The Propriety of the Iran Deal:
Position Paper For Colchester Synagogue Debate Of September 17, 2015
Israel’s Nuclear Weapons Program
Why is Iran – but not Israel -- suffering under international sanctions on account of its nuclear weapons program? From the perspective of International Law, the reason is that Israel’s nuclear weapons program is legal, while Iran’s is illegal. That is because Israel (like India and Pakistan) is not a signatory to -- and consequently has never violated -- the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, commonly known as the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT. In other words, Israel’s nuclear weapons program is every bit as legal as are the nuclear weapons programs of the US, Britain, France, Russia and China.
Past Iranian Duplicity
Iran, however, is a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The NPT permits a non-nuclear-weapon signatory nation, like Iran, to obtain dual-use nuclear technology from one or more nuclear-weapon signatory nations, like Russia, provided that the recipient nation (a) does not use that technology to develop nuclear weapons and (b) permits the International Atomic Energy Agency, commonly known as the IAEA, to confirm, via inspection of the recipient’s nuclear facilities -- all of which must be declared to the IAEA -- that the recipient is not attempting to develop nuclear weapons. Iran violated the NPT by building secret nuclear facilities, which it did not declare to the IAEA, in order to enrich uranium and create plutonium for the development of nuclear weapons.
Iran’s punishment for violating the NPT has been the imposition of international trade, banking and technology transfer sanctions, which took about 15 years to assemble. These sanctions have crippled Iran’s economy and have triggered domestic unrest, thereby forcing Iran to enter into negotiations over its illegal nuclear weapons program.
Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action
In October 2012, US President Barack Obama stated that the objective of the negotiations with Iran was to terminate and dismantle its illicit nuclear weapons program. Unfortunately, the United States subsequently abandoned that strategic objective; for, in July 2015, European Union countries Britain, France and Germany, plus the United States, Russia, and China (collectively known internationally as the “E3/EU+3” and in the United States as the “P5 & 1”) and Iran executed a Document entitled the “JOINT COMPREHENSIVE PLAN OF ACTION”, commonly known as the “JCPOA”. The purpose of this Document was to (a) return more than 100 billion dollars in Iranian assets frozen by the US government after the Islamic Revolution of 1979, (b) remove sanctions on Iran’s development of conventional weapons and ballistic missiles (including intercontinental ballistic missiles) after, respectively, 5 and 8 years, and (c) remove trade, banking and technology transfer sanctions (including dual-use nuclear technology transfer sanctions), all in exchange for the suspension and reduction – rather than the termination and dismantlement -- of Iran’s nuclear weapons program. This suspension and reduction period will expire in only 15 years – a mere moment in time when one is playing the long game.
It is noteworthy that this Document does not identify itself as an Agreement; instead, it calls itself a Plan Of Action, which implies that its provisions are voluntary rather than obligatory. In fact, the Plan Of Action repeatedly uses the word “voluntary” to describe prospective Iranian conduct thereunder. For example, the first sentence of the Plan Of Action’s Preamble, paragraph X, states:
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will be requested to monitor and verify the voluntary nuclear-related measures as detailed in this JCPOA.
Moreover, the introductory statement to the operative portion of the Plan Of Action states:
Iran and E3/EU+3 will take the following voluntary measures within the timeframe as detailed in this JCPOA and its Annexes
Farcically, the Plan Of Action’s Preamble, paragraph VI, states:
The E3/EU+3 and Iran reaffirm their commitment to the purposes and principles of the United Nations as set out in the UN Charter.
What are those purposes and principles?
Article 1 of the UN Charter begins:
The Purposes of the United Nations are: To maintain international peace and security …
Article 2, Paragraph 4, of the UN Charter states:
All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.
However, since the Plan Of Action has come into existence, Iran has publicly and repeatedly threatened to destroy Israel. Iran is also continuing to employ its own or proxy forces to dominate the governments of 4 other countries: Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen. Consequently, Iran is already violating that particular provision of the Plan Of Action.
Theological Basis For Deceiving Non-Muslims
In light of Iran’s decades’ long violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and Iran’s immediate disregard for the Plan Of Action, why should we trust Iran to honor any other provisions of the Plan Of Action? -- especially since Iran’s clerical leadership believes that it is ethically entitled to lie to the non-Muslim World. This is due to the Islamic doctrine of “Tekeyah”, which permits a Muslim to deceive a non-Muslim in pursuit of strategic objectives. The doctrine of “Tekeyah” is based upon the unimpeachable conduct of Mohammed, who, in 628 CE, when his forces were too weak to conquer Mecca, entered into a 10-year peace treaty, commonly known as the “Treaty of Hudaybiya”, with the Quraish tribe, which was the dominant tribe of the City -- only to breach the Treaty approximately 21 months later, when his forces had finally become strong enough to conquer Mecca. Almost 1400 years later, the doctrine of “Tekeyah” is still widely-accepted in the Muslim World. It is instructive to recall that, on May 10, 1994, after the Palestine Liberation Organization had already entered into the Oslo Accords with Israel, PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat declared to a questioning Muslim audience in Johannesburg, South Africa that the PLO’s agreement with the Zionist enemy was, in fact, Islamically permissible, because it was no different than Mohammed’s Treaty of Hudayibiya. More to the point, Hassan Rouhani, the current President of Iran and the former chief nuclear negotiator for Iran during 2003 - 2005, boasted in an interview conducted by Iran’s IRIB TV on May 27, 2013 that he had duplicitously used those earlier nuclear suspension negotiations as a cover to, instead, advance and expand Iran’s nuclear program, rhetorically asking his Iranian interviewer: "Do you know when heavy water was developed? Summer of 2004. Do you know when we developed yellowcake? Winter 2004. Do you know when the number of centrifuges reached 3,000? Winter 2004."
Given that Iran has violated the Non-Proliferation Treaty for decades, did not act in good faith during the 2003 – 2005 nuclear suspension negotiations, and is already violating the Plan Of Action’s pledge of allegiance to the UN Charter, it is a certainty that Iran will continue to violate the Plan Of Action in pursuit of nuclear weapons.
False Choice vs. Real Choice
This proves that the real choice confronting us was never -- as Obama has repeatedly claimed -- between approval of the deal and the initiation of War. After all, if President Obama were to now repudiate the Plan Of Action, who would go to War against Iran because of that repudiation? Obama? Certainly not. Netanyahu? Unlikely -- because it would be politically impossible, in the short term, for Israel to attack Iran in the event that the US actually heeded Israel’s pleas to repudiate the Plan Of Action. In fact, if anything, the Plan Of Action’s approval, rather than its repudiation, is much more likely to lead to an Israeli attack against Iran in order to prevent the latter from completing a nuclear device under cover of the Plan of Action.
So, what was the real choice confronting us? It was between an Iran continuing to pursue nuclear weapons under cover of the Plan of Action and an Iran continuing to pursue nuclear weapons without the Plan of Action.
Without the Plan of Action, Iran would have continued to pursue nuclear weapons while simultaneously suffering devastating trade, banking and technology transfer sanctions (at least those imposed by the United States and the UN Security Council, in which the US has veto power).
With the Plan of Action, Iran will continue to pursue nuclear weapons with more than 100 billion dollars in its pocket, while enjoying all of the benefits of the Plan Of Action, such as the ability to purchase dual-use nuclear technology, the ability to have its citizens study nuclear engineering in Western universities and the ability to purchase components for its conventional weapons program after 5 years and its ballistic missile program after 8 years and (even if it improbably adheres to the restrictions in the Plan of Action) the ability to assemble a nuclear device after 15 years.
