French ambassador to U.S. expresses concern that emerging deal with Iran will increase nuclear proliferation

 

Speaking at an event at the Atlantic Council think tank on Tuesday, the French ambassador to the U.S., Gerard Araud, expressed his misgivings about the emerging deal, stating that “the most worrying aspect of the agreement” is that the P5+1 have created a “new status of the one-year breakout state.” Araud’s fears echoes those of former Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation, Stephen Rademaker, and former Deputy Director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Olli Heinonen, who have both noted that the deal represents the international community’s acceptance of Iran as a nuclear weapons threshold state.

Additionally, Araud claimed that “one of the major weak points of the agreement” is that other countries will demand the same nuclear capabilities as Iran, eroding the non-proliferation regime. He said he was concerned that there would be “other countries rushing to become one-year breakout states… and we couldn’t object.” Araud cited former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s testimony at the Senate, in which he warned that the impact of the emerging deal "will be to transform the negotiations from preventing proliferation to managing it… We will live in a proliferated world in which everybody — even if that agreement is maintained — will be very close to the trigger point.” In an op-ed written with former Secretary of State George Shultz, Kissinger elaborated on this point, writing that other countries will seek to match Iran’s nuclear capabilities, thereby triggering regional proliferation and creating more combustible rivalries between nuclear-threshold powers in an already unstable region. Indeed, a couple weeks ago The Wall Street Journal reported that Saudi Arabia was strongly considering developing its own nuclear program and a former U.S. defense official told The Sunday Times that the Saudis had taken the “strategic decision” to acquire nuclear weapons from their ally, Pakistan.

 

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that any nuclear deal with Iran must allow for inspections of all sites, "including military sites," that inspectors suspect may be used or have been used for nuclear purposes, The Hill reported today. Fabius' condition echoes that of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano, who was quoted today saying that "the IAEA has the right to request access at all locations, including military ones,” if it observes suspicious activity.

Yesterday, Gérard Araud, France's ambassador to the United States, said that he did not expect Iran and the P5+1 nations to meet the June 30 deadline for a deal.

A year ago, when the P5+1 nations and Iran were seeking to reach a deal by the July 20 expiration of the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA), Amano said that Iran's failure to explain its past military research would make securing a deal by the deadline difficult. This year's June 30 deadline reflects two subsequent extensions of the JPOA.

Being able to inspect Iran's military sites where nuclear may have taken place or be taking place is essential to allow the IAEA "to conduct effective verification.” Iran's refusal to disclose its past nuclear research has prompted Amano to say more than once that his agency cannot confirm "that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities."

 

Nepalese villagers now faced with massive rebuilding projects following the April 25 earthquake could benefit from the lessons learned by eco-minded builders in Israel’s Arava desert. In preparation for future anticipated tremors, the Israelis are taking a unique approach to safe and environmentally sound construction rather than the more common, but expensive and less effective, reinforced concrete method often relied on to withstand earthquakes. Sitting atop the seismically active Great Syria-African Rift, these southern Israeli builders have developed an earthquake-proof housing system that can be manufactured and constructed quickly by people without building experience. When Alex Cicelsky and his building partner Mike Kaplin designed the student housing for the campus of the Center for Creative Ecology (CfCE), they recognized they had two potentially contradictory design criteria — to be earthquake-proof and to have an extremely low environmental footprint. Cicelsky and Kaplin found their solution in combining ancient Hebrew-Egyptian mud-and-straw construction with carbon-sequestering straw-bale construction and geodesic domes made famous by 20th century American architect Buckminster Fuller. Straw bales — a waste product of wheat production — are a locally available renewable resource and superb insulator. The mud-straw coating holds the bales together and makes them fireproof, astounding even the Standards Institute of Israel, which performed fire-code testing. (via Israel21c)


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