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  •[tt_news]=41826&tx_ttnews[backPid]=7&cHash=e700b1ee98a41a52ef210f2ca0b8db7a#.Ut0G4n8 o7Gh
    If the oil deal with Russia goes ahead, Iran may extend its shrunken oil exports by 50 percent and collect some $1.5 billion in extra revenue a month. This may undermine Western sanctions, which may have forced Iran to consider permanently constraining its nuclear program in the first place; while Russia may become Irans main oil buyer (- - ).
    The deal with Iran will not be simple barterit will involve moneyand since Russia did not undersign Western anti-Iranian sanctions, we are not obliged to wait for them to be removed. Russia may sell the Iranian crude in the Asia-Pacific region to increase its presence and influence in this growing market. (- - ).
    Today, Russia may again take Iranian crude, rename it Russian and sell it as its own. Tehran will receive part of the proceeds in cash and part in Russian goods. This could effectively breach the US-led trade and financial blockade and make Tehran less inclined to make serious concessions on its nuclear program. The US administration has expressed concern about Russian plans to buy Iranian crude, but Russian foreign ministry officials told journalists: We told the Americans it is none of their business; we may buy any amount of Iranian oil and sell Iran any goods we choose. Russia it not breaching any mandatory United Nations sanctions by buying Iranian crude and selling Iran goods, the officials noted, while the unilateral Western oil and financial sanctions against Iran are illegitimate (- - ).
    And now the commentary from me.

    If sanctions are essentially leveraged out through this oil 'trade'. What good are they?
    The biggest winners besides Iran will probably be every neighboring country via trade gravity model. Ergo it is very likely that trade growth will get a boost in the region if capital flows become more abundant.

    Think about Iranian capital investing into Iraq, Turkey, Uzbekistan, and vice-versa yes very little sums or trade of goods but base amounts are very negligible at start always.

    I actually think this is a major positive fore regional stability and economic growth. Relative ease of oil supply is also a good thing makes it cheaper for economies to use energy which is still fairly expensive.

    As long as they don't go nuke crazy its all good.
    Originally from Sochi, Russia.


    • I don't know that it would promote regional stability necessarily. KSA is never going to appreciate or go along with a stronger and more influential Iran, whether it is because of Iran developing nukes or because Iran forgoes the nukes and is freed from sanctions and thus develops into an regional economic power. Not sure if Turkey would either, but there are some reasons for them to cooperate. If Iran instead seeks to expand its sphere of influence into central Asia, how will the Russians feel about that? Iran would have to be sensitive to Russia's energy concerns. I think in any scenario Iran is still a problem until the radical element runs out of steam- and they will eventually as long as everything they do seems to end up in difficulties for the average Iranian citizen. Iran was a problem before they became a proto-nuclear problem and merely putting a stop to the nuclear weapons program won't change that. An open and secular Iran would.


      • Been quiet for some time now. That means things are moving in the right direction. Very little original sources just second (or is it third) hand accounts, from a former French ambassador over a month back.

        Getting to the heart of the matter, many points seem close to being settled. Iran is ready to cap at 5% its production of enriched uranium and to limit its current stockpile from further enrichment. The controversial underground facility of Fordow will probably end up as a kind of research and development unit. The Arak reactor’s original configuration allowed the yearly production of about ten kilograms of plutonium, enough for one or two bombs. Ali Akbar Salehi, chairman of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), has hinted that this configuration could be modified in order to accommodate low-enriched uranium fuel rather than natural uranium. This would reduce Arak’s plutonium production capacity by a factor of five to ten. And Iran has already confirmed that it has no intention of acquiring the fuel reprocessing capacity indispensable for isolating weapon-grade plutonium.

