Monday, July 20, 2015

Iran Deal:Outcome to Benefit All

For discussion

Andrei AKULOV | 21.07.2015 | 08:00

Now that an agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue has been reached, attention is turning to how it will affect the region and the world.
The deal is about Iran accepting measures of transparency and limitations on its nuclear infrastructure including uranium enrichment, procurement of nuclear technologies and nuclear research. In return, the international community will lift sanctions that has affected the Iranian economy once Iran has fully implemented its commitments under the deal within a year approximately. Failure to reach an agreement would have heralded confrontation and possibly military actions. The deal opens a new window of opportunity for enhancing regional security.
Outcome to benefit all
Iran has done significant concessions. The chances for going nuclear under the circumstances are almost certainly zilch. The IAEA inspections regime is effective enough. Still Iran has achieved a better deal in comparison with the starting position in 2003. The nuclear potential, especially the right to enrich uranium, by far exceeds its economic and scientific research needs.
There are three alternatives to the agreement. First, a full-blown war in the Persian Gulf as a result of airstrikes delivered against Iran to make the region mired in chaos. Second, Iran going nuclear with all the implications to face. Third, an airstrike against a nuclear Iran to be followed by a nuclear regional conflict.
To avoid these three scenarios the agreement must be strictly complied with by all the parties. The program should be curtailed, the IAEA should conduct its activities unhindered, transparence should be guaranteed and in case of compliance Iran should have sanctions lifted to join the world community again. Perhaps, additional agreements and further coordination of efforts will be needed in the future.
Lessons to draw
Diplomacy should be given a priority. This is a lesson to draw. An agreement was possible in 2003-2004 between Iran and the Big Three – the UK, France and Germany. Iran was ready for a compromise. The US administration led by George Bush, Jr, barged in to demand complete capitulation of Iran threatening it with an air campaign and saying Tehran belonged to the axis of evil. This outright pressure resulted in increased resistance and led to the victory of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2005. In 2006 Iran went back to uranium enrichment deploying around 20 thousand centrifuges and having collected around 10 thousand tons of enriched uranium – enough to become a nuclear power in a few months. The agreement just achieved is about reducing this very potential.
There is another important lesson to learn here. Only coordinated actions of great powers - the West, Russia and China – can stop proliferation of nuclear weapons in the contemporary world reasonably combining diplomacy with UNSC sanctions (if the imposition is justified).
The bottom line is that the experience of imposing sanctions on different countries in the last several decades shows that if the targeted countries are willing to pay the price, sanctions are not likely to force them to change policy. Cuba, Iraq, Pakistan, and Russia are cases in point. Iran is a large country with a well-educated and broad middle class and massive natural resources. There are growing signs that the multilateral sanctions regime cannot be sustained much longer. Sanctions are pushing Russia and Iran closer, China and India are importing more oil from Iran, Turkey is willing to buy more Iranian gas at a discount price, European and US oil companies are eager to resume their operations in Iran.
Opportunities offered
The deal offers the following some opportunities:
Re-integrating Iran, a country with significant hard and soft capabilities, into the regional and global system is likely to facilitate progress in addressing the burning issues. The isolation of Iran can further deepen regional conflicts.
The deal paves the way to addressing regional disputes, such as containing the rise of the Islamic State, reigning in terrorism in Pakistan, preventing a Taliban victory in Afghanistan, and countering the region’s drug trade.
Europe, including Russia, has broad and extensive interest in political stability and economic prosperity in the Middle East due to its geographical proximity and historical ties. The areas for cooperation are multiple, including trade, investment, migration, drug trafficking, energy security, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and counter-terrorism. It would benefit all.
Making sure Iran cannot go nuclear without getting caught is a significant enhancement of Israel’s security. The Iran’s nuclear program constitutes an existential threat for Israel. If implemented, the agreement does away with it.
Steps to foster progress
Some steps could be taken to foster further progress and tentatively identify more constructive ways to work together and reduce the more acute and immediate threats in the region.
- resuming talks on the Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction under UN auspices;
- relaunching regional collaboration on managing climate change, joining efforts to tackle the problems of water scarcity, desertification and other environmental threats that are actually a more existential threat than nuclear weapons;
- starting regional cooperation on alternative energy, including nuclear energy, for the common benefit of the peoples in the region. It may provide an impetus to Iranian-Saudi cooperation, with all the international safeguards required. With its nuclear energy experience Russia may be an important contributor into the process.
Russia stands to gain from deal
Russian President Vladimir Putin stated in a statement released by the Kremlin, that the deal is means that its "bilateral relations with Iran will receive a new impetus and will no longer be influenced by external factors."
