Iran cannot be trusted to obey any nuclear agreement
Recent developments are pointing to the notion that an agreement on the Iran nuclear deal between Tehran and the P5+1 world powers (the US, Russia, China, the UK and France, plus Germany) is within reach.
With the expected revival of the 2015 nuclear deal, all major sanctions against the Iranian regime will likely be lifted. While the Biden administration is declining to disclose which sanctions it is intending to remove, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani surprisingly revealed on Saturday: “We’ve reached a point where the Americans and the Europeans are saying openly they have no choice but to lift sanctions and return to the (nuclear deal), and that almost all main sanctions have been lifted and talks continue on some details.”
In spite of the fact President Joe Biden previously stated he wants a stronger deal with Iran compared to the one reached in 2015, the upcoming renewal will likely be the same as the original Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The Iranian authorities have been clear they would not accept a different deal that might include curbs on its ballistic missile program or address its foreign policy in the Middle East. In addition, reaching a deal in such a short period of time suggests no new issues have been incorporated in the negotiations.
So it follows that the potential deal between Iran and the six world powers will include the previous sunset clauses, which set a firm expiration date for the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program, after which the country’s leaders will be free to spin centrifuges and enrich uranium to any level they desire. The potential deal will most likely once again make Iran’s military sites exempt from inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The resurrection of the nuclear deal will also allow the Iranian regime to rejoin the global financial system, giving it greater legitimacy — plus billions of dollars flowing into its treasury.
If a deal is reached quickly, what will the Iranian regime do with its nuclear program? Will it honor the terms of the deal? The regime will most likely continue its clandestine nuclear activities in spite of any deal due to the fact this is what the recent history of Iran has shown to the international community. If we recall, a year after the nuclear deal was originally signed, two credible and timely intelligence reports revealed that Iran had no intention of honoring its terms.
Firstly, Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, revealed in its annual report in 2016 that the Iranian government had pursued a “clandestine” path to obtain illicit nuclear technology and equipment from German companies “at what is, even by international standards, a quantitatively high level.” The report added that “it is safe to expect that Iran will continue its intensive procurement activities in Germany using clandestine methods to achieve its objectives.” Even German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticized Iran at the time and emphasized the significance of these findings.
Secondly, a detailed report by the Institute for Science and International Security appeared to shed more light on Iran’s covert nuclear activities. It stated: “The Institute for Science and International Security has learned that Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization recently made an attempt to purchase tons of controlled carbon fiber from a country. This attempt occurred after Implementation Day of the JCPOA… This attempt thus raises concerns over whether Iran intends to abide by its JCPOA commitments… The carbon fiber procurement attempt is also another example of efforts by the P5+1 to keep secret problematic Iranian actions.”
A year after the JCPOA was signed, two intelligence reports revealed that Iran had no intention of honoring its terms.
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh
In addition, the detection of radioactive particles in Turquzabad, where Israel accused Iran of operating a secret nuclear facility, and Iran’s continued reluctance to answer simple questions about the issue point to the fact that Tehran has most likely been violating the JCPOA ever since it came into effect. After all, Iran has a history of deceiving the IAEA by conducting clandestine nuclear activities, as it did in Arak, Natanz and Ferdow.
Finally, while the nuclear deal was in effect, the Iranian regime exceeded the amount of heavy water — which can be utilized for nuclear energy or for producing nuclear weapons — it was allowed to possess. Tehran agreed to keep its stockpile of heavy water at less than 130 metric tons, but the IAEA reported in 2016 that Iran had exceeded this threshold on more than one occasion. IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said at the time: “For the second time since implementation of the JCPOA began, Iran’s inventory of heavy water exceeded 130 metric (tons).”
In conclusion, if an agreement is reached, the Iranian regime will most likely continue pursuing its clandestine nuclear activities while simultaneously reaping the benefits of the deal.
- Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a Harvard-educated Iranian-American political scientist. Twitter: @Dr_Rafizadeh