The Iranian Nuclear Deal: An Agreement for All

[Editor’s note: the following is a short essay by Payam Ghorbanian. Payam was born in Tehran, Iran. He got his bachelor of science in Engineering from Zanjan University in Zanjan, Iran. He has been participating in liberal political activities and he was involved with some think tanks in Iran. He is doing research in the field of international relations and Iran’s foreign policy as an independent activist. He is now living in San Jose, California.

I cannot endorse this essay, but I am excited to post it because of its potential as a conduit for intercultural dialogue and exchange. I have left his essay largely intact, but did break up some of his longer paragraphs for clarity’s sake. Thanks to Payam for taking the time to write this.]

On November 24, Iran and the P5+1 group have reached to a historical deal on Tehran’s nuclear program at talks in Geneva, Switzerland. We might have difficulty to understand this process, the process which turns out the agreement to be real, so we must particularly take a look around to the real position of this group of countries plus Iran. It’s one of the Iranian’s attitude and way of thinking to say what they wanted to get and what they really ended up to.

In Iran, Hassan Rouhani was elected as a president on Jun 15, 2013. He is also known as one of the three people who talked to McFarlane in the Iran-Contra affair in 1985 about buying weapons during war between Iran & Iraq. During campaign for presidency, he said an extremely hopeful statement about nuclear program. He said: “It is good for nuclear centrifuges to operate, but it is also important that the country operates as well and the wheels of industry are turning.”

After he got elected, he put his faith in the right person and chose Mr. Mohammad Javad Zarif to be the minister of foreign affairs with the complete authority in action. Mr. Zarif was the permanent representative of Iran to the United Nations from 2002 to 2007. He is really familiar with the international policy regulations and the United States’ policy. Therefore, he was chosen to precede Iran’s nuclear negotiations and it was decided that the entire process would be carried out solely within his team.

It was one of the toughest situations for Iranian policy even though the middle class, especially the people who are living in the large cities, are incredibly united and hopeful for solving this nuclear issue; however, the extremists criticized any approach to any kind of agreement. For several years people of Iran have been feeling how sanctions can really cripple their destiny, economy, and their society structure. As a result of these effects, the rates of unemployment, bankruptcy, addiction, divorce, and prostitution have increased without any official and governmental justification. Therefore, we can consider the November 24th, 2013 as a distinguished and remarkable day in Iran’s modern history.

With the above introduction, let’s go through the text of the agreement for some details. It has been said:

“ … from the existing uranium enriched to 20%, retain half as working stock of 20% oxide for fabrication of fuel for the TRR. Dilute the remaining 20% UF6 to no more than 5%. No reconversion line…Iran announces that it will not enrich uranium over 5% for the duration of the 6 months.”

Although Mr. Zarif announced that according to the agreement, enriching uranium under the 5% is now acceptable and claimed it as a big win for Iran, the majority of the people in Iran really do not care about this subject. They expect the removal of all sanctions and this was the reason that they were following the negotiations and they remained awake up until the agreement came out, which at that time was really late at local time in Iran.

After all these trials and tribulations, now you can find out how hope for the future can make our nation more united. The people clearly understand that it is not the end of the negotiations and it is just the start of long way and they are looking forward to the next 6 month. For the people, it is not just about nuclear program; it is more about their life and their children’s future. President Rouhani is now in the right place and with the supports of Iranians. We hope his social policy would be more flexible as well and we can see more freedom in the society.

We are not going to discuss here the Europe United’s policy during this long term negotiation with Iran. They always want to reserve the important positions for themselves; however, they usually get to every negotiation which others have already accepted. For the people of Iran, the Europeans are best known as those trying to prolong every issue.

On the other hand The Europeans always push the solution to the curb and then try to get back to the first step and ultimately get to the agreement and to take one step further. With flopping back and forth, the conclusion usually would never come out. People of Iran had been disappointed of this kind of policy. From Iranian’s point of view, France should be responsible for the last unsuccessful talks on November 9th. Unfortunately they are unreliable partner for this region.