        Depending on the pace of sanctions relief, Iran also seems ready to return to a kind of de facto implementation of the IAEA’s Additional Protocol, which would provide enhanced monitoring over all of Iran’s nuclear activities. Iran should be ready to initiate the Protocol’s ratification process as soon as the United Nations Security Council shows itself ready to remove the Iranian nuclear file from its agenda, thus erasing the burning humiliation of 2006, when it passed its first resolution on the subject.
        There are sticking points which will have to be worked through. But should things progress in a positive direction, remember where things stand. All the talk since Nov last to culminate in some sort of announcement next month is to get to the first step.

        arms control ---------> detente ---------> rapprochement

        There can be spoilers on the horizon, namely hardliners in the US & Iranian camp that would want to scuttle things. This is what the Saudis prefer would happen. They have been kept out of the loop and have other issues in addition to the ones being discussed but the world isn't interested. They are upset with the Omanis who they perceive has having moved behind their backs on Iran. Qatar has been in for similar treatment from the UAE & Bahrain too amongst other reasons. Meanwhile Kuwait would like to import natural gas from Iran. The emir has not visited Iran since 1979. Why now ? Oman is also interested in Iranian gas. When the Saudis realise they need gas too and its just across the gulf maybe things will start to change.
        Last edited by Double Edge; 26 Jun 14,, 06:31.


        • Nov 24 is fast approaching so what will it be

          - breakthrough
          - breakdown
          - more muddling through with another interim agreement

          bet is on that last option.

          This was a good discussion on the topic. Finally get to see what David Sanger looks like :)


          • Further extension of talks are a possibility, but the Obama administration's window for a deal with Tehran may be closing.
            Republicans take control of the Senate in January, and are threatening to shoot down any deal they find to be unacceptable, and want to levy new sanctions.
            The tone and content of this letter is a direct challenge to Obama's authority:
            The pro-sanctions, anti-Iran contingent grows - The Washington Post

            I find it unlikely that new sanctions will force Iran to abandon anything. If they are to be treated as a pariah they may as well withdraw from NPT. With ISIS at their doorstep threatening to wipe out Shias, and Saudi Arabia ramping up its forces at an alarming rate, Tehran may see no other option but to develop a bomb.

            If Congress and the Senate are able to wrest the Iran issue from the administration, the consequences will be far reaching. No country will want to endure months of painful negotiation with a Secretary of State who has no power.


            • A nuke ain't going to help the ISIS nor the Saudi problem.


              • Office of Engineers: A nuke ain't going to help the ISIS nor the Saudi problem.

                Nukes won't make these problems go away but might prevent outside attempts at regime change in Tehran. Saudi Arabia has a growing high tech arsenal and they have shown their willingness to use it without notifying the West. Are their bombing runs in Libya a possible dry run for Iran? Iran would be no match for KSA in a conventional fight; all the more reason to want an equalizer.

                As for ISIS, no, you can't nuke a terrorist group but having a nuke may make neighboring states think twice about giving support to ISIS or any like-minded group.


                • Originally posted by Sitting Bull View Post
                  Saudi Arabia has a growing high tech arsenal and they have shown their willingness to use it without notifying the West.
                  Manned by mercs and maintained by foreign contractors.

                  Originally posted by Sitting Bull View Post
                  Are their bombing runs in Libya a possible dry run for Iran?
                  Lybia doesn't have an AD net. Iran does.

                  Originally posted by Sitting Bull View Post
                  Iran would be no match for KSA in a conventional fight; all the more reason to want an equalizer.
                  I have no clue where you get your info. The KSA can only fight Iran if Pakistan allows it and even then, it would be a near thing ... but Pakistan does have nukes.

                  Originally posted by Sitting Bull View Post
                  As for ISIS, no, you can't nuke a terrorist group but having a nuke may make neighboring states think twice about giving support to ISIS or any like-minded group.
                  Didn't stop Libya from doing Lockerbie nor the Berlin Disco and didn't stop us nor the Chinese from arming the Mujahadeen.
                  Last edited by Officer of Engineers; 24 Nov 14,, 00:39.


                  • So, what do you guys think of the framework deal?