Collateral Damage Caused By The Deal
But there is more. That 100 billion dollars will be used, in part, to fund Iran’s terror proxies around the World, thereby accelerating chaos and death in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Yemen – and, if Iran has its way, also in Israel. In particular, the wave of Syrian refugees now inundating an unprepared Western Europe will exponentially increase once that money is used to further fuel the killing machine of Iran’s client, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. And, of course, that money will also be used to fund the murder of Israelis and Americans, wherever they may be. That 100 billion dollar windfall to Iran should never have been made part of the deal; and that aspect of the deal should have been enough, in and of itself, to make the deal too toxic to approve.
And what about the deal’s effect on the continuing viability of the Non-Proliferation Treaty? Egypt is already talking to Russia about building a nuclear power facility, supposedly for electricity generation; and Saudi Arabia, which funded Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program, is already talking to Pakistan, supposedly for the same reason. After all, why shouldn’t these Sunni countries covertly violate the NPT in order to obtain nuclear weapons – just like Shite Iran has been doing? -- especially since they view Iran’s prospective bomb to be an existential threat to the Sunni Arab World.
In fact, we have actually seen this movie before. In 1993, North Korea, a non-nuclear-weapon member of the NPT, was caught violating the Treaty. In 1994, North Korea negotiated a cessation of its illicit nuclear weapons program with the United States (in exchange for food, fuel and two light-water nuclear reactors). In 2003, North Korea violated the cessation agreement and withdrew from the NPT. In 2006, North Korea tested its first illegal nuclear weapon. The time elapsed between North Korea’s exposure as a violator of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and its explosion of a nuclear bomb was only 13 years. Iran was paying attention, and it is following the same path. And the major players in the Sunni Arab World now feel that they have no choice but to do the same.
The Plan Of Action’s Preamble, paragraph XI, feebly attempts to address this issue, as follows:
All provisions and measures contained in this JCPOA are only for the purpose of its implementation between E3/EU+3 and Iran and should not be considered as setting precedents for any other state or for fundamental principles of international law and the rights and obligations under the NPT and other relevant instruments, as well as for internationally recognised principles and practices.
The foregoing provision is nothing less than an admission that the Plan Of Action provides Iran with rights and benefits that violate the Non-Proliferation Treaty and fundamental principles of international law. Moreover, if International Law is sacrosanct, then how do six nations (out of almost 200 in the World) have the power to excuse any country’s past violations and to authorize any country’s future violations of the NPT? And, by the same token, how does the UN Security Council, a supremely political agency, of whom five of Iran’s six interlocutors are permanent members – which agency subsequently endorsed the Plan of Action – similarly have the power to sanitize any country’s past and/or future violations of the NPT? This deal is, consequently, the death knell of the NPT.
What If Iran Cheats?
President Obama has repeatedly assured us that the US will know if Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons in violation of the Plan of Action. If only that were true. Of the 5 secret Iranian nuclear facilities that have, to date, been discovered (and there may be many more as yet undeclared and undiscovered nuclear facilities), only one undeclared facility was discovered by Western intelligence agencies – the Fordow facility in 2009. The other 4 undeclared facilities were discovered and publicized by an Iranian opposition organization, the Iranian National Council of Resistance – the Natanz and Arak facilities in 2002, the Ardakan facility in 2003 and the Lavizan-3 facility in February of this year. Consequently, it is far more likely that, despite the provisions of the Plan of Action, continuing Iranian duplicity will go undetected by either Western intelligence agencies or the International Atomic Energy Agency.
And even if a suspected undeclared nuclear facility comes to the attention of the IAEA, paragraphs 75 - 78 of Annex I to the Plan of Action create a dispute resolution procedure that delays any IAEA inspection of the suspected facility for 24 days. For those who dismiss the notion that Iran will be able to use this period of delay to remove definitive evidence of illicit nuclear activities prior to the IAEA’s inspection of the site, the case of the former Lavizan-Shian facility is instructive. In 2004, Iran razed what it described as a military research lab, located at Lavizan-Shian, in the process removing all of the rubble and replacing a huge amount of topsoil with new topsoil. The US representative to the IAEA claimed that Iran was thereby attempting to hide evidence of illicit nuclear activities at the site. The subsequent IAEA inspection of the site proved inconclusive.
And what about Obama’s oft-repeated claim that if Iran violates the deal, all of the pre-deal sanctions will automatically (quoting Obama’s phrase) “snap back” into place? If only that were true. Paragraphs 36 – 37 of the Plan Of Action create a convoluted framework for resolving disagreements over Iran’s voluntary compliance with the Plan of Action, starting with a referral to a committee called the “Joint Commission”. Absent resolution, the dispute would then be referred to an appellate committee called the “Ministers of Foreign Affairs”, with a simultaneous referral to a parallel appellate committee called the “Advisory Board”. Absent resolution in either appellate forum, the dispute would return to the Joint Commission for resolution. Absent success, the dispute would then be referred to the UN Security Council, where pre-deal sanctions could be re-imposed prospectively. This means that, with limited exceptions, contracts entered into with Iran or Iranian individuals or Iranian entities prior to the so-called “snapback” would not be terminated. Consequently, there is nothing automatic or comprehensive about the re-imposition of pre-deal sanctions.
In the context of hints by the United States that it might take military action against Iran for violating the Plan Of Action, there is only one question to be asked: In light of the fact that the United States has refused to bomb a sanction-weakened, non-nuclear Iran for illicitly developing nuclear weapons, does anyone seriously believe that the US will ever bomb an economically and militarily resurgent, nuclear Iran for that crime?
Concession From A Supporter Of The Deal
Even many supporters of the deal are afraid that it will unleash death and destruction upon much of the World. So, I want to leave you with the formal statement issued on September 3, 2015 by U.S. Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, a prominent supporter of the deal, in which he conceded the following serious flaws and risks:
“But this deal has clear flaws and substantial risks, beyond the obvious and disturbing short duration of its term. With this deal, we are legitimizing a vast and expanding nuclear program in Iran. We are in effect rewarding years of their deception, deceit and wanton disregard for international law by allowing them to potentially have a domestic nuclear enrichment program at levels beyond what is necessary for a peaceful civil nuclear program. ... Even under the deal, we should expect that Iran will cheat when it can, particularly at the margins; that it will continue or even ramp up its destabilizing activities and sponsorship of terrorism with the additional resources provided by increased sanctions relief; that it will seek to breakout if the opportunity presents itself after 15 years when specialized inspections fade and many limits on its nuclear program are lifted.”
© Mark Rosenblit
Note: Iran’s past malevolence includes its role in masterminding the mega terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 against New York City and the Pentagon plus the thwarted terror attack against the White House (commonly known as “9/11”). In fact Iran’s role, which was an active planning role, was much more integral to the success of 9/11 than was the Taliban’s role, which was a passive safe-haven role. Yet, in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, the United States overthrew the Taliban government on account of its minor involvement, but took no action against the Iranian government despite its major involvement. Moreover, the United States government has remained absolutely quiet about Iran’s involvement until this very Day, so much so that the American public has virtually no idea that Iran, and not only al-Qaeda, was responsible for 9/11. Otherwise, Iran’s prominent role in 9/11 would certainly have been highlighted during the recently-completed Congressional proceedings with respect to the propriety of the Iran nuclear deal, as well as in the related media coverage. Read on!
