Major Achievements of Geneva Deal for Iran: A Recap

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Hamid Baeidinejad
Senior Iranian Nuclear Negotiator & Director General for Political Affairs at ran's Foreign Ministry

In a new post on his Instagram account, Hamid Baeidinejad, a senior Iranian nuclear negotiator, who also heads Iran's expert delegation to the talks, has discussed the major achievements of a nuclear deal clinched by Iran and the P5+1 countries in the Swiss city of Geneva last November.

Dividing the achievements of the Geneva deal into three major categories of political achievements; achievements regarding removal of Iran sanctions; and nuclear achievements and effects, Baeidinejad has given examples under each category as follows:

A) Political achievements

1. Stabilizing international and regional positions of Iran in such a way that on the day that the deal was achieved, the US-based New York Times newspaper described it as a major earthquake in the Middle East.

2. Scoring a political failure for Israelis in their effort to realize their imaginary aspiration of mobilizing the world against Iran because, on the contrary to what they wanted, the deal led to further isolation of Israel, whose officials described the Geneva agreement as a historical mistake. Since that time, the gap created between Israel, on the one hand, and the United States and Europe, on the other hand, has not been mended, but has been further widened.

3. The failure of Iranophobia project and considerable improvement in Iran's political milieu and foreign relations.

4. Stabilization of Iran's regional position, which has caused increasing concern among regional countries that follow extremist policies.

5. West’s readiness to recognize Iran's strategic role in the region, especially with respect to important developments that are taking place in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen, and Afghanistan. While Iran's role in the region has been always unique, due to hostile ties with Tehran, the West was never ready to recognize Iran's regional role. Because of the same hostile relations, instead of recognizing Iran's strategic role, they described the Islamic Republic as a factor that disturbed stability and security in the region. The difference between these two stances, that is, introducing Iran as a factor of instability and insecurity in the region, and describing it as a factor for stability and security in the Middle East is a key variable. This is also the same variable which has caused great concern and led to considerable [anti-Iran] activity among expansionist powers in the region. For the first time, the West has recognized the power of Iran, which it constantly introduced as a factor that undermined stability, and this is nothing short of the official recognition of Iran's regional and global positions, which will have very important political achievements for our country.

6. Raising hope among justice-seeking and resistance movements in the region because after recognition of Iran's regional and global power, these movements, which are usually under tremendous pressures, will find themselves in a better position. A powerful Iran will raise hope for the resistance in the region and will cause extreme pain for the Israelis.

7. Activation of part of the political and international potential of the country, which has allowed it to play an even more effective role in the international arena. A case in point is Iran's highlighted role in and serious impact on international conferences, including its effective chairmanship of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and participation in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

B) Nuclear effects and achievements

On the whole, the sole limitation caused for Iran by the Geneva deal in the nuclear field is accepting temporary suspension on production of 20-percent enriched uranium. Of course, at the present time, since Iran has access to adequate amounts of 20-percent nuclear material, which will suffice its needs for many years to come, the country does not actually need to go on with 20-percent enrichment process. Apart from this, the Geneva agreement has imposed no other limitation on Iran's nuclear program and its nuclear facilities.

The most important nuclear achievements of the Geneva deal include:

8. Recognition of Iran's right to enrich uranium, which has been the most important goal of the Iranian nation’s resistance and the Iranian government’s resistance in the face of all pressures and unjust sanctions imposed on our country. If this right to enrichment had been recognized by countries negotiating with Iran 10 years ago, the Islamic Republic would have been ready to reach an agreement with them without asking for other concessions and, on the other hand, the current pressures and sanctions would not exist against Iran.

It is really amazing now that the Geneva deal has recognized, for the first time, Iran's right to enrich uranium, some people intentionally downplay it. Even worse than that, at a time that Iran is enriching uranium in broad daylight, some people raise doubt about the West having recognized Iran's right to enrichment. How beautiful [the famous Iranian poet] Mowlana has pointed to this issue where he says, “The Sun is proof to the existence of the Sun; if you really look for proof, don’t turn your back on it.” If we consider this the greatest achievement of the Geneva deal, it will be no exaggeration.

9. Recognition of Iran's right to the continued extraction of natural uranium from Iranian mines;

10. Continued operations and stabilization of uranium concentration facilities for the production of uranium concentrate, also known as the yellow cake.

11. Making sure about transfer of concentrated uranium and the yellow cake to the nuclear facility in Isfahan for the continuation of the nuclear process.

12. Stabilization of the activities of Isfahan UCF facility, including conversion of the yellow cake to enriched nuclear material.

13. Continuation and stabilization of all activities related to the nuclear fuel production process at the Isfahan facility, which helps Iran safeguard the achievements of great nuclear scientists of the country, whom we salute for their honor and zeal.

14. Stabilization of the launch process for facilities producing uranium oxide in the country for the first time after the achievement of the Geneva agreement, which is another important step toward the completion of the nuclear fuel process.

15. Stabilization of continued enrichment at Natanz nuclear facility, where the enrichment work has not been stopped or suspended even for a single day after the implementation of the Geneva agreement.

16. Continuation and stabilization of research and development program with regard to the uranium enrichment in its full form according to Iran's original plan.

17. Continuation of the enrichment program at Fordow nuclear facility.

18. Stabilization of continued construction and completion of the nuclear reactor at Arak facility;

19. Stabilization and continued operations of facilities manufacturing centrifuge machines without any interruption in those operations, and

20. Manufacturing new advanced centrifuges.

C) Achievements related to removal of sanctions

21. Reversing the process of imposing sanctions against Iran, which had turned into an ordinary course of action in European countries and the United States. The US Congress alone had three sanctions bills ready on its agenda, the first of which aimed to reduce Iran's oil exports by half and aimed to put tremendous pressure on countries importing crude oil from Iran. The second bill sought to reduce Iran's oil exports to zero, while the third bill pertained to total ban on goods exports to Iran, also known as total embargo act. The last bill had been signed by 17 senators.

Therefore, the West’s commitment to not imposing any new sanctions against Iran was an objective and important commitment, which can help stabilize the Islamic Republic’s daily economic conditions after a long period in which the Iranian economy was faced with almost daily sanctions. Imposing sanctions against new companies and individuals, however, is a totally different story.

Firstly, all such sanctions have been limited in scope and, secondly, those against whom sanctions have been imposed were a sticking point between the two sides. While we opposed imposition of such new sanctions, the opposite side considered it to be just an extension of the existing sanctions. However, the commitment to not imposing new sanctions in line with the Geneva deal was related to the objective part, which made US President Barack Obama’s administration frequently threaten any effort by Congress to impose new sanctions against Iran with veto in order to show the United States’ commitment to the Geneva deal.

22. The commitment by the United States and the West to lift political and economic pressures that were exerted on countries importing oil from Iran in order for those countries to be able to maintain their current ceiling for buying Iranian oil at a total of one million barrels per day. Before the agreement, due to pressures put on the customers of the Iranian crude, most of them had, one after the other, given up Iran oil imports as a result of which the Islamic Republic’s oil exports were reduced from 2.5 million barrels per day to one million barrels per day with only five countries being Iran's customers. No other country in the world was allowed to purchase Iranian crude.

At the same time, even the five countries that purchased Iran's oil had been obligated by the United States to decrease their oil purchase from Iran in a decremental manner by 20 percent in each step. The Geneva deal put an end to this process and has helped Iran maintain the volume of oil it exports to the aforesaid countries to one million barrels per day.

23. The possibility for securing oil insurance and chartering tanker ships to transport Iran's exported oil, which removed a troublesome barrier on the way of Iran's crude oil exports.

24. Removing the ban on and allowing export of petrochemical products which led to remarkable growth in the export of these products including to various European markets.

25. The possibility for gradual return to Iran of revenues earned through sales and exports of crude oil. This process finally led to the unfreezing of about USD 10 billion of the country’s revenues which had been frozen in other countries that had purchased Iran's oil.

26. The possibility for transferring all these sums – or any amount of it deemed fit by the Central Bank of Iran – in the form of banknotes and foreign exchange, which played an important part in stabilizing the Iranian government’s foreign exchange policy.

27. Lifting of the ban on the purchase of gold and other precious metals, which helped Iran purchase a sizeable amount of gold through official international markets in the period following the Geneva agreement in order to stabilize the country’s gold reserves.

28. Lifting of the ban on the entry of manufactured car parts to Iran, which led to further growth and revival of Iran's automobile industry. Figures released by the Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade are evident proof to the high growth of car production in the country in comparison with total stagnation of the automobile industry in Iran before the Geneva agreement was reached.

29. Issuing flight permits for Iran's civil airplanes on the basis of the commitment undertaken by the Western countries as per the Geneva agreement. Fortunately, this measure pumped new blood into Iran's civil aviation fleet at a time that the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) would not accept to confirm the safety of Iranian aircraft.

30. Permitting transfer of documents and papers related to safety of Boeing and Airbus aircraft as well as special aviation maps which are of very high importance for the confirmation of the safety of plane parts and the flights made by Iranian airplanes.

31. Accepting a large number of engines related to the Boeing and Airbus planes that had been grounded in Iran for basic overhaul at official repair plants in Europe. This step was of great assistance to our country’s aviation industry as many of those planes could later join the Iranian aviation fleet.

32. Establishing a channel for the purchase of essential goods and medicines in Japan and Switzerland so that Iran can purchase any amount of essential goods and medicines without even paying for them in cash. Iran paid for such essential goods and medicines through transfer of its money, which had been previously frozen in foreign accounts.

33. Activation of Iranian bank accounts in Europe, which had nothing to do with sanctions, but had been all frozen and inactivated, in order to make it possible for money to be transferred between Iranian banks and financial institutions and their foreign counterparts. And finally,

34. Making it possible to transfer money from the Central Bank of Iran's accounts to those Iranian banks that were not covered by the sanctions. This measure made it possible for the Iranian central bank, as an entity covered by the Western sanctions, to transfer money to other banks for the first time after sanctions were imposed.

Key Words: Major Achievements, Geneva Deal, Iran, P5+1 Countries, Iranophobia, Middle East, Pressures and Sanctions, Uranium  Enrichment, Natanz, Fordow, Baeidinejad

Translated By: Iran Review.Org

*Photo Credit: ANA, ISNA

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