                    Also, preparations for plan B proceeding in the US:

                    Pentagon Worked to Improve Biggest

                    Pentagon Upgraded Biggest Bunker Buster Bomb as Iran Talks Unfolded
                    Pentagon Tested Improved Bomb in Mid-January, Officials Say
                    Julian E. Barnes And
                    Adam Entous
                    Updated April 3, 2015 5:22 p.m. ET

                    WASHINGTONThe Pentagon has upgraded and tested the largest bunker-buster bomb in the U.S. arsenal, senior U.S. officials said, readying a weapon that could destroy or disable Irans most heavily fortified nuclear facilities should a nuclear deal fall apart and the White House decide to take military action.

                    Even while the Obama administration was pursuing a diplomatic agreement with Iran to rein in its nuclear program, the Pentagon was readying the improvements to one of its most destructive conventional weapons, including electronic countermeasures to prevent an adversary from jamming its guidance systems.

                    The Pentagon continues to be focused on being able to provide military options for Iran if needed, a senior U.S. official said. We have not taken our eyes off the ball.
                    Iran and six world powers have agreed on parameters of a deal meant to block Tehran from developing nuclear weapons. Why is breakout time so significant and how is it calculated? WSJs Jason Bellini has #TheShortAnswer.

                    Work on the bunker buster started before the current round of talks with Iran got under way. But the most recent testing took place mid-January, when the upgraded bunker buster was dropped at a testing site at an undisclosed U.S. location by a B-2 bomber that took off from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, officials said.

                    Iran, the U.S. and other major world powers reached agreement Thursday on the parameters of a deal meant to block Tehran from developing nuclear weapons. Iran has denied it has planned to build nuclear weapons.

                    While they hailed the tentative deal, U.S. officials said it remained unclear whether the terms of a final accord can be reached before a June 30 deadline. Officials said major gaps remained over the technical details as well as implementation, and it is unclear if the U.S. Congress will pass legislation challenging the White Houses terms.
                    Read More on Capital Journal

                    In his remarks Thursday on the deal, President Barack Obama said he sees a deal with Iran as the best way to avert another war in the Middle East. But should the diplomacy fail, he has acknowledged that military options would be on the table.

                    Details about the weapons work came from senior U.S. officials who were briefed on testing of the weapon but who weren't involved the Obama administrations Iran diplomacy.

                    The Pentagon declined to comment on any improvements to the so-called Massive Ordnance Penetrator, or MOP.

                    The United States military prepares for a broad range of potential threats to include developing munitions designed to address deeply buried and hardened facilities, said Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman.

                    The Wall Street Journal reported in 2012 that Pentagon war planners had concluded that the 30,000-pound bunker buster wasnt powerful enough to destroy certain hardened Iranian nuclear facilities and ordered steps to be taken to upgrade the bombs design and guidance systems. In 2013, the Journal reported the weapon was being redesigned.

                    The weapon was last tested in recent months, including in January, and senior officials say the results show the bombwhen dropped one on top of the otheris now more capable of penetrating fortified nuclear facilities in Iran or in North Korea.

                    Officials said work on improving the MOP is continuing, but the weapon has performed well in the tests, allaying the concerns officials had two years ago.

                    If you say all options are on the table, you have to have something on the table thats credible.
                    Senior U.S. official

                    The Pentagon designed the bunker buster with heavily fortified sitesincluding Irans Fordow installationin mind. Fordow is built into a mountain to protect the facility from U.S. or Israeli airstrikes.

                    To destroy or disable the underground facilities, the Pentagon envisages guiding two or more of the bunker busters to the same impact point, in sequence, extending the weapons burrowing power, the officials said.

                    To make that level of precision possible, upgraded electronic countermeasures have been added to the weapon to prevent jamming of its guidance systems by the Iranians, according to the senior U.S. officials. Electronic jammers could be used to throw an incoming bomb off target.

                    Those upgraded electronic countermeasures, combined with improvements to the weapons guidance systems, will allow the weapon to be targeted with a precision previously possible only for far smaller guided bombs in the U.S. arsenal, the officials said.