After all these, it is now time to shift our focus to the president Obama’s foreign policy about Middle East during the last year. Not that far ago, Syria used chemical weapons and crossed the red line, which was mentioned by president Obama before. Moreover, United Nation confirmed that there was no doubt of such use of chemical weapon from Syrians regime. However, instead of taking military action, president Obama decided to follow Russians in this crisis and he still tries to solve this issue through the UN. As a fact, it is clear that in order to go through the UN path to solve this crisis, United States has to deal with Russians and Chinese, since they have the authority to block international actions through the Security Council.

It is a fact that the Syrian’s people have been killed during the last three years. However, it seems that this fact is going to be ignored and denied. On the other side, Obama’s policy in this case would let the conservative countries like Qatar or Saudi Arabia to take part in this eternal disaster.  They can easily get rid of their extremist religious groups by allowing them to attend in this catastrophic war in Syria. Also due to the fact of this important unsolved problem in Syria, the pressure of human rights activities and other internal problems in their countries would be neglected. With this aspect of Syria’s crisis and also the failing of Arab spring, having an agreement with Iran is essential for Obama’s policy to get through these consecutive unsuccessful affairs. However, Israel’s prime minister tries to call this agreement as a historical mistake.

Great Britain has recently announced that they are concerned about total failure in Iran because of sanctions. After Great Britain evacuated all embassy staff from Iran in November 2011, now it seems that they are going to open relations with Iran following the election of President Rouhani. Undoubtedly they know the Middle East region much better than anyone else. They know this failure can affect Afghanistan, Iraq and the entire Middle East region. As a result, Britain has consecutively tried to help Iran and U.S. to approach to the final steps of negotiations.

On the other side, China is known as fatal mistake in economic partnership for Iranians during the last 10 years. Chinese took advantage of unjust situation of Iran and also destroyed industries in Iran are caused by importing cheap Chinese products. They have initially accepted the UN sanctions and have blocked about 50 billion dollars of Iran’s money in their banks; however, they ultimately should be happy of this agreement which definitely will moderate oil price and open up the gate of Iran’s market for Chinese investments.

Clearly with their foreign policy being so close to Iran, it is just a pose for Chinese in order to help them to precede their policy in southeast Asia using Iran’s threat for pushing away Chinese threat. Couple weeks ago they extended “air defense identification zones” which it seems will be accepted by United States. There is a common trend for all nations which can be written in this way that you are not going to consider as a powerful country if you just want to please yourself.

Finally, Russia should be indeed considered as the biggest winner of this agreement as well as the Middle East situation. Moreover, with the intent of being leader of the entire world, they forced other countries to accept their decisions on Syria’s crisis and by having this virtual confidence, now they really have plans to ruin all aspects of the free world. On September 12th, President Putin decisively took an issue with president Obama. His article was about United States people and he mentioned: “It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional.”

However, president Obama decided to ignore this article and show respect to the new Russia. I believe working with Russia about Syria’s crisis and choosing non-interventionism for Ukraine crises would be one of the Obama’s failures in the U.S. foreign policy. Now this agreement would help Russia and obviously president Putin to take the rein of power more and more. At the end if Russia and China find out that there are not any obstacles around, they will never ever conceal their ambitious points.

34 thoughts on “The Iranian Nuclear Deal: An Agreement for All

  1. This is a confession. I appreciate the reasonableness of Payam’s tone. (I am even aware of the special interest in peace of Iranians who are not Muslims as seems to be the case for Payam, based on his last name.) I appreciate the plight of the million of Iranians who are rational people with whom I would probably enjoy having coffee, people who crave normalcy with all their might. However, I find myself having difficulty paying attention. The reason is simple: Iranian theocratic fascism is at once so detestable and so entrenched, I don’t think anything good can come out of it.

