiciary's work. In the interest of the political system, he announced, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei does not want Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi, and Mohammad Khatami, the three main leaders of the Green Movement, to be arrested or put on trial." A simple snapshot of the Barbaric Republic.
Mr. jamal, one of the main problems my generation has encountered is the unwillingness of the older generation to listen to anything we have to say and reject it as simple, uncalled for or foolish.

Mr. Jamal, do you suppose after 31 years of repeated failures and lack of direction our scholars would recognize that theirs is a path to nowhere? That they need to reconsider their positions? That for the sake of the future of Iran they should put differences aside, swallow silly pride and unite with those who oppose the Barbaric Republic regardless of political affiliation with one true intention to save Iran?

Mr. Jamal, when an entire system is rotted out the presence of a single character i.e. Mousavi is a mere irrelevancy. Please consider this statement, "Saleh Noghreh Kar, a nephew of Dr. Zahra Rahnavard, Mousavi's wife, recently reported a conversation he had with Yazdanfar. When he asked the bodyguard why he has stayed with Mousavi for so long, rejecting numerous offers of other positions, Yazdanfar replied, "Mousavi is one of those rare people whose words and deeds are the same. I have stayed with him because of his honesty.""

Mr. Jamal, are we not missing the point? It is a simple fact, if it looks like a duck, flies like a duck, quacks like a duck, walks and swims like a duck then it must be a duck. Mr. Jamal, the Barbaric Republic cannot be revived. It is brain dead. It is ready for burial. Even if the Mahdi himself emerges from the well there is nothing he can do for it.

Before we even decide on a direction we must come together and stand united shoulder to shoulder and show the world [WE THE PEOPLE] exist. The rest will follow. All it takes is a little courage for our scholars to emerge out of their bunkers. Do you think our scholars are listening Mr. Jamal? Let's hope so, for Iran's sake and before it is another generation too late in misery and absolute poverty. May God bless our country.

Niloofar / May 19, 2010 8:02 AM


Iran has been able to enrich for the past 6 months to the point that the current shipment to outside Iran won't mean much. On the other hand, the current deal will show that the US and its allies want to simply sanction Iran.

They have no choice but to deny this deal, because accepting the current deal signed in Tehran would ensure that the superpowers, who were absent, will be sidelined. It also marks Tehran as the city where the roadmap was set for how nations can enrich uranium outside the global cartel.

Most people don't realize that the main reason for opposition on Iran is that the world's future energy, nuclear fuel, was devided among 5 global corporations owned and operated by US, EU, Japan, Russia, and China. The agreement also stipulated, though not legal, would not allow any other entity to enrich uranium in this world. No wonder the five permanent members have found common ground. If Iran is successful, it will be the world sixth enrichment site, and Brazil is likely to follow the Tehran Blueprint.

It is also important to recall that Russia only agreed to go along with the US when Obama agreed to withdraw his defense shield from Eastern Europe and cut down its nuclear arsenal. A considerable compromise. A deal they could not refuse, it's called diplomacy. There are those who redicule Iran when Iran cuts deals to advance the national agenda. It won't matter, the solution is exactly what the IR is doing. They are creating a third pole in the dual polarity of today's global politics by bringing the Non-aligned Nations to center stage, where Iran has considerable influence. Very smart.

It will no longer matter what the security counsel does, their vote to sanction will be delegitimized and that is exactly what Iran wants to continue to enrich with a faster pace with the new technology international community is calling the IR3 (for Iran3) ultra fast centrifuges being installed now.

pouya / May 19, 2010 10:19 AM

I am sorry to interoject but I see no explaination where Niloofar would like Iran to go.

Let me explain something that has been explained many times before. The main reason Ayatollah Montazeri was removed from power was because he opposed the killing of thousands of prisoners. Those executions were carried out by the government of Mr. Mousavi. Unfortunately for some, when Ahmadinejad says "there are some people who think they own this country," he is correctly referring to Rafsanjani and Mousavi. They are the old guard, and they are not angels. Granted Mousavi served as PM at a very difficult time.