As I See It: Game-changer: Iran’s involvement with 9/11
By MELANIE PHILLIPS
The most remarkable aspect of this US surrender to Iran is that the Iranian regime is not some hypothetical threat.
(Jerusalem Post, September 17, 2015) Democrats in the US Senate this week
blocked a vote on the Iran deal for the third time.
The most remarkable aspect of this US surrender to Iran is that the Iranian regime is not some hypothetical threat. It has been perpetrating acts of war against Western interests for more than three decades – including playing a key role in the 9/11 attacks on America.
That’s not just my opinion. It’s the view of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. In a judgment that has received virtually no attention, federal Judge George B. Daniels found in December 2011 that Iran, with the participation of its Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was directly and heavily involved in the 9/11 atrocities.
This was previously suspected. The 9/11 Commission, having been presented with last-minute evidence from National Security Agency intercepts, found “strong evidence” that Iran had enabled al-Qaida members, including some of the future 9/11 hijackers, to travel in and out of Afghanistan before 9/11. In its 2004 report, it concluded: “We believe this topic requires further investigation by the US government.”
The US government didn’t take up the suggestion.
But some of the families of the 9/11 victims sought to enforce a measure of justice in the New York court against the atrocities’ perpetrators.
In 2011, Daniels agreed that Iran, Khamenei, former Iranian president Ali Rafsanjani, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, the Iranian Ministry of Information and Security (MOIS), Iran’s terrorist proxy Hezbollah and various Iranian government departments, government-owned companies and the central bank, had all provided direct and material aid and support to al-Qaida in carrying out the 9/11 attacks.
The judge ruled that these should all pay the 47 plaintiffs more than $7 billion in damages.
None paid up, causing another judge last year to order the seizure of a $500 million Manhattan tower block owned by Iran in order to distribute the property’s assets to the plaintiffs.
The ruling by Daniels upheld evidence from 10 experts, including three former 9/11 commission staff members, and sworn testimony from three Iranian defectors who had been operatives of the Revolutionary Guards and the MOIS.
One of these three, Abolghasem Mesbahi, who had been in charge of spying operations in western Europe, was said in the ruling to have testified in numerous prosecutions of Iranian and Hezbollah terrorists and to be “highly reliable and credible.”
Mesbahi’s evidence was incendiary. He had been part of a Revolutionary Guards-MOIS task force that designed contingency plans for unconventional warfare against the US.
These were aimed at breaking the American economy, crippling or disheartening the US, and disrupting the American social, military and political order – all without the risk of a head-to-head confrontation which Iran knew it would lose.
This group devised a scheme to crash hijacked Boeing 747s into the World Trade Center, the White House and the Pentagon.
The plan’s code name was “Shaitan dar Atash” (“Satan in flames”).
The four aircraft hijacked by the 9/11 terrorists were Boeing 757 and 767s. Due to US trade sanctions, Iran has never possessed Boeing 757 or 767 aircraft. In 2000, said Mesbahi, Iran used front companies to obtain a Boeing 757-767-777 flight simulator which it hid at a secret site and where Mesbahi believed the 9/11 terrorists were trained.
Falling out of favor with regime hardliners, Mesbahi went into hiding in Germany where he was placed on a witness protection program. He remained in touch with trusted Iranian friends who were helping protect his life. During the weeks before 9/11, Mesbahi received three coded messages from a source inside Iran’s government, indicating that Shaitan dar Atash had been activated.
He tried repeatedly to alert German security officials. They didn’t believe him.
The Daniels ruling also directly implicated Khamenei in the 9/11 plot. It stated that he formed a special intelligence apparatus under his direct control engaged in the planning, support and direction of terrorism. A May 14, 2001 memorandum from the overseer of this apparatus directly connected Iran to an impending major attack on the US.
To ensure Iran’s involvement was concealed, Khamenei instructed intelligence operatives that, while expanding collaboration between Hezbollah and al-Qaida, they must restrict communications to existing contacts with al-Qaida’s second-in-command Ayman al Zawahiri and Imad Mughniyeh – Hezbollah’s terrorism chief and agent of Iran, arguably the most formidable terrorist the world has ever seen until his 2008 assassination, and now revealed in this court ruling as a key organizer of the 9/11 attacks.
Despite the divide between Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims, the ruling notes that they are ruthlessly pragmatic in making short term alliances against common enemies. In the early 1990s, the Iranian regime and Sudan’s Sunni leader Hassan al Turabi opened a united Shi’ite-Sunni front against the US and the west. In 1993, Osama bin Laden and al Zawahiri met Mughniyeh and Iranian officials in Khartoum. It was Mughniyeh, the ruling agrees, who turned bin Laden into an accomplished terrorist.
Extensive cooperation in major global terrorist activities continued, including the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers housing complex in Saudi Arabia and the 1998 East Africa US embassy bombings. In 2000, the year in which al-Qaida was bombing the USS Cole, a US Defense Intelligence Agency analyst was alerting his superiors to a web of connections he had uncovered between al-Qaida, the Iranian intelligence agencies controlled by Khamenei and other terrorist groups.
And around that very same time, Iran was facilitating the movement of the 9/11 hijackers in and out of Afghanistan – described in the ruling as “a specific terrorist travel operation” with unstamped passports and safe passage to Hezbollah contacts.
Evidence to the court revealed that a “senior” Hezbollah operative who was known to have visited Saudi Arabia to coordinate activities there – and who was on the same November 2000 flight to Beirut as one of the 9/11 hijackers – was none other than Mughniyeh. It was he who organized the hijackers’ travel, obtained their passports and visas and oversaw the 9/11 operation’s security.
The ruling handed down in December 2011 should have been a game-changer. It is on the website of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York under “rulings of special interest.” Read it for yourself, and then wonder why no one in the US government has acknowledged it.
Every Democrat who is either supporting the Iran deal or refusing to allow Congress to even discuss it should publicly be held responsible by name for gifting $150 billion in unblocked revenue to the regime which played a key role in the 9/11 attacks on their country – and now threatens it openly with repeat attacks. And that includes the president of the United States.
Melanie Phillips is a columnist for The Times (UK).
Copyright © 2015 Jpost Inc. All rights reserved
Note: The court decision referenced in the foregoing article is entitled “In Re Terrorist Attacks On September 11, 2001” and was rendered in the lawsuit known as “Havlish vs. Bin Laden”, the text of which decision can be found here.
Note: In rank violation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action, Iran has been trying to illegally obtain nuclear technology from German companies. The fact that these attempts were (mostly) thwarted does not render Iran compliant with the Plan of Action. Read on!
(Jerusalem Post, July 9, 2016) BERLIN – Iran’s proliferation activities
span eight German states and involve a range of activities to advance its
chemical and biological warfare capabilities, as well as its nuclear and
Copyright © 2016 Jpost Inc. All rights reserved
A Year After the JCPoA: An Interim Report on the Nuclear Deal with Iran
By Col. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman
BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 350, July 14, 2016
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: A year after it was finalized, the nuclear deal with Iran
has clearly made the region and the world more dangerous, notwithstanding
the temporary respite won in Iran's pursuit of a nuclear weapon. The Obama
administration's advocacy of warmer relations with Tehran appears totally
removed from realities on the ground. Iran is using its new legal position
to obscure, rather than clarify, past activities and present inventories;
work on ballistic missiles and on the acquisition of materials for Iran's
non-conventional weapons arsenal continues apace; repression has worsened;
regional subversion is at its peak; and exterminatory positions towards
Israel are openly put forward. The JCPoA has in no way moderated Iran's
stance, nor made it a legitimate member of the community of nations.
