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Does the Islamic Republic of Iran collapse?

Sajad Abedi

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Pay attention to the following trends in the community: urbanization, bureaucracy, size of social classes, the severity and weakness of civil institutions, the rate of political invasion and obstruction, abundance and economic recession, rule of law, and secularism, religiosity and separationist, trust and deregulation, from the sociological point of view can be somewhat recognizable and aware of the fact about these trends and their future Gained. But contrary to the notion that at the end of the nineteenth century, the sociology of today does not claim that it can definitely predict the “movement of the entire society” (including Iran).

Today, sociology explicitly and modestly states that one cannot predict from the scientific standpoint an end to the future of society. There are many reasons for this humble sociology, one of which is reflexive, more so than society.

Communities are more likely to be exposed to information and awareness and respond to their interests in response to this awareness, and this reflection, and subsequently the redevelopment of individual and collective life (and especially the unintended consequences of individual and collective behavior of social actors) makes it difficult to predict a community called community.

According to the above introduction, the question arises as to how the sociology of medicine is affected? The answer is that although sociology cannot predict the “movement of the whole society,” as mentioned, it can describe and explain the status of important trends within society (examples of which are mentioned).

Even though sociology cannot make a definitive statement about the future of the entire Iranian society, different and possible situations can be empirically guessed (based on the existing trends of the society) and through this possible knowledge of the active and sympathetic forces of society can take into account the general situation of society To a more favorable position. One of the ways that helps us examine the current situation and speculation about the future status of the entire movement is to let us say that this community is moving in its direction (towards the future, in light of the visible features (or trends) of the Iranian society) Which of the really existing communities in the world is approaching, but this method requires more explanation.

The society and its movement towards the future are not solely due to the will and the plan of individuals and groups in the state apparatus (even within the state apparatus, there are usually conflicting plans and plans for shaping society), but due to The result is the activity of active forces in the government as well as active forces in society.

It is subtle that active forces in society and the government are cooperating, competing and hostile to maintain their position in the hierarchy of society, and in their challenges constantly examine the situation and change their behavior, so each one of society They are killing one another. Therefore, the future must come as a result of various forces in society. If we look carefully, the precise study of these forces within the community, especially considering the reflection, rethinking and reproduction of society, is not an easy task in terms of empirical evidence, and it is almost impossible. One of the ways to overcome this problem is to compare the studied community with the status of a number of really existing societies, in other words, to see if the Iranian society has a general interest in terms of its characteristics. One of the really existing communities is getting closer.

Now, with this introduction, our main point in this article is that the movement of Iranian society is a challenge between what happened in Cuba and South Korea. Therefore, we will first try to describe the characteristics of the two concepts of the Cuban and South Korean type in relation to the Iranian society. Then we will explain how the South Korea definition is closer to today’s reality in Iran.

What does Cubanism mean?

Iran, like Cuba (through its neighbors on the Iraqi border on the Gulf and Afghanistan’s borders), is a neighbor of the United States. Both countries are in constant controversy with the United States (Cuba has fifty years and Iran thirty years). At the home of the Cuban government, for over fifty years, the patriotic policy and opposition to the mechanisms of political development have been well nesting. Anti-American propaganda is the main essence of its official propaganda.

In Iran, populist politics and pessimism have become rooted in the mechanisms of political development, and anti-American politics is the official form of Iranian propaganda. The eight years of foreign policy of Hashemi Rafsanjani’s government during the period of construction (1988-1986) and eight years of foreign policy based on Khatami’s confidence-building during the reform period (2004-1984) failed to win over the foreign policy of anti-American propaganda and normalization.

Cuba, as a country that embodies the fight against America, is dominated by Latin Americans, especially among the poor in the region, and it is counting on this influence. Iran is also influential as a manifestation of the struggle against America among the people of the world, especially among the poor of the Islamic countries, and is extremely pleased with this influence.

But both Cuba and Iran, despite the influence of the world’s poor, cannot use this popular influence at the United Nations to draw the attention of the effective members of the United Nations (while defending their national interests). For example, at the beginning of the year2007, Indonesians were hooraying for the presidency of Iran, but the country’s envoy voted in the UN Security Council to issue a resolution against Iran (No. 1747).

