The Verification Process in the Iran Agreement

The most important aspect of the agreement signed between several countries and Iran is the verification regime it sets up. How do we ensure that Iran will comply with the mandates of that agreement? As Fred Kaplan notes, this deal’s verification protocols are “more elaborate, detailed, and allows for more intrusive inspections than any Soviet-American arms treaty completed during the Cold War.” The details:

The timing of sanctions-relief is addressed in Annex V of the document, and it’s very clear that nothing gets lifted right away. This is a step-by-step process.

The first step is “Adoption Day,” which occurs 90 days after the deal is endorsed by the U.N. Security Council. On that day, the United States and the European Union start taking legal steps to lift certain sanctions—while Iran must pass the Additional Protocol of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (which allows for onsite inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency) and issue a statement on “Past and Present Issues of Concern,” acknowledging or explaining military aspects of its nuclear program in the past. (Many critics were certain that Iran would never own up to this obligation.)

The second step is “Implementation Day.” This is when the West really starts to lift sanctions, but only “upon the IAEA-verified implementation by Iran of the nuclear-related measures”—that is, only after international inspectors are satisfied that Iran has fulfilled its main responsibilities in freezing and reducing elements of its nuclear program. Section 15 of Annex V lists 11 specific requirements that Iran must have fulfilled, including converting the Arak heavy-water research reactor, so it can no longer produce plutonium; reducing the number of centrifuges and halting production of advanced centrifuges; slashing its uranium stocks; and completing all “transparency measures” to let the inspectors do their job.

The third step is “Transition Day,” when more sanctions are dropped. This happens eight years after Adoption Day, and even then only after the IAEA Board of Governors issues a report, concluding “that all nuclear material in Iran remains in peaceful activities.”

Finally, there is “UNSCR [U.N. Security Council Resolution] Termination Day,” when the Security Council drops all of its remaining nuclear-related sanctions. This happens 10 years after Adoption Day.

In other words, sanctions are not lifted upon the signing of the deal or anytime at all soon—and when they are lifted, it’s only after inspectors signify that Iran is abiding by the terms of the deal, not simply that a certain date on the calendar has passed.

But how will the inspectors know this? The Advanced Protocol of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which Iran must sign and ratify soon, allows international inspectors inside known nuclear sites. But what about covert sites? This has always been a knotty issue in arms control talks. No country would sign an accord that lets outsiders inspect any military site of their choosing simply because they “suspect” covert nuclear activity might be going on there. And yet covert nuclear activity might be going on somewhere. How to reconcile this genuine dilemma?

The deal’s section on “Access,” beginning with Article 74, lays out the protocols. If the inspectors suspect that nuclear activities are going on at undeclared sites, they will request access, laying out the reasons for their concerns. If access is denied, the matter can be turned over to a joint commission, consisting of delegates from the countries that negotiated the deal, which would have to rule on the request—either by consensus or majority vote—within seven days.

This may seem legalistic to some, but what are the alternatives? Meanwhile, under other articles of the deal, the inspectors will have access to the complete “supply chain” of Iran’s nuclear materials—from the production of centrifuges to the stockpile of uranium to such esoterica as all work on neutrons, uranium metallurgy, and multipoint detonation optics. For instance, centrifuge rotor tubes and bellows will be kept under surveillance for 20 years.

The point is, cheating—pursuing an atomic weapon covertly—requires a number of steps, at a number of complexes, some of which are very likely to be detected, given the IAEA’s rights of surveillance. If Iran suddenly denies IAEA those rights, if it ignores a decision by the joint commission, the United States and the European Union can pull out of the deal and reinstate the sanctions.

It’s really an astonishingly strong set of protocols. Iran agreed to much more intrusive inspections than I ever expected them to do. Having access to the entire supply chain of nuclear material, from mining to the manufacturing of centrifuges to nuclear research facilities, is especially important. So why, then, are the neo-conservatives so opposed to it?

Here’s the thing to keep in mind when listening to critics of the Iran agreement: They were opposed to it before they knew what was in it. They were opposed to it before the negotiations even began. The facts are absolutely irrelevant to them. Those screaming “appeasement!” at the top of their lungs aren’t talking about this specific deal, they’re talking about the act of negotiating any such deal.