The Iran nuclear deal has paved the way for a «broad» coalition to fight the Islamic State group, according to the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov. «It removes the barriers – largely artificial – on the way to a broad coalition to fight the Islamic State (IS) and other terrorist groups,» Lavrov said in a statement on the ministry’s website on July 14.
Russia has always opposed Iran developing nuclear weapons, as well as it is not a supporter of Iran’s uranium enrichment program. In 2006-2010, Russia voted in favor of six UN Security Council resolutions (including four with economic sanctions) designed to curb the Iran’s nuclear program. However, Moscow has never officially shared opinions about the military nature of the Iranian nuclear program and always prioritized diplomacy rather than economic sanctions or, especially, military force for resolving this issue. During the last several years, Moscow has played the role of a mediator between Iran and the United States and has done it well.
The end of economic sanctions against Iran opens other economic opportunities for Russia, including the prospect of Russian investment in the reviving Iranian petroleum sector as well as increased exports of Russian goods to Tehran. Before the Islamic Revolution of 1979, more than 60 large infrastructure projects including hydro- and thermal power plants, gas pipelines, metallurgical factories and machinery plants were built in Iran with the help of the USSR. 
In recent years economic relations between the two countries plummeted due to UN, EU and U.S. sanctions. Iran's share of Russia's foreign trade has dropped to historic lows, while major oil field development projects were canceled by Russian companies including Lukoil, Norsk Hydro and Gazprom Neft. Now Russian companies are planning major investments in the development of Iran’s large gas fields. Russia also plans to continue aiding in the development of Iranian nuclear energy, having achieved a unique position as Iran’s partner in building the Bushehr nuclear power plant during the county’s international isolation over the last decades. 
Deals totaling $10 billion have already been outlined for the construction of hydro- and thermal power plants. Space cooperation also looks promising, as Iran has no means of launching satellites into orbit and expects to cooperate with Russia. Another attractive possibility is investment in the expansion and modernization of Iran's railway infrastructure, an area in which Russia has vast experience and technical capacity.
Military technology cooperation has been is a promising field of cooperation too.
Starting in the mid-1960s, the Soviet Union supplied Iran with large deliveries of armored vehicles and artillery, and built factories for the repair and production of military equipment (in Isfahan, Shiraz, Dorude, and near Tehran). After the Islamic Revolution of 1979, Russia's share of Iran’s military imports rose to 60%, and in the 1990s Iran became, along with China and India, a major buyer of Russian weapons, including fighter aircraft (MiG-29, Su-24), helicopters (Mi-17), anti-aircraft missiles (S-200, TOR-1), Kilo diesel submarines, tanks (T -72) and infantry fighting vehicles (BMP-2).
Russia has the credentials and capabilities to facilitate and accelerate the process of re-integrating the Islamic Republic into the global system. This unique opportunity for engagement must not be wasted.
Joining together – prerequisite for success
Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Barack Obama spoke on July 15, congratulating each other on reaching a nuclear agreement with Iran. The leaders agreed it was in the interests of the world as a whole. The telephone conversation took place on the initiative of the United States. The two sides stressed the role of Russian-U.S. dialogue in ensuring world security and stability. «Both sides stressed that the comprehensive agreement on the Iranian nuclear program meets the interests of the entire international community, helping strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation regime and decreasing tensions in the Middle East. In this respect, the presidents emphasized the role of Russian-U.S. dialogue in ensuring security and stability in the world»according to the statement.
Putin and Obama «expressed a mutual intention to continue joint work in the interest of sustainable implementation of the Vienna agreements, as well as certain other current international matters, including countering international terrorism», the statement emphasizes.
The two leaders also «congratulated one another on a special date in Russian-American relations: the 40th anniversary since the Soyuz-Apollo orbital flight».
In a readout of the conversation, the White House said Obama thanked Putin for Russia's role in the Iran nuclear negotiations. «The leaders committed to remain in close coordination as the (deal) is operationalized and also expressed a desire to work together on reducing regional tensions, particularly in Syria»according to the White House.
It added that Obama and Putin agreed to remain in close touch as the Iran deal is implemented and would work together to reduce tensions in the Middle East, particularly in Syria. That’s what is really important - the both sides agreed to further cooperate in the Middle East.
The deal testifies to the fact that Russia, the US and the West in general can and must put aside the differences over Ukraine and effectively cooperate in other fields addressing burning issues of mutual interest to benefit all. The talks about Russia’s international «isolation» rather ridiculous under the circumstances. The parties to the talks on Iran deal still have a long way to go. The implementation of the deal is a bumpy road ahead. It’s impossible to accomplish the mission divided, only combined efforts lead to success as the Iran deal experience shows. 
Tags: IAEA Iran Middle East Russia US