Cuba, despite the constant struggle with the United States and having gained political independence, is among the less developed countries of Latin America, and countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and Chile have a more developed status than Cuba, and are more effective in real equations of the region and the world. Iran, despite fighting with the United States and gaining political independence from its similar countries, is far behind the Islamic countries like Turkey, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

After over 50 years of its revolution, Cuba has become an illiterate society in terms of raising the standard of living of its people, which means that it has some weaknesses in some of the trends.

Cuba, for example, has grown dramatically in terms of rural development, healthcare and sugar cane industry, but has gained other indicators such as GDP growth, per capita income, increasing growth, brain drain, growing prostitution, weakness of civil institutions, media And the independent parties have a terrible situation. But other countries in the Latin American region, such as Brazil, Chile, Argentina and Mexico, have a much better status than Cuba in terms of the trends.

Iran, after thirty years of revolution, has been promoting the quality of life of people in the society. As an example, Iran has made significant advances in the development of military, general and excellent education (especially in women), the expansion and spread of health and health skills, rural development, the strengthening of economic infrastructure and the political recruitment of people. On the other hand, Iran is suffering from social dangers such as six million marginalized populations, twelve million people below the poverty line, more than four million unemployed, between two and five million drug addicts, an increasing erosion of moral values among people, especially the prevalence of distrust in the relations between people with the government. There is also a steady and growing flow of elites and financial resources of the country abroad, with a massive and non-government state of three million diaspora

The United States has followed Cuba’s policy of isolation in the last 50 years. Although the United States was able to militarily hit Cuba, it seems that the United States is a sign that wants Latin Americans to show the effectiveness of state socialism. The United States has followed Iran’s isolation policy, although it has not been able to isolate Iran like Cuba, Iran has not been able to improve its position vis-à-vis countries like Turkey and Malaysia. In other words, Iran is leading in the fight against America among Islamic countries, but in terms of its development, it is not currently a leader.

The South Korea meaning

1) South Korea’s position on South Korea against Japan and North Korea (which is also atomic) is a sensitive position and should be able to defend itself. Therefore, after World War II, the military and security forces in South Korea have played an increasingly important role, and Iran is also threatened by Western countries (America and Britain), Israel, and even Russia.

Therefore, the role of the military and security forces in this Arab country (Iraq, the time of Saddam) has been increasing. As there are currently some 5 million Iranian people in some way (full-time, part-time, part-time or volunteering) available to the country’s security forces, Iran is among the most armed countries in the world for personnel.

2) In South Korea, over the past 20 years, these were military forces that did not see the real power in South Korean military power alone, and to gain economic power (compared to Japan’s and China’s economic strength) for the South Korean leadership in the region and World recognized. Therefore, Korean military commanders moved to the barracks from the 1960s onwards and supported Korea’s ongoing policies for economic development (and, to some extent, political development).

But in Iran, the involvement of a number of security agencies in electoral affairs and economic affairs (rather than contractors in the private sector) and the lack of support for a part of the country’s security carriers from the policies of economic and political development of Hashemi and Khatami’s government in the past indicate that the process of economic development And Iran’s political system does not enjoy the undisputed support of all the security forces of the country. However, the adoption of the 20-year vision of Iran aimed at gaining superior power among the countries of the region, and the announcement and commitment of the government to the implementation of Article 44 of the Constitution on the strengthening of the private sector shows that the government in Iran as a future design also important Development of Iran, especially economic development, is not overlooked (although in practice the process is not accelerated and generalization is strengthened instead of privatization. In Iran, to be successful, it should not be fought in a competitive and efficient market, but somehow it should be rented the oil was connected to the government).

(3) South Korea has faced and is growing with the growth of the workforce (the growth of the new and most skilled middle class). Iran is faced with a growing skilled labor force, and the most important factor in responding to this massive demand is Iran’s entry into the ongoing process of economic-political development (labor migration abroad is neither possible nor appropriate). Is). South Korea cannot retreat from its neighbors (China, Japan, Singapore, etc.), and Iran cannot ignore the growing progress of Islamic countries such as Malaysia, Turkey and the Gulf states.

4) Korea’s spatial orientation (its neighbors with China and Japan) places the energy reserves of the Middle East, Korea and Iran at the center of US foreign policy attention. But South Korea faces interactive policies with the United States, and Iran has entered a policy of counter-propaganda.