There are many reasons for this, but one of the keys to understanding their a priori opposition to any negotiations is that they view the world as completely black and white in nearly every respect. Iran is simply evil, in their view, and you do not negotiate with evil. The same crowd said the same thing about Reagan’s negotiations with the Soviet Union and about Nixon’s relations with China. America wears the white hat, Iran wears the black hat. The world really is that simple (that is, simpleminded) to them. They have neither interest in or understanding of any other mindset.

There are other factors, of course. The Republicans have a huge stake in denying President Obama a major diplomatic victory and an equally huge stake in agreeing with any position that the hardliners in Israel, led by Netenyahu, take (ironically, the same position that hardliners in Iran, who have a similarly simpleminded view of the world but with black and white reversed, take). The point is that their opposition has nothing at all to do with the reality of the agreement. Their opposition was predetermined and inevitable no matter what the facts are.

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  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Their opposition was predetermined and inevitable no matter what the facts are.

    Wrong.

    We know what the facts are: Obama. Iran.

    What more do you people need? We can’t wait until one of the many arms of the octopus holds the smoking gun of a mushroom cloud. Diplomacy won’t stop it. A treaty won’t stop it. Inspections won’t stop it. Only not looking combined with punishing them no matter what they do, followed up with blind, explosive violence will.

  • colnago80

    Kaplan is seriously in error relative to the inspections. there are a number of restrictions on them. The administration promised an anytime, anywhere inspection regime and then wigged out when the going got tough. In particular, Obama acquiesced in the Iranian refusal to allow any inspections at all at a top secret Iranian military nuclear site, the Parchin military complex.

    This, of course, is in addition to the lifting of the sanctions which will allow hundreds of billions of dollars to flow into the ayatollah’s coffers which they will use to further enhance their military capabilities to carry out their nefarious designs to dominate the Middle East and it’s oil resources.

    I have a flash for the pantywaists who support this so-called agreement, which is like the 1938 Munich agreement between Chamberlain and the dictator of Nazi Germany. A sellout of our allies in the Middle East. Obama will go down as the 21th Century appeaser deluxe as Chamberlain went down as the 20th Century appeaser deluxe. Obama has just postponed the inevitable attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities to be undertaken by his successor, just as Chamberlain left it to Churchill to clean up his mess.

    http://theweek.com/articles/566434/why-iran-deal-disaster

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    colnago80 “The administration promised an anytime, anywhere inspection regime and then wigged out when the going got tough.”

    And Iran doesn’t even have a perfectly good reason for resistence to that!

     

    “In particular, Obama acquiesced in the Iranian refusal to allow any inspections at all at a top secret Iranian military nuclear site, the Parchin military complex.”

    I don’t get it, either. I mean, it’s not like Iran and the IAEA agreed on another separate arrangement regarding the issue of Parchin..

  • colnago80

    Re Modus @ #3

    The Intercept, which is the home of Israel hater and terrorist apologist Glenn Greenwald, who never met an Islamic terrorist he didn’t like, is hardly a reliable source of information. The left wing equivalent of the Whacknutdaily. Ole Glenn still hasn’t responded to my challenge on his blog to conduct an interview with Hamas head Ishmael Haniyeh at the latter’s headquarters in the Gaza

    Strip. As an out of the closet gay man, Greenwald would be lucky to leave the Gaza Strip other then feet first. Homosexuality is a capital offense there.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    colnago80 “I have a flash for the pantywaists who support this so-called agreement, which is like the 1938 Munich agreement between Chamberlain and the dictator of Nazi Germany.”

    Not just “like”, but exactly the same. With the minor exception of “everything”. Other than that, the same, though.

     

    “Obama has just postponed the inevitable attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities…”

    Exactly. Why aren’t we already bombing them?

     

    “… to be undertaken by his successor…”

    Who’ll invade a neighboring but unrelated country.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/TabbyLavalamp Tabby Lavalamp

    I want to spend the holidays with you, Colnago. I’ve got a feeling you’d be an absolute delight.

  • Holms

    #4 War Crimes Apologist colnago80

    The Intercept, which is the home of Israel hater and terrorist apologist Glenn Greenwald, who never met an Islamic terrorist he didn’t like, is hardly a reliable source of information. …

    Standard boilerplate defense every time you see data refuting your idiocy. Another opportunity for you to learn something has been successfully ignored, yay!

