Report: P5+1 agree on snap-back mechanism; Iran to sit on panel that determines Iranian violations

 

Over the weekend, the P5+1 reportedly reached an agreement, not yet made public, with Russia and China on the snap-back mechanism for reimposing sanctions in the event of an Iranian violation. Previously, Russia and China publicly stated their opposition to any measure that automatically reapplies sanctions. Many analysts question the viability of such a mechanism. David Rothkopf, CEO of The FP group, which publishes Foreign Policy magazine, asserted that any snap-back mechanism “would certainly involve a lengthy process, one that would take the ‘snap’ right out of the snap-back required.”

Another vital element in a final agreement will be the process by which the international community determines that Iran has committed a violation. A dispute-resolution panel will be established to investigate accusations of violations and issue non-binding judgements. According to the report, Iran will also be part of this panel. Many analysts fear Russian and Chinese opposition could obstruct the ability to determine a violation and therefore inhibit the reapplication of sanctions. Former U.S. Treasury official Matthew Levitt said that in determining if Iran cheated, “[y]ou can see a situation where Russia and China will dispute whether there is in fact a violation.”

Since the international community aims to keep Iran’s breakout time at a year, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Michael Hayden, former Deputy Director of the International Atomic Energy Agency Olli Heinonen and Ray Takeyh, a former advisor on Iranian affairs in Obama’s State Department, wrote that because the dispute resolution process could take months “[i]n the end, a year simply may not be enough time to build an international consensus on measures to redress Iranian violations.”  Heinonen also declared that “the so-called ‘snapback’ of sanctions could take too long to register an impact.” With the erosion in the timeline and the loss of economic leverage, in the event of an Iranian violation, scientist and expert David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, told Congress, “You’ll be forced at that point to confront a military option, won’t be able to rely on the effective sanctions kicking in and having an effect.”

 

A nuclear deal with Iran is “useless” if it does not allow inspectors to check military sites, French Foerign Minister Laurent Fabius told (Google linkThe Wall Street Journal today.

Fabius said if Tehran wanted to build a nuclear weapon in violation of an international agreement, it would inevitably do so at a military site or other secret facility.

Last month, Fabius dismissed an Iranian demand that 24 days notice be given before inspections of suspected nuclear sites, saying that “a lot of things can disappear” in that time.

Fabius’s comments matched that of former CIA director general Michael Hayden, who told a congressional hearing last year that “there isn’t a neutron or an electron in Natanz that’s every going to show up in a nuclear weapon,” since the material Iran would use for a bomb would come from a secret site.

As the Journal noted, Fabius has emerged as the most vocal skeptic of the emerging nuclear deal among the P5+1 negotiators. Fabius said prior to the November 2013 Joint Plan of Action that France would not accept “a sucker’s deal.”

Despite repeated insistence from Fabius and the International Atomic Energy Agency that Iranian military sites be subject to inspections, Iran’s leadership has consistently said that such inspections would not be allowed as part of a nuclear deal. (via TheTower.org)

 

Researchers from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology’s Stephen and Nancy Grand Water Research Institute in Haifa were part of a team that won a $125,000 honorable-mention grant in the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Desal Prize competition.The Desal Prize aims to incentivize the creation of an environmentally sustainable small-scale brackish water desalination system that can provide potable water for people and crops in developing countries. The prize money will be used toward building the team’s wind- and solar-energy-powered Green Desal system to treat groundwater in Jordan. “Hundreds of proposals from around the world were submitted in this competition,” said Lahav, head of the Water Research Institute. In April, six groups advanced to the final round, held at the Bureau of Reclamation’s Brackish Groundwater National Desalination Research Facility in New Mexico. Each team had two days to set up a complete pilot system and operate it autonomously for 48 hours to demonstrate its effectiveness in the field. “The water-treatment process was based on an innovative combination of three technologies – reverse osmosis, ion exchange and nano-filtration,” explained Lahav. “The challenge was to find a solution for problematic water characterized by particularly high concentrations of dissolved calcium and sulfate.” (via Israel21c)


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