The Challenge of Iranian Society

Given some of the similarities of Iranian society with Cuba and South Korea, we can illustrate the movement of Iranian society in the challenge between one of these two patterns. This means that a large part of Iran’s society (especially the growing and educated middle class) and a part of the elites in the Iranian government know the path to confronting backwardness, unemployment and poverty in the development of Iran (such as South Korea), so that Iran No more left than countries like Turkey and Malaysia.

On the other hand, part of the Iranian elite in the government, with the continuation of American-style advertising on the international scene and the hypocritical and hypocritical policies of the interior, especially with the hope of attracting the votes of 12 million people below the poverty line, oppose the development processes of the country. By relying on their oil bureaucracy, they keep themselves in the political arena.

But the consequence of their work is to slow down the development and retention of Iran from similar countries, such as Turkey and Malaysia. It should now be clarified how will Iran move towards South Korea in the challenge of Cubanization or South Korea’s rise to the Middle East?

The first condition is the peaceful resolution of the Iranian nuclear file in the international system, especially with the United States in the short term, because if the current situation continues or the current situation changes to serious crises resulting from the sanctions, the process of Iranian cubism will be accelerated. . In this sense, Iran becomes the center for the spread of anti-American propaganda in the world, and the poor people of the world are caught up in these anti-American stances.

But internally, because of the impossibility of moving the country in line with the 20-year perspective, one of which is the annual economic growth of over 8% (now less than 5%), the development process of the country has slowed down, and the number of addicts, the unemployed, The poor (and the increase in the size of a group that is subject to dense social damage). In other words, in such a situation, the Iranian papal elites are chanting against global arrogance, and in front of our people, they have to burn and to build the system.

The second requirement is to play all Iranians in the development process of the country, that is, South Korea, the lower classes, the middle and upper classes, all should be encouraged to participate in the development process of Iran (at least within the framework of the twenty year perspective). As long as elite elites make poor strata against the upper and middle strata, instead of strengthening the private sector and the middle section of society (civil institutions, the press and independent parties), they are pleased with the presence and support of street people in the streets. Instead of developing the country, the process of Iranian cubism in the region will be strengthened.

The third is the direct connection or the two previous conditions, and that the patrolling of the elite and the military and clerical elites of the country is a mechanism of democracy until the elections in Iran are manipulated in various ways and as long as the elites are free and They will be forced to take anti-American slogans against this monopoly and, as a result, lead Iran to further Cubanism. From this perspective, the election of the eighth Majles and the free and fair amount of holding it is a good indicator of how far Iran is being drawn.

Individuals and groups that make Iran Cuban (unfortunately, during the ninth era, this process has been accelerated), it is not bad to know that the main forces of Iranian society do not want to be Cuban and think of a development that is grateful to Iran. .

It is subtle that Iran’s Cuban bearers are not only opposed to the development of the country, but also face Iran with unwanted situations. One of the unwanted situations is that the current disagreements (among women, teachers, students, workers and relatives of Iran) turn into inconsistent opposition and confront the Iranian government with uncontrollable crises. While economic and political development, free and fair elections, and resolution of problems through reforms, channel the legitimate demands of the strata and, instead of slowing down the country’s development process, adds to its speed.

Conclusion

It seems that the advent of Iranian society on the roof of the world (which the people are promising) and the advent of the Iranian society to the state of social collapse (which is part of the critics of the status quo) are not the likely destiny of our society, but The probable fate of the Iranian society should be sought in a situation between Cubanism and South Korea.

It is wise to keep all the compassion of the Iranian society (both governmental and non-governmental) from expanding the Iranian society from the Cuban pattern of the Middle East. Of course South Korea’s pattern in the Middle East does not mean parading the community. All modern societies, including South Korea, are faced with a variety of crises and challenges, and should constantly identify these crises and act to curb them. But the difference between Cuban or South Korea is that in the former, the number of unemployed, addicts, the poor, sex workers and depressed people is increasing.

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Iran-US Tensions Are Unlikely to Spill into War

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To the south of Georgia trouble is brewing as Iran and the US (and its allies) are almost openly engaged in a military competition around the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.

True, Georgia does not share a border with Iran, but its close economic and cultural relations with Tehran might be further endangered. It is unlikely that the US will tolerate Georgia’s neutral position in a potential conflict between the two states. Therefore, the Georgian government will find itself in a difficult position but will most likely act according to wider US interests in the South Caucasus. Even if a military conflict does not ensue (as explained below), Georgian-Iranian relations will take a hit.

