15 October 2014

 

 

The current deadline for a final agreement between Iran and the P5+1 nations (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany) is July 20 this year.  After the agreement is announced, it must then be approved by the legislatures of all seven nations involved.  In the United States, our Congress will have to pass legislation that lifts the current economic and trade sanctions against Iran.  In turn, Iranians must adopt practical limits and transparency measures that ensure the peaceful nature of their uranium enrichment program.

To many in the peace community, the final agreement will be a good deal for both sides.  However, because of a very clever anti-Iran propaganda commonly used in the U.S. media, acceptance of the agreement by our Congress is by no means a certainty.

THE INFORMATION VACUUM

Some of the citizens who now support keeping sanctions on Iran do so because they are victims of the media "information vacuum".  For the past several years, the American media has made a point of not-informing their readers and listeners WHY oil- & gas-rich Iran is trying to use nuclear energy technology.  One of the reasons not mentioned is that Iran is switching from hydrocarbon-fueled electric power plants to alternative energy sources including geothermal, nuclear, solar, and wind.  Incidentally, regardless of where an electric grid is located, large nuclear power stations are typically used to supply the baseload part of the grid. (The baseload of a power grid is the lowest load requirement it must always provide during a 24-hour day.)

Another reason not mentioned is that the Iranians are now using a uranium-fueled research reactor to make their own radioisotopes for medical and commercial purposes.  The point is that the Iranians have rational reasons for wanting to use nuclear energy technology for peaceful purposes.

Before continuing, I will give credit where credit is due.  The above mentioned Iran information vacuum is a very creative propaganda vehicle.  Because it is not based on false information, there is nothing to refute.  The only way to combat this misleading message is to provide victims with boring factual information.

THE IRANIAN VIEWPOINT

To fill this void, the Iranians themselves have created  a new website www.NuclearEnergy.ir.  To me, this website is a bit overwhelming, but it does give their point of view.  After entering this website:

* Click on "Motives" in the top menu for the Iranians' explanation on why they want to use nuclear technology.

* Click on "Negotiations", also in the top menu, and then scroll down on this page to the segment "Geneva, November (20-24) 2013".  This segment offers a link "Text of Geneva Deal" which takes the reader to the text of the current "Joint Plan of Action" (JPOA) that is now being used by the P5+1 negotiators and the Iranians.

The JPOA document says in part, "This comprehensive solution would involve a mutually defined enrichment programme with practical limits and transparency measures to ensure the peaceful nature of the programme."  This means that the Iranians returned to the negotiating table with the P5+1 nations primarily because the U.S. changed its position:

From -- Iran has no right to enrich its own uranium-235 fuel.

To -- Iran may make enriched uranium fuel as long as it meets practical limits and transparency measures.

Logically, past economic and trade sanctions had been showing Iranians that they must make their own enriched uranium-235 in order to have a reliable source of fuel for their baseload nuclear power stations.

SUPPORTING THE AGREEMENT

Supporters of a balanced solution to the current standoff need to think in terms of both:

(a) lobbying their own Congressional representative and two senators to support the final settlement, and

(b) making an effort to explain to fellow citizens WHY Iran has a nuclear energy program in the first place. 

Helping victims of the information vacuum to become better informed, will be time well spent.  Once the victims have a more accurate picture of reality, they could become strong supporters of Congressional approval of the final agreement.

While some members of the American media were creating the information vacuum, others were delivering misleading comments.  For example, during the 5-18-14 60-minutes TV program, Steve Kroft said: There are people in the international community, and scientists in the United States who say, "There would only be one reason why Iran would have all these centrifuges and that would be to build a nuclear device."

An excellent counter to this sort of thing, is a 2014 book by Gareth Porter titled, "Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare".  Porter has also followed up with several commentaries on the internet that are based on the research he conducted for his book.

One such item was an interview of Gareth Porter by Shemuel Meir, a reporter for the on-line version of (an Israeli newspaper).  Ref.: logon to www.Haaretz.com and then search the site with "Gareth  Meir".

[Shemuel Meir] "What is your assessment of the current negotiations between Iran and the P5+1? Is a final agreement to close the Iranian file on the table?"

[Gareth Porter] "I am pessimistic about the outcome of these talks, in the coming months at least, because the Obama administration -- influenced by the false narrative surrounding the issue and overconfident about its ability to pressure an Iran it assumes has been significantly weakened by the sanctions -- is planning to demand that Iran give up all but a very few thousand of its 19,000 centrifuges for many many years. That demand, based on a notion of Iranian 'breakout' that is quite divorced from reality, is an obvious deal-breaker. Iran cannot and will not agree to give up its ability to provide nuclear fuel for more nuclear plants, for which it is planning. In my view, this demand will lead to a much higher level of tensions unless and until it is substantially altered."