There is no question Niloufar points correctly for people to come together. Part of coming together means you are willing to accept the other side. I don't see a compromising tone from Niloufar. I want to know who are the two sides that she wants to come together? The Green Leaders should come together with who? Who is on the other side for Niloufar to accept? And what to do differently, specifically, once they are together? that is a good debate to have, instead of talking about these characters in Iran.

pouya / May 20, 2010 9:14 AM

According to Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, he had been in “constant contact” with Clinton herself and with national security adviser James Jones, while his prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, had face-to-face encouragement from President Obama in December and April.

The objective of Turkey and Brazil was to persuade Iran to accept the terms of an agreement the United States had itself promoted only six months ago as a confidence-building measure and the precursor to more substantive talks. There were twelve visits back and forth between the Turk and his Iranian counterpart, some 40 phone conversations, and eighteen grueling hours of personal negotiations leading up to the presentation of the signed agreement on Monday.

“What they wanted us to do was give the confidence to Iran to do the swap. We have done our duty,” said Davutoglu, calling the deal an important step for regional and global peace. “We were told that if Iran gives 1,200 kg without conditions, then the required atmosphere of trust would be created [to avoid sanctions]. So if we do all these things, and they still talk about sanctions … [it] will damage the psychological trust that has been created.”

The Turks and Brazilians, who felt they had “delivered” Iran on the terms demanded by the United States, were surprised and disappointed at the negative reactions from Washington. Little did they know that their success in Tehran, which had been given a 0-30 percent chance just days earlier, came just as the Americans were putting the final touches on a package of sanctions to be presented to the UN Security Council. The Tehran agreement was as welcome as a pothole in the fast lane, and the Americans were not reluctant to let their displeasure be known.

Anonymous / May 21, 2010 10:09 PM

the UN Security Council. The Tehran agreement was as welcome as a pothole in the fast lane, and the Americans were not reluctant to let their displeasure be known.

The five major powers had made up their minds (without consulting other members of the Security Council that currently includes both Turkey and Brazil), and these two mid-level powers were told in so many words to get out of the way.

The gratuitous insult aside, which approach do you believe would most likely result in real progress in slowing or halting Iran’s nuclear program? We have been imposing ever-greater sanctions on Iran for more than fifteen years. When we started they had zero centrifuges; today they have in excess of 9,000. To those who believe that one more package of sanctions will do what no other sanctions have done so far, I can only say I admire your unquenchable optimism.

More likely the Turkish ambassador to the UN had it about right when he said quite plainly about sanctions, “They don’t work.”

Would a negotiating track do better, perhaps mediated by two middle-level powers who have built up some credibility with Iran, like Algeria when it finally engineered the end to the US-Iran hostage crisis in 1980-81? We’ll never know. Tonight the hardliners in Iran (and their American counterparts) are celebrating.

The Iranian hardliners had already begun asking questions about the deal, fearful that Iran had given away too much. Now they don’t have to worry since everyone knows that Iran will never be willing or able to negotiate under the threat of sanctions.

For the Revolutionary Guards it is a huge bonus. As foreign companies are driven away, the Guards progressively take over more and more of the economy. And as restrictions on trade grow, so do their opportunities to manage the immensely profitable smuggling routes. Like their American counterparts, but for different reasons, they thrive on an environment of threat and isolation.

The presidents of Turkey and Brazil have been humiliated. But the Great Powers are confident that their lesser cousins know their place and will show deference when the chips are down. They’ll do what they have to do. They always do.

Don’t they… ?

Anonymous / May 21, 2010 10:15 PM

Iran Threatens to Pull out of Nuclear Deal over new UN Sanctions

Anonymous / May 21, 2010 11:58 PM

interesting comments by anonymous

pouya / May 23, 2010 11:01 AM

I dont comment much for the authors of the respected scholars on Iran whom i have leant them much for the last years from SAHIMI, PARSI to project associate's of US's Think thanks.. and i see them that they have developed a respected voice in the US's Political beltway.. having said that, I thank this great article to Professor Sahimi whom i have once misunderstood him due to his endless critizinig to the IR's current government. for the deal, it is a great acheivement for Iran and for the third world as a whole..

One Last question to Niloofar with all respect: Can you take "yes" for an answer from Iran?


abdikadir / May 27, 2010 1:44 PM