The US recently announced plans to set up a multinational military coalition to protect the waters around Iran and Yemen, particularly commercial routes where about $554 billion worth of trade, mainly oil and gas, passes through the Straits of Hormuz each year. The military confrontation between Iran and the US could cause disruption, costing the biggest trader, Saudi Arabia, $3.5 billion a week, but also negatively impacting many Asian shippers.

This comes on top of what happened last month when Iran came close to war with the US after Tehran’s unprecedented decision to shoot-down a US drone with a surface-to-air missile. Back then, the US officials, including President Donald Trump, said that this could trigger retaliatory strikes. According to various sources, Trump green-lighted a limited air-strike against Iran’s surface military capabilities but cancelled the decision some minutes later when fighters were in the air.

The root of Iranian-American tensions lies in the differences regarding Tehran’s nuclear program. Washington abandoned the nuclear agreement the world powers reached in 2015 and Iran recently announced it has reached a high level of uranium production.

The tensions, as said above, induced the US and its allies, primarily in the Persian Gulf, to create a coalition. This is a very good example of what kind of future naval coalitions the US will be able to muster to prevent a certain group of countries from controlling vital economic choke points such as the Strait of Hormuz or the Strait of Malacca in Asia. But this also raised an alarm among politicians and the world’s analytical community that we might see a military confrontation between the US (and its allies) and Iran. First, it should be emphasized that Iranians understand well that a military confrontation would be deadly for the country’s economy, leading to potential unrest in various regions. Second, a military confrontation with the US is simply beyond the Iranian resource base. However, it is also true that the US does not want to engage Iran as the latter is a completely different story from what the American forces did during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. And it is not about Iran’s far superior military capabilities than those of Iraq: the major difference lies in geographic factors.

A look at the map shows that Iran’s major population centers are surrounded by almost impregnable mountains and deserts as well as water barriers. In the west and northwest are the Zagros Mountains, which bar Iran from Iraq. In the north, the Elburz Mountains as well as Armenia’s mountainous lands serve as a defensive shield. The Caspian Sea to the north and the Arabian Sea to the south are yet more impregnable barriers. To the east and northeast lie the harsh climate of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Turkmenistan’s semi-barren steppe-lands keep Iran’s provinces more or less safe (barring occasional attacks by nomadic peoples).

The fact of being both geographically contained and geographically defended has defined the Iranian grand strategy from the ancient Persian empires to modern Iran. The country’s mountains and deserts have made it almost impossible to conquer and then keep under control. Consider, for example, several of history’s greatest conquerors. The Mongols and, later Tamerlane successfully invaded the Iranian plateau, but to keep it, they either had to deploy tens of thousands of troops (which they were unable to do) or co-opt the local population (which they did) by allowing them to participate in the country’s governance. The same goes for Alexander the Great, Iran’s most successful conqueror. Following his conquest of the land, he co-opted the local elites to hold onto the state – and after he died, Iran quickly regained its independence.

Iran and the US want to avoid a direct military clash, but also do not want to lose their face among their respective allies. Still, the attempts to diminish tensions between the two powers become less and less effective as Iran grows its nuclear-related capabilities and the US sees less and less room to entice Tehran into a mutually beneficial understanding.

Author’s note: first published in Georgia Today

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Algerian soccer success is a double-edged sword

Dr. James M. Dorsey

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It took Algeria barely two weeks to charge Algerian soccer fan Samir Sardouk and sentence him to a year in jail for harming the national interests of his country.

Mr. Sardouk was convicted for shouting “There is no God but Allah, and they will come down” during the African Cup of Nation’s opening match in the Egyptian capital of Cairo on June 21.

Four other Algerians were given six-month suspended sentences for lighting firecrackers in the stadium.

Mr. Sardouk’s slogan referred to demands put forward in months of mass anti-government protests that all those associated of Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the country’s long-standing president who was toppled in April, be removed from office.

Mr. Sardouk’s sentencing casts a shadow over the Algerian squad’s achievement in reaching the African Cup final for the first time in 29 years after defeating Nigeria.