„Lysistrata?“ A Challenge for Women Peace Workers 70 Years After World War II

Lysistrata, a female character of antic Greece, reasons that because both Athens and Sparta are of a common heritage and because they have previously helped one another and owe a debt to one another, the two sides should not be fighting.“

Suggestions by Irene Eckert

There seems some actuality in this bridge building female idea. Are 70 years of global postwar confrontations not enough? Is peace still a women's issue? Has it ever been? The founding mothers of Women's International League For Peace and Freedom thought it was. The turn of the 20th century saw a bunch of influential female pioneers for peace: Bertha von Suttner, Nobel Peace Price initiator, Jane Addams, social reformer, Aletta Jacobs, doctress, Anita Augspurg, lawyer, Rosa Luxemburg, economist, Clara Zetkin, teacher were among the most outstanding women of their days, struggling each in her way for peace and justice.
Mairead Corrigan-Maguire, Nobel Peace laureat of 1976 says „peace is a human right“ and she continues to struggle for it. Indira Ghandi was not the only head of an influential state, who paid with her life, while struggling for peace in the international arena.
However, peace, unfortunatelly, is a controversial issue, among women, too. Women's Suffrage Societies with 50,000 members, and the smaller Women's Social and Political Union, both split on the war issue.1
So if women 'peace makers' want to help save humanity from the scourge of war and militarism and all the violence that comes with it, that affects women, children, the elderly and the poor in the first place, we have to join forces with those indivuals, states and larger alliances who work for the same ends. We simply cannot rely on women alone, nor on former peace alliances, parties or unions. It is tragic but true: Success in the struggle for women's rights pushes more women to the side of those in power, to the side of the military machine. Having said this, it does not necessarily mean that the struggle for peace is lost, on the very contrary.
Major changes in global human affairs and in the balance of power are under way. We are witnessing tectonic shifts that will eventually help better the human fate. Those developments will help improve the situation of women. Positive tectonic shifts from West to East, from North to South bear the potential to saveguard peace on a global scale. Our duty as peace loving people, as women who strive to overcome structures of violence is raising awarness towards those driving forces and to rally local support. Consciuosness is the key factor in this potentially healing process.
For anyone who cares to see clearly, it has become more than obvious: The US strive for global hegemony, supported with all its destructive consequences by the Western world has come to a dead end. The policy of blackmail, of sanctions, of war and desasterous military interventions has failed the world over. The unique advantages after the end of the  Cold War have been gambled away lightheartedly, carelessly.

