Baku, Azerbaijan, Apr. 29
By Elena Kosolapova - Trend:
Iran and the six world powers are not really near an agreement on the Islamic Republic's nuclear program, Clare Lopez, the ex-CIA operations officer, currently the vice president of the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., told Trend during the 'This Week in Focus' episode.
"Perhaps we have to wait a bit," said Lopez. "I am not confident and I do not think all the sides are confident that the final deal will be reached."
She recalled that the P5+1 (the US, Russia, France, the UK, China plus Germany) and Iran discussed in late March in Switzerland a framework for an agreement to be discussed before the end of June.
"And they outlined the topics that will be continued to be discussed," Lopez said, noting that the problem of the framework was that each party has a different version of the agreement.
"The supreme leader of Iran and the Iranian side are demanding an immediate lifting of the sanctions if there were such a framework agreement reached," she said. "And theUS says no. Those sanctions are supposed to be lifted gradually if and as Iran complies with the terms."
But Lopez also believes that Obama administration and Kerry state department badly want an agreement with Iran to be their legacy.
She said Iran is also interested in such an agreement.
"If they achieve that, they will obviously become a hegemon in the region. But other states of the region and first of all, the Sunni states of the region led by Saudi Arabiafind this alarming."
But as Lopez said, one of the most alarming outcomes, which is already seen and begins to take place, is a move towards additional nuclear proliferation.
"What Iran achieves if they do, would be that it will be allowed to continue enrichment of uranium," she said. "It will be allowed to keep on the centrifuges, newer models of centrifuges, faster models of centrifuges, and it will be able to continue and complete the work on the water reactor."
Lopez believes that Iran already has some nuclear stockpile and already tested it in cooperative relations, at least with North Korea.
"Iran is a signatory of the nuclear nonproliferation treaty, under which it agreed never to develop nuclear weapons or the technology that could lead to nuclear weapons," said the expert.
"Iran already has inventory in terms of range, at least of reaching continentally theUnited States right now," she added.
Lopez also assessed the advantages and disadvantages of lifting the sanctions from Iran for its neighbor countries, as well as for Azerbaijan. She believes that the lifting of sanctions could help to increase the trade with Iran.
"The region could benefit from the trade with Iran," the expert said, adding that there is, of course, an angle and a discussion on the oil in the region.
Iran and the P5+1 reached a nuclear framework agreement on April 2 that raised hopes for achieving a comprehensive nuclear deal by July 1. The deal provisions the removal of all international sanctions on Iran and in return narrowing the range of the country's nuclear activities.
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