    While Payam promotes a reasonable view of a possible new start between the new negotiator and spineless president Obama, I also find myself hoping that the mullah leadership will die a sudden, preferably horrible death. I hope that in 1936 I would have had the discernment to avoid confusion about good Nazis replacing bad Nazis. I am not sure I would have. However, I know the rest of the story so, there is no excuse left.

    Free people cannot enter into valid agreements with slaves. The Iranian people will have to free themselves before we can have earnest talks. And, these talks will never take place because when they do liberate themselves, the issue of Iran’s nuclear anything will fall to the tenth rank of our preoccupations. Sanctions will vanish from loss of interest.

    The Prime Minister of Israel is currently the only politician with a clear view of the risk a nuclear, fanatical theocratic Iran poses to peace. To my own surprise the French Socialist Party president comes close. And, no, I am not a Jewish socialist.

    • Jacques,

      You are embarrassing yourself again. Unfortunately, you are also embarrassing your co-bloggers. Please, if you cannot make an argument without resorting to ad hominems, reductio ad absurdums, straw men, or red herrings then please don’t make an argument at all (at least here on this blog). I know you have other places where you can voice your crank theories.

      By the way, the etymological root of the term ‘fallacy’ is ‘deceitful’. After re-reading your confession it’s not hard to see why.

    • Jacques,

      If we get rid of all your fallacies in this small confession, here is what your argument looks like:

      This is a confession. I appreciate the reasonableness of Payam’s tone. (I am even aware of the special interest in peace of Iranians who are not Muslims as seems to be the case for Payam, based on his last name.) I appreciate the plight of the million of Iranians who are rational people with whom I would probably enjoy having coffee, people who crave normalcy with all their might. However, I find myself having difficulty paying attention.

      Why can’t you produce more arguments like this? Oh that’s right! Because it’s not an argument at all.

      If we strip away all of Jacques’s fallacies, and all that’s left is a summary of his feelings, what – if anything – does this tell you?

    • Brandon: I understand that you are angry. I am not completely sure why. I don’t know why you reminded me of the etymology of the word “deceitful.” I don’t know what “fallacies” in my short comment you refer to. I don’t even know how a set of opinions and feelings can contain “fallacies.” I suspect you let your anger rob you of reason. (Even angry pacifist see red.)

      Do In understand that you are asking me to stay away? Or, perhaps, you could just provide guidelines and describe forbidden grounds. (One forbidden ground could be the killing of protesters by regime hoodlums a few summers ago.) It’s your blog after all.

    • Now, now. I am not asking anybody to stay away. I am not banning anybody from the blog. Nice try Jesus!

      I am not angry, either. All I ask is that you ‘please keep it civil’. Does calling the President of the United States ‘spineless’ sound civil to you? Does comparing the author’s society to ‘slaves’ sound civil to you?

      Let me see if I can try and break you from an ideological grip that has obviously held you tight for many years now. I do this not to embarrass you (okay maybe a little), but to show that I am impatient with your litanies (rather than angry). You write:

      The Prime Minister of Israel is currently the only politician with a clear view blahblahblah

      The emphasis is mine. Can you really think that there is only one relevant politician with a clear vision of the True future? If so, this seems to be nothing short of absolutism. Of dogma writ large. This absolutism, coupled with the name-calling and the absurd reductions and the cleverly-placed red herrings, does nothing to add to our understanding of the world. It is a distraction.

      Can you put forth an argument that does not involve Nazi Germany or childish playground insults?

  2. I have certain sympathies with Jacques here….Let me pose one of my [our?] concerns as a question. Who runs Iran? Here’s what Wikipedia tells me…

    “The most powerful political office in the Islamic Republic is that of the Supreme Leader, of which there have been two: the founder of the Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, and his successor, Ali Khamenei.

    Historically the Supreme Leader has remained aloof from election politics. However, in the 2009 election, some of the pronouncements by Ali Khamenei were perceived by many to favor the incumbent candidate.