                    Steering two or more massive ordnance penetrators to a single entry point would have a devastating effect never before seen by a nonnuclear weapon, the officials said.

                    The White House has repeatedly said that Mr. Obama will need to look at other options if the nuclear talks break down.

                    If you say all options are on the table, you have to have something on the table thats credible, a senior U.S. official said.

                    Even with the bombs enhancements, the U.S. intelligence community believes a military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities would set Irans program back by a few years at most.

                    You can destroy hardware. But if you have the human capital, programs can be rebuilt, a senior U.S. military official said.

                    The U.S. has balked at providing its biggest bunker buster bomb to Israel, but Pentagon officials have shared details about its capabilities with their Israeli counterparts, and has shown them videos of the weapon hitting a target during testing.

                    In one of those videos, which was described by U.S. officials who have viewed it, a massive ordnance penetrator is seen dropping in slow motion toward a large X marking the target at an undisclosed test site.

                    The video then cuts to an image showing an underground bunker buried beneath the X and depicts the sites destruction.

                    Write to Julian E. Barnes at and Adam Entous at

                    Copyright 2015 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



                      An Iran Nuclear Deal Built on Coffee, All-Nighters and Compromise
                      By DAVID E. SANGER and MICHAEL R. GORDON
                      APRIL 3, 2015

                      LAUSANNE, Switzerland — It was just one of hundreds of arguments between American and Iranian officials as they tried to hash out what may prove to be one of the hardest-to-negotiate arms control agreements in history. But it spoke volumes about how two countries that so deeply distrust each other managed to strike a tentative deal.

                      After President Obama revealed the existence of a secret, deep-underground enrichment operation near the sacred city of Qum in late 2009, the White House demanded that it be dismantled and closed. In defiance, the Iranians stuffed the facility, called Fordo, with 3,000 centrifuges — a huge issue for American and Israeli military planners because it is impervious to all but the largest bunker-buster bombs.

                      Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, also decreed that no nuclear facilities would be closed. So when negotiations turned to Fordo’s fate, the Iranians insisted that the centrifuges had to stay and the Americans said they all had to come out.

                      The compromise — one of the most painful, an American official acknowledged on Thursday night — was that 1,000 centrifuges would remain. But they are to have no fissile material, the makings of a nuclear weapon.

                      Instead, they will spin another element, for medical isotopes. Still, the official acknowledged the optics were bad: “Having even one centrifuge in Fordo is hard.”

                      After two years of secret diplomacy, then gradually accelerating engagement, then eight straight days and several all-nighters of negotiations this week in Lausanne, Switzerland — so intense that officials showed up at breakfast looking like they had just wandered off a 20-hour flight — the accord reached here on Thursday was filled with provisions like that.

                      The agreement calls for Tehran to slash its stockpile of nuclear materials and severely limit its enrichment activities, theoretically bringing the time it would take to produce a nuclear weapon to a year — a significant rollback from the current estimate of two to three months.

                      Both sides made significant compromises. For the United States, that meant accepting that Iran would retain its nuclear infrastructure in some shrunken form. For Iran, it meant severe limits on its production facilities and submitting to what Mr. Obama has called the most intrusive inspections regime in history.

                      It is still far too early to tell if the compromises will survive the next and final negotiating round, or review in Washington and Tehran. The timing of sanctions relief remains unresolved, for example, and already the two sides are describing it in different terms.

                      But the events of the last two years, and particularly the past week, offer some fascinating insights into what happens when two countries that have barely spoken with each other for 35 years — and have a long and troubled history of mistrust, sabotage, lies and violence — all but move into the same hotel room to try to figure out how they are going to get along.

                      It is fairly certain there will be a lot more wrangling in the next three months as the negotiators seek to wrap up a final, comprehensive treaty. That is because the negotiators left the Beau Rivage Hotel with astoundingly high bills — suites run more than $1,500 a night — but not an agreed-upon document detailing Iran’s commitments and those of the United States and its negotiating partners.