A year to the day after the "Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action" (JCPoA),
better known as the Iran nuclear deal, was finalized in Vienna (and nearly
six months after "implementation day", 18 January 2016), the argument over
the deal’s value and utility remains far from settled. Vocal supporters –
such as editorial writers at The New York Times, and, presumably, the
administration sources who helped feed them their lines – now advocate for
further conciliatory gestures, the drastic removal of sanctions, and
normalized relations (exemplified by the Boeing sales). Their object is to
strengthen Iranian "moderates" against their rivals and keep the promise of
the JCPoA alive. The alleged views of former Israeli officials are even
produced to make this case.
Recent indicators belie these advocates’ rosy view. Take, for example, the
brutal and exterminatory speech by Deputy Commander of the Iranian
Revolutionary Guard Corps, Hossein Salami, on 1 July, excitedly informing
his massed audience that 100,000 rockets and missiles in Lebanon (and tens
of thousands elsewhere) are ready to wipe out the "accursed black dot",
Israel. Consider, too, the revelations in Germany about illicit Iranian
acquisition efforts for their non-conventional weapons arsenal.
One might be excused for believing that some in New York and Washington live
in a parallel universe, populated by moderate and well-meaning Iranians,
whose only wish is to fly about comfortably as they seek their place in the
community of nations. For many in our region, and Israel is far from alone
in this respect, such delusional interpretations of reality are downright
Silence can be misleading. The absence of ongoing overt opposition to the
deal by Israeli government officials should not be misconstrued as a sign of
complacency. Nor should the points raised by former officials and leaders –
challenging Prime Minister Netanyahu's priorities and decrying what they
describe as his alarmist style – be read as signs of acceptance of Obama's
arguments in favor of the deal. The government has simply shifted gears,
because there is no point in fighting a lost battle – at least until January
Other critics of the government, meanwhile, believe that because the JCPoA
(as almost everyone is willing to acknowledge) has given us a few years’
breathing space, Israel should turn her energies to other issues,
particularly those concerning the Palestinians. None of these views should
be interpreted, however, as having reversed the broadly held belief that the
JCPoA was, and is, a bad deal – and certainly far worse than what could have
been achieved, given the immense levers the P5+1 were in a position to use
at the time.
It is true that most of Iran's stockpile of enriched uranium has been
shipped out, many of its centrifuges mothballed, and the Arak reactor
disabled. A genuine respite has been achieved, which can still be put to
good use with proper planning. But in almost every respect, the balance
sheet is worrying – not only in terms of realities on the ground, but in
terms of what we are retroactively learning about both the veracity and the
wisdom of confident American claims in support of the "new era" of relations
with Tehran. The US administration made these claims a year ago and has
reiterated them in recent weeks.
To begin with, the first and second quarterly reports by the IAEA on Iranian
compliance have left serious questions unanswered, indicating (among other
things) gaps in interpretation on what needs to be disclosed about Iran's
existing stockpiles. As Director General Yukiya Amano explained in March,
after the first report came out, Security Council Resolution 2231 – which
endorsed the JCPoA – removed previous reporting requirements and reduced,
rather than increased, the level of transparency. That is hardly a promising
start towards "blocking all of Iran's paths" to the Bomb, as the US
administration has claimed the deal does.
Moreover, the Iranian regime – "moderates" and hardliners alike – has now
insolently rejected all Security Council resolutions requiring an end to its
ballistic missile program, raising serious questions about the program’s
ultimate purpose. A long-range ballistic missile is a bizarre choice with
which to bring a conventional high explosives payload to a target. It is
likely that the Iranians are already laying the foundations for a military
nuclear arsenal, once they are free of their present limitations.
As for internal repression, even steadfast supporters of the JCPoA now admit
(as did the German Ambassador in Israel last month at the INSS) that things
have been going from bad to worse. Precisely because the deal gave rise to
hopes of liberalization, the Supreme Leader and the IRGC moved brutally to
suppress any sign of "cultural invasion" and any relaxation in the patterns
of repression. Attacks on relative reformists like Rafsanjani grew sharper,
executions and arrests are on the rise, and the leader's line is being
Subversion across the region – with Iran already in control in Lebanon,
Syria (jointly with Russia), much of Yemen and parts of Iraq – continues to
be a major cause of concern. Iran's ambition to overthrow the existing
order, both locally and globally, have only become more pronounced, with
Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain singled out for threats and abuse. The
humiliation meted out to US servicemen in the Gulf was more than simply an
arrogant act of defiance: it was a signal to the small Gulf countries that
their traditional reliance on the US may have been misplaced.
When it comes to Israel, the level of virulence is on the rise. This may be
a product of heated competition for regional hegemony; it may even be a
deliberate attempt to conceal the fact that neither Hezbollah nor Iran has
done anything active against Israel in years. But from an Israeli
perspective, given our history, exterminatory declarations cannot be
dismissed as irrelevant. The half-hearted international reaction to Salami's
words – and to the abomination of the "caricature competition on the theme
of the Holocaust" earlier this year – adds to the sense of anger and dismay.
It is true that, as US Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes (the man
who masterminded the marketing of the deal to the American public) asserted
in mid-June, the JCPoA was never meant to resolve any issue other than the
nuclear program. But the administration is well aware of Iran's "support for
terrorist organizations like Hezbollah, or its threats towards Israel". One
might have expected that the president and his secretary of state would
maximize their remaining leverage on Iran to bring these practices to an
end. What they are doing instead – in looking for ways to enable Iran to
access dollars, among other things – is the opposite of what their own
language would have led us (or Iran) to believe.
Col. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman is a senior research associate at the BESA
Center, and former deputy for foreign policy and international affairs at
the National Security Council. He is also a member of the faculty at Shalem
BESA Center Perspectives Papers are published through the generosity of the
Greg Rosshandler Family
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Landau: Secret Iran documents underline a ‘very serious’ problem
No senior members of the Obama administration have challenged the veracity of the report, or the existence of the secret document, seeking instead to promote their own interpretation of it.
By YAAKOV LAPPIN
(Jerusalem Post, July 20, 2016) A recent report on the Iran nuclear deal sheds light on a highly problematic aspect of the agreement, namely, that the Islamic Republic has been authorized to upgrade its uranium enrichment abilities, a senior Israeli arms expert warned on Tuesday.
Emily Landau, head of the Arms Control and Regional Security Program at the Tel Aviv-based Institute for National Security Studies, told The Jerusalem Post that a report by the Associated Press that was published on Monday, underlined “a big concern – that Iran is allowed to work on research and development of a full range of advanced centrifuge models.”
According to the report, a confidential add-on agreement linked to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA], spells out Iranian plans to develop and install a range of new enrichment machines after the first ten years of the agreement pass.
In 2027, according to the report, Iran will start replacing its older centrifuges with thousands – between 2500 and 3000 – of advanced, faster centrifuges, allowing it to enrich uranium at twice the current speed.
That would reduce Iran’s breakout time from a year to six months, even though Iran will still be limited to possessing 300 kilograms of low enriched uranium for the first 15 years of the JCPOA, the report said.
After the 15-year-mark, that limitation too will be lifted.
Landau said even before the report’s publication, it was clear that Iran could work on developing and installing advanced centrifuges, including the IR-8 machine, which is the most advanced type that the Iranians are working on. IR-8 systems enrich uranium many times faster than the first-generation centrifuges in Iran’s possession.