    The Leader appoints the heads of many powerful posts – the commanders of the armed forces, the director of the national radio and television network, the heads of the major religious foundations, the prayer leaders in city mosques, and the members of national security councils dealing with defence and foreign affairs. He also appoints the chief judge, the chief prosecutor, special tribunals and, with the help of the chief judge, half of the 12 jurists of the Guardian Council – the powerful body that decides both what bills may become law and who may run for president or parliament.[10] Also according to Iranian constitution the Supreme Leader asserts the authority of the president. He can veto the laws made by the parliament and traditionally he permits for presidential candidates to proclaim their candidacy”

    Is Iran, in fact, a theocratic authoritarian regime? That strikes me as a question that can be answered (at least initially) with a yes or no. I’m inclined to believe that it is, what is the argument that it isn’t?

    • Terry,

      You may share many of Jacques concerns but you voice them in a rational, mature manner.

      Just two things:

      1. There is a big difference between running a country and being the most powerful political office. The Ayatollah may be a powerful position, but it is not in charge of running the country. The accusations against the Ayatollah (of meddling in the democratic process), by the opposition, during the 2009 elections should serve to bolster my point.

      2. I think Iran is loosely theocratic (even though it’s inspiration is Plato’s Republic) and definitely authoritarian. So? What does this have to do with anything? The logic of hawks seems to me to go something like this:

      Iran is a theocratic authoritarian regime, therefore ___________ (fill in the blank). What is often written in the blank is fallacious. What do you put in the blank spot Terry?

    • “Iran is a theocratic authoritarian regime, therefore ___________ (fill in the blank). What is often written in the blank is fallacious. What do you put in the blank spot Terry?”

      Therefore negotiations and agreements must be with those who actually make decisions. As you point out, the Supreme Leader doesn’t run the country; no one man or woman can run an entire country. However the Supreme Leader does appoint most everyone that does run the country and appears to have the power to override every other position.

      I don’t have a problem negotiating with dictators, I just want to know that the dictator has said yes. Payam said: “After he [President Hassan Rouhani] got elected, he put his faith in the right person and chose Mr. Mohammad Javad Zarif to be the minister of foreign affairs with the complete authority in action.” In my opinion, neither Zarif or Rouhani have ‘complete authority’. For that matter, neither has any authority of consequence. Ayatollah Sayidd Ali Khamenei has to be the one to say yes. I’m worried about a disconnect between the people negotiating a settlement and the person that will ultimately agree or disagree.

    • Ah gotcha. Thanks for the clarification.

      In my opinion, neither Zarif or Rouhani have ‘complete authority’. For that matter, neither has any authority of consequence. Ayatollah Sayidd Ali Khamenei has to be the one to say yes. I’m worried about a disconnect between the people negotiating a settlement and the person that will ultimately agree or disagree.

      I agree that Khamenei has the ultimate say in what Iran does or doesn’t do at this point (Payam may not). My thought on this matter is: If Khamenei “let” Rouhani win the election (much less run) then he probably feeling lots of domestic discontent. Giving Rouhani room to maneuver in foreign affairs is likely a calculated response to these domestic troubles.

      Aside from that, I think Tehran got a good deal out of the negotiations so I don’t see why it would back out.

  3. As a person who has lived in Iran for 24 years I can obviously understand that the supreme leader of iran has not even accepted any responsibility for the negotiation which the government has gotten into. It’s always his attitude to wait for glimpses coming out; however there would be a red line which has been drawn by him, like the right of enrichment for Iran. You guys should consider that he is also worried about a complete collapse of Iran’s economical structure because of sanctions. So thats why i wrote Mr. Zarif has this authority to lead the negotiations.

  4. @Payam

    Odd as it might sound, I take some comfort from what seems to be a pretty strong grip on the levers of power. It makes it less likely [in my opinion] that President Rouhani will negotiate a deal that Ayatollah Khameini won’t accept.
    On the other hand there seems to be a real possibility that the Senate in the US will screw up the negotiations, so there’s plenty of time for everything to go down the toilet.