Now is the hour of those, who struggle more and more successfully for a multipolar and a multifacetted world, a world in balance, a world in harmony, a world in which unhindered trade will bear fruits for all its citizens. Such notions are based in a very old culture of nonviolence. They are grounded in philosophies such as Konfutse's, Laotse's and Buddha's. Cultures of non-interventionism are now taking the lead in world affairs. Countries like China, Brazil, Russia, India and South-Africa united under the logo of BRICS have re-kindled the true spirit of international law as laid down in the UN-Charter and its follow up-Conventions.
BRICS members are strongest not only in demografic numbers and economical figures but also in space and spirit. Their united efforts are already being supported by the SCO-Shanghai Cooperation-Alliance, an expanding body of member countries like Kasachstan, Kirgistan, Usbekistan, Tajikistan but also by observers like Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, Pakistan and by dialogue partners as Mongolia, Turkey and many more. These recent alliances are not striving for hegemony, they do not count on military strength, they do not even mean to challenge aggressive NATO but in reality they do weaken its possibilites to enforce their will on others.
BRICS has come up with a New Development Bank whose intention is to assist poorer countries in building up their infrastructure unconditionally. 2 NDB offers an alternative to the World Bank and the IMF, whose policies have had destasterous effects on weaker countries so far. 3 . This newly created bank is supposed to mainly support the development of the Asia-Pacific region. But it also wants to be seen in connection with the New Silk Road Project4.When completed, like the ancient Silk Road, this vision will connect three continents: Asia, Europe, and Africa. The chain of infrastructure projects will create the world’s largest economic corridor, covering a population of 4.4 billion and an economic output of $21 trillion.  In addition China has initiated the AIIB Asian Infrastructure Investmentbank, The launch of an Asian International Infrastructure Bank (AIIB), will provide seed funding for the project, with an initial Chinese contribution of $47 billion. It has already won 57 countries to join in as founding members, including many „friends“ of the USA (!)

On July 8-10, 2015, the summits of both the BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) took place in Ufa, Russia. These events occurred in a particular context in which the West as well as Asia is facing a growing terrorist threat, and diplomatic and military complications are multiplying on the geopolitical scene.  Syria, Ukraine, the Pacific Ocean are all geographic areas where conflicts could potentially turn into major bloodier wars. This offered an opportunity for Russia to successfully assess the diplomatic stance of its partners as regards the talks of the P5+1 over Iran’s nuclear program.
However, this is mainly about economics and finance that these two summits could be of significant importance following the establishment of the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) which ambitions to provide the BRICS and all partner countries with the financial means they have not been able – or not wanted – to obtain elsewhere, meaning the IMF and the World Bank. All this was happening as Greece could be just days or weeks away from leaving the euro area and become the first “customer” of this alternative world finance, much to the discontent of the Euro-Atlantic alliance.5

Peace workers are aware of the need to establish trade relations and treaties on an equal footing if violence is to be overcome in international relations.
Russia and China have been untruthfully portrayed as  our enemy nations. In reality they are both  our partners in trade and they do always refer to us in these terms. Facts need to be taken into account, if we want to make a successful contribution for world peace. We might not love each other but we do indeed need each other and we do  have to treat each other with respect.
It seems to me that as women, as peace makers, as citizens who work for total emancipation and for overcoming structures of violence we need to spread the word about the recent UFA summit in Russia. It is also important to talk about the Saint Petersburg economic gathering, about the general trend of  economic weights  shifting away from the West.