Together with celebrations of Algeria’s earlier qualification for the African Cup’s semi-finals after defeating Ivory Coast, it demonstrates the risk for autocrats and illiberals who use sports in general and soccer in particular to project their country in a different light internationally and polish their tarnished images by associating themselves with something that evokes the kind of deep-seated passions akin to the power of religion.

If celebrations of Algeria’s semi-final qualification and subsequent victory over Nigeria are anything to go by, an Algerian triumph in the finals, like past soccer victories in countries like Egypt and Iran, are likely to inspire rather than distract anti-government protesters.

Algerians fans in France took to the streets in Paris, Marseille and Lyon within hours of Algeria reaching the final. Their celebrations were mired by violence.

Similarly, the semi-finals celebrations spilled over into mass anti-government protests despite a huge police presence on the streets of Algiers and Paris added to the significance of Mr. Sardouk’s conviction. The protesters demanded a “civilian, not a military state”

Algerian police reportedly detained a dozen demonstrators. “There is a clear desire to prevent peaceful marches in Algiers, the deployed security device says it all.” tweeted Said Salhi, vice president of the Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights (LADDH).

African Cup-related Algerian fan violence precedes the 2019 tournament. A massive brawl between players and fans mired a 2014 Libya-Algeria African Cup qualifier.

Violence associated with this year’s tournament was nonetheless minimal when put into the context of violence in Algeria having become a norm prior to this year’s revolt and the fact that the uprising has been largely peaceful.

The apparent shift away from violence is all the more remarkable given Algerian psychologist Mahmoud Boudarene’s assessment in 2014, a time of multiple soccer-related incidents.

“Violence in Algeria has become ordinary and banal. Hogra, the word Algerians use for the government’s perceived contempt for ordinary citizens, has planted a sickness in Algerian society. People feel that the only way to get anything done is to have connections or threaten the peace. It is a system where hogra and social injustice rule. Social violence has become the preferred mode of communication between the citizen and the republic — today in our country everything is obtained through a riot,” Mr. Boudarene told the Associated Press at the time.

This year’s popular revolt, inspired by lessons learnt from the 2011 popular Arab revolts, has emboldened protesters and given them a sense of confidence that is likely to ensure that potential African Cup final celebrations-turned-protest remain largely peaceful.

With Algeria having qualified for the final, the Algerian defence ministry, despite the police posturing, was preparing six military planes to fly 600 fans to Egypt for the African Cup final.

The gesture underlined soccer’s political importance and constituted an attempt by the military to align itself with the Algerian squad’s success.

The significance of soccer makes Mr. Sardouk’s sentencing all the more remarkable despite the assertion that his slogan mired Algeria’s march towards soccer victory.

For starters, it sought to draw a dividing line between national honour and protest in a country where a majority are likely to be soccer fans.

He was convicted at a time that Algeria has been wracked by protests since February in support of political reforms that would dismantle the country’s long-standing, military-dominated regime with a more transparent and accountable government.

The conviction is also noteworthy because Mr. Sardouk’s protest, coupled with acts of defiance by militant Egyptian soccer fans, threatened to turn the African tournament into a venue for the expression of dissent from across the Middle East and North Africa, a region populated by autocratic, repressive regimes and wracked by repeated explosions of poplar anger.

Finally, the sentencing was striking because it violated the spirit of both the military’s effort to retain a measure of control by co-opting the protests and a long-standing understanding with militant soccer fans that preceded the recent demonstrations that allowed supporters to protest as long as they restricted themselves to the confines of the stadium.

The Algerian military’s attempt to curtail fans and co-opt the revolt bumps up against the fact that the protesters, like their counterparts in Sudan, Morocco, Pakistan and Russia, have sought to avoid the risks of the military seeking to implement a Saudi-United Arab Emirates template to blunt or squash the protests.

The core lesson protesters learnt is that the protests’ success depends to a large extent on demonstrators’ willingness and ability to sustain their protests even if security forces turn violent. An Algeria that emerges from the African Cup final as the continent’s champion would give the protesters a significant boost.

It also constitutes an opportunity to ensure that Algeria does not revert to an environment in which violence is seen as the only way to achieve results.

Said a former senior Algerian intelligence official: “We will return to violence if there is no real democratic transition. The African Cup doesn’t fundamentally change that but does offer a window of opportunity.”

