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.”
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)