An Iranian official recently stated that no International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) personnel will be permitted to enter military or missile sites. Another stated that “no country is permitted to know the details of future inspections conducted by the IAEA.” Their statements are probably consistent. There may well be other secret deals we don’t know about and perhaps never will. Meanwhile, Iran is preparing to test long range ballistic missiles “to prove that the missile ban was invalid.”
I. No IAEA inspections of the sites that matter most
United Nations nuclear inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency would not be given access to Tehran’s sensitive military nuclear sites.
. . . .
“First, allow me to emphasize that the issue of the missiles and of Iran’s defensive capabilities were not part of the negotiations to begin with,” Velayati said. [Emphasis added.]
“No matter what pressure is exerted, Iran never has negotiated and never will negotiate with others – America, Europe, or any other country – about the nature and quality of missiles it should manufacture or possess, or about the defensive military equipment that it needs. This is out of the question.” [Emphasis added.]
A video of Mr. Velayati remarks, with translations by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), is available here. Since I have been unable to find it on You Tube I have no way to embed it.
Unfortunately, Mr. Velayati is essentially correct. The November 2013 Joint Plan of Action focused almost exclusively on Uranium enrichment, to the exclusion of the “possible military dimensions” of Iran’s military nuclear activities including missile research, development and testing.
II. Details of IAEA inspections will not be disclosed
Reza Najafi, Iran’s ambassador and permanent envoy to the IAEA, stated over the weekend that “no country is permitted to know the details of future inspections conducted by the IAEA.”
Najafi’s statement could mean (a) that no details about inspection methodology will be disclosed, (b) that no details about inspection results will be disclosed or (c) both. If inspection methodologies — who did the inspections as well as when, where and how, are not disclosed, what useful purpose will they serve, other than for Iran? If details of the results of inspections are not disclosed, that will also be the case. How, in either or both cases, will the members of the P5+1 negotiating teams have sufficient information to decide whether to “snap back” sanctions — if doing so is now even possible — or anything else?
III. Even details about inspections of non-military sites will be hidden
Considering Parts I and II together, and assuming that the statements of Iranian officials are reasonably consistent and not mere gaffes, IAEA personnel will be permitted to inspect non-military sites only and hence only to keep tabs on Uranium enrichment; even the details of those inspections will not be disclosed. Is that what Kerry and the other P5+1 negotiators had (pardon the expression) in mind?
IV. Iran says, Ballistic missile testing and development are OK
Shortly before US Secretary of State John Kerry was due in Qatar Monday, Aug. 3, Iran’s highest authorities led by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Sunday launched a public campaign to support Tehran’s noncompliance with the Vienna nuclear accord and UN Security Council Resolution 2231 of July 20, on its ballistic missile program. The campaign was designed by a team from Khamenei’s office, high-ranking ayatollahs and the top echelons of the Revolutionary Guards, including its chief, Gen. Ali Jafari. [Emphasis added.]
It was kicked off with a batch of petitions fired off by the students of nine Tehran universities and Qom religious seminaries to Iran’s chief of staff Maj Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi, demanding immediate tests of long-range ballistic missiles to prove that the missile ban was invalid. [Emphasis added.]
. . . .
The Security Council