On the popular MSNBC Rachel Maddow show, Rachel interviewed Joseph Cirincione, president of the publicly supported Ploughshares Fund which is dedicated to seeking peace and security in a world without nuclear weapons. The foundation has raised over $80 million to "fund the smartest people with the best ideas" to achieve its objectives. (16.54 on the timeline)
And the English language Russian TV station RT TV aired a program hosted by Abby Martin under the title " Iran deal: Why Netanyahu is pissed" in which she mistakenly claimed that Iran had agreed to restrict enrichment to 5% and she accused PM Netanyahu of war-mongering because he (correctly as has been proved) understood the agreement differently and concluded that it was a bad agreement.
As a consistent sincere advocate of using diplomacy and sanctions to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapon capability Mr. Cirincione was understandably pleased with what appeared to be a diplomatic achievement in the P5+1 agreement with Iran. He credited president Obama''s leadership in what he referred to as the most crushing sanctions imposed on any state in peacetime, for bringing Iran to the table. He saw the agreement as the fruition of the strategy of pressure plus incentives, "yes we are going to hammer you if you keep on with your program but if you want to give it up lets make a deal. We can manage our differences. Diplomacy works".
Mr. Cirincione''s optimism was based on the American understanding of the agreement that was reached but very unfortunately, the Iranian leaders interpret the agreement very differently. They see it as a clear go ahead to continue with all their plans including the important heavy water project.
Below is a copy of an open email I sent to MSNBC and Mr. Cirincione.
A similar email was sent to RT TV
November 26, 2013
Dear Ms. Maddow and Mr. Joseph Cirincione
I am a keen follower of your Rachel Maddow show and I found the interview with you, Mr. Cirincione to be particularly interesting as I agree completely with your advocacy of diplomatic solutions.
On the face of it, the P5+1 agreement with Iran is a diplomatic step in the right direction but the contradictory interpretations voiced immediately by the major players is extremely disturbing.
According to CNN of November 25, nuclear power plants need uranium that is enriched to only 5% and as Iran says it is enriching uranium and building nuclear reactors only for peaceful civilian energy needs, it will be required to dilute its stockpile of 20% enriched uranium to 5%. Moreover Iran is required to halt all enrichment above 5% and dismantle the technical equipment required to do that. Iran will also have to cut back on constructing new centrifuges and enrichment facilities, and freeze essential work on its heavy-water reactor under development at Arak.
The above sounds very encouraging BUT and it is unfortunately a very big BUT, the Iranians publicly disagree completely.
According to the London Telegraph (My Telegraph) of November 26, Iranian President Hassan Rohani and Foreign Minister Zarifi said Iran’s "Enrichment Activities Will Proceed Similar To The Past". Moreover they told the world press on November 24
‘Regarding Natanz and Fordo, the [current] number of centrifuges will be maintained; our 5%- enriched material will be maintained; and we also need to enrich to 20% for the research reactor in Tehran, and [therefore] this process [of enrichment to 20%] will continue based on the plans that we had…
“Our heavy water project [at Arak] will continue along the same lines as in the current situation…
“no material [i.e. enriched uranium] will be taken out of the country.”
Please also see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Wa3LcRKNmE&feature=youtu.be
The huge difference in interpretation of this serious agreement negotiated at Geneva immediately after its signature, lends credence to the pessimistic views of Ryan Mauro as expressed in this video clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-jNoZH6xlI&feature=youtu.be
May I hope you will agree with me that the obvious ambiguities in the Geneva agreement need to be sorted out immediately in order to prevent dangerous diplomatic conflicts in the future?
I look forward to learning your considered opinions and suggestions about how the powers that be should proceed in order to achieve unanimity among the signatories to this historical agreement and thereby avoid possible disastrous consequences.