Author’s note: This story first appeared on Africa is a Country

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Iran: Second stage of suspension of commitments under JCPOA nuclear deal

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On May 8, 2019 – exactly a year after President Donald Trump’s catastrophically ill-advised decision to withdraw the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and impose financial and economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI), Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that Tehran was suspending the implementation of two of its commitments under the landmark nuclear accord, signed in 2015.  “Tehran has spent a whole year waiting for the remaining signatories to the agreement to fulfill their part of the obligations,” Rouhani said in televised remarks.  

Tehran insists that since the parties to the 2015 nuclear deal, above all the Europeans, have failed to fully meet their commitments concerning the economic part of the agreement, maintaining the JCPOA in its present form makes no sense. Iran did not follow the US example and leave the JCPOA though. It only warned the other signatories that it might do so, giving them two months to compensate for Washington’s withdrawal and guarantee Iran’s interests. This deadline expired on July 7.

During those past two months, Tehran refused to sell uranium enriched up to 3.67 percent to either Russia or the United States above the 300 kg limit.  By the time the JCPOA deal was signed, Iran had accumulated 10,357 kg of such uranium, and 410.4 kg of uranium enriched up to 20 percent. By 2019, Tehran had eliminated its stocks of 20%-enriched uranium and was selling surplus low-enriched uranium (LEU) to Russia and the US.  According to the terms of the JCPOA deal, Iran was allowed to enrich limited quantities of uranium for scientific purposes, and export surplus quantities exceeding the 300 kg limit. Now Iran is stocking up on LEU again. Tehran has been doing the same with its surplus heavy water necessary for the production of plutonium, which is at the heart of the production of plutonium-based nuclear weapons. Iran has a heavy water producing plant, which is not on the list of facilities banned by the JCPOA, but it is still not allowed to store more than 130 tons of heavy water. Tehran previously exported 32 tons of heavy water to the United States and 38 tons to the Russian Federation. After May 8, however, it started accumulating heavy water.

President Rouhani insisted that Iran’s interests, above all the freedom to sell oil and the lifting of sanctions imposed on its banking sector, be ensured.  No miracle happened though, as the European Union, above all Germany, France and Britain the United Kingdom have failed to create an effective mechanism to compensate for the negative impact of US sanctions on the Iranian economy.

On June 28, Germany, France and the United Kingdom set up INSTEX (Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges) – a new transaction channel that will allow companies to continue trading with Iran despite US sanctions. However, this system has so far focused on the supply of humanitarian goods to Iran (medicines, medical equipment, food). Iran wants more though: it needs free oil exports and free banking.

Sadly, the European powers are not yet ready to guarantee this, apparently hating the prospect of coming under Trump’s sanctions.

Iran is now announcing a new stage of its struggle. As it earlier promised, within the next 60 days Tehran will lift restrictions on the level of uranium enrichment (currently at 3.67 percent) bringing it to a level it needs. Weapons-grade uranium is enriched to 90 percent. It’s really a long way moving from 3.67 percent all the way up to 90 percent. What is really dangerous, however, is that Iran is now moving exactly in this direction. Back in January, Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), said that his country was now all set to resume uranium enrichment in a wider scale and with a higher level of enrichment.

On June 7, AEOI spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said that Iran was fully prepared to increase uranium enrichment to any level, adding that the enrichment level would soon be brought to 5 percent. The following day, he said that “Iran has surpassed the uranium enrichment level of 4.5 percent. The level of purity is sufficient to meet the country’s needs in providing fuel to our power plants,” he added.

In the second stage of suspensions of its commitments under the JCPOA deal, Iran will move forward also on the plutonium track. It has just announced the termination of work done by a special group of experts concerning the reconstruction of a heavy water reactor in Arak. The IR-40 reactor was designed to produce up to 10 kilograms of weapons-grade plutonium a year, which is enough fissile material for making approximately two plutonium bombs. The JCPOA envisages reformatting the reactor so that it is not capable of producing weapons-grade plutonium. It is exactly for this purpose that a working group was set up consisting of representatives of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, the Atomic Energy Authority of China and the US Department of Energy. In 2017, experts from the United States replaced their British colleagues during the Arak reactor redesign process. According to an official Iranian report released in April 2018, “conceptual reconstruction of the reactor” had already been completed. However, the reconstruction process is slow and easily reversible. At the end of May, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said that “We don’t count on JCPOA and JCPOA participants in the Arak project anymore. We will do it ourselves.”

