How Rouhani Explained the Nuclear Deal to Iranians

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani went on state-run television today to explain the deal that has been reached (in principle, at least) to the Iranian people. FARS News describes the speech:

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani underlined on Friday that all the UN and economic, financial and banking sanctions against Iran will be annuled the moment a final nuclear deal between Iran and the six world powers goes into effect.

This was a key bargaining point for Iran. Iran’s compliance with the agreement will stretch, problematically, over a period of years, but all sanctions will be lifted immediately.

In a public address on the state-run TV on Friday, President Rouhani reminded his election campaign slogan that he would keep Iran’s nuclear industry running and remove the sanctions against the country, and said the Iranian nation is now closer to this goal more than ever.

He said his administration had a four-step plan, which included the attainment of an interim deal, “and after months of efforts, specially during the last few days, the second objective was also materialized last night”.

In other words, the West caved on the immediate lifting of all sanctions.

“In this second step, we have both maintenance of nuclear rights and removal of sanctions alongside constructive interaction with the world,” the president continued.

This last point–“constructive interaction with the world”–is an important one that hasn’t been emphasized enough. Iran has been considered a rogue state for a long time, and deserves to be considered one still. It remains the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism. But implicit in the deal that Western countries have struck with Iran is acceptance of Iran as a legitimate regional and world power–one whose peaceful intentions are acknowledged, and against which sanctions are no longer appropriate. This acceptance is a huge benefit to Iran’s theocratic rulers, perhaps as great a psychological benefit as the elimination of sanctions will be a material benefit. Opposition to the mullahs can only be demoralized. This is critically important, as it may well be that the only real way to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power is through regime change.

“The Group 5+1 (the US, Britain, France, Russia and China plus Germany) has accepted in the framework understanding attained on Thursday night that Iran will have domestic enrichment on its soil; and this means that those who stated that Iran’s enrichment is a threat to the region and the world have admitted today that enrichment in Iran is no threat to anyone,” said President Rouhani.

The Bush administration’s position was that all enrichment must cease. President Obama yielded on that vital point.

“I, hereby, declare in a straightforward manner now that enrichment and all nuclear-related technologies are only aimed at Iran’s development and will not be used against any other countries and the world has acknowledged very well today that Iran is seeking peaceful purposes,” he added.

In that case, will Iran abandon its ICBM development program? No. It said that continuation of its ICBM program was “non-negotiable.” Why? Has any country ever developed ICBMs for any purpose other than delivery of nuclear weapons? No.

He said Arak Heavy Water Reactor will continue its operation with the help of the most modern technologies and “Fordo (uranium enrichment plant) will remain operational forever with 1,000 centrifuges installed in there and nuclear and physics-related activities and technologies will run there”.

Forever. The mullahs take the long view. The Lausanne agreement, such as it is, will expire in ten years.

Responses