Iran Deal

Two thought-provoking articles on the Iran deal. Firstly Peter Oborne in the Telegraph reminds us: “In essence, there are two components to the deal struck between Iran and America in the early hours of Sunday morning in Geneva.

On the one hand the US has tacitly acknowledged the Iranian right to enrich uranium. In return the Iranians have allowed the IAEA virtually unlimited access, thus ensuring that no nuclear material can be diverted for military purposes.

It is a development that should be welcomed by all sensible people.

But let’s not forget that the deal that was agreed yesterday is in fundamentals identical to the one offered by the Iranians during the last set of negotiations in 2005.

President Rouhani was then the chief Iranian negotiator and John Sawers (now head of MI6) was the chief British negotiator. At a meeting on 23rd March 2005 at the Quai d’Orsay in Paris, Mohammed Zarif, now Iranian foreign minister, offered to put limits on Iranian enrichment, renounce nuclear weapons and allow round-the-clock IAEA inspection at its enrichment plants in return for Iranian development of centrifuge enrichment technology.

It was an incredibly generous offer. But when Sawers took it back to London it was blocked by Tony Blair, acting on the orders of George W Bush. At that time, the US wouldn’t tolerate the operation of even one centrifuge in Iran. Now, when around 19,000 centrifuges have been installed, the US has bowed to the inevitable.

In other words, all the pain and agony of the last eight years could have been avoided if only the Iranian offer had not been blocked by Britain and the United States.” (

And Kevin Maguire in the Daily Mirror makes some good points:

“The nuclear deal with Iran is a victory for peace over war.

We can celebrate diplomacy trouncing militarism, agreement reached around a table in Geneva instead of down a missile silo.

Defusing a potential apocalypse is a golden opportunity to recast ­relations in the Middle East.

The wings of hawks, including ­Israel’s nuclear-armed leader Benjamin Netanyahu, are clipped.

His threats of armed strikes – opposed by Israeli intelligence chiefs – ring hollow when the US, Iran’s Great Satan, is a signatory.

The Arab Spring swiftly turned to winter but it would be irresponsible to squander the possibilities opened by the Persian Pact.

First we must acknowledge the hard lessons of recent history.

The Iran deal is another nail in the coffin of the invasion of Iraq, fresh evidence there is an alternative to bloody and illegal wars.

It’s a reminder of the futility of occupying Afghanistan, 27 Commons motions required to list all 446 dead British soldiers.

And it vindicates public and political opposition in the summer to attacking Syria. Foreign Secretary William Hague deserves credit for his role in securing Iran’s promise not to pursue a Weapon of Mass Destruction.

Prime Minister David Cameron will claim a chunk of the credit, success having many parents.

Yet there would’ve been no deal had Cameron and Hague won August’s vote to attack President Assad’s regime in Syria. Britain would’ve been sucked into a sectarian civil war, serving as al-Qaeda’s air force.

Iran along with Russia, another player in yesterday’s deal, would be fighting Britain, America and France in Syria instead of negotiating.

The unlikely hero of the deal is Labour leader Ed Miliband.

Rebellious MPs and the prospect of a minibus full of shadow front bench resignations strengthened his resolve.

But the opposition leader played an indirect, though crucial, role on Iran by stopping US President Barack Obama pressing the button to bomb Syria. This is history as an unintended consequence.

And while we’re handing out bouquets, Euro Brit Catherine Ashton enjoys the last laugh over her ­chauvinist detractors.

The EU’s top diplomat is another who should take a bow, Iran the perfect riposte from a “Lady Qui?” who will let the Iran breakthrough do her talking.

What’s happening in Iran improves the prospects of a settlement in Syria ahead of talks. Perhaps too the previously intractable Israel-Palestine conflict.

In a few months or years we will look back on another false dawn if the nuke deal explodes. Iran, it is worth remembering, denied intending to develop a bomb and Glasgow-educated President Hassan Rouhani isn’t instinctively hostile to Britain and other western powers.

He’s more interested in lifting crippling economic sanctions than joining Israel, Britain and others in the nuclear club.

So for now we can hope the Iran deal signals peace is the future, and war is past.” (

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