“The fact that the Iranians are allowed to work on research and development is something I found to be a major source of concern. This did not get up played in the debate over the deal, but the implications of this are very serious,” Landau said.
“After testing, they can install these centrifuges once ten years pass,” she added.
The AP report has filled in a blank on how many new centrifuges can be installed by Iran.
“The difference between Iran saying that it plans to develop new centrifuges, and the revelation of a document that says the P5+1 countries agreed to so many centrifuges being installed, is substantial,” she added.
“The very fact that the JCPOA enables this, on a whole range of centrifuges, is problematic. It just proves that Iran’s enrichment program has been totally legitimized by this deal.”
Landau noted that no senior members of the Obama administration have challenged the veracity of the report, or the existence of the secret document, seeking instead to promote their own interpretation of it.
Copyright © 2016 Jpost Inc. All rights reserved
[Note: The United States and its negotiating partners were “forced” to grant Iran secret exemptions from the compliance requirements of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in order to save Iran from being in violation of the deal. Read on!]
Exclusive: U.S., others agreed to 'secret' exemptions for Iran after nuclear deal - report
By Jonathan Landay | WASHINGTON
(Reuters, September 1, 2016) The United States and its negotiating partners agreed "in secret" to allow Iran to evade some restrictions in last year's landmark nuclear agreement in order to meet the deadline for it to start getting relief from economic sanctions, according to a report reviewed by Reuters.
The report is to be published on Thursday by the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security, said the think tank’s president David Albright, a former U.N. weapons inspector and co-author of the report. It is based on information provided by several officials of governments involved in the negotiations, who Albright declined to identify.
Reuters could not independently verify the report's assertions.
"The exemptions or loopholes are happening in secret, and it appears that they favor Iran," Albright said.
Among the exemptions were two that allowed Iran to exceed the deal's limits on how much low-enriched uranium (LEU) it can keep in its nuclear facilities, the report said. LEU can be purified into highly enriched, weapons-grade uranium.
The exemptions, the report said, were approved by the joint commission the deal created to oversee implementation of the accord. The commission is comprised of the United States and its negotiating partners -- called the P5+1 -- and Iran.
One senior "knowledgeable" official was cited by the report as saying that if the joint commission had not acted to create these exemptions, some of Iran’s nuclear facilities would not have been in compliance with the deal by Jan. 16, the deadline for the beginning of the lifting of sanctions.
The U.S. administration has said that the world powers that negotiated the accord -- the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany -- made no secret arrangements.
A White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the joint commission and its role were "not secret." He did not address the report's assertions of exemptions.
Diplomats at the United Nations for the other P5+1 countries did not respond to Reuters' requests for comment on the report.
The report's assertions are likely to anger critics of the nuclear deal. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has vowed to renegotiate the agreement if he's elected, while Democrat Hillary Clinton supports the accord.
Albright said the exceptions risked setting precedents that Iran could use to seek additional waivers.
Albright served as an inspector with the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team that investigated former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's nuclear weapons program.
While Albright has neither endorsed nor denounced the overall agreement, he has expressed concern over what he considers potential flaws in the nuclear deal, including the expiration of key limitations on Iran's nuclear work in 10-15 years.
EXEMPTIONS ON URANIUM, "HOT CELLS"
The administration of President Barack Obama informed Congress of the exemptions on Jan. 16, said the report. Albright said the exemptions, which have not been made public, were detailed in confidential documents sent to Capitol Hill that day -- after the exemptions had already been granted.
The White House official said the administration had briefed Congress "frequently and comprehensively" on the joint commission's work.
Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, a leading critic of the Iran deal and a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told Reuters in an email: "I was not aware nor did I receive any briefing (on the exemptions).”
As part of the concessions that allowed Iran to exceed uranium limits, the joint commission agreed to exempt unknown quantities of 3.5 percent LEU contained in liquid, solid and sludge wastes stored at Iranian nuclear facilities, according to the report. The agreement restricts Iran to stockpiling only 300 kg of 3.5 percent LEU.
The commission approved a second exemption for an unknown quantity of near 20 percent LEU in "lab contaminant" that was determined to be unrecoverable, the report said. The nuclear agreement requires Iran to fabricate all such LEU into research reactor fuel.
If the total amount of excess LEU Iran possesses is unknown, it is impossible to know how much weapons-grade uranium it could yield, experts said.
The draft report said the joint commission also agreed to allow Iran to keep operating 19 radiation containment chambers larger than the accord set. These so-called "hot cells" are used for handling radioactive material but can be "misused for secret, mostly small-scale plutonium separation efforts," said the report. Plutonium is another nuclear weapons fuel.
The deal allowed Iran to meet a 130-tonne limit on heavy water produced at its Arak facility by selling its excess stock on the open market. But with no buyer available, the joint commission helped Tehran meet the sanctions relief deadline by allowing it to send 50 tonnes of the material -- which can be used in nuclear weapons production -- to Oman, where it was stored under Iranian control, the report said.
The shipment to Oman of the heavy water that can be used in nuclear weapons production has already been reported. Albright's report made the new assertion that the joint committee had approved this concession.
(Reporting by Jonathan Landay; editing by John Walcott and Stuart Grudgings)
© 2016 Reuters. All Rights Reserved.
Column One: Obama’s greatest achievement
By CAROLINE B. GLICK
On August 4, during the course of a press conference, Obama gave his interim assessment of his nuclear agreement with Iran. “It worked,” he insisted.
(Jerusalem Post, September 1, 2016)
The time for complaining about President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran
has passed. The time has come to overcome the damage enormous damage his
signature foreign policy accomplishment has caused.
To understand why this is the case, it is important to understand the breadth and depth of Obama’s failure.
On August 4, during the course of a press conference, Obama gave his interim assessment of his nuclear agreement with Iran.
“It worked,” he insisted.
A year after the deal was signed, Obama argued, events have proven that he was right and the deal’s critics were wrong.
“You’ll recall that there were all these horror stories about how Iran was going to cheat and this wasn’t going to work and Iran was going to get $150 billion to finance terrorism and all these kinds of scenarios, and none of them have come to pass,” he proclaimed.
Obama then snidely swiped at the deal’s opponents saying that it would be “impressive” if the people who criticized the deal would own up to their mistakes and admit that it worked.
As it works out, everything that Obama said about the deal with Iran during his press conference was a lie.
Some of his lies became apparent within hours.
For instance, Obama falsely claimed that Israel now “acknowledges this has been a game changer and Iran has abided by the deal and they no longer have the sort of short-term breakout capacity that would allow them to develop nuclear weapons.”
Hours later, the Defense Ministry issued a stinging rebuke of Obama’s claim, parroted more diplomatically by the Prime Minister’s Office.
Obama’s press conference took place the day after The Wall Street Journal reported that in January 2016, the US sent an unmarked plane to the Tehran airport filled with $400 million in cash, on the same day Iran released four US hostages.
Obama angrily rejected allegations that the cash payment was a ransom payment for the hostages’ release. He insisted that the US had made the payment as the first installment of a $1.7b. payment the administration made to settle an Iranian government lawsuit against America.
Obama claimed that the administration agreed to the settlement at the urging of the Justice Department.
He said his administration was able to settle the dispute only due to the nuclear deal which placed US officials in direct contact with their Iranian counterparts for the first time in decades.
Within a day, Obama’s claims were exposed as lies. It turns out that Justice Department lawyers opposed the cash payout to Iran.
One of the hostages released in January told the media that the Iranians refused to allow the hostages to leave Iran until the airplane with the cash landed in the airport.
