Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Assuming there is an Iran-P5+1 Nuclear Non-Paper, its Glaring Omissions Could be More Important than its Content: Analysis

Click here to read about the Iran-P5+1 interim nuclear agreement non-paper controversy … or non-controversy, as a non-paper is a non-binding text typically proposing a framework of an agreement. (Click here to read about the non-paper Pakistan is reported to have recently presented to the United States.)

In Iran's case, the mullahocracy might have prepared and presented a 30-page non-paper proposing a final status settlement of the nuclear issue and insisted that the document be attached as some sort of exhibit to the interim agreement as a way of memorializing Iran's position in the hope of creating  what could be termed "facts on paper." Doing this would also allow Iran to misrepresent the text as a secret side deal favoring Iran--useful propaganda for domestic and foreign (e.g. Hezbollah) consumption, especially if the negotiations end without a pact and Iran needs to rally world opinion to save itself from a military strike on its suspect sites.

But suppose the non-paper isn't merely a proposal but a document, as Iran's senior nuclear negotiator has asserted, that actually memorializes a basic understanding already reached between Iran and the six world powers regarding a final accord. Should this be the case, the non-paper's glaring omissions could be more important than its content. The really big, really scandalous story could well be not what the document says but what it does not say--specifically, no clauses dealing with dirty bombs or nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, including ICBMs. Iran's missile program is a known threat; its dirty bomb development, an unknown. But the fear that the Islamist regime might have already amassed an arsenal of dirty bombs, including advanced radiological weapons, is far from groundless. In fact, it would be surprising if Iran does not have dirty bombs, given the scope of its atomic advance and the secrecy that surrounds it.