Washington DC: After many months of principled diplomacy, the P5+1 — the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, Russia and Germany — along with the European Union, have achieved a long-term comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran that will verifiably prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and ensure that Iran’s nuclear program will be exclusively peaceful going forward.
Making this announcement in a speech from White House, US President Barack Obama said that this deal stands on the foundation of the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA), achieved in November of 2013, and the framework for this Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), announced in Lausanne on April 2, 2015 that set the requirements for the deal with the P5+ 1 and Iran, alongside the European Union announced today.
With this deal in place, the U.S., and its allies, and the international community can know that tough, new requirements will keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, Obama pointed out.
Building a nuclear bomb requires either uranium or plutonium. But with this deal, Iran’s four possible ways to leverage those fissile materials are blocked.
Vienna: Ahead of the July 7 deadline for an agreement with Iran to close its pathways to nuclear weapons, US Secretary of State John Kerry this past Sunday had drawn attention to certain gaps and issues that needed to be resoved and said if we can resolve them this week, we’ll have a deal. And if we can’t, we won’t have a deal.
President Barack Obama also took the stand last week that a deal could be accepted only if it effectively closed off Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon, and could stand up to the scrutiny of experts around the world.
Kerry has been in Vienna working with the U.S. negotiating team to reach a final deal to address the concerns over Iran’s nuclear program. All the P5+1 ministers met on Monday along with the EU, and then all met together with Iran to close the gaps on the remaining technical details, US department of State Spokesperson John Kirby told mediapersons at the daily press briefing here. The Secretary met with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif throughout the weekend, including over four hours of meetings on Monday, he added.
On some important issues to be resolved Kerry said this past Sunday:
If we can resolve them this week, we’ll have a deal. And if we can’t, we won’t have a deal.
Abbas Araghchi, Iran’s lead negotiator had told Iranian TV late on Saturday that extending the talks is not an option for anyone. “We are trying to finish the job”, he stated.
Washington DC: Ahead of this weekend, US Secretary of State John Kerry and his team has had a hectic schedule working with the EU and the P5+1 partners towards concluding a final deal with Iran to ensure Iran’s nuclear program remains exclusively peaceful.
Thursday night Kerry met German foreign minister and Friday met bilaterally with the UK foreign secretary, the EU High Representative Mogherini, and the Chinese foreign minister.
According to John Kirby, Spokesperson US department of State, these meetings were primarily focused on addressing the international community’s concerns over Iran’s nuclear program. On Friday, Kerry also had a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. US Secretary of Energy Ernest Jeffrey Moniz also had a meeting with his counterpart, the head of Iran’s atomic energy agency, and all the teams were continuing to work toward trying to close the remaining gaps in the proposed Iranian Nuclear Agreement.
The US stand on Iran’s Nuclear Programme has been made explicit by US President Obama.
Obama reiterated the other day:
We’re only going to accept a deal that effectively shuts off all the pathways to a nuclear weapon for Iran.
The P5+1 is a group of six world powers that joined the diplomatic efforts with Iran in 2006 in connection with its nuclear program.
The term P5+1 refers to the P5 or five permanent members of the UN Security Council, namely China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, plus Germany.
With the escalation of the Yemen crisis, the US is caught between two diametrically opposite ends as on the one side, it is determined to carve out a nuclear deal to ensure that the Islamic Republic of Iran does not acquire nuclear weapons and on the other it has no option but to support the Hadi loyalists, who have the backing of the Saudi coalition against the Houthi rebels.
While pursuing talks with Iran for a nuclear deal, the US is also confronted with the situation in Yemen and what it perceives as “Iran’s support to terrorists”. The US Secretary of State John Kerry in a latest PBS interview has expressed concern about Iran’s support of the Houthi rebels.
Iran’s behavior in the region that causes us great concern – support for terrorism, detention of American citizens, and so forth. – Jeff Rathke, Acting Deputy Spokesperson, US Department of State
At the root of the Yemen crisis is the big divide between communities following the two warring sects – the Sunni and the Shia. While the adherents of Sunni Islam dominate Suadi Arabia, Iran is the spiritual bastion of Shia Islam.
The situation is catastrophic in war-torn Yemen, where the Houthi rebels are locked in a war with Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi loyalist, who are receiving full support from the Saudi coalition.
A Houthi official is seen declaring the dissolution of parliament in Sana’a (6 February 2015)
January 22 this year, Hadi, President of Yemen since 27 February 2012, had resigned. Immediately thereafter the Houthis put him under house arrest and took over the presidential palace. But Hadi managed to escape to Aden – his hometown, where he rescinded his resignation and declared the Houthi takeover as unconstitutional before he fled to Saudi Arabia..
The US has also taken the stand that Hadi remains the legitimate President of Yemen and is hopeful that he would soon return.
To understand the situation in Yemen, one has to go back to 1994, when during the civil war, the Islamic group of Wahabbis that followed the Sunni Islamic sect which also dominates Saudi Arabia, had pitched in to support the Government fight the secessionist forces in southern Yemen.
The subsequent Houthi insurgency in Yemen originated in Northern Yemen in June 2004 with an uprising against the government led by Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi, head of the Zaidi sect. At that time most of the violence and fighting was in the northern Sa’dah province. The civil war also reverberated in the neighbouring prvinces of Hajjah, ‘Amran, al-Jawf and the Saudi province of Jizan.
All along the Government in Yemen has been accusing Iran of supporting and financing the insurgents. The rebels, on the other side have kept accusing Saudi Arabia of supporting the Yemeni government in attacks against them.
Waves of offensive by the insurgents have battered Yemen right since 2004. Recently, before Hadi took refuge in Aden, the Houthis accused him of arming members of Al-Qaeda in the Marib province. The Zaidi Shia Houthis in Yemen have the full backing of Iran, where statehood is synonymous with Shia religion.
In the prevailing scenario, the American dilemma is that the nuclear agreement might turn into a mirage if the Yemen crisis intensifies further. The situation from the US point of view has turned more complex with the latest allegation that Houthis are arming the Al-Qaeda.