                      Wherever Wendy Sherman, the lead American negotiator, traveled in the ornate hotel here, she was trailed by a whiteboard, where the Iranians and the Americans marked down their understandings, sometimes in both English and Persian.

                      The board served a major diplomatic purpose, letting both sides consider proposals without putting anything on paper. That allowed the Iranians to talk without sending a document back to Tehran for review, where hard-liners could chip away at it, according to several American officials interviewed for this article, who all spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

                      “It was a brilliantly low-tech solution,” one White House official said. (It also had its drawbacks. One American wrote on it with a regular marker, then had to scrub hard to wipe out some classified numbers.)

                      And it was far removed from the first year of Mr. Obama’s presidency when, one of his top aides recalled a few years ago, there were more Situation Room meetings on Iran than any other topic. By the end of his first year in office, the president had come to some big conclusions.

                      If Iran got the bomb, classic “containment” would not work; the Sunni Arab states, starting with Saudi Arabia, would try to match the effort. Refusing to negotiate unless all the centrifuges stopped spinning, the strategy of the Bush administration, also seemed futile; Iran had a few hundred working centrifuges in 2003, thousands when Mr. Obama took over and 19,000 now.

                      Insisting that Iran dismantle everything would not work, either; that would kill a negotiation before it started. And bombing would not work, at least not for very long. As William J. Burns, the deputy secretary of state who led the secret effort to establish relations with Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, put it recently: “You can’t bomb knowledge. And there’s nothing we could destroy that they couldn’t rebuild in a few years.”

                      Mr. Obama, by all accounts, immersed himself in the technical details, beginning with the giant centrifuge hall at Natanz, when he had to approve wave after wave of cyberattacks there. It was hoped that those attacks, combined with economic sanctions, would force Iran to see the folly of continuing on its path.

                      Back then, the thinking was that Iran could have only a token production capability. Over time, though, the administration’s objectives became less ambitious.

                      As the negotiations sputtered forward, it became clear that to reach an agreement at all, Iran would have to be able to preserve a narrative of not backing down, not dismantling.

                      Mr. Obama got deep into the technical compromises to political problems. He read briefings on three different proposals for how to convert a heavy-water reactor at Arak so that it could remain in operation without churning out plutonium waste that could be used in a bomb. He often delved into the workings of inspection regimes.

                      But as the talks hit one deadline after another, the administration had to compromise more. Instead of maintaining strict limits throughout the life of a 15-year accord, for example, it began to talk about keeping the toughest limits — the ones that would extend to a year the time Iran needed to produce enough nuclear material for a bomb — in place for at least 10 years.

                      As Secretary of State John Kerry prepared to return to the negotiations in Lausanne last month, the French were openly questioning whether he and his team were so invested in the deal that they might make unwise compromises in order to meet an artificial deadline at the end of March.

                      “You hear that kind of stuff and you want to say, ‘Why don’t you sit at the table for months on end and see if you do any better?’ ” one of Mr. Kerry’s aides snapped when told of the critique.

                      As the talks grew more intense in the past two months, the Iranians decided to bring in their minister of atomic energy, prompting Mr. Obama to send Ernest Moniz, his energy secretary and one of the nation’s leading nuclear scientists. This changed the dynamic. The two men set up a separate process and, as one senior administration official said, “they treated these matters as scientific problems.”

                      Iran has agreed to redesign a heavy-water reactor at Arak in a way that would keep it from producing weapons-usable fuel. Credit Atta Kenare/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
                      With so many moving parts, Ms. Sherman, one of the most organized of diplomats, continued rolling out her whiteboards, a stark contrast with the elegance of the rooms they were meeting in at the Beau Rivage. But each issue that got crossed off seemed to be replaced by two more. Meetings went later and later.

                      Mr. Kerry was clearly feeling a bit caged: He went for bicycle rides three times (twice he had to return to take a call from the president). He went for crepes down the street and showed up at a bar to help celebrate the birthdays of some American reporters. Inside the negotiating rooms, an espresso machine constantly buzzed, as the Iranians and Americans tried to stay awake.