The Iranians, for their part, contemptuously mocked Obama, and stated openly that the $400m.
was a ransom payment for the hostages.
Two weeks later, Obama’s State Department admitted that the $400m. was a payment for the hostages.
Obama’s principle claim is that due to his deal, Iran no longer has a short-term nuclear breakout capacity. He also says that in accordance with the deal, Iran has shipped its nuclear materials out of the country. These claims are both untrue and misleading.
On Thursday Reuters reported that Iran did not ship the quantities of low-enriched uranium out of the country in the quantities the deal required.
Last January, when the deadline arrived for Iran to comply with the deal’s clauses calling for it to move its uranium enriched to 3.5 percent and 20 percent out of the country and so enable the US and its European colleagues to cancel UN sanctions against it, it worked out that Iran had failed to comply.
Rather than acknowledge Iran’s failure and maintain the sanctions in accordance with their deal, the Americans and Europeans decided to move the goalpost closer to Iran.
They secretly decreased the amount of uranium the Iranians were required to part with. They then announced triumphantly that they were canceling UN sanctions because Iran had complied with the agreement.
Reuters reported that much of the low-enriched uranium Iran did remove from its territory wasn’t actually removed from its possession. Instead it was transferred to neighboring Oman, where it is held under Iranian guard and control.
Obama of course knows all of this. So his claims that the agreement “worked” are nothing more than a card trick meant to trick the American public.
Obama’s assertion that Iran’s breakout time to a nuclear arsenal has been slowed as a result of his deal is similarly a stretch of the imagination. The Iranians have suspended much of their prior centrifuge spinning. But that is only because they are now directing their efforts to developing and deploying more advanced centrifuges that will be able to enrich uranium to bomb grade material far more rapidly than the centrifuges they were required to retire.
Experts have already placed Iran’s post-deal nuclear breakout time at a mere six months. And Iran can leave the agreement – which it never actually signed or officially agreed to – anytime it wants.
While developing their next generation centrifuges, the Iranians are expanding the range and precision of their ballistic missiles, deploying them and increasing the size of their arsenals. Despite the fact that these actions are prohibited under US law and breach what was initially claimed about the ever-changing nuclear deal, the Obama administration has refused to impose sanctions against Iran, insisting that its actions merely breach the spirit, rather than substance, of the deal.
The administration has had a similar response to Iran’s recent deployment of Russia’s S-300 missile defense battery around its military nuclear site at Fordo. On Sunday Iranian television showed footage of the missiles being set up around the formerly secret site.
As Omri Ceren of the Israel Project noted this week, Iran’s deployment of the S-300 system places it in breach of three US sanctions laws. Despite this, the White House announced on Wednesday that it has no intention of enforcing US law and applying sanctions on Iran. The S-300 missiles can be used both as a defensive system and as an offensive one.
On Tuesday, Tehran announced that it will be launching three satellites in the coming months.
Satellite launches are widely viewed as a means through which Iran is covertly developing a longrange ballistic missile capability. Rather than censure Iran for its actions, the Obama administration insists that such actions, as well as Iran’s recent longrange rocket tests, do not violate the nuclear deal or warrant US action.
Taken separately and together, Iran’s actions since the nuclear deal was officially concluded make clear that it continues to pursue its nuclear program, and indeed, has become more brazen in its nuclear operations than it was before the agreement was announced last year.
In other words, not only has the deal not worked, contrary to Obama’s claims, it has been a colossal failure on every level. The deal’s opponents were entirely right about the dangers it posed and Obama was entirely wrong.
This is true as well in relation to the administration’s qualified promises that the deal would lead to better relations between the US and Iran. As Shoshana and Stephen Bryen noted last week following the Iranian naval assault on the USS Nitze in the Strait of Hormuz, with its repeated harassment of US naval ships traversing the Strait of Hormuz, Iran is clearly practicing its tactic of swarming US naval craft as a preparation for a real strike against them.
The main reason that Iran’s nuclear program is such a grave concern for Israel and for other Middle Eastern states is that the Iranian regime has hegemonic ambitions. It seeks to destroy Israel and dominate the entire region.
Since it concluded the deal with Washington, Iran has surged its forces and massively expanded its power projection throughout the region.
On Thursday the Daily Mail reported that the commonly held belief that Iran commands 16,000 troops in Syria is wrong. According to the National Council of Resistance in Iran, the regime actually commands 60,000 forces in Syria, deployed throughout the country. The entire Syrian army today numbers a mere 50,000 men.
On August 4, Obama mocked claims that Iran would spend its windfall profits of $100b.-$150b.
from the sanctions relief the nuclear deal offered to fund terrorism. Yet, according to the Daily Mail report, to date Iran has spent $100b. on the war in Syria.
The implications of the report are blood curdling.
They mean that despite Obama’s denials, the funds Iran has received as a result of the sanctions relief he brought about through his nuclear deal have paid for Iran’s war in Syria. That war has caused the death of nearly half a million people and forced more than 11 million people to flee their homes.
Obviously, it is important for Americans to know the truth about the Iran deal and its consequences as they consider their votes for Obama’s replacement.
One of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s top candidates for secretary of state is Wendy Sherman.
Sherman was the chief negotiator of Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.
For Israel, the question of what to do about Iran now is far more urgent than it is for Americans.
Today more and more commentators are voicing concern over the prospect that Obama will support an anti-Israel resolution at the UN Security Council as a parting shot at Israel.
But any such resolution will be small potatoes in comparison to the strategic devastation his nuclear deal, which is his main foreign policy legacy, has caused.
The rapidity of Iran’s advance makes clear that there is no justification for waiting to act until Obama has left office. If it doesn’t act soon, Israel is on the fast track to waking up one morning and discovering it has no means of thwarting the threat.
Indeed, with each passing month, its options for action become more and more limited.
After Israel’s security leadership undermined Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to attack Iran’s nuclear installations in 2010 and 2012, Netanyahu settled on a strategy of blocking Obama’s moves to appease Tehran.
That strategy of course failed last summer. Since then, Netanyahu has worked to build an anti-Iranian alliance with the Sunni Arab states. His efforts in this area have clearly met with some measure of success, as witnessed by public statements from prominent Saudis and others.
Whatever that success may be, and whatever the status of that burgeoning alliance of spurned US allies, the fact is that it’s time Israel and its new allies do something more than send signals. Time is a-wasting.
Last spring Brig.-Gen. Hossein Salami, the deputy commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, said, “Today the grounds for the annihilation and collapse of the Zionist regime are more present than ever before.”
Thanks to Obama, he may be right.
It is time for Israel to make him eat his words.
Copyright © 2016 Jpost Inc. All rights reserved
[Note: Under JCPOA, a nuclear Iran is inevitable. Read on!]
D Minus Seven Years, and Counting
INSS Insight No. 852, September 11, 2016
SUMMARY: The most important reservation regarding the JCPOA is the high
probability that after ten years, Iran will proceed with the production of
highly enriched uranium, and thus will have the capability to produce
nuclear weapons almost at will, with a breakout time reduced to two months,
if not less. Thus, the JCPOA is a setback for Iran, albeit probably
temporary. The deferment of the issue for ten years or less is minor in the
historical timescale. Iran knows how to be patient. There should be little
doubt that unless something dramatic changes in the Iranian regime or its
policies, it will seek this nuclear capability. Thus the euphoric greeting
of the JCPOA by at least some world leaders has eclipsed the fact that this
joy may be short-lived. The present atmosphere of focusing only on having
avoided the nuclear crisis is not conducive to almost any preventive action
regarding the potential scenario of an Iranian breakout after 10-15 years.