    Ole Glenn still hasn’t responded to my challenge on his blog to conduct an interview with Hamas head Ishmael Haniyeh at the latter’s headquarters in the Gaza

    Strip. As an out of the closet gay man, Greenwald would be lucky to leave the Gaza Strip other then feet first.

    a) Why would he even notice you? You’re an uninformed nobody spouting obviously wrong opinions at every opportunity.

    b) What the fuck is the relevence of Greenwald’s sexuality to the topic under discussion: the implementation of the Iranian anti-nuclear agreement? Oh, none.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    colnago80 “Re Modus @ #3 The Intercept, which is the home of Israel hater and terrorist apologist Glenn Greenwald, who never met an Islamic terrorist he didn’t like, is hardly a reliable source of information. The left wing equivalent of the Whacknutdaily. Ole Glenn still hasn’t responded to my challenge on his blog to conduct an interview with Hamas head Ishmael Haniyeh at the latter’s headquarters in the Gaza

    Strip. As an out of the closet gay man, Greenwald would be lucky to leave the Gaza Strip other then feet first. Homosexuality is a capital offense there.”

    Exactly. Case dismissed! Like you, I thank God for inventing the Genetic Fallacy, as it saves a bunch of time arguing against a position. Is there anybody you don’t like at The Guardian so that we can dismiss them too? How about The Washington Post? The Boston Globe?

  • Holms

    Am I crazy, or is Modus having trouble maintaining his ‘stupidest neocon ever’ character whenever colnago talks about Israel / Middle East stuff? Sorry dude, you’re demoted to second stupidest on this topic!

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Holms, high praise for colnago80, sir. High praise, indeed.

  • http://www.thelosersleague.com theschwa

    @2:

    Kaplan is seriously in error … In particular, Obama acquiesced in the Iranian refusal … the Parchin military complex.

    Kaplan. Obama. Parchin military complex.

    It is getting so hard to follow his Hitler pseudonyms!!!

  • ‘smee

    colnago80: …Obama…

    You do realize there were a lot of other, very interested parties to this deal…

    you don’t? Oh sorry, I thought you might be talking from a position of competence.

    /snark

  • colnago80

    Re Holms @ #7

    I issued the challenge to Greenwald after some back and forth between us over the issue of the vast difference between Israel and the Gaza Strip relative to the treatment of gay men. He had responded that he didn’t consider the treatment of gay men in the Gaza Strip to be relevant to the issues between Hamas and Israel. I must say that I found his attitude, coming from an out of the closet gay man to be similar to uncle tom Afro-Americans who suck up to racist whites. There are a number of gay men from the Gaza Strip who are hiding out in Israel, protected by gay rights organizations there. If they were caught and sent back to the Gaza Strip, it would be a death sentence. It was Modus who cited an article in Greenwald’s blog, theintercept.

  • colnago80

    Re Modus @ #8

    In addition to citing Glenn Greenwald’s blog, you also cited the Guardian. The Guardian is the 2nd most anti-Israel publication in Great Britain, second only to the BBC.

  • Synfandel

    …which is like the 1938 Munich agreement between Chamberlain and the dictator of Nazi Germany.

    Refresh my memory. What was that dictator’s name?

    The Guardian is the 2nd most anti-Israel publication in Great Britain, second only to the BBC.

    The BBC, the Guardian, and the Times are the three most respected and reliable news sources in the UK. If you see two of them as “anti-Israeli”, it’s an excellent reason to give some serious thought to your position on Israel.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    colnago80 “In addition to citing Glenn Greenwald’s blog, you also cited the Guardian. The Guardian is the 2nd most anti-Israel publication in Great Britain, second only to the BBC.”

    That’s 2 out of 4. Now find some reason to dismiss The Washington Post. And then The Boston Globe. Then I’ll find a bunch of other sources so that you can come up with a reason to dismiss them too. I mean, I’d do it myself, but I’m busy dismissing facts elsewhere.*

     

    * “Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes? Pah! Everybody knows Metric is French, and France is the most anti-Israel country in all of Western Europe! So, knowing that, I’m going to bake it at 180 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Take that, France!”

