In similar news reports on Iran yesterday, the lede paragraph from the Associated Press report stated:
Iran halted its most sensitive uranium enrichment work on Monday as part of a landmark deal struck with world powers, easing concerns over the country’s nuclear program and clearing the way for a partial lifting of sanctions, Tehran and the U.N. said.
The lede paragraph from Reuters news service stated:
Iran has halted its most sensitive nuclear operations under a preliminary deal with world powers, winning some relief from economic sanctions on Monday in a ground-breaking exchange that could ease a threat of war.
To gain some perspective on the deal the U.S. and other world powers made with Iran, read the following news report from January 16:
(by Josh Rogin, The Daily Beast) – In an interview with Iranian television, Iran’s top nuclear negotiator says Tehran can resume enriching uranium to 20 percent levels within one day if it so desires.
Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, Abbas Araghchi, said this week that if Iran decides to resume enriching uranium to levels prohibited by the new nuclear deal, it could begin to do so in one day’s time.
Araghchi spoke on Jan. 12 to the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting Channel 2 following his return from Geneva, where he led the Iranian delegation to the negotiations with the P5+1 countries [*P5+1 consists of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council – America, Britain, France, Russia and China – along with Germany. This group negotiates with Iran over its nuclear weapons program] that resulted in an agreement to implement the Joint Plan of Action signed last November. The interim agreement goes into effect Jan. 20, giving both sides six months to reach a final deal over Iran’s nuclear program.
Critics of the deal, especially in Congress, want any final agreement to force Iran to stop enriching uranium altogether and dismantle its enrichment program. The interim agreement requires Iran to suspend the enrichment of uranium at 20 percent levels and downgrade their existing stockpile of highly-enriched uranium to lower levels [in exchange for the U.S. and others dropping sanctions against Iran. Sanctions are actions that are taken to force a country to obey international laws by limiting or stopping trade with that country, by not allowing economic aid for that country, etc.]. But Araghchi said in the interview that the enrichment suspension is quickly reversible if Iran decides to pull out of the agreement.
“We can return again to 20 percent enrichment in less than one day and we can convert the [nuclear] material again. Therefore the structure of our nuclear program is preserved,” said Araghchi, in a broadcast which was independently translated for The Daily Beast. “Whenever we feel the other side is not following through with its commitments, whenever we feel there are other motives involved, whenever – now, say, under pressure from Congress or something else – they take action against their commitments, say put in place new sanctions, we will immediately revert to the current status quo. And we will again continue our nuclear program in the form that it is today.”
“I can say definitively that the structure of our nuclear program will be exactly preserved. Nothing will be put aside, dismantled or halted. Everything will continue, enrichment will continue,” Araghchi said.
While Iran’s foreign minister made similar comments last year after a broad framework understanding was reached, the comments this week from Araghchi come after Iran agreed to a detailed – and still secret – implementation agreement with the United States and other world powers. The remarks also come as Congress considers [passing] new sanctions legislation against Iran.
The Senate is currently considering whether to vote on a new Iran bill, sponsored by Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Mark Kirk (R-IL), that would impose new sanctions if Iran withdraws from negotiations or violates the deal. The bill would also express the sense of Congress that Iran doesn’t have a right to enrich uranium and would set minimum criteria for a final deal, including the dismantlement of Iran’s illicit nuclear infrastructure.
The White House and State Department did not respond [to our questions about] to Araghchi’s comments. U.S. officials have previously said Iran could be allowed to continue some enrichment in a final deal. …..
Araghchi also said that President Obama’s recent statement that there is a not “more than 50-50” chance of reaching a final deal over Iran’s nuclear program might be too optimistic.
“The chance of reaching a result [on the comprehensive solution], [we] can’t definitively count on it,” he said. “Mr. Obama said it’s 50-50. And I and other diplomats always speak optimistically. But even with a 50-50 [chance] that’s still very optimistic.”
Reprinted here for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission from The Daily Beast. Visit the website at dailybeast .com.
