Is Iran really complying with the nuclear deal?

Is Iran really complying with the nuclear deal?

In the last few days, the state media of the Iranian regime has been dedicating significant coverage to a recent statement made by the French President Emmanuel Macron regarding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal. According to Iran’s Press TV, the French President pointed out that there is “no indication” that the Islamic Republic has violated the nuclear agreement. 

The Iranian regime joyfully endorsed Macron’s statement. However, it is time to fact-check Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal, because reality does not seem to go hand-in-hand with the French president’s comment. 

First and foremost, it is important to point out that the terms of the JCPOA are flawed, in the sense that the Iranian regime’s regional policies, as well as the contribution of the nuclear pact to regional instability, are totally disregarded.

Thanks to the nuclear deal and sanctions reliefs, Iran’s aggressive behavior, expansionist policies and military adventurism in the region have significantly ratcheted up. From Baghdad to Beirut to Sanaa, the Iranian regime has increased its support, funding, training, and provision of weapons to terrorist and militia groups. This significantly destabilizes the region, escalates tensions and turns regional conflicts into conflagrations. Iran has been emboldened to such an extent that it is providing ballistic missiles to terrorist and militia groups, such as the Houthis. 

With respect to the terms and rules of the JCPOA, meticulous examination reveals that, on several occasions since the day of implementation of the nuclear deal in 2015, the Iranian regime has not been fully complying with the terms. UN Security Council resolution 2231 endorsing the JCPOA is crystal clear in stating that Iran should not undertake any ballistic missile activity “until the date eight years after the JCPOA Adoption Day or until the date on which the IAEA submits a report confirming the Broader Conclusion, whichever is earlier.” 

According to reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Islamic Republic has exceeded its threshold for heavy water on more than one occasion since the nuclear deal was implemented

Dr. Majid Rafizadeh

Intriguingly, Iran has significantly ratcheted up its ballistic missile activities since the nuclear deal was reached. By the time President Donald Trump took office, roughly two-and-a-half years after the nuclear deal was sealed, the Tehran regime had fired more than 20 ballistic missiles.

Another issue is that, according to the terms of the JCPOA, Iran must restrict the amount of specific nuclear materials that it possesses. One of these materials is called heavy water, which can be utilized for nuclear energy or for producing nuclear weapons. Iran must keep its stockpile of heavy water at less than 130 metric tons. According to reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Islamic Republic has exceeded its threshold for heavy water on more than one occasion since the nuclear deal was implemented. IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said in November 2016: “For the second time since implementation of the JCPOA began, Iran’s inventory of heavy water exceeded 130 metric (tons).” He added: “It is important that such situations should be avoided in future in order to maintain international confidence.”

In addition, the Iranian opposition group, National Council for Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which was the first to reveal Iran’s clandestine nuclear activities in two major sites, Natanz and Arak, in 2000, last year released critical information showing that Iran’s nuclear activities continue in the military site at Parchin, which is out of reach of the IAEA’s inspectors. This also points to the fact that the IAEA has failed on several occasions to detect Iran’s nuclear activities. Due to the NCRI’s influence inside Iran, its information is believed to be highly credible. Frank Pabian, an adviser on nuclear non-proliferation matters at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, previously told the New York Times that the NCRI is “right 90 percent of the time.” 

Macron ought to consider the facts and latest reports about the Iranian regime’s nuclear activities, as well as Tehran’s increasing belligerence in the region. Otherwise any blanket statement that supports the Iranian regime will only empower and embolden Iran’s hardliners and assist them in pursuing their ambitions for regional hegemony more aggressively. 

  • Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a Harvard-educated Iranian-American political scientist. He is a leading expert on Iran and US foreign policy, a businessman and president of the International American Council. Twitter: @Dr_Rafizadeh
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