Finally, it was announced that the process of accumulating heavy water for the IR-40 reactor was in full swing. Allaying all doubts, President Hassan Rouhani said loud and clear that after July 7, Iran would refuse to reformat the Arak reactor and would bring it back to a state, which foreign countries describe as dangerous and capable of producing plutonium, if the other signatories to the JCPOA agreement failed to honor their obligations.

Unpleasant news, but fully predictable too, following the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal. It took the whole world by surprise.

Berlin has expressed “grave concern” overTehran’s plans to enrich uranium above levels allowed by the JCPOA deal.

“We have repeatedly appealed to Iran not to take further action to destroy the nuclear deal. And now we are urging Tehran to refrain from any steps that are contrary to its commitments under the JCPOA system,” the German foreign ministry said in a statement.

Paris was seriously alarmed by Tehran’s stated desire to raise the level of uranium enrichment above 3.67 percent fissile purity set in the JCPOA.

“We urge Iran to cease all activities that do not meet its obligations under the JCPOA,” the French foreign ministry said in a statement.

According to the Élysée Palace, President Emmanuel Macron will soon resume consultations on this issue with the Iranian authorities and concerned international partners, and will, before July 15, examine conditions for resuming dialogue with all parties.

London will remain committed to the nuclear deal with Iran, although it believes that Tehran’s actions breach the terms of the agreement, the British Foreign Office said. Simultaneously, the Foreign Office is coordinating its actions with the other signatories to the JCPOA deal and discussing with them what should be done next.

The European Union is extremely concerned about Iran’s plans and is urging Tehran to roll back its nuclear activities, which are not covered by the JCPOA agreement. However, the EU is waiting for official conclusions by the IAEA concerning Tehran’s steps before it outlines its official response.

Iran will take center stage at the meeting of EU foreign ministers, scheduled for July 15.

The EU countries, as co-authors of the JCPOA accord, are mulling the possibility of holding a summit to discuss the situation.

Tokyo is equally worried about Iran’s intention to begin uranium enrichment above 3.67 percent, and urges Tehran to immediately resume the implementation of the JCPOA accord. Japan believes that the Islamic Republic should stick to its commitments under the nuclear deal.

Jerusalem believes that the steps being taken by Iran to raise the level of uranium enrichment are “moderate.” Meanwhile, Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said that Iran is on its way to producing nuclear bombs.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for his part, described Iran’s new decision as “very dangerous,” and urged France, Britain and Germany to impose “paralyzing sanctions” on Tehran.

Washington, in the person of President Trump, called the Iranian officials “bad guys,” just as he usually does, and advised Tehran to be careful about what it says and does.

“Iran does a lot of bad things. The Obama agreement [on this deal in 2015] was the most foolish agreement that you will ever find,” Trump said. He added that there will be a very serious discussion of this issue, either now or within the next few days. “Iran will never have a nuclear weapon,” Trump said bluntly.

Echoing the president, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is equally tough on Iran intimidating Tehran with new sanctions and threatening to completely isolate the country if it makes no concessions.

The truth is, however, that all this mayhem around Iran was provoked by Washington, while Tehran is just trying to push back the best way it can.  Moreover, it is doing this strictly in the framework of the JCPOA, a document approved by Resolution 2231 of the UN Security Council. Article 26 of the JCPOA prescribes the European Union and the United States to refrain from re-introducing or re-imposing sanctions against Iran. Moreover, the Article states that Iran will treat a re-imposition of sanctions or the introduction of new nuclear-related sanctions “as grounds to cease performing its commitments under this JCPOA in whole or in part.” This is exactly what Tehran is doing.

Beijing describes President Trump’s policy of “putting maximum pressure” on Iran as the main reason for Tehran’s retaliatory decision to suspend the implementation of some of its commitments under the JCPOA deal. Simultaneously, China regrets the measures being taken by Iran, and calls on all parties to show maximum restraint and stick to the terms of the 2015 nuclear accord in order to avoid any further escalation.

Russia fully understands the reasons behind Iran’s actions, but still urges Tehran to refrain from taking any further steps that could complicate the situation. Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s Permanent Representative at International Organizations in Vienna, hopes that the level of uranium enrichment in Iran will not exceed 5 percent. He also believes that there is no danger of nuclear proliferation.