  5. I choose to call the President of the United States anything that fits him according to me. I can also compare anything I wish to Nazism because it’s the standard of evil. Both verbal acts are clearly opinions, as all readers can tell without help. If I do something absurd, I will be the one to pay the price by losing credibility. It’s different from calling someone a “liar,” for example, which requires proof.

    Brandon: You don’t seem to be completely clear on the concept of civility. It does not (NOT) mean never saying “asshole;” it means calling only assholes assholes and that, not very often.

    • Nobody here is arguing that you cannot state your beliefs. You are trying too hard to play the victim.

      I don’t think you understand my position. Let me see if I can explain it again: You are free to wear your underwear on the outside of your pants. Somebody like you might actually enjoy doing this, because of the attention it draws towards you, but everyone around you is going to suffer stigma just as much as you are as a result of your crackpottery. You are embarrassing yourself but also the people around you.

      Likewise, your fallacies only derail actual conversation about important matters. Just look at where we are right now. Your boorish insults and your frivolous allegations have taken us so far away from the issue at hand that it’s not really worth the effort to go back and argue about it. Congratulations.

  6. So calling someone a Nazi is ok but calling someone a liar is not? Bullsh1t. As Dana Carvey’s Church Lady used to say on Saturday Night Live “How con-VEEN-ient!”. Using the Delacroix version of civility: let it be known that when I call someone a liar I’m expressing my opinion that said person is a liar and clearly my opinion. I can call anyone anything that fits according to me. If I call someone a liar and they prove to not be a liar I will be the one to pay the price by losing credibility.

  7. Brandon: My “fallacies” are not OK? I understand your position. Do you?

    Terry: Calling president Obama “spineless” can only be an opinion because there is not conceivable test of whether the assertion is correct or not, (except for those who think that the assertion is made literally: “He does not have a spine”) On the other hand the accusation of lying has a good and easy test: Find the subject lying once and he is a liar.

    The two statements: “spineless” and “liar” are thus not comparable. One is not testable, the other is.

    You are welcome.

    • You obviously don’t understand my position. I grow tired of repeating myself so I think I’ll just let my argument stand rather than continue to argue with your imagination.

      The purple polka dots on your underwear are very cute, by the way.

  8. “On the other hand the accusation of lying has a good and easy test: Find the subject lying once and he is a liar.”

    Your untruths have been documented on several occasions so case closed.

  9. Dear Payam,
    Nice try! As I know you I can call this a super libertarian article written by a neo-con!
    I can’t tell that I completely agree with you, specially about the case of Syria and Russia! But I really enjoyed reading it. It was reasonable and perfect!

    Dear Brandon,
    I’m still so sorry that again I couldn’t take part.

    And about the comments I think Terry and Mr Delacroix should stdy more about ut Iran’s politics!
    About the supreme leader I just want to say just one thing! I need some backup here Payam.
    If the supreme leader had really the supreme and complete power Dr Rouhani wouldn’t be the president today. Ayatollah Khamenei didn’t want someone like Ahmadinejad to go on. But definitely Dr Rouhani wasn’t his choice at all. He wanted someone to help the foreign policy and economy and also a person who has close thoughts to him. Mr Ghalibaf was the best choice for him. Everybody knew this. His choice was Ghalibaf. A Technocrat conservative with great background showing his faith to the supreme leader (He’s Tehran’s mayorbright now), But who was elected? Hassan Rouhani who was completely backed with people and known as a moderate politician. Hassan Rouhani was completely close to Hashemi Rafsanjani (Who did’t have good relations with the leader recently. He registered for the elections but was rejected)!!! Rouhani wasn’ Ayatollah Khamenei’s choice at all. If I am living in Iran and I was trying my best for Dr Rouhani’s campaign. I can say that Rouhani was people’s choice between the available choices ( not supreme leader’s).
    Yes guys we have some rules here. We have law and order. The president is completely independent. Congress is come letely independent based on the rules. But sometimes rules are broken and some unwritten rules take on the real rules!

