Thursday, February 22nd | 13 Adar I 5784

July 17, 2019 7:39 am

The Iran Deal Hoax

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avatar by Mitchell Bard


Iranian President Hassan Rouhani delivers a speech at the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, June 15, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Mukhtar Kholdorbekov / File.

The Iran nuclear deal was predicated on the ability of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to verify Iran’s compliance with the terms of the agreement. This is what President Obama said on July 14, 2015:

Because of this deal, the international community will be able to verify that the Islamic Republic of Iran will not develop a nuclear weapon. … Every pathway to a nuclear weapon is cut off. And the inspection and transparency regime necessary to verify that objective will be put in place. … Because of this deal, we will, for the first time, be in a position to verify all of these commitments. That means this deal is not built on trust; it is built on verification. Inspectors will have 24/7 access to Iran’s key nuclear facilities.

There was no reason to believe the IAEA could fulfill this mission, since it had failed for years to detect that Iran had a nuclear program. Contrary to Obama’s claims, and the terms of the agreement, the IAEA has not had 24/7 access to facilities. From the outset, Iran said it would never allow inspectors into its military sites — the places where Iran was most likely to develop nuclear weapons.

Supporters of the deal repeatedly say the IAEA has certified Iran’s compliance, but David Albright and Andrea Stricker of the Institute for Science and International Security pointed out in April that this was untrue. “The IAEA has reported that it still has not been able to determine that Iran has no undeclared nuclear facilities and materials and thus cannot conclude that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful,” they noted.

Apologists for the agreement also can’t explain why the Iranians installed anti-aircraft missile batteries and other defenses to protect installations engaged in non-military activities. “The basic proposition of whether Iran seeks nuclear weapons has not been answered in the three-plus years since the deal commenced,” Stricker and Albright concluded.

Actually, this has been answered, as German intelligence has found that Iran has continued to seek weapons of mass destruction.

In addition, as feared by critics of the deal, the IAEA was unaware of Iran’s ongoing nuclear program and therefore did not know what to inspect. It was only after Israeli intelligence discovered Iran’s secret trove of documents that we learned the Iranians had preserved the documentation needed to resume their program when the deal expired.

Then, more dramatically, on September 27, 2018, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed the existence of a secret warehouse in the Turquz Abad district in Tehran, which he said held equipment and materiel related to Iran’s past or possibly ongoing nuclear weapons efforts. He also disclosed that the facility had held 15 kilograms of radioactive material that Iran subsequently dispersed around Tehran.

“The IAEA’s lack of action or explanation of its inaction undermines its credibility and raises questions about its effectiveness in its Iran safeguards mission,” Olli Heinonen, former Deputy Director General of the IAEA and head of its Department of Safeguards, said after Netanyahu’s revelations.

The agency was embarrassed into conducting tests at the warehouse. Sources claim that the IAEA did find evidence of radioactive materials, but the agency has been sitting on the results.

Now Iran is not even hiding its violations of the agreement. It openly declared, and the IAEA publicly verified, that it was exceeding the uranium enrichment limits of the deal. Heinonen says that Iran may now have reduced the time it would take to build a bomb by as much as two months, and could reduce it to six months total if Iran installs additional centrifuges that it has stored in its Natanz facility.

How is it possible for the Iranians to have ramped up their enrichment overnight to advance their progress toward building a weapon when Obama promised “every pathway to a nuclear weapon is cut off”?

The reason is that Obama was out-negotiated at every turn, including allowing Iran to retain thousands of centrifuges now being used to exceed the enrichment limit in the agreement. Even EU hypocrites who put commerce over nuclear security have been forced to acknowledge the fallacy of their claims. Nevertheless, the legacy of appeasement is so strong that they refuse to reimpose the sanctions that Obama told us would be the response to a violation.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Iran’s breaches of the deal are not significant enough to merit action. “Technically,” she said, “all the steps that have been taken, and that we regret have been taken, are reversible.”

Europe wants to delay action while helping Iran evade existing sanctions under the specious pretext of preventing a war. They are less frustrated with Iran’s behavior than with Trump spoiling their mad dash to do business with the odious regime.

Supporters of the deal, which include the leading Democratic presidential candidates, who say they will rejoin it, are desperate to blame President Trump for the current predicament. But Tehran’s belligerency, ongoing support for terror, ballistic missile tests, and destabilization of the region predated Trump’s election, as did the Iranians’ secret efforts to preserve and advance their nuclear program.

Is war inevitable?

Not if Europe grows a backbone and imposes draconian sanctions. That’s unlikely.

Still, don’t let the scaremongers sell you their claim that a war requires an invasion that would cost thousands of lives. The US has a variety of options for crippling Iran without a soldier setting foot on Iranian soil, from stronger sanctions to cyberwarfare, to targeted strikes on targets such as Kharg Island, from which Iran exports 90 percent of its oil and gas.

It would be better if Europe joins the fight, but the United States should not be paralyzed by doomsday war scenarios from the people who got us into the current predicament. They are the last people we should listen to now.

It is still early, but the sales job done to win support for the catastrophic nuclear deal may go down as one of the greatest hoaxes of the 21st century.

Mitchell Bard is Executive Director of AICE and Jewish Virtual Library.

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