Nuclear Experts Doubt Durability of Iranian Nuclear Deal
Nuclear experts have voiced criticism of the recently announced Iran nuclear deal, questioning its ability to prevent the country from obtaining nuclear weapons, London-based pan Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat reported on Sunday.
The experts specifically expressed their doubts as to whether the deal contains all the necessary deterrent tools to prevent Iran from cheating and deceiving the international community in the long term.
Blaise Misztal, Director of the National Security Program at the Washington D.C.-based Bipartisan Policy Center, said that the deal would not prevent the emergence of a nuclear Iran, instead only delaying its acquisition of a nuclear weapon by 15 years.
One Western diplomat, speaking to the paper on condition of anonymity, discussed the secret negotiations that led to the breakthrough deal last week, commenting that, despite any advocacy for the deal, it did not solve any of the issues relating to Iran.
He said that while the deal was not the ideal solution in any case, it was the best possible solution the West was able to reach at the moment.
Much of the criticism of the deal has been directed towards its duration, where in exchange for sanctions relief, Iran only restricts certain elements of its nuclear program – its enriched uranium stockpile, its centrifuges used for uranium enrichment and other elements – only for 10 years.
Mark Dubowitz, the Executive Director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said that all Iran has to do in this case is be patient in its pursuit of a nuclear weapon.
Another area of the deal that was highly criticized was the IAEA inspection of suspicious activities and sites. The process of allowing IAEA inspectors onto the sites to verify whether or not Iran was violating the agreement could take up to 24 days under the deal, a time period that critics assert would be more than sufficient for them to hide any evidence of wrongdoing.
William H. Tobey, of Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, said that no matter what strict monitoring the suspicious sites are placed under during the 24-day period, these monitoring methods were not flawless.
Tobey said that intelligence gathered from satellites is not infallible, and that Iran could explain the presence of any remaining fissile material in one way or another. According to him, the clean-up process need not be perfect and remove all traces of suspicious material. It need only be good enough to cast doubt on any assertion that Iran was violating the agreement.
Additionally, under section 37 of the deal, if Iran is found cheating or violating the terms of the agreement and sanctions are reimposed, Iran is allowed to walk away from the entirety of its obligations under the deal, a point heavily criticized by Dubowitz, who said that it was only a matter of time before Iran used that card.