"The real question to be considered surrounds not the interim accord just completed but the follow-on or 'comprehensive' agreement to come. The announced aim is to finish negotiating and begin implementing such a pact within a year. The incentive for Iran is obvious: the agreed upon wording promises the end of all nuclear-related sanctions," CFR President Richard Haass writes in the Financial Times.
"What was the price? We shredded the six United Nations Security Council resolutions that ordered the Islamic Republic to abandon all enrichment and reprocessing activities. We exposed fractures in the coalition against Iran. And we started building a global economic lobby that is dedicated to eroding the sanctions that we have generated through a decade of hard, very hard, diplomatic work," writes Michael Doran, senior fellow at Brookings.
"Strategic pauses are fine, but actual dismantling? It seems hard to believe, for any number of reasons, the simplest one being that it is in the best long-term interest of the regime to have the means to quickly build a nuclear weapon. It's certainly not in the interest of the regime to agree to be disarmed by the U.S., its arch-enemy and the country still often referred to as the Great Satan," writes Jeffrey Goldberg for Bloomberg.
Karzai Rejects Elders' Advice to Sign U.S. Security Pact
President Hamid Karzai rejected a recommendation by an Afghan assembly of dignitaries to quickly sign a security pact with the United States, a deal that Washington has insisted be signed before the end of the year (AP). Karzai wants to wait until a new president is elected in April.
Zambia's president Michael Sata's plan to upgrade his country's roads by tapping global debt markets is faltering as disputes with business over employment practices threaten to cool the investment climate and raise the cost of loans to the country (Reuters).