Europeans should ditch JCPOA in light of German intelligence report: Experts

A new report disclosed that Tehran had tried to secure illicit goods and information for its nascent nuclear program. (AFP)
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Updated 14 July 2020

Europeans should ditch JCPOA in light of German intelligence report: Experts

  • Iran was actively seeking nuclear capabilities throughout last year, according to BfV

LONDON: German intelligence has confirmed that Iran was actively seeking nuclear capabilities throughout 2019.
Experts believe this shows it is time for European countries to send a clear message to Tehran by finally abandoning the long-broken Iran nuclear deal.
A new report by the German domestic intelligence service BfV disclosed that Tehran had tried to secure illicit goods and information for its nascent nuclear program throughout 2019, in violation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which restricted Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.
The BfV said it was “able to find occasional indications of Iranian proliferation-related procurement attempts for its nuclear program” in 2019.
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, board member for the Harvard International Relations Council, told Arab News that the EU signatories of the JCPOA — Germany, the UK and France — have long been “conspicuously ignoring credible intelligence reports and disregarding Tehran’s nuclear activities.”
He added: “The announcement by German intelligence shows that Iran has demonstrated its interest in, and pursuit of, nuclear weapons.”
Reports from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) found traces of uranium at nuclear facilities in Iran, Rafizadeh said, confirming “that Iran was most likely violating the JCPOA since day one.”
Despite Tehran’s attempts to procure nuclear weaponry and a number of serious incidents — including tanker seizures by Iran, an uptick in missile attacks by Iranian proxies, and the activation of dispute mechanisms within the JCPOA — the European nations have remained resolute in their commitment to the deal.
The German revelations beg the question: How can Paris, Berlin and London continue to support the deal while Tehran flagrantly ignores it?
Ali Safavi, president of Near East Policy and a member of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, said European nations have been misled by Tehran.
“This infatuation with the JCPOA derives from a misguided perception that by offering concessions, whether political or economic, the behavior of the regime would change. The exact opposite has happened,” he told Arab News.
Instead of changing, he said, Tehran “took the windfall from the JCPOA and cashed it at the bank. No amount of economic and political concession will result in any improvement in the situation of human rights in Iran.” Nor will it “incentivize Tehran to halt its malign activities in the region,” he added.
European nations have held out hope that Tehran could be trusted and that economic incentives would be enough to bring the rogue state back into the fold.
It is now time for a change of tact, said Dr. Shervan Fashandi, an Iranian-Canadian political analyst and board member for Iranian Americans for Liberty.
“We need to acknowledge that the deal is dead in all but name. The European powers insist on staying committed to a deal that has failed in achieving all its objectives,” he told Arab News.
“The sooner the Europeans face the reality of the failed deal and start pressuring the Islamic Republic to fundamentally change course, the higher the chance of achieving stability in the Middle East.”
He said Iran used the cash injection of the JCPOA’s sanctions relief to spread chaos across the region, sending funds and missiles to proxies in Lebanon, Yemen, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Tehran violated both “the terms and the spirit” of the JCPOA, he added.
This was possible, in part, because of European appeasement of Iran. Ceasing this course of action could be instrumental in ending Iran’s destabilizing behavior in the region, Fashandi said.
“The European trio officially abandoning the failed nuclear deal can send a strong and clear signal to the regime in Iran that time is up,” he added.
It would tell Tehran that “it needs to either fundamentally correct its behavior and act like a responsible member of the international community, or turn into a pariah state even further,” he said.
The JCPOA was agreed in 2015 between Iran, the US, China, Russia, Germany, France and the UK.
It provided Iran with sanctions relief in exchange for the curtailing of its nuclear program, and guaranteed international agencies access to nuclear sites in the country to verify their accordance with the deal.
But Iran has repeatedly denied IAEA inspectors access to certain nuclear sites, in violation of the terms of the JCPOA.
 


Pompeo says US to call UN vote on Iran arms embargo extension

Updated 4 min ago

Pompeo says US to call UN vote on Iran arms embargo extension

  • The resolution is widely expected to fail, as the other members of the Security Council have signaled their opposition
  • If the vote fails, Pompeo suggested the US would invoke the so-called “snapback” mechanism

WASHINGTON: The Trump administration will press ahead with efforts to extend a United Nations arms embargo on Iran despite widespread opposition to such a move at the world body, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday. The decision sets the stage for a potential crisis at the UN Security Council amid rising tensions in Middle East.
Pompeo said the US would call for a Security Council vote next week on a US-drafted resolution to extend the embargo that is due to expire in October. The resolution is widely expected to fail, as the other members of the Security Council have signaled their opposition.
“The Security Council’s mission is to maintain international peace and security," Pompeo told reporters. "The council would make an absolute mockery of that mission if it were to allow the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism to buy and sell weapons openly.”
If the vote fails, Pompeo suggested the US would invoke the so-called “snapback” mechanism that would restore all UN sanctions on Iran. Snapback was envisioned in the 2015 nuclear deal in the event Iran was proven to be in violation of the accord, under which it received billions of dollars in sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.
“One way or another we will ensure that the arms embargo will be extended,” he said. "We’re not going to let the arms embargo expire on October 18. We’re deeply aware that snapback is an option that is available to the United States.”
Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal in 2018 and has steadily reimposed US penalties on Iran, leading Iran to step up uranium enrichment and heavy water production outside the allowed limits. Disputes over those violations remain unresolved.
The remaining participants in the 2015 nuclear deal have said the US no longer has standing to invoke snapback. Administration officials and Iran hawks argue that as a permanent member of the Security Council, the US remains party to the separate UN resolution that endorsed the deal and still has the legal grounds to call for the reimposition of sanctions.
Under the nuclear deal, the UN arms embargo against Iran will expire Oct. 18 if Iran is in compliance with the agreement. For several months, Pompeo and other US officials have been lobbying for the indefinite extension of the embargo, saying its expiration would allow Iran to import weapons at will and further destabilize the Middle East.
The European participants in the nuclear deal, Britain, France and Germany, have said they have concerns about Iran's ability to import and export weapons but have also pointed out that it was envisioned by the agreement. China and Russia have threatened to veto any attempt to extend the embargo.
But a snapback of UN sanctions would not be subject to veto, due to the unusual way the provision was worded. The other members of the Security Council could, however, simply choose to ignore a US invocation of snapback, which would create a crisis of credibility in the UN's most powerful body.