Under these circumstances, when the countdown ends we will most likely find
ourselves facing a nuclear Iran.
The general assumption that underlay the conclusion of the Joint
Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between the P5+1 and Iran in July 2015
was that Iran would fulfill its part in the deal, at least for the first few
years. It was not easy to persuade the US political establishment on this
point, since the plan features loopholes and problems. However, the major
selling point was President Obama's insistence that the JCPOA extends the
Iranian "breakout time" – the time it would take for Iran to produce the
first batch of fissile material, the essential component for a nuclear
explosive device - from two months to one year. Yet despite this
achievement, the main problem with the JCPOA is its "sunset provision,"
limiting its effectiveness to preset timelines.
The following discussion analyzes what could happen once this sunset period
is reached. It does not consider the Iranian plutonium production route,
since this is a long term project with present breakout times measurable in
years. It also does not deal with the research and development (R&D) of the
nuclear explosive mechanisms, which is prohibited but not monitored
regularly by the IAEA, or with the weapons' delivery systems that are not
part of the JCPOA - and both may well be continuing. The focus here is on
the uranium enrichment route to a nuclear weapons capability, which is the
critical path within Iran's nuclear project.
According to the JCPOA-imposed timelines for the enrichment project:
- R&D on two centrifuges of each type of the permitted seven gas
centrifuge types can proceed immediately. The JCPOA does not stipulate that
the R&D must be carried out on the same machines. Thus, a centrifuge can be
tested and the design improved, and then be removed and scrapped, and a
newer version of the same type can then be installed and tested. Mechanical
testing of the machines, without the introduction of uranium, can proceed at
both Natanz and Tehran.
- During the eighth year following "implementation day" (in January
2016), Iran will be permitted to install, test, and enrich, using 30 units
each of the more advanced IR-6 and IR-8 types.
- Iran will be required to revert the products of the enrichment process
to a natural uranium status for an additional two years, thus nullifying the
- Between years ten and fifteen, Iran will be permitted to enrich as much
uranium as it wants, as long as the enrichment levels remain below 3.67
percent, suitable for use in power reactors.
- After fifteen years, there will be no limitations on the amounts,
locations, and enrichment levels produced by Iran.
Consequently, there is ongoing Iranian R&D on seven advanced types of gas
centrifuge uranium enrichment machines, capable of much more efficient
enrichment than the present, almost obsolete, IR-1 model, which can go on
enriching, with limitations on the amounts of the enrichment production.
Thus, in the not too distant future, Iran will presumably have working
models of several designs, with a maximum enrichment efficiency ten-fold or
more than the present model. The installation of cascades (the setup and
interconnections of the many centrifuges necessary for the enrichment
process) is prohibited, and the machines cannot be installed at Natanz (the
large Iranian enrichment facility) for at least eight years, and then, at a
low rate, for two more years.
All these JCPOA timelines mean that if Iran abides by the agreement to the
letter, by the eighth year, if not before, Iran can have perfected one or
more centrifuge models capable of high rates of enrichment. Iran would be in
a situation in which it had already prepared the capacity to produce as many
centrifuges as it wants and at the rate of production it chooses, even if
not actually producing these before the eighth year. By year ten Iran's
breakout time will already have been reduced considerably; and by year
fifteen Iran is officially permitted to do all it wants, including
significant amounts of enrichment to military levels (around 90 percent).
The breakout times will then be measured by weeks, not months, assuming its
activities in R&D of the nuclear explosive mechanisms were not exposed.
Standing between Iran's capabilities and the application of these
capabilities are Iran's formal obligations under the NPT and the JCPOA, the
IAEA's verification mechanism, and the ability to make challenge inspections
to undeclared installations based on intelligence information.
The catch is the assumption that Iran will continue to abide by its
commitments to the JCPOA, and here the problem is twofold. The first issue
is that Iran has already sought technologies and technical procurement. The
second, more important issue is that preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear
weapons cannot be based only on trust. Iran has in the past disregarded its
obligations under the NPT; it has also disregarded Security Council demands
concerning R&D, including testing, of its missile program. Had there been
trust in Iran's abiding by its international commitments, there would have
been no need for the "unprecedented" verification mechanism embedded in the
JCPOA. And while this verification system has been hailed as the best ever,
it is still not foolproof. Its two main faults are that it cannot search for
undeclared sites - that depends on the availability of intelligence that is
never perfect - and it has no power to inspect Iran's R&D work on the
But the most important issue is the high probability that after ten years,
Iran will proceed with the production of highly enriched uranium, and thus
will have the capability to produce nuclear weapons almost at will, with a
breakout time reduced to two months, if not less. Thus, the JCPOA is a
setback for Iran, albeit probably temporary. The deferment of the issue for
ten years or less is minor in the historical timescale. Iran knows how to be
patient. There should be little doubt that unless something dramatic changes
in the Iranian regime or its policies, it will seek this nuclear capability.
The euphoric greeting of the JCPOA by at least some world leaders eclipsed
the fact that this joy may be short-lived. However, if the international
community truly wishes to prevent Iran from achieving its nuclear ambitions,
the approach of the IAEA Board of Governors to the issue should change. At
the very least, Iran should be condemned for its past activities in the
nuclear realm. The present atmosphere of focusing only on having avoided the
nuclear crisis is not conducive to almost any preventive action regarding
the potential scenario of an Iranian breakout after 10-15 years. Under these
circumstances, when the countdown ends we will most likely find ourselves
facing a nuclear Iran.
IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis
Since 1992 providing news and analysis on the Middle East with a focus on Arab-Israeli relations
[Note: As the below author persuasively argues, the Iran deal was merely a bribery mechanism by which Europe fecklessly attempted to purchase Iranian restraint for 15 years. Read on!]
Column One: Europe beats Iran’s war drums
By CAROLINE B. GLICK
Last Saturday, Iran’s “moderate” President Hassan Rouhani called
Israel “a cancerous tumor” in a speech at the regime’s annual Islamic Unity
Rouhani’s fellow speakers included deputy Hezbollah chief Naim Qassem and Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh. Both terror bosses called for the destruction of the “cancerous tumor.”
With the predictability of a Swiss clock, the Europeans rushed to condemn Rouhani. The EU in Brussels condemned Rouhani. The German Foreign Ministry condemned Rouhani. And so on and so forth.
We could have done without their statements.
Just two days after Rouhani’s Jewish cancer speech, his representatives sat down with senior EU officials in Brussels to discuss Iranian-EU nuclear cooperation in the framework of the 2015 nuclear deal. Following the talks, EU Foreign Affairs Chief Federica Mogherini’s office put out a statement claiming that the sides “expressed their determination to preserve the nuclear agreement as... a key pillar for European and regional security.”
As Mogherini and her colleagues were sitting with the Iranians, the Wall Street Journal reported that the French and German governments have agreed to set up a back channel, in the form of a joint corporation, owned by European governments, whose job will be to arrange for payments for Iranian exports in a manner that bypasses and so undermines US financial and trade sanctions on Iran.
How are we to understand Europe’s behavior? What is possessing Germany and France and Brussels and even Britain, (which is reportedly considering joining the Germans and French in their sanctions-busting operations) to stand with Iran against the US?
