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    Nuclear proliferation and geopolitical issues of

    Iran and Middle East

    Kazuto Suzuki

    United Nations

    Panel of Experts on Iran


    16 March 2015

  • Overview

     Historical background of Iranian nuclear proliferation

     UN sanctions and unilateral sanctions

     Iran’s regional influence

     Current negotiation and its prospects


  • Historical Background

     Iran’s nuclear development began in 1950s with help from the United States • Atoms for Peace

    • Nationalisation of Anglo-Persian Oil Company by Mossaddegh and Coup d’etat in 1953

    • Western interests to keep Pahlavi regime

     Number of Iranian studies nuclear technologies in United States • Foreign Minister Zarif and Director of Atomic Energy

    Oraganisation of Iran Salehi were educated in the US


  • Historical Background

     Iran signed (1968) and ratified (1970) Non- Proliferation Treaty (NPT)

     Iran has been the subject of Comprehensive Safeguard Agreement (CSA)

     Bushehr nuclear power plant constructed in 1975 by German companies

    • Took over by Russia in 1995


  • Historical Background

     1979 Islamic Revolution

    • Continued to commit to NPT

     1980-88 Iran-Iraq War

    • Iraq’s use of Chemical Weapons

    • Ayatollah Khomeini refrained from using counter measures

     1981 Operation “Opera”

    • Israeli attack on Iraqi Osirak nuclear reactor, developed by France

    • It was believed to be for peaceful purpose but Israeli and Iranian concerned potential for military use


  • Historical Background

     Late 1980s Contact with A.Q. Khan

    • Acquiring enrichment technology

     2002 Dissident Iranian group revealed secret sites • Natanz enrichment facilities

    • Arak heavy-water reactor, producing plutonium

     2003-2006 negotiation with EU3

    • Iran agreed for IAEA inspections with Additional Protocol (signed in 2003), but failed to comply

    • 2005 Iran offered voluntary suspension of enrichment but rejected by US pressure


  • UN Sanctions

     UN Security Council Resolution 1737 (2006) • Establish Sanctions Committee

    • Target sanctions on enrichment, heavy-water and reprocessing activities

    • Designate individuals and entities for asset freeze and travel ban

     UNSCR 1747 (2007) • Prohibit export of “any arms” from Iran

    • Designate Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) individuals and entities


  • UN Sanctions

     UNSCR 1803 (2008)

    • Reemphasis target sanctions

     UNSCR 1929 (2010)

    • Establish Panel of Experts

    • Prohibit import of heavy weapon to Iran

    • Tighter control on nuclear and delivery system development


  • Unilateral Sanctions

     European Union • 2010 Council Decision (2010/413/CFSP)

     Arms embargo

     Dual-use items

     Restriction on insurances

    • 2012 Council Decision (2012/35/CFSP)  Oil embargo

    • 2012 Council Decision (2012/152/CFSP)  Cutting off from SWIFT

     Most comprehensive list and wide scoped sanctions

     SWIFT ban, Insurance restriction and oil embargo deeply affected Iranian economy


  • Unilateral Sanctions

     United States • Continuing sanctions from 19792006 Designation of banks

     prohibiting to trade in dollars

    • 2010 CISADA  Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act  Prohibition of foreign exchange

    • 2012 IFCA  Iran Freedom and Counter-proliferation Act  Prohibition of financing to Iran by foreign financial institutions

     Very complex sanctions mechanism but most powerful  Executive Orders and Federal Law – requires agreement

    from Congress  Extraterritorial application


  • Iran’s Geopolitical


     Export of Islamic Revolution

    • IRGC as guardian and exporter of revolution

     Traumatic experience of Iran-Iraq war

    • Islamic forces dominated the internal politics

    • Theological governing institutions

     Sectarian conflicts

    • Leader of Shia Islam vs. Sunni Islam

     Global “jihad” against United States and Israel

    • Terrorism during 1980s and 90s 11

  • Iran’s Geopolitical


     Lebanon • Influence on Hezbollah

     Frontline for the fight against Israel

     Weak government and ethnic/religious division

    • 1983 US Embassy bombing  Iran-Hezbollah link to sabotage covert operation

    • 2006 War between Hezbollah and Israel  Arms export from Iran (Fajr missiles ranging 70-75km)

    • Fight against Jihadists  Iran’s Secretary of Supreme National Security Council, Ali

    Shamkhani visited Beirut and offered “military gift” to Lebanese government


  • Iran’s Geopolitical


     Syria

    • Supporting Assad Regime

     Through funding and military support

     Oil supply

    • Used as weapon factory

     Missile development through SSRC (Syria Scientific Studies and Research Centre)

     Production of tanks and heavy weapons

    • Route of procurement

    • Fight against Daesh gave legitimacy to the support


  • Iran’s Geopolitical


     Yemen

    • Reintegration of Yemen in 1990

     Sectarian division remained in place

     Shia dominant North was richer than Sunni dominant South

    • Continued civil war

     Difficulties of integrating two societies

    • Emergence of Jihadist and Houthis

     Al-Qaida of Arabian Peninsula

     Houthis, led by Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi • Emerged as a Shia student group

    • Supported by Iran (mainly arms exports) 14

  • Iran’s Geopolitical


     Bahrain

    • Sectarian division

     Majority of population – Shia

     Governing population – Sunni

    • Since the “Arab Spring”, upraise against Sunni minority became eminent

    • Majority of Shia is influence by Iraqi Shia

    • Although Iran has limited influence, it is considered that Iran provide arms to the rebel group


  • Iran’s Geopolitical


     Iraq

    • Arch-enemy of Iran during Saddam’s regime

    • Iraq War (2003) and following confusion led Shia government (Al-Maliki and Al-Abadi)

    • Emergence of Daesh

     Confusion of Iraqi forces – sectarian division

     Brutality and rapid expansion of ISIS

    • Iran come to fight against Daesh – IRGC Quds Force

     Commander Qasem Soleimani became a commander of coalition of Iraqi forces, Peshmerga and Shia militia


  • Iran’s Geopolitical


     After the “Arab Spring”, Iran became the central player in the Middle East

     Through its sectarian network, Iran extended its influence

     As a result, Iran has been successful for exporting its revolutionary ideas

     Fight against Daesh justified Iran’s expansion of influence

     Although arms exports are prohibited, many countries kept their eyes shut


  • P5+1 Negotiation

     Since Rouhani came to Presidency, the attitude of Iran has changed significantly

    • P5+1 continued to negotiate from 2006 but there was no progress during Ahmadinejad period

     Impact of sanctions brought Iran to the table

    • Strong popular support for sanctions lifting

    • Support by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei

     2013 Joint Plan of Action (JPOA)


  • P5+1 Negotiation

     Progress has made since JPOA but there are still some contentious issues

    • Breakout time

     Time to require producing a nuclear bomb – US demands for more than one year – reducing stockpile, oxidizing UF6 and reducing number of centrifuges

    • Lifting sanctions

     Iran demands for lifting all sanctions – difficulties of getting agreement from Congress

     Sanctions include arms embargo – allowing Iran to supply arms to Iraq while preventing to Hezbollah?


  • Potential Confusion

     P5+1 Agreement

    • JPOA prohibits enrichment over 5% and no further advances in Natanz, Fordow or Arak

     No prohibition of enrichment activities below 5%

    • Comprehensive agreement, if any, may also allow certain level of enrichment activities

     UN Resolutions

    • Prohibited activities by UN resolutions include: “all reprocessing, heavy water-related and enrichment related activities”


  • Conclusion

     Proliferation challenge

    • Iran as a threshold country challenged NPT regime

    • Successful case of NPT if negotiation conclude