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What to Know About the Upcoming P5 Plus 1 Iran Summit

What to Know About the Upcoming P5 Plus 1 Iran Summit

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Published by: The American Security Project on Apr 12, 2012
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www.AmericanSecurityProject.org1100 New York Avenue, NW Suite 710W Washington, DC
Backgrounder: What to know about the upcoming P5+1-Iran summit 
Bryan Gold
13 April, 2012
he Iranian nuclear program is one o the most polarizing issues acingthe international community since its public disclosure in 2002. Overthe past decade, the program has signicantly expanded and tensionsover it have continually increased. Both Israel and the United States have de-clared that Iran will not be permitted to produce a nuclear weapon and that “alloptions are on the table” to prevent it rom doing so.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned the world that Israel’s “window o opportunity” or successul military action against the Iranian nuclear program is slowly clos-ing. Mr. Netanyahu views the Iranian nuclear program as an existential threat to the Stateo Israel and believes that the current sanctions regime, while painul, has yet to aect theprogram.
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President Obama has sought to dissuade Israel rom attacking Iran beore diplomacy hasbeen attempted and as a result,sanctions have been tightened. Mr. Obama told the Ameri-can Israel Public Aairs Committee at their most recent meeting that, “For the sake o Israel’ssecurity, America’s security, and the peace and security o the world, now is not the time orbluster.”
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Te President believes that Israeli military action may destabilize the region andsuch actions would embolden the current Iranian regime.Increased tensions stemming rom a November 2011 IAEA report, which detail Iranian work on nuclear weapons research, and ears o military action has driven up oil prices; romroughly $80 a barrel beore the report to a height o $110 a barrel last month.
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Heightenedtensions and the start o spring and summer driving seasons has increased the national aver-age price o gasoline to $3.93 a gallon, nearing the mythical $4.00 a gallon mark.
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 As the rhetoric continues, sanctions levied against Iran are widening and their impact isgreater than ever. Headlined by the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Di-vestment Act (CISADA) and the more recent Section 1245 o the 2012 National Deense Authorization Act (NDAA), sanctions have been exceptionally eective at reducing Irans oilexports and isolating it rom the international banking system.
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 SWIF, a global banking communications rm, recently cut o 30 Iranian banks rom itssystem, making international monetary transers increasingly dicult.
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Tis will complicateIran’s repatriation o billions o dollars in international oil sales and other nancial dealings,
 
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 AmericAn security project
and has put urther pressure on Iran’s currency value and oreign currency reserves.
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 Due to these and other international sanctions, Irans crude oil production has been declining aster than previ-ous estimates as European and Japanese reneries drastically cut their Iranian oil imports. JPMorgan estimatesthat Iranian crude production could all 1 million bpd (barrels per day) to 2.5 million bpd by the end o Junecompared to the pre-sanctions rate o 3.55 million bpd at the end o 2011.
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On January 26th, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad oered to restart negotiations over Iran’s nuclearprogram that had been stalled or more than a year. It is hard to determine how much the current sanctionsregime has persuaded the Iranian government to restart negotiations.Te international community quickly responded to the oer and on March 6th, the P5+1 agreed to ace-to-ace negotiations with the Iranians.
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However, some worry that Iran is simply buying time to allow continuedUranium enrichment and construct o its Fordow enrichment site.Both sides moved orward with the talks by agreeing to meet in Istanbul on April 13th. However on April 5th,two Iranian ocials, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the head o the Parliamentary Committee or National Security andForeign Policy, and Mohsen Rezayee, the secretary o the Iranian Expediency Council expressed concerns overthe choice o Istanbul as the location or upcoming talks.
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Mr. Boroujerdi declared that “Iranian ocials are not interested in urkey as the host,” due to urkey’s escalat-ing pressure on Syria, a key Iranian ally. Mr. Rezayee suggested the talks should be moved the more “neutral”cities o Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut, or an unnamed city in China instead o Istanbul.On April 6th Iranian lawmaker Gholamreza Mesbahi Moghadam, stated that Iran has the scientic capacity toproduce a nuclear weapon, but will never do so.1
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Tis is the rst time that such a prominent Iranian gurehas declared Iran’s nuclear weapons capability.Fortunately, on April 8th, the Islamic Republic agreed to hold talks in urkey, ending a war o words betweenIran and urkish Prime Minister Recep ayyip Erdoğan.
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United States’ Position and Possible Demands
he United States’ aims or the talks are straightorward. President Obama wants to de-ang the Iraniannuclear program by dismantling acilities and removing Iran’s stockpile o 20% enriched Uranium. TeObama Administration has also publicly committed to preventing Iran rom producing a nuclear weapon. Administration ocials recently released its demands or the conerence, starting with the complete closingand dismantling o the Fordo enrichment acility located under a mountain near the city o Qom.Fordo began operations in January o 2012 and estimated to hold approximately 3,000 centriuges enrichingUranium up to 20%. Te Fordo acility’s location in a hardened mountainside tunnel makes it dicult todestroy by aerial bombardment.Te Administration is also calling or the halt in the production o 20% enriched Uranium and the removalo Iran’s 20% stockpile.
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Iran currently holds 100 kg o 20% enriched Uranium and has announced plans to
 
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increase its production in coming months. While the administration in concert with the other members o the P5+1 are prepared to allow Iran to possessa nuclear power program or civilian power generation and medical isotope production, Iran must rst provethat it does not have a nuclear weapons program. o do so, administration representatives have stated Iranmust allow IAEA inspectors to visit all Iranian nuclear sites.Unlike previous talks that have ell apart on the precondition that Iran halt all enrichment activities, the Unit-ed States and the other members o the P5+1 have not established any preconditions. By not instituting suchpreconditions the United States is attempting to determine the credibility o the Iranian oer or negotiations.But the meetings, in the words o Secretary o State Clinton, will not be “an open-ended session,” which al-lows the Iranians to stall or time while building their nuclear program.
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Most experts agree that the meeting will not bring a swit conclusion to the issue but will hopeully set a ramework or urther negotiations totake place down the road.
Possible Future U.S. Initiatives:
•
 An agreement to suspend enrichment up to 20% in return or some sanction reduction.
•
Restart the 2010 uel swap agreement in which Iran would send enriched Uranium to ur-key and would retain the right to import 20% enriched Uranium rom Russia.
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Expand the Russia-Iranian uel swap agreement to include 20% enriched Uranium in which the material would be processed by Russia and used in Irans medical isotope reactorand the ehran Research Reactor.
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•
Increased Iranian transparency and IAEA inspection o all Iranian nuclear sites in returnor sanction reductions and security guarantees.
Iran’s Position and Possible Demands
he Iranian nuclear program serves two purposes. One is to continue Supreme Leader Khamenei’s “visiono an Iran that is sel-sucient enough to be economically independent and economically independentenough to be politically independent.” Nuclear power will reduce Iran’s reliance on oil and natural gas orelectricity production, and allow more oil and natural gas exports.wo, the capability to produce a nuclear weapon will increase Iran’s national security in a region surroundedby threats rom Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the United States. A nuclear weapons capability is a more ecientand cost-eective deense against attack than building up a conventional military. Te nuclear program or weapons capability may also increase the internal stability o the Iranian government by improving its internalprestige and deense capability.

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