1. The first paragraph of a news article should answer the questions who, what, where and when. List the who, what, where and when of this news item. (NOTE: The remainder of a news article provides details on the why and/or how.)
2. a) Who is Abbas Araghchi?
b) What did Mr. Araghchi say about Iran’s halt of uranium enrichment? Be specific.
3. What do those opposed to the deal with Iran want a permanent agreement to do?
4. a) What does this 6 month agreement call for Iran to do?
b) What has the P5+1 agreed to do?
5. What new legislation is the Senate currently considering?
6. a) What did Mr. Araghchi say about President Obama’s view that there is a 50-50 chance of reaching a final deal with Iran over its nuclear program?
b) The AP reported that “in exchange for sanctions against Iran being lifted, Iran has agreed to halt production of 20 percent enriched uranium, which is just steps away from bomb-making material. Iran will be able to continue enrichment up to 5 percent. It also will eliminate its stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium.”
This is a temporary 6 month deal to allow more time for the U.S. and others to come to a permanent agreement with Iran.
Considering Mr. Araghchi’s comments, how likely do you think it is that Iran would really dismantle its nuclear program? (Is it all just talk?) Explain your answer.
ON URANIUM ENRICHMENT:
Enriched uranium is a critical component for both civil nuclear power generation and military nuclear weapons. The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency attempts to monitor and control enriched uranium supplies and processes in its efforts to ensure nuclear power generation safety and curb nuclear weapons proliferation (buildup).
IRAN’S NUCLEAR PROGRAM:
- Iran’s 20 year secret nuclear program was discovered in 2002. Iran says its program is for fuel purposes only, but it has been working on uranium enrichment which is used to make nuclear bombs. [NOTE ON URANIUM ENRICHMENT: Enriched uranium is a critical component for both civil nuclear power generation and military nuclear weapons. The International Atomic Energy Agency attempts to monitor and control enriched uranium supplies and processes in its efforts to ensure nuclear power generation safety and curb nuclear weapons proliferation (buildup).]
- Under the United Nations’ NPT (Non Proliferation Treaty) countries are not allowed to make nuclear weapons (except for the 5 that had nuclear weapons prior to the treaty – the U.S., Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom).
- Safeguards are used to verify compliance with the Treaty through inspections conducted by the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency).
- The IAEA has consistently stated it is unable to conclude that Iran’s nuclear program is entirely peaceful.
- The IAEA issued a report on Sept. 15, 2008 that said Iran has repeatedly blocked an investigation into its nuclear program and the probe is now deadlocked.
- The U.N. Security Council has already imposed four sets of sanctions on Iran over its nuclear defiance. Despite the sanctions, Iran has refused to end its nuclear program.
- A group of U.S. and Russian scientists said in a report issued in May 2009 that Iran could produce a simple nuclear device in one to three years and a nuclear warhead in another five years after that. The study, published by the nonpartisan EastWest Institute, also said Iran is making advances in rocket technology and could develop a ballistic missile capable of firing a 2,200-pound nuclear warhead up to 1,200 miles “in perhaps six to eight years.”
- The Iranian government has called for the destruction of Israel on numerous occasions. It is believed that once obtained, Iranian President Ahmadinejad would use nuclear weapons against Israel.
From a November article just before the P5+1* made the deal with Iran: [*P5+1 consists of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council – America, Britain, France, Russia and China – along with Germany. This group negotiates with Iran over its nuclear weapons program.]
Why are all sides suddenly interested in a deal?
Sanctions have helped to wreck Iran’s economy. In particular, the vital oil industry is on its knees. In June last year, Iran was still the second-biggest oil producer in Opec after Saudi Arabia, pumping 3 million barrels per day. By this September, its daily production had tumbled by 400,000 barrels to 2.6 million. Given that oil prices exceed $100 per barrel, that fall represents a loss of billions of dollars. So Iran needs to compromise over its nuclear ambitions in order to ease the burden of sanctions. America and its allies, meanwhile, want to contain a nuclear programme that advances month by month and would eventually give Iran the option of building the ultimate weapon.
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