Failed Negotiations With Iran

Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, an Iranian-American political scientist and scholar, is president of the International American Council and serves on the board of the Harvard International Review at Harvard University. Rafizadeh is also a senior fellow at the Nonviolence International Organization based in Washington, DC and is a member of the Gulf project at Columbia University. He can be reached at rafizadeh@fas.harvard.edu. Follow Dr. Rafizadeh at @majidrafizadeh.


wor_hassan-rouhani_12314_539_332_c1While the Obama administration and five other world powers (FranceGermany, Britain, China and Russia) are rushing into a comprehensive nuclear deal without seriously and adequately taking the required safeguards, the G5+1 have failed to press the Islamic Republic of Iran on its recent egregious record of human rights violations. 

One of the most effective and timely potential strategies, with regards to the ruling Ayatollah and Mullahs, is to incorporate political pressure on the Iranian regime for its unprecedented level of human rights abuses under the presidency of Hassan Rouhani. This topic has yet to be a key point in any of negotiations between the G5+1 and the Islamic Republic.

The major reason lies behind the fact that the six world powers seem to be hurrying to strike a final nuclear deal and have their governments be recorded as the ones to have reached this historic deal. In addition, there is a convergence of political interests between the six world powers and the Iranian regime. This approach does not take into consideration the threatening and dangerous repercussions that such a hasty comprehensive nuclear deal would bear.

This week, U.N. atomic agency officials held talks with Iranian authorities to negotiate the process through which the Islamic Republic is supposed to provide transparency on its nuclear research program by conducting a series of steps. The six world powers and Iranian authorities, led by prime minister Javid Zarif, will also meet in the Austrian capital of Vienna on May 13 for the next crucial round of high-level nuclear negotiations.

The four Western members of the G5+1 (the United States, FranceGermany, Britain) have ignored recent statements by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who pointed out that so-called reformist and moderate president of the Islamic Republic Rouhani has failed to fulfill his promises of improving the human rights conditions in Iran.

The diplomats and politicians resuming nuclear talks in New York with Iranian authorities have expressed gratitude and have been optimistic about the Islamic Republic complying with the seven measures reached in February 2014.

Six out of the seven steps, fundamentally and generally, focus on the notion that Iranian authorities are required to provide some information about the nation’s nuclear enrichment and to permit access to nuclear sites, particularly Fordow.

One of the critical measures is linked to Iran’s efforts to develop explosive detonators. Almost three years ago, a report by the U.N. atomic agency indicated that Iran has secretly pursued nuclear research, advancing technology with constrained civilian purposes. According to the IAEA, the research and technology possessed “limited civilian and conventional military applications… given their possible application in a nuclear explosive device… Iran development of such detonators and equipment is a matter of concern.”

So far, the measures set by the six world powers and UN Atomic agency and IAEA, have been easy for Iran to follow. 

Iranian leaders, led by Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, have also joined the Western leaders, Russian and Chinese authorities to express their content that the nuclear negotiations have gone smoothly. 

Iranian leaders are confident that they have fulfilled the seven agreed-to measures, which were reached between Iran and the IAEA, before the May 15th deadline.  Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman of Iran’s atomic department, pointed out “Following the visit, Iran will be able to say that the seven-agreed measures between Iran and the agency have [been] fulfilled,” adding, “Already six steps have been taken.”

If Iranian leaders are not pressured to address the egregious human rights abuses now, while reaching their desirable nuclear deal, it will be much more difficult or impossible in the future to push the Iranian regime to respect women’s rights, gender equality, and human rights.

Last week, Iranian leaders had blatantly criticized human rights watch groups and the United Nations for claiming that there are human rights abuses in the Islamic Republic. Spokesman for Iran’s UN mission in New York Hamid Babaei, stated last week that “Iran categorically rejects baseless accusations raised in the statement of (Washington’s UN envoy Samantha Power) regarding status of human rights and civil liberties in the Islamic Republic of Iran and finds these assertions both unconstructive, obstructive and against the spirit of cooperation between sovereign member states.”

Some of the crucial threats and shortcomings of rushing into a comprehensive nuclear deal come down to the following:

The final nuclear deal will require the international community to remove economic sanctions that have accumulated due to Iran’s decades long nuclear defiance. 

A weak and flimsy final nuclear deal will empower the Iranian regime, including hardliners, reformists, and moderates in the Islamic Republic, to more powerfully suppress women’s rights, political prisoners, human rights activists and surge the level of executions, public hangings, and tortures. 

In addition, while the West is rushing into a comprehensive nuclear deal before the July 20th deadline, the West, Russia, and China are ignoring the required the safeguards. The most effective policies that the West, particularly the Obama administration, should look into are providing a key platform for the IAEA inspectors to carry out intrusive inspections. IAEA inspectors should be allowed to be present in the Islamic Republic on a regular basis, and be capable of visiting different nuclear and heavy water nuclear sites and reactors. Moreover, there should be a mechanism for re-imposing sanctions in case the Islamic Republic defies IAEA standards in future. The Ayatollahs and Iranian leaders have a history of secrecy and defiance of IAEA standards after reaching deals.

The West needs to implement the best political and diplomatic approach to extend the temporary nuclear deal rather than rushing into a premature comprehensive one and hurriedly removing all sanctions without the necessary safeguards taken into consideration. Unfortunately, all of these safeguards are being ignored for the sake of reaching any sort of weak comprehensive nuclear deal.

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.

Subscribe to Frontpage’s TV show, The Glazov Gang, and LIKE it on Facebook.

  • Ahmad76

    The West is looking to open Iran’s economy. Iran will become a nuclear power whether you guys conservatives like it or not. It is the faith.

  • http://www.twitter.com/changeirannow Change Iran Now

    The dimensions of gross human rights violations in Iran are expanding beyond imagination in every possible direction. The list is very long: torture and other cruel and inhuman punishments, arbitrary and often very long pre-trial detentions and extremely non-standard and unfair trials frequently based on vaguely worded charges often even used to issue and implement death sentences, execution of dissidents and juveniles and the use of death penalty for non-serious offences, growing discrimination against women and women’s rights defenders, as well as against all religious minorities and groups, and ethnic communities, suppression of all kinds of dissent and opposition, extremely heavy-handed crackdown on political activists and organisations of all hues and civil society institutions, increasing number of political prisoners and the massive pressures on them, denial of freedoms of assembly, association, expression and press, censorship of books and blocking of various websites and blogs

    Until the international community wakes up and links relief from economic sanctions to human rights improvements, then its willingly condones the continued inhumane treatment of Iran’s people by this regime with more to come.

  • http://windykowani.pl/ Jacek Gadomski
  • DemocracyRules

    SO WHERE IS YOUR SOLUTION?
    Human rights are a non-starter and you know it. For the last 26,000 years our species has spent huge resources on killing each other. We’re not the ‘killer ape’, we just do what other animals do. We defend our own gene pool, and compete for resources with other gene pools [aka 'tribes']. The 20th century wasn’t particularly genocidal, it’s just that we started keeping records. At the moment, ‘pax americana’ has stopped the killings within democracies, but tyrannies continue on as before. They’ll stop when they have to choose between iPhones, Futurama re-runs, or pointless war and suffering.

    Your point about the bomb-trigger wire is key. It’s ‘dynamite.’ Iran
    won’t talk about it, because it’s compelling proof that they seek
    nuclear missiles.

    Obama knows all this. These talks are distracting theatrics designed to buy a few votes.

    Opinion pieces won’t fix the problem. We have to drive him out of office, or at least lessen his power until he is replaced. A Republican Senate and House could reverse all these negotiations with one vote.