  • Al Dente

    Modusoperandi @16

    “Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes? Pah! Everybody knows Metric is French, and France is the most anti-Israel country in all of Western Europe! So, knowing that, I’m going to bake it at 180 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Take that, France!”

    So your idea is only half-baked.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    I have a flash for the pantywaists …

    Dibs on Lady Gaga song title!

  • Holms

    #13

    […] It was Modus who cited an article in Greenwald’s blog, theintercept.

    Ahahaha nice pre-emptive buck-passing attempt, but you are the one that brought Greenwald’s sexual orientation into this thread. And as I noted at #7, it remains irrelevant.

    ___

    #14

    In addition to citing Glenn Greenwald’s blog, you also cited the Guardian. The Guardian is the 2nd most anti-Israel publication in Great Britain, second only to the BBC.

    Has it ever occurred to you that maybe Israel deserves criticism? (Probably not)

  • colnago80

    Re Holms @ #19

    Ahahaha nice pre-emptive buck-passing attempt, but you are the one that brought Greenwald’s sexual orientation into this thread. And as I noted at #7, it remains irrelevant.

    Not so. It is relevant because Greenwald ignores the fervent anti-gay orientation in the Arab World in general and in the Gaza Strip in particular. A gay man outed in the Gaza Strip is subject to execution. On the other hand, he regularly blasts Israel where the level of tolerance for gays is far higher then anywhere in the Arab World, which I find Uncle Tomish on his part. Clearly Greenwald has an agenda which includes bad mouthing Israel while white washing Islamic terrorists.

  • StevoR

    @19. Holms : “Has it ever occurred to you that maybe Israel deserves criticism? “(Probably not)”

    Has it ever occurred to you that maybe Israel deserves praise and support for the many things it gets right? (Probably not.)

    Come to think of it -I bet you cannot show everyone here, say, three comments by you which are favourable towards Israel and its people and government or even three comments by you favourable to Jewish people and their right to exist in peace and security on this Earth.

    If all you ever do is attack Israel and, by proxy, the Jewish people~globe wide, well, I guess you know there’s a word for that I’m sure you know it too.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    colnago80’s right. Greenwald ignoring the fervent anti-gay orientation in the Arab World in general and in the Gaza Strip in particular is relevant to somebody else writing something else in the same paper, and it’s appropriate to dismiss the latter based on the former. That’s just common sense.

  • eric

    Modus:

    Now find some reason to dismiss The Washington Post. And then The Boston Globe.

    Easily done. The reason is “they disagree with SLC on some aspect of mid-east politics.” No True Newspaper!

    Though given his Greenwald comments, SLC would also take “they have editors/writers who are gay” as a reason to dismiss their articles on the mid-east.

  • call me mark

    If, as colnago80 asserts, the BBC is the most anti-Israel “publication” in GB, then why did they put then-MP George Galloway on the 5/Feb/2015 edition of Question Time? The episode in question was recorded in Finchley, noted for its large Jewish population, and Galloway faced extremely hostile questioning from the audience about his unabashedly anti-Israel stance, to such a degree that some of his supporters accused the BBC of setting him up.

    (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Galloway#Accusations_of_antisemitism for a brief outline)

  • colnago80

    Re eric @ #23

    Though given his Greenwald comments, SLC would also take “they have editors/writers who are gay” as a reason to dismiss their articles on the mid-east

    How do you arrive at that conclusion? In no way, shape, form, or regard to I criticize Greenwald for being gay. I criticize him for being an Uncle Tom for ignoring anti-gay laws and attitudes in the Gaza Strip. By his own admission, in response to a question I put to him on his blog, he considers the attitude of Gazans relative to gays to be of no importance compared to the treatment of Gazans by the IDF (in which, by the way, gays and lesbians serve). I consider such a position to be unacceptable.

    Re Modus @ #22

    I would note that Greenwald is the responsible official for that web site.

  • colnago80

    Re mark @ #24

    Boy, that’s a pretty convoluted theory, somewhat equivalent to a number of conservative commentators here who claim that Donald Trump is really a stalking horse for Hilary and that his remarks are for the purpose of discrediting the GOP, thus drawing attention away from her.

  • call me mark

    I don’t understand what’s convoluted. Perhaps I have explained the situation badly:

    In February of this year, the BBC put notoriously anti-Israel Galloway on a platform where he was faced with (quite vitriolic) pro-Israel criticism, rather than one where he was allowed to voice his views uncriticised. Some of Galloway’s supporters felt that the whole episode was in fact a pro-Israel “ambush” of him by the BBC.

    This does not strike me as the actions of the most anti-Israel “publication” in Britain.

  • colnago80

    Re Mark @ #27

    It’s convoluted in the sense that you imply that the BBC broadcast Galloway in order to discredit him. The fact that Galloway is more extreme in his hatred of Israel then the Guardian and the BBC doesn’t let them off the hook. They’re just more genteel about it.

  • call me mark

    It’s very odd, as a Brit, to hear the BBC being accused of anti-Israel bias when for the most part over here they seem to be regularly accused of being overly pro-Israel.

    But we’ll agree to disagree.

  • dingojack

    Surely there’s a quatrain covering the BBC’s anti-Israel bias in the ever reliable Nostradamus…

    @@ Dingo

  • colnago80

    It’s very odd, as a Brit, to hear the BBC being accused of anti-Israel bias when for the most part over here they seem to be regularly accused of being overly pro-Israel.

    Maybe that says something about the attitude of people in Great Britain on the subject of Israel. See attached link.

    http://www.timesofisrael.com/topic/bbc-anti-israel-bias/

  • freemage

    colnago80: Have you ever made any comment critical of Israel, other than perhaps accusing them of not bombing enough Arabs and Persians? Can you link to one or quote it for examination?

    Because if not, by your own reasoning, this would betray a specific ‘agenda’ which would completely invalidate you as a source of informed opinion.

  • colnago80

    Re freemage @ #32

    I have been extremely critical of Bibi on numerous occasions. I have quoted former French President Sarkozy who said “I can’t stand him (Bibi), he’s such a liar.” I have also quoted former Prime Minister of Israel Sharon who said to Bibi’s face, “You (Bibi) were born a liar”. I have also criticized his “the Arabs are coming, the Arabs are coming”, comment just before the election as racist and in the best tradition of Richard Nixon, who he is often compared to.

  • jws1

    Yawn.

  • dingojack

    Woo-hoo! I just scored a SLC Bingo!

    Israel’s answer to Whirled-Nuts-Daily was the centre square!!

    Dingo

  • Holms

    #20 War Crimes Advocate colnago80

    Not so. It is relevant because Greenwald ignores the fervent anti-gay orientation in the Arab World in general and in the Gaza Strip in particular. …

    The current topic is the rollout of the Iranian nuclear agreement. This is not related to the Gaza strip, the politics of sexual orientation, nor Greenwald since he is not the author of the article under consideration. So, no.

    ___

    21 StevoR

    If all you ever do is attack Israel and, by proxy, the Jewish people~globe wide, well, I guess you know there’s a word for that I’m sure you know it too.

    Nice try, but there is a vast difference between criticising the actions of a nation and wishing it didn’t exist.

  • colnago80

    Re Holms @ #326

    He’s not the author of the article under consideration but that’s his website so he is responsible for everything that gets written there, every goddamn thing.

  • Holms

    It remains that it was written by a different person, on a different subject, concerning different people. Oh and loads of people that aren’t Greenwald, that don’t have ties to that site, agree with the author.

    The veracity of this article stands.

  • StevoR

    @36. Holms : “Nice try, but there is a vast difference between criticising the actions of a nation and wishing it didn’t exist.”

    So you are really someone who wishes Israel does exist, is glad that it does and is willing to say so unambiguously then and oppose the attempts by the Arab side to change that situation and exterminate the world’s one, only and tiny Jewish nation then?

    Somehow, given that all you ever do is condemn and undermine Israel I don’t think so.

    Also I note that my challenge to you in #21 to :

    ..show everyone here, say, three comments by you which are favourable towards Israel and its people and government or even three comments by you favourable to Jewish people and their right to exist in peace and security on this Earth.

    Goes unanswered as does the first question there : “Has it ever occurred to you that maybe Israel deserves praise and support for the many things it gets right? (Probably not.)”

    Are you accepting here by your non-answer that you cannot provide any example of you saying anything good about Israel and its people and that you are unwilling to ever praise them for the many things that are good about Israel and the Jewish nation and its people? What doers that say about you? I know what conclusions I draw from that and I’m sure I’m not the only one.