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov warned against attempts to overdramatize the whole situation and urged the parties to show restraint and keep the nuclear deal alive.

“We urge everyone to show restraint, we urge the European signatories to the JCPOA not to ramp up tensions over the issue. We urge our Iranian colleagues to be extremely responsible, as before, in what they do in this respect, especially where it comes to the implementation of a comprehensive safeguards agreement with the IAEA and an additional protocol to this agreement, not to mention maintaining Iran’s participation in the NPT accord. There have been alarming signals to this effect coming from Tehran and we would certainly not welcome, to put it mildly, any movement in this direction,” Ryabkov emphasized.

The IAEA has decided to hold an emergency meeting on the Iranian issue and the Agency’s Board of Governors met on July 10 to discuss concerns about the nuclear report issued by the Iranian authorities.

Virtually the entire world understands Tehran’s position and the measures it has been taking to counteract the US sanctions, but it still urges it to show restraint in order to avoid any further spike in tensions.

Is it really possible to defuse tensions? Well, this depends on multiple factors, both internal and external.

The main thing, however, is whether the European Union is able to make a dent in Washington’s financial, economic (and, above all, oil) blockade of Iran. Will Europe face a serious confrontation with the United States? How satisfied will Tehran be with the EU’s actions and assistance it could get on the matter from China and Russia?

Presently, these questions defy easy answers, although many observers believe that, unfortunately, these answers could be pretty pessimistic. Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said that Iran would suspend ever more commitments to the JCPOA once every 60 days if its signatories failed to adhere to the terms of the landmark deal. 

What are the further steps that the Iranians could take as they roll back their commitments under the JCPOA deal? According to political analysts, a discontented Iran could keep stocking up on low-enriched uranium and heavy water above the caps set by the nuclear deal. The most dangerous thing, however, is that if Tehran starts to raise the level of uranium enrichment to 20 percent or above, it will restore the nuclear reactor in Arak to the condition it was in before the nuclear deal was signed, and limit, or even end, any oversight by IAEA inspectors. 

According to experts, the next, “reverse” re-equipment of the reactor to its pre-2015 state will take a lot of time and cost a lot of money. Despite the really drawn out process of conversion to a “safe” state, the head of AEOI Ali Akbar Salehi said in 2016 that after reconfiguration, the reactor would take between three and four years to go on-stream – sometime around 2020. The reactor, modified according to JCPOA specifications, is about 75 percent ready now. This means that “reverse-converting” it to a working “plutonium” state will take at least several years.

The same is true with the uranium program. According to the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), in 2013, at the height of its nuclear infrastructure development, of all enriched uranium stored in Iran, about 120-130 kg of 93 percent-enriched uranium could be obtained, which is enough for building five nuclear charges.

US and Israeli physicists believed that it would take between a year or two for Iran to achieve these indicators. It was a purely mathematical calculation though, which ignored a whole variety of external and internal factors. The specialists were not sure that Iran possessed sufficiently advanced technology and chemically pure substances to ensure a gradual increase in uranium enrichment up to 90 percent and be able to turn uranium from gaseous state to that of a high-quality metal, necessary for the creation of a nuclear charge.

Therefore, it would actually take Iran at least a decade to create a ready-for-use nuclear weapon (a missile warhead). And this provided there is no outside interference.

In view of the above, it would be safe to assume that Iran will take months, and in some cases even years, to restore the highest level of its nuclear infrastructure development. This is the relative time frame within which Iran’s nuclear program could get a new start. If, of course, it is allowed to make such a start.

How to prevent a military solution to the Iranian nuclear issue? This question takes us back again to the year 2012. There are two answers: war or negotiations. Since no one wants war, either in Tehran, Washington, Jerusalem or anywhere else, then negotiations are the way to go.

Washington appears ready for negotiations with Tehran without any preliminary conditions, that is, with continued US pressure on Iran and tough sanctions.

Tehran may start negotiations with Washington if these sanctions are lifted and with a permission from the country’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei.

On May 31, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said: “We will welcome the start of negotiations between the US and Iran … <…> But we are convinced that negotiating from the position of “first, I will strangle you economically, and then you will beg us to negotiate,” is not something we perceive as a model for behavior on the foreign policy front.”

From our partner International Affairs

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