 As women we tend to be  aware of the fact  that structural imbalances and structures of unhindered violence always hit the weakest ones the hardest. We therefore need promote the word about the global processes under way. We must talk about activities for more peaceful and more effective trading efforts, for alternative fiscal solutions that are putting limits on  the dollar based Bretton woods system. We need to support all diplomatic efforts on non-military conflict solutions as recently took successfully place with the  P5+1talks over the Iran nuclear issue*. We need build up support for the Minsk Peace agreements and for the Geneva process to end the war against Syria. We need to build up respect for other nations and their achievements as prescribed in the frames of the international law system, the  UN-Charter + follow up Conventions. These documents must be studied and brought home in its essence to our constituencies.
By working for such objectives women can indeed help build up momentum to save us all from the scourge of war and from the environmental distruction that follows war and militarism as rain follows the cloud. Women are strong, women are multi-tasking, women are brave and together with noble minded men we sure will overcome the aggressive brutality prevailing in our days, eventually.
May the ancient Greek spirit of Lysistrata and  of  its creator  genius  Aristophanes guide us.
2 The New Development Bank BRICS (NDB BRICS), formerly referred to as the BRICS Development Bank, is multilateral development bank operated by the BRICS states (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) as an alternative to the existing US-dominated World Bank and International Monetary Fund. The Bank is set up to foster greater financial and development cooperation among the five emerging markets. Together, the four original BRIC countries comprise in 2014 more than 3 billion people or 41.4 percent of the world’s population, cover more than a quarter of the world’s land area over three continents, and account for more than 25 percent of global GDP. It will be headquartered in Shanghai, China. Unlike the World Bank, which assigns votes based on capital share, in the New Development Bank each participant country will be assigned one vote, and none of the countries will have veto power.
4“How Can the World Be Win-Win? China Is Answering the Question.” „New Silk Road Could Change Global Economics Forever“
Irene & the infant Plutus | Roman copy of Greek statue, original C4th B.C. | Staatliche Antiksammlungen und Glyptotech, MunichEIRENE (or Irene) was the goddess of peace (eirênê) and of the season of spring (eiar, eiarinos). Late spring was the usual campaign season in Greece when peace was most at risk. Eirene was one of three Horai, goddesses of the seasons and the keepers of the gates of heaven. Her sisters were Eunomia (Order or Good-Pasture) and Dike (Justice).
She was probably identified with the Hora Thallo(Green Shoots), whose name Hesiod gives to Eirene as an epithet in the Theogony. Her opposite number was Polemos (War).
In classical art she usually appears in the company of her two sister Horai bearing the fruits of the seasons. Statues of the goddess represent her as a maiden holding the infant Ploutos (Wealth) in her arms. In this guise she was identified with Demeter and Tykhe
[1.1] ZEUS & THEMIS (Hesiod Theogony 901, Apollodorus 1.13, Orphic Hymn 43, Hyginus Fab. 183)
[1.2] THEMIS (Pindar Olympian Ode 13)
Irene & Plutus, Roman copy of C4th B.C.
Greek statue, Antiksammlungen, Munich
Lawrow fordert Rückzug der ukrainischen Armee aus der Ostukraine.  Thomas Pany 19.07.2015
US-Gesandte Nuland sieht die andere Seite am Zug. Streit über die Verfassungsreform zum Status der Regionen im Osten
Am Freitag telefonierte das Normandie-Quartett miteinander, Hollande, Merkel, Poroschenko und Putin. Hollande forderte[1] dringende Schritte zur Demilitarisierung der Zone bei Schirokin, unweit von Mariupol, den Abzug von Panzern und Waffen, wie im Minsker Abkommen vereinbart. Er sprach davon, dass die Ukraine seit Ende April "wichtige Schritte" unternommen habe.  -    Gestern telefonierte der russische Außenminister Lawrow mit Amtskollegen der Ukraine, der USA und Deutschland. Er forderte[2] die ukrainische Armee dazu auf, mit dem Abzug in Schirokin zu beginnen.  -   Die ukrainische Nachrichtenagentur Ukrinform berichtete[3] von intensiven Beschuss in den Morgenstunden des 18. Juli bei Schirokin - und anderen Orten im Osten der Ukraine -, abgefeuert von Milizen auf Stellungen der ukrainischen "Anti-Terror-Einheiten".   -  Die OSZE-Beobachter (SMM) sprachen[4] am Vortag indessen davon, dass man an Beobachtungsstellen bei Schirokin keine Verletzungen der Waffenruhe festgestellt habe....