    • Everybody! Everybody please may I have your attention! Please. Everybody! Quiet down.

      Jesus Delacroix Christ would like you all to know that his feelings were hurt because I politely explained to him that calling people slaves and spineless cowards does more harm than good when it comes to discussing matters of importance.

      If you’d like to go to his crucifixion and watch him die for all of my editorial and political sins please email me at for directions to Christ’s life-saving event. Or you can just go to Dr Delacroix’s Facts Matter blog and get berated without the benefit of a curious, well-informed audience to temper his wild accusations.

      He is, of course, welcome to submit his comments so long as he knows boorish accusations will not be tolerated.

    • The email wouldn’t work for me…’the default mail client is not properly installed’. Since I’m too lazy to figure out what’s wrong I’ll just post here.
      Please post the video of Dr. P’s martyrdom to Youtube. Also, I’m willing to bid on Ebay for his crown of thorns but I’ll have to pass on the loincloth.

    • Comparing me to Christ is at least a step in the right direction!

      I will not comment on this blog anymore because I think Brandon expects a high degree of self-censorship (perhaps Islamic Republic of Iran style, the most devious).

    • @Terry:

      Hahah! A very good point. Perhaps I should give him preferential treatment because of his handicap. My only concern about this tactic is the fact that Dr P may one day wish to run for public office. If he somehow wins a seat on one of the hippie councils set up by the City of Santa Cruz, his enemies might go digging into his background and find out what I’ve done. I’d hate to be the man responsible for making Dr P an affirmative action local government official. People may scream for his grades as an undergraduate!


      Is asking that you not call people you disagree with ‘spineless’ or ‘slaves’ or ‘Nazis’ really akin to a high degree of self-censorship?

      Does such a request (“please keep it civil”) really require a comparison with the government of Iran? (note: as a libertarian the comparison to government is more insulting than the comparison to a single country)

  10. @Terry
    Political issues in Iran are so complicated. Supreme leader have got a lot of authorities. But he shouldn’t get into every issue. The leader tries not to intervene to the political issues directly. Look we can’t talk about it in just ywo or three comments. As the constituition law of Islamic Republic is co-written by some mullahs and …. it’s so hard to say wheather it’s a Republic Regime or a Theocratic Totalitarian! In this 35 years after the victory of Islamic Revolution we have seen both faces from this regime. We’ve seen Khatami as a president and also Ahmadinejad! It’s not that simple bro!

    • @Siamak
      It’s true that Iran is far too large and complex for any one person to completely control. But with regard to the nuclear deal being negotiated, it’s hard for me to imagine President Rouhani and Minister Zarif having a free hand in negotiations. Yes, the Supreme Leader is not all powerful but other centers of power are worrisome to me; the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution springs immediately to mind.

      I’m guardedly optimistic about the negotiations but no more than that.

  11. Mr Delacroix I will be happy to read your thoughts. Let me oppose you about the self censorship issue in this blog! If you really believe in freedom of speech you should give the right to Brandon to say what he thinks about your comments. He didn’t ban your IP or so. He just wrote his thoughts about the way you comment. Maybe you think he expects more self-censorship ( I didn’t take that from his comment!) But you can behave the way you like. I will be pleased to hear your thoughts

    • Meh. I think Khamenei’s statements are merely rhetorical and, given the amount of hate and jingoism coming from the Right (in Iran, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United States), completely predictable and necessary.

      Is there a specific quote of Khamenei’s that you had in mind? Because I don’t see him calling for or hinting at reneging on the agreements made in the talks.

  12. It’s not so much the content as the timing. You’re right, talking about the great satan is not novel but the end of January is when things are supposed to start happening. This is the supreme leader doing the rhetoric….

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