                      But when the deadline of March 31 came and went, quitting was not an option. “The trick was getting it to come together — you can see it, you see the deal,” a senior administration official said. “You know what the elements are. But knocking it out is another thing altogether.”

                      The Iranians knew the deadline meant a lot to Mr. Kerry — who needed to show progress to Congress — but it meant nothing to them. He, in turn, kept scheduling his departure, perhaps as a pressure tactic. His team deposited their luggage for loading onto the plane three times, only to find it returned hours later.

                      After an all-night round of negotiations on Wednesday, his counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, was asked how much sleep he got. “Two hours,” he said. “And I was the lucky one.”

                      The last tradeoffs were painful. When the Iranians insisted on keeping some centrifuges at Fordo, Mr. Obama approved the concession after Mr. Moniz assured him the facility, devoid of fissile material under the accord, would pose no threat. His credibility carried the day. And administration officials were struck by the fact that Iran was willing to waste 1,000 centrifuges, essentially spinning uselessly, to preserve national pride.

                      The same thing happened in finding a solution for the Arak heavy-water reactor, which they agreed to redesign. “Moniz said this will not produce any weapons-grade plutonium,” said a senior American official, and that if the Iranians cheated it would be detectable right away.

                      At the White House, Mr. Obama was pressing intelligence agencies for a report on the real intentions of Ayatollah Khamenei, who would cast the sole deciding vote on any deal in Iran. He never got a persuasive consensus: “Frankly, that is almost unknowable,” the official said.

                      Some of the last issues were just punted to the next round, including the timetable for lifting sanctions and the specifics of how Iran will dispose of a large stockpile of uranium.

                      Complicating things further, the Iranians did not want to publish a list of agreed upon points. So it was agreed that each side would put out its own — as long as they did not directly contradict each other.

                      But the two documents left room for differences. As Mr. Kerry stepped to the microphones on Thursday and talked about all the limits on Iran, and how some would last 15 years, others 25, a few for much longer, Mr. Zarif had a different spin.

                      “We will continue enriching, we will continue research and development, our heavy water reactor will be modernized, and our facility in Fordo will remain open,” he said.
                      There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov


                      • This is better than nothing. For those advocating bombing Iran, I have a requirement for them. They must include plans for a real invasion and the associated costs of invading and occupying Iran just to keep Iran nuclear free. If they don't include such plans and provisions, I do not take their views and objections seriously at all. Netanyahu's objections are a joke. He just want us to "bell the cat" while he cheers from the sidelines.


                        • Originally posted by citanon View Post
                          So, what do you guys think of the framework deal?
                          Iranian hardliners appear more upset than their american counter parts who are waiting for the text of the agreement to be made public. When that happens and we get a similar reaction then i think the deal will have struck the right balance.

                          When i heard the news i was surprised as i was getting a bad feeling that it would fall through.

                          Even if an agreement does come through in the end, its actually quite informal. It's not a treaty so there is no congressional approval required. Just an agreement so either party can leave if and whenever they choose.
                          Last edited by Double Edge; 04 Apr 15,, 18:32.


                          • Any thoughts on the 'Daily Beast' report of Iran outsourcing its weapons grade manufacture to Nth Korea?
                            In the realm of spirit, seek clarity; in the material world, seek utility.



                            • The situation in the Middle East is such that, Iran will agree for a deal.

                              Iran needs money to fight all those wars in Syria, Iraq, Yemen etc.. Nukes are not going to help against stuff like ISIS or Saudi funded groups.

                              This opens the door for Iran to trade heavily, sell oil, stable route to rebuilding Afghanistan etc.

                              It has also seen that for all the talk, Israel hasn't bombed Iran. Saudi wanted US to do the dirty work in Syria and didnot have the guts to go in themseleves.


                              • Originally posted by Parihaka View Post
                                Any thoughts on the 'Daily Beast' report of Iran outsourcing its weapons grade manufacture to Nth Korea?
                                By Gordoneh Changizadeh

                                After what he said about China...