A Reader Writes…on the Iran Deal

Nehad Ismail – “Too Late To Block Iranian Nuclear Bomb?

A CNN report (30th March) stated that there’s a big fear that Iran could be advancing its nuclear ambitions at secret sites unknown to the world.

“Iran has about 18,000 centrifuges, 10,000 of which are still spinning today. It already has many of the building blocks necessary for a nuclear bomb”.

Negotiations between Iran and six nations US, UK, France, Germany, Russia and China ended April 2nd with a statement on the framework that will be finalized by June 30th after which sanctions imposed on Iran would be lifted.

In Washington the House Speaker John Boehner demanded Congress be allowed to review the accord before sanctions are lifted but President Obama is rushing to sign a nuclear deal with Iran at any price. Iran’s negotiators have won generous concessions without giving much in return, apart from agreeing to slow down or postpone Iran’s nuclear enrichment programme.

Some Arab countries notably Saudi Arabia, Egypt and UAE will now seek to have their own nuclear programmes.

To Jeffrey Goldberg writing in the Atlantic 29 March the biggest concern is: “how long it would take Iran to make a deliverable weapon once it decides to go nuclear?”

Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization announced in a statement end of March that the Iranian regime will not implement the “Additional Protocol to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty”, which would allow international inspectors the ability to go anywhere at any time to examine sites suspected of harbouring secret nuclear weapons development.

Iran has been dodging hard questions from day one.

The International Atomic Energy Agency reported early March that they have achieved Little progress in investigating Iran’s nuclear program, and has not been able to determine if all of Tehran’s nuclear material is intended for civilian use.

IAEA chief, Yukiya Amano was quoted as saying: “the IAEA is ready to accelerate clarification of outstanding issues over Iran’s nuclear plans. The question is whether Iran will answer IAEA’s questions”, he added. The IAEA said the verification process is stalled as Iran failed to provide key information to the agency.
According to Time Magazine “the US negotiating team presented to the Iranian team excerpts from highly classified Iranian documents that U.S Intelligence had obtained from Tehran’s top secret nuclear program. The Iranians dismissed the evidence out of hand calling the documents a fabrication”.

It is baffling that the US negotiators failed to probe this and insist on further investigation. Why the US team did not refuse to engage further until a satisfactory answer is received?

The Iranians have failed to provide satisfactory answers to several questions and the US negotiators seemed happy with the stonewalling by Iran.

The IAEA asked about the possible military dimensions—the so-called PMDs—of their nuclear program. Iran is still refusing to provide satisfactory answers

Iran has failed to explain why it purchased materials needed to build many thousands of high speed centrifuges. Why Natanz and Fordow nuclear facilities which house the centrifuges were built secretly? We also don’t have convincing answers to the following: Has Iran agreed specifically to allow unfettered, intrusive and unlimited access to every part of the nuclear programme including Fordow and Natnz by IAEA inspectors?
Are the verification procedures and mechanisms adequate to detect any deviation or cheating by ran?

In an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times John R. Bolton, former US Ambassador to the UN said this ” Sanctions have failed, so our choice is stark: use military force or let Tehran get the bomb”.

One other important issue Iran has been dodging and has failed to provide satisfactory answers for is the “Orchid Office” activities. The IAEA discovered that the Fakhrizadeh’s Orchid office was responsible for developing mechanisms for generating nuclear explosions with uranium. The Shahab 3 rocket was modified to carry nuclear weapons with 1200 mile reach. The IAEA wanted to know more about Mr. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh who established the Orchid Office where weapons research was carried out. Iran refused to answer.

According to a Sunday Times report 5th April Dennis Ross, Obama’s former special adviser for Iran, wanted to know what would stop Iran carrying out a secret parallel nuclear programme. Also can inspectors have access to military bases, the facilities and installations of the Revolutionary Guards? And what if access is denied?

The Iranians are fully aware of Obama’s desperate concessions to induce them to engage in these futile negotiations. Both Obama and Kerry are desperate to achieve a foreign policy success of some sort after the debacle in Syria and Iraq. Obama and Kerry are apparently oblivious to Iran’s subversive influence on Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.

Iran is also very keen to get the economic sanctions lifted. It badly needs the money to fund the Assad regime, Hezbollah, the Houthis in Yemen and Shi’ite militias operation in Syria and Iraq.

No matter what kind of nuclear deal is reached, good, bad or indifferent, the Iranians will claim victory and many believe Iran has the nuclear-bomb-making capability.

Iranian opposition figures I interviewed are amazed at the Obama administration’s naiveté in adopting the Iranian perspective on the Middle East. Iran is part of the problem, and has never been part of any solution.

In March 2014, President Rouhani insisted that Iran would not abandon its enrichment of uranium, after US senators called for it to be denied any such right under a long-term nuclear deal. Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on 9th April 2014 that Iran will never give up its nuclear programme.

Deal or no deal, sanctions or no sanctions, Iran has mastered the technology to make a nuclear bomb.’

Nehad Ismail tweets at @nehadismail

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