Between now and May 12, President Trump will announce his decision on whether or not the United States will pull out of the JCPOA, the nuclear deal with Iran. This reporter’s prediction is that the president will announce that the U.S. will exit the Iran deal — but this announcement won’t be the really big one. The big one would be due two months later when the U.S. decides on reimposing American sanctions against the terrorist regime; doing so will break the deal apart.
But whether you agree with the president or not, it should be known that any claim that we should stay in the deal because Iran is complying with the JCPOA is simply not true.
President Trump has said his final decision about the JCPOA will be based on achieving three improvements to the deal, none of which have been made.
1. Eliminate the provisions under which key nuclear restrictions expire over time.
2. Stop Tehran’s nuclear-capable long-range missile program.
3. Allow for the inspection of military sites where the regime conducted clandestine nuclear activities in the past and may be doing so now.
Allowing a nuclear-capable long-range missile program and the expiration of nuclear restrictions were concessions made by the spineless team of Obama and Kerry.
Regarding the third item, because of a secret side deal revealed by the Associated Press long before the deal was signed, Iran gets to self-inspect the Parchin military base with no IAEA inspectors present. While the inspection of other military bases are allowed under the JCPOA, Iran has stated more than once that it will not allow inspections of military sites, thus hampering the work of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which, under the agreement, is “to undertake the necessary verification and monitoring of Iran’s nuclear-related commitments for the full duration of those commitments under the JCPOA.”
This lack of access led to the IAEA’s announcement last August that it has been unable to verify a key part of the JCPOA, “Section T,” which outlines “activities which could contribute to the design and development of a nuclear explosive device.”
We don’t know if Iran is violating Section T. But because they are not allowing inspections on military sites and because the IAEA won’t push the issue of military site inspections, we do not know if they are complying either. This alone makes it impossible to say Iran is complying with the JCPOA, but there are other examples.
Iran has been non-compliant with its obligation to reveal its nuclear history. According to the JCPOA, the rogue nation was supposed to reveal the all the details of its nuclear program that existed prior to the deal. In fact, The IAEA was required to publish a report by year-end 2014 on Iran’s past nuclear work on its military sites as part of the agreement. The historical knowledge is necessary to understand what the Iranian nuclear program was so the IAEA will know how, when, and where to inspect their program in the future. (On Monday, Israel exposed this history. See pages 2 and 4.)
Twice in 2016 Iran broke the terms of the heavy water provisions of the deal but Obama let them “off the hook.” According to the Obama/Kerry capitulation — err, JCPOA — the rogue regime was to keep no more than 130 metric tons of heavy water (which is used to manufacture weapons-grade plutonium). But the Iranians kept producing the heavy water and were over the cap in February and November 2016.
Iranian heavy water production overages put Obama’s Iranian deal (his only foreign policy legacy besides screwing Israel) between a rock and a hard place. Either the Obama administration could find someone to purchase the excess heavy water (which would allow Iran to make a profit off of violating the deal) or announcing that Iran was in noncompliance of the deal, which would put Obama’s legacy in danger.
The first time Iran went over (in February) the Obama administration purchased the overage for $8.6 million. Sensing a way to make some extra spending money for the Ayatollah, Iran violated the JCPOA deal again in November by over-producing the heavy water.
When asked, State Department spokesperson Mark Toner refused to call the overproduction a violation — “I’m not going to use the V word necessarily in this case” — and the Iranians eventually found someone else to purchase the excess. In parenting, refusing to call a violation a violation and buying Iran’s excess heavy water would be called rewarding bad behavior, which was something the Obama administration was unusually adept at.
Another area where Iran is suspected of violating the deal is in measures against acquiring nuclear-related materials outside the approved channels. As reported by the Institute for Science and International Security (known by its unfortunate initials ISIS):
“The procurement channel set up under [JCPOA] … was designed to regulate Iran’s imports of nuclear and nuclear-related dual-use goods for nuclear or non-nuclear use. Given that Iran’s non-nuclear industries have often imported nuclear dual-use goods, this finding raises the question of whether the procurement channel, and its associated Procurement Working Group (PWG), is simply not being used, but illicit, nuclear dual-use supplies are still going to Iran. … The United States and its allies should augment efforts to detect and intercept the flow of any strategic goods from China to Iran and from other potentially illicit supplier countries to Iran.”
Like the provisions of Section T, the issue is not non-compliance but we cannot be sure Iran is complying.
Iran was in violation of the provision limiting the number of advanced centrifuges — “It had also run 13-15 IR-6 centrifuges in a cascade that was supposed to be limited to ten centrifuges.” Some of their other centrifuges broke down, putting them in compliance again.
Here’s the bottom line according to ISIS:
“Iran has repeatedly tested the boundaries of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and in many cases crossed the line into a violation. Many of these violations and efforts to push the boundaries have not been reported by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in its quarterly reports to member states, reflecting a failing on its part. But the information is not classified, and we have reported on these violations and controversies in previous reports.”
The IAEA can only report that Iran is in compliance with the JCPOA because of its refusal to report Iranian violations, along with its refusal to push the issue of military site inspections per the terms of the JCPOA deal, thus giving the rogue regime cover to violate the deal wherever and whenever it wants.