Friday, September 15, 2017

Iran: Hollow threats of ditching the nuclear deal


By: Shahriar Kia (Political analyst) 

While US President Donald Trump is weighing a new strategy capable of delivering a more aggressive reaction to Iran, and the visit by US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley to Vienna and Washington’s demand seeking the inspections of Iran’s military sites aimed at verifying Tehran’s loyalty to its obligations under the nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), has left the ruling regime extremely concerned.
In response, Tehran has resorted to hollow threats of exiting the JCPOA, launching uranium enrichment “within days” and describing military sites inspections as a red line. Iran is attempting to take the international community hostage to bypass its domestic and foreign dilemmas that are currently targeting the very existence of this religious dictatorship ruling Iran.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran considers its military complexes as red lines and will never allow any foreigner to set foot on such sites,” said MP Mohammad Ismaeel Saeedi in an interview with the semi-official Tasnim news agency.
Ambassador Haley described the importance of what is at stake here.
“If inspections of Iranian military sites are ‘merely a dream,’ as Iran says, then Iranian compliance with the JCPOA is also a dream,” she explained.
The truth is Iran has no intention of ditching the JCPOA, knowing full well it will be the first loser. Despite all the emphasis of red lines and national security, other senior Iranian officials shed more important light on this matter.
“Inspection of military sites hinges on a decision by the Supreme National Security Council,” according to Alaedin Borujerdi, chair of Iran’s parliamentary Security Commission.
In his recent meeting with the envoy of the Japanese Prime Minister, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani made it clear Tehran will never violate the JCPOA.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry also issued a report to the Parliament on the JCPOA implementation, indicating how “one of the most important obstacles to taking full advantage of the JCPOA are initial US sanctions imposed back in the 1980s and 90s against the Islamic Republic’s human rights, terrorism, and money laundering.”
Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, claimed Tehran is capable of enriching uranium up to 20% at the controversial undergrown site in Fordo, central Iran. Causing a preliminary brouhaha in Iran, his words later are surprising, to say the least.
“Now assume as an official I placed something before the enemy as a political pretext. Should you be supportive and confirm their words? Or strengthen the remarks made by our own officials?” he asked.
RajaNews, an outlet known for its loyalty to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, ridiculed Salehi’s remarks and demanded his resignation.
“Russia’s response to the possible US departure of the nuclear deal was far more firm than those of our current government officials and those of Salehi… Our officials lack the necessary will to even preserve the JCPOA as is,” the piece reads.
It is quite obvious that Tehran desperately needs to maintain the JCPOA intact to enjoy the resulting sanctions relief.
All of Tehran’s efforts are focused on sending this message to the international community that not only it has never violated JCPOA, it has gone far beyond its obligations to convince the West, and especially the US, to not tear up the nuclear deal. However, considering Iran’s deceptions during the past two decades, the world over remains suspicious of Tehran’s claims of transparency.
“For decades, the Iranian military conducted a covert nuclear weapons program, undeclared and hidden from international inspectors. In 2002, Iranian dissidents revealed the existence of a uranium enrichment plant and heavy water reactor – both violations of Iran’s safeguards agreement with the IAEA,” Ambassador Haley said in a recent landmark speech at the American Enterprise Institute think tank.
“We were promised anytime, anywhere inspections of sites in Iran. The final agreement delivered much less. The promised 24/7 inspections apply only to Iran’s “declared” nuclear sites. For any undeclared but suspected sites, the regime can deny access for up to 24 days. Then there’s the deal’s expiration dates.” Haley said, adding yet there exists hundreds of unrevealed and uninspected sites involved in suspicious activities.
IAEA chief Yukiya Amano in his recent report said his agency will continue verifying Iran’s obligations to the JCPOA, emphasizing his evaluations of Tehran’s unannounced nuclear activities and materials continue. When it comes to inspections, there are no differences between military and non-military sites, Amano emphasized.
With eyebrows raised amongst Iran’s ruling elite over such remarks, the Kayhan daily, known to be Khamenei’s mouthpiece, reflected on this matter.
“Amano’s recent remarks have sounded the alarm bell not only for JCPOA advocates but the entire country [read regime],” the piece explains.
Iran’s interests in the JCPOA

The Iran nuclear deal has enabled Tehran to firstly, continue its nuclear research and thus maintain its efforts on the track aimed at obtaining nuclear weapons.
Secondly, relieve Iran of crippling sanctions.
Thirdly, taking advantage of the West neglecting its domestic human rights violations and meddling in regional countries, Iran is fast-forwarding its expansionist policy and spread of terrorism.
The Lebanese Hezbollah and other Tehran-associated terrorist groups, including the Kataeb Hezbollah in Iraq, have threatened Washington to attack US forces in Iraq following the complete annihilation of ISIS.
Furthermore, the close military and atomic cooperation between Tehran – being the main international sponsor of terrorism – and North Korea significantly threatens world peace and security.
To this end, continuing the policy of appeasement and providing further concessions to Tehran to maintain the JCPOA intact has no meaning other than having the international community taken hostage by Iran, and plunging the Middle East into yet another inevitable bloody war.
As Ambassador Haley underscored if the time has come when “blinders may finally be off on US-Iran policy,” one can remain hopeful of measures aimed at preventing another war and further terrorist attacks.
Comprehensive sanctions against the Iranian regime, inspections of all military sites across this country, and expelling the Revolutionary Guards from Iraq, Syria, and Yemen are effective preliminary steps aimed at uprooting terrorism and ending the possibility of another Middle East war.

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