It isn’t because Iran has proved its good intentions to them. To the contrary, over the past six months, Iran has plotted three terror attacks in Europe. In June, Iranian operatives murdered a regime opponent in Holland. In July, Belgian authorities prevented an Iranian plot to attack a regime opposition rally in Paris. And in October, Danish authorities intercepted an Iranian terror squad en route to assassinate the head of an organization of Ahwaz Arabs, Iran’s Arab minority that suffers from harsh repression at the hands of the regime.
These terror plots are not the only way that Iran is working to threaten European security even as European leaders endanger their ties with the US to enrich Tehran. Ahead of his meeting with the Europeans in Brussels on Monday, Ali Akhbar Salehi, the head of Iran’s nuclear agency, warned that if Europeans choose to comply with US sanctions and stop purchasing Iranian oil, Iran will ditch the nuclear deal and restore its activities to enrich uranium to 20% purity, something Iran purportedly suspended in the framework of the 2015 nuclear deal.
Salehi told Reuters, “It is very easy for us to go back to what we were before – even to a better position. We can start the 20% enrichment activity. We can increase the amount of enriched uranium.”
Maybe the Europeans are working to undermine US sanctions and save the Iranian economy because they are afraid of the Iranians. But since Europe’s intense efforts to appease Iran have been met with continued Iranian terrorism, it is irrational to think that repeating this failed policy will protect them in the future.
As Brian Hook, the US State Department’s Iran policy chief put it to reporters when the Denmark terror plot was revealed, “It is very strange to us to see this Iranian regime would spend so much time trying to keep the Europeans on its side, while at the same time conducting bomb plots and assassination attempts in Europe.”
It’s possible that the Europeans are motivated to work on behalf of Iran against the US by an uncontrollable hatred of US President Donald Trump. Speaking to Britain’s Independent, a senior European diplomat said that the Europeans are empowering Iran so that Trump won’t be able to get the satisfaction of seeing them agree with him that Iran is a threat.
In his words, “We want to play it smartly so that Trump doesn’t say, ‘See, I told you these weak Europeans will eventually understand the real nature of Iran.’”
In other words, according to the quoted diplomat, the Europeans would rather shut their eyes to the reality of Iran’s aggression and empower the terror sponsoring ayatollahs than acknowledge that Trump is right and that Iran poses to danger to Europe that mustn’t be countenanced. And indeed, while the Danes initially recalled their ambassador from Tehran and called on the EU to impose sanctions against Iran in retaliation for the terror plot in Copenhagen, within weeks, the Danish ambassador was back in Tehran and the EU had opted not to impose any sanctions in response to Iran’s terrorist operations in Europe.
Jew hatred is another possible explanation for Europe’s embrace of a regime that calls daily for Israel’s destruction and works directly and through its Hezbollah and Hamas proxies to achieve its murderous goal. CNN’s survey of European Jew hatred, released this week showed yet again that hatred of Jews remains a powerful force for political and social mobilization in Europe today.
As for antisemitism, according to a senior administration official, although Mogherini is the mouthpiece for the EU’s Iran policy, she is not its author, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is.
Mogherini, like the Germans and French, insist that their continued commitment to the 2015 nuclear deal stems from their conviction that the deal is working to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power. Ahead of the meeting with Salehi on Monday, EU Energy Commissioner Arias Canete said the deal is “crucial for the security of Europe, of the region and the entire world.”
He said the agreement is working to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions and that “we do not see any credible peaceful alternative.”
The mendacity of Canete’s statement, and similar ones by Mogherini, is stunning. At least since April 30, when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu exposed Iran’s nuclear archive, which Mossad officers seized from a Tehran warehouse in late January, nothing Iran says about its nuclear program or activities can be taken seriously. The very existence of the nuclear archive, and the great efforts the regime took to preserve it made clear that the Iranian regime has never had the slightest interest in curbing, let alone abandoning its ambition to develop a nuclear arsenal. The archive preserved all of the knowledge that Iran amassed since the early 1990s towards the development, testing and deployment of nuclear warheads.
Salehi himself made clear that the nuclear sword of Damocles is still dangling over the world’s throat. Salehi warned the Europeans that if they fail to protect Iran from US sanctions, the consequences will be “ominous.”
“The situation is very unpredictable,” he warned.
The Iranian nuclear archive, Europe’s willingness to provoke an open breach with the Americans to continue transferring money to Iran, and Iran’s own brinksmanship in the face of US sanctions tell us that much of the discourse about the nuclear deal has been misplaced and the purpose of the deal has been misconstrued.
Unlike what we have been told – and what we have been telling ourselves, the deal isn’t a non-proliferation effort. It isn’t geared toward blocking Iran’s nuclear operations.
The so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is nothing more than a payoff. Salehi admitted as much this week when he said, “If we cannot sell our oil and we don’t enjoy financial transactions, then I don’t think keeping the deal will benefit us anymore.”
The Obama administration, in conjunction with the EU, concluded a deal which no one ever signed. It involved the US and Europe, (along with Russia and China) transferring billions of dollars to Iran in cash, providing Iran with billions of dollars of sanctions relief and agreeing to business deals worth additional billions to the Iranian economy.
In exchange, Iran offered them nothing.
It is impossible to credit any of Iran’s purported actions to contain or curtail its nuclear activities because the agreement contains no effective inspections mechanism. Under the JCPOA, Iran can avoid UN inspections of its nuclear installations by simply calling them military installations.
The purpose of the deal then wasn’t to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons at all. This is why then-president Barack Obama, then-secretary of state John Kerry, their underlings and their EU colleagues couldn’t care less when, during the negotiations, Israel provided proof that Iran couldn’t be trusted and that the agreement as concluded wouldn’t prevent Iran from developing a nuclear arsenal. This is also why the Europeans responded to Israel’s seizure of Iran’s nuclear archive with a shrug of their shoulders. They aren’t arms controllers. They are appeasers.
The purpose of the nuclear deal was to enrich and empower the Iranian regime. And in this context, Iran’s determination to leave the deal if the dollars and euros stop flowing is entirely reasonable. So, too, the Europeans are right that to preserve the deal, they must do everything in their power to continue enriching Iran.
Once we understand the actual nature of the deal, we can recognize the true danger of Europe’s pro-Iranian, anti-American actions.
Israel and many Arab states have made clear that they will go to war against Iran if that is the only way that Iran can be prevented from acquiring nuclear weapons.
The purpose of the US economic sanctions is to achieve the goal of blocking Iran’s nuclear efforts without war. If the Iranian economy collapses, or if the regime is overthrown, or both, Iran will likely abandon its nuclear weapons program without war. If Europe is successful in scuttling US sanctions, the likelihood of a major war will rise tremendously.
In response to the Wall Street Journal report, US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell told the Jerusalem Post’s Benjamin Weinthal that the US will contemplate sanctions against French and German entities that seek to evade sanctions against Iran.
In his words, “The US will consider sanctions on those entities participating in these tactics.”
Maybe the Europeans are motivated to stand with Rouhani and his fellow genocidal antisemites in the Iranian regime out of hatred for Trump or for America as a whole. Maybe they’re motivated by Jew hatred.
Maybe they simply want to keep paying off the Iranians in the hopes that Iranian regime terrorists will continue to focus their terror efforts in Europe on Iranian dissidents and Jews and leave them alone.
Maybe they are motivated by old-fashioned greed.
Whatever is motivating them, the time has come to make them pay a price for their hostile behavior. Because if they aren’t forced to back down, by US sanctions and other means, then the world will pay a devastating price later, in the form of a war that might have been prevented were it not for European perfidy, prejudice and cowardice.
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