Even If the Iran Deal Holds, It Will Expire in 2030. Then What?

July 20 2016

According to the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), restrictions placed on Tehran’s nuclear program will be lifted completely after fifteen years; actually, a recently leaked secret provision of the agreement states that certain key requirements will become inoperative even earlier. John Hannah describes the consequences, and what can be done to prevent them:

Under the JCPOA, by 2030 Iran will be permitted to build an [extensive] nuclear industry. It will be able to operate an unlimited number of advanced centrifuges and accumulate as large a stockpile of fissile material as it desires. That, in theory, includes weapons-grade uranium. At that point, it would be weeks, maybe even days, away from having the fuel for a small arsenal of nuclear weapons. All of this legitimized by the United States and the rest of what passes for the international community. . . .

The sunset provisions of the JCPOA are a ticking time bomb that needs to be defused. That means disabusing Iran of the idea that the United States is prepared to accept any plans on Iran’s part to expand dramatically enrichment capability (or plutonium-reprocessing and -separation capability) once the JCPOA’s restrictions expire. . . .

As bears constant repeating, the JCPOA is not a legally binding agreement. A new president will be within his or her rights to accept it, reject it, or demand that it be modified to address core national-security concerns. That fact should bestow real leverage on the next administration as it approaches international partners [to the agreement] who will be eager to avoid the deal’s outright collapse, as well as an early blowout with a new American leader. A good-faith offer by the new president to implement the JCPOA, coupled with a reasonable demand that its most glaring deficiencies be addressed, could, with time, well win the day diplomatically—especially if backed by a credible threat to act unilaterally should it eventually prove necessary.

Read more at Foreign Policy

More about: Iran nuclear program, Nuclear proliferation, Politics & Current Affairs, U.S. Foreign policy

Famous Novelists “Confront the Occupation” in the West Bank—and Celebrate Themselves

June 27 2017

To produce the collection Kingdom of Olives and Ash, the writers Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman gathered a group of novelists, arranged for them to be shown around Israel for a few days by anti-Israel activists, and had each of them write an essay about the experience. Matti Friedman surveys the results:

Chabon and Waldman tell us on the very first page of a visit to Israel in 1992, which they remember vividly as a time of optimism, when the “Oslo Accords were fresh and untested.” But their memory must be playing tricks, because the Oslo Accords happened in the fall of 1993. Chabon and Waldman, who live in Berkeley, CA, are accomplished writers, but the reader needs a few words about what they’re up to here. Do they have special expertise to offer? Israel is probably the biggest international news story over the past 50 years, so is there a reason they decided the world needs to know more about it and not, say, Kandahar, Guantanamo, Congo, or Baltimore?

The essays vary in tone and quality, but experienced journalists covering the Israel/Palestine story will recognize the usual impressions of reporters fresh from the airport. Cute Palestinian kids touched my hair! Beautiful tea glasses! I saw a gun! I lost my luggage, and that seems symbolic! Arabs do hip-hop! The soldiers are so young and rude!

The writers interview the same people who are always interviewed in the West Bank, thinking it’s all new, and believe what they’re told. . . . Everything is described with a gravitas suggesting that the writers haven’t spent much time outside the world’s safer corners. [Dave] Eggers devotes two whole pages to an incident on the Gaza border, where one Israeli guard said he couldn’t pass and then a different one came and let him through. Dave, if you’re reading this, I hope you’re okay. . . .

What [this book is] really about is the writers. Most of the essays aren’t journalism but a kind of selfie in which the author poses in front of the symbolic moral issue of the time: here I am at an Israeli checkpoint! Here I am with a shepherd! That’s why the very first page of the book finds Chabon and Waldman talking not about the occupation, but about Chabon and Waldman. After a while I felt trapped in a wordy kind of Kardashian Instagram feed, without the self-awareness.

Read more at Washington Post

More about: Anti-Zionism, Idiocy, Israel & Zionism, Journalism, West Bank