Iranian President Wants All Sanctions Lifted After Deal

The Iranian nuclear deal has been in the news for the past few weeks with opinions ranging from hope to dismay at the proceedings. After a group of Republican congressmen wrote a letter to Iranian officials about the deal, it hasn’t strayed far from the front pages. This was only furthered when Tom Cotton, the junior senator from Arkansas, said that it would only take a few days to bomb Iran into submission, ignoring the fact that doing so would result in the country’s nuclear ambitions going even deeper underground and away from monitoring. Now, possibly though not necessarily due to these diplomatic blunders, the Iranian President has demanded that all sanctions be dropped right after the signing of any agreement regarding Iran’s nuclear ambitions and future.

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

The sanctions have always been a sticking point in the nuclear deal and the agreement has always been that they would go away. What was up for discussion was just how fast they would be repealed after the signing of the agreement. While Hassan Rouhani, the Iranian President, had always demanded the sanctions (which has smashed the Iranian economy and shuttered its oil exportation) be dropped immediately, it seems as though he had been willing to negotiate over the actual speed. Now it seems as though he’s buckling down, possibly due to the influence of Iranian hardliners, and says that no deal will be signed unless the sanctions are dropped immediately. This puts the entire deal in peril due to the unwillingness of the other countries to do so for a variety of reasons.

The end date for negotiations is June 30th and as negotiations between Iran and the 6 powers (the USA, China, Russia, Britain, Germany, and France) seem like they’re growing more fragile, there’s an extra impetuous to finish the job. The US and its EU allies want to see the sanctions dropped incrementally as Iran meets certain obligations in the nuclear deal.¬†The US and its allies want to use the dropping of sanctions like the proverbial carrot, a prize for each time Iran completes a certain part of the deal. However if neither side is willing to budge, the reality is that there might be no nuclear deal at all and we will be in the same situation we were a few months ago.

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China Upgrades Nuclear Capabilities

China has always been seen by the US as a sleeping dragon that was waking up. Fuelled by almost unprecedented economic growth, the Chinese government has been modernizing and expanding its influence at a rate that is taking people by surprise. From talking about enforcing maritime boundaries to investing in African and Latin American countries that the West has routinely ignored, China is making waves on an international scale and people are finally starting to take notice. 2014 marked a new level of Chinese hard and soft power expansion and, with tensions in the South Asia sea growing, the announcement that China has upgraded its nuclear capabilities has governments across the world interested and concerned.

China recently announced that it had attached nuclear warhead-tipped missiles to its nuclear-powered submarine fleet, allowing missiles to be launched all over the world once the subs get within range. This is a big upgrade to China’s Seconds Strike (as in the retaliatory strike after receiving nuclear bombardment) capabilities and is definitely a cause for concern to countries who are looking to stymie China’s economic and political rise as a world leader. While the upgrade in capabilities is enough of a cause for concern, it comes along with a recent speech by President Xi Jinping exhorting the military to be prepared to win a major war in the future. While there is no war on the horizon, the increasing ties between Russia and China coupled with US-led Western-Russian tensions reaching a new low is leading to a number of countries perking their heads up and finally taking notice.

China still cannot match the US when it comes to military capability but as China’s economy continues to increase as US-influences continues to diminish we will be facing a shift in world power and leadership that many in the US don’t realize is coming. As long as the United States continues to be hypocritical on human rights issues and starting wars it can’t win (along with constantly making new enemies by throwing its weight around in arenas it has no business), more and more people will look to China both as a leader and as a counter-balance to US hubris. Hopefully our generals and politicians are realizing their mistakes and we can avoid a future war with a China that is increasing in readiness.

If you’d like to read more, the link is here.