I have been biting my lip and not saying anything about the nuclear negotiations because there's just too much uninformed speculation out there, so I don't want to add my own. I'm waiting for the dust to settle to see where things stand.
Unfortunately, there are a host of "defenders" of the Iran-US negotiations however, who are pumping out complete rubbish in the meantime. Mostly this has to do with Iran's right to enrich uranium, and these authors are trying to find a way to justify the US somehow conceding less than that. The various and sundry justifications they provide for their silly arguments is itself a marvel to behold and can cause fits of giggles.
Take for example two articles, starting with Jesica Mathew's article which is to be published in the New York Review of Books, the Presidnet of the Carnegie Endowment -- the same outfit which published the silly paper by Sajjadpour and Vaez http://carnegieendowment.org/2013/04/02/iran-s-nuclear-odyssey-costs-and-risks/fvui that should have caused any president of Carnegie to hang her head in shame for allowing such unmitigated rubbish to recieve the imprimatur of the Carnegie Endowment. I debunked that report here http://goingtotehran.com/holding-carnegie-to-account-for-war-mongering-dressed-up-as-analysis-of-irans-nuclear-program
So now Jessica Mathews claims at http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/feb/20/iran-good-deal-now-danger/
"There is no formal, legal 'right' to enrichment or any other nuclear activity...if the world becomes convinced that a non–nuclear weapons state’s activities are directed toward acquiring nuclear weapons, such activities thereby become illegal."
This is just too sophomoric a description of international law to even countenance especially by the head of a foreign policy outfit. I should point out that such silly statements about the right of enrichment only makes it more necessary to clarify the issue and forces the sides to take strong and public positions which can only wreck any deal. This refusal to acknowledge the right of enrichment has long been the cause of conflict (and not just with Iran) going back to the Paris Agreement negotiations, wherein the EU3 told the Iranians that they would not demand permanent cessation, whilst at the same time telling the Americans that the EU3's "demand for permanent cessation of all enrichment was non-negotiable." http://wikileaks.org/cable/2004/12/04BRUSSELS5396.html
Along the same lines, we have Christian Cooper writing in Foreign Affairs:
"But the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), despite its specificity about compliant, signatory nations’ inalienable right to use peaceful nuclear power, is vague, either by design or omission, about where that enrichment can take place."
http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/140651/christian-h-cooper/limited-rights -- suggesting that somehow Iran can be told to give its uranium to others and accept very significant limts on its enrichment program.
Apparently these people think the NPT is the personal playground of the US who can go around willy-nilly dispensing or taking away rights and responsibilities, and is free to create another version of the NPT to be applied to countries it doesn't like. No Iranian negotiator -- or any negotiator - would agree to allow his nation to become a second-class member of the NPT subject to the demands and whims of the US and allies.
The fact that these people seem to think that Iran's enrichment rights are up for negotiation is itself an indicator that the negotiations are not being conducted in good faith, which makes it all the more important for Iran to take a very public stance on its enrichment rights to ensure that there is no confusion about what Iran has agreed to and not agreed to.
So lets continue taking apart the utter rubbish by Carnegie Endowment;s Mathews:
"For more than fifteen years, intelligence and on-the-ground inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency ( IAEA )
revealed nuclear facilities, imports of nuclear technology, and research that had no civilian use"
Unfortunately the author fails to specify the alleged technology or research that "had no civilian use" -- naturally, because no such thing happened. This is unmitigated rubbish. The IAEA has consistently stated that it has found precisely zero evidence of any military aspect to Iran's nuclear program.
Mathews continues: "This brings the story to the stunning surprises of 2013, beginning with Iran’s June election in which Hassan Rouhani, confounding poll results..."
Actually poll results were not confounded at all, as there was a documented shift away from Tehran Mayor Baqer in favor of Rouhani days before the election, and especially when Rouhani received Khatami and Rafsanjani's endorsement. I suppose the mostly-US based pundits who insisted the elections would be fixed to let Jalili win were indeed confounded.
"Most important, and perhaps most unexpected, Iran agreed to eliminate its existing stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium."
Actually, it is hardly unexpected. Iran had been offering to end 20% enrichment for years, and Ahmadinejad himself went before the UNGA and repeated the offer a few years ago. It was US sanctions on the sale of civilian reactor fuel to Iran that caused Iran to increase enrichment to 20% in the first place, a sanctions policy "blowback" no one wants to openly acknowledge so we have pundits like Mathews claiming this is some sort of big and unexpected breakthrough.
"To prevent Iran from once again using the negotiations to buy time to advance its program.."
I'm not sure where the "once again" comes but this "buying time" meme is straight out of AIPAC's talking points. In reality Iran suspended enrichment entirely for almost 3 years, hardly something a country seeking to "buy time" to make nukes would have done. As Amb. Mousavian pointed out, "instead it is the West’s strategy to delay a face-saving solution to the nuclear impasse by having the sanctions take more effect and bring Iran to its knees" -- regime change, in other word.