Killing Geneva Agreement: Bitter but Useful

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Seyed Mohammad Eslami
Expert on Middle East Issues

There are different viewpoints in the United States and among the member states of the P5+1 group about a new bipartisan bill being considered by the US Congress for imposing new sanctions on Iran. President Barack Obama and the British Prime Minister David Cameron have both asked the Congress to change its mind about escalating sanctions on Iran. Both requests are unusual. For one thing, in diplomatic relations between Britain and the United States it is not customary for the British prime minister to ask US congressmen to go back over their decision. Also, in the United States, it is not usual for news about a quarrel between Barack Obama and Democrat Senator Bob Menendez to leak out. However, the bitter argument between these two men, which took place during a meeting of Democrats held at the Hilton Hotel in the city of Baltimore, has already found its way into the media. It seems they are discrepant as to how to take advantage of coercive diplomacy in the face of Iran's nuclear program. Obama believes that imposition of new sanctions will harm the diplomatic path that has been taken by all sides during the past years and will also deal a drastic blow to credibility of the United States in the eyes of international observers and other countries. On the opposite, Senator Menendez is of the opinion that his personal experience in this regard is much more than Barack Obama. Showing total disregard for all negotiations that have been so far carried out on Iran's nuclear energy program, the new bill discussed by US Congress asks Iran to totally stop all its uranium enrichment program and dismantle all equipment related to the Islamic Republic’s indigenized nuclear technology.

Why US congressmen are angry?

Senators proposing the new bill have mentioned various reasons for their move, most of which is not realistic. However, when it comes to the motivation behind submission of the bill, they have said many things that can be considered realistic. The senators have noted that their goal of passing this bill is to play a serious role in Iran's nuclear case and they are right. During the past year, this issue has been apparently out of their control and has been actually managed by senior political officials in Europe and the United States. Therefore, regardless of the current condition of the negotiations, the congressmen are angry that European politicians are kept abreast of the details of the nuclear talks, but they are being largely ignored. Such a behavior can be justified along the lines of American exceptionalism.

Why nobody trusts John Kerry?

Nonetheless, the US congressmen also seem to be pursing specific goals through this bill. It seems they intend to dissuade Iran from taking part in further negotiations. They know that the Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran [Mohammad Javad Zarif] has clearly specified that imposition of any new sanctions against Iran would mean “the demise of the Geneva agreement.” Therefore, being aware of all the logical capacities created by the Geneva Joint Plan of Action, they are doing their best to bring it to a standstill. The negotiations have so far helped to dispel many doubts and suspicions about Iran's nuclear energy program and have been helpful in introducing the world countries to the realities of Iran's peaceful nuclear activities.

US congressmen have also explicitly announced that they do not trust their diplomats. This is quite the opposite of the situation in Iran where people and officials are unanimously supporting the nuclear negotiating team. Therefore, they maintain that the negotiating team led by [US Secretary of State] John Kerry does not have adequate finesse and knowledge to pull off negotiations with the goal of stopping all nuclear activities of Iran.

It is not still clear how many senators will vote positive for the bill which has been submitted by Senator Menendez and some of his Republican peer. If 67 senators voted positive for the draft of the bill, Barack Obama would not be able to veto it. Of course, although Republicans currently sway a majority at the Senate, they cannot be sure that the new bill will be passed until the voting is over. Despite the above facts, however, it seems that due to the following reasons, approval of this bill by US Senate should be considered a bitter, but also desirable, option that awaits nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 group.

1. It proves Iran's logical stand in nuclear talks

Before last year’s negotiations, Iran had done its best to prove that it has been always on the side of logic and rationality and it was the United States and other Western countries that did not really seek to address fictitious concerns they had fostered within international community. The approval of this bill with the positive vote of democrat senators will clearly show that during last year’s negotiations, instead of trying to find a logical solution to an international case, the United States has been only trying to buy more time and also to kill time in order to further restrict Iran's nuclear energy program.

2. Proves limited powers of the US administration in dealing with international issues

For many years, there have been discussions in Iran as to the extent of the powers that are delegated to US administrations in view of the complicated legal system that reigns in that country. Many analysts always believed that US administrations are helpless in confrontation with the Senate. Therefore, they argued, negotiating with the US administration will never realize its goals and the best, and actually only, way before Iran is to resist the United States’ pressures to the end. The approval of this bill will be a good case to the point which would show that, in contravention of the legal customs enshrined in international treaties, the administration of the United States is incapable of living up to its international obligations.

3. Forcing Iran to improve its economic conditions

Perhaps Mr. Menendez is oblivious of this fact, but it seems that passing this law will be a bitter, but very useful medication for the ailing Iranian economy. For many reasons, we have not been able to come up with an efficient tax system in Iran, but approval of this bill will strengthen our resolve to reform our tax system. Mr. Robert Menendez is practically making Iranian officials and technocrats opt for the wisest possible option and in parallel to diplomacy, wean the country’s economy from oil revenues.


Democrat Senator Robert Menendez claims that he has spent 20 years of his life on efforts aimed at making Iran give up its nuclear energy program. During the past 20 years, Iran has moved from a point where it had no nuclear technology, to a new point where it has practically indigenized that technology. The approval of the new bill by the US Senate may kill Geneva Joint Plan of Action in the short run, but as proven by track records of Mr. Menendez and his anti-Iran efforts, it will be beneficial to the Islamic Republic of Iran in the long run.

Key Words:
Geneva Agreement, P5+1 Group, Barack Obama, David Cameron, Bipartisan Bill, US Congress, Bob Menendez, Iran's Nuclear Program, Mohammad Javad Zarif, Joint Plan of Action, John Kerry, Iranian Economy, Eslami

Source: Khorasan Newspaper
Translated By: Iran Review.Org

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*Photo Credit: Reuters