New Paper by Mark Hibbs on the Vietnam/US 123 AgreementPosted: October 24, 2013 Filed under: Nuclear 2 Comments
This is an excellent new paper by Mark Hibbs on the recent signing of a 123 agreement between the US and Vietnam. As Mark explains, this new 123 agreement includes a political understanding that Vietnam will not pursue enrichment or reprocessing activities (ENR), but does not make this understanding a legally binding obligation. Mark argues that the US policy of flexibility in approaching the negotiation of new 123 agreements, and not requiring what has come to be known as the “gold standard” of a legally binding obligation not to pursue ENR activities, is prudent and should continue. I am in complete agreement with Mark on this point, for the reasons he well explains. Mark has long been one of the most sensible commentators on this issue.
Now the S. Koreas who are also negotiating nuclear deals with the US will hardly settle for less. It should be pointed out that the “Gold Standard” restriction on “no enrichment” etc was limited to US-origin nuclear material.
The more interesting question is whether this deal with Vietnam indicates that the US is finally going to recognize Iran’s right to enrich or still not.