1 thought on “The Gulf and Global Markets”

  1. I fear that Alastair Newton has given readers the wrong impression in his comment of 6 January, when he suggested that Iran has said that they will no longer be bound by any of their commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal.
    The statement says:
    “The Islamic Republic of Iran, in the fifth step in reducing its commitments, discards the last key component of its operational limitations in the JCPOA, which is the limit on the number of centrifuges.
    As such, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear program no longer faces any operational restrictions, including enrichment capacity, percentage of enrichment, amount of enriched material, and research and development.
    From here on, Iran’s nuclear program will be developed solely based on its technical needs.
    Iran’s cooperation with the IAEA will continue as before.
    If the sanctions are lifted and Iran benefits from its interests enshrined in the JCPOA, the Islamic Republic is ready to return to its commitments.
    The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) is obliged to take the necessary steps and arrangements in coordination with the President.”
    This leaves their commitment in the JCPOA never to develop NW intact.
    My interpretation of the statement is as follows:
    This is the counterpart to the hollowing out of the JCPOA by the US -by withdrawing, and by Europe – by not trading, investing and providing finance as it promised. It gives Iran freedom to enrich whenever and however it wants.
    The statement is very carefully worded and needs study before passing judgement – it is not a statement that they will no longer be bound by any of their commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal.
    Crucially, Iran would still be subject to IAEA accounting ie transparent. And it has not said what its operational requirements for enriched uranium will be or when they will need it. They have no known urgent need for either low enriched or 20% enriched material.
    We don’t know, in other words, what use Iran will make of its new freedom and how much of a worry this will be. The pace of activity, the amounts of enriched material and the level of enrichment could remain low for some time. Iran has shown over a decade that it can make haste slowly when higher interests dictate, balancing the peremptory demands of some in its ruling circle for rapid advance, with care not to exacerbate foreign hostility unduly.
    So there is still lots for Macron et al to play with and for in a reinvigorated diplomatic effort.
    On a hunch I would say that this is the decision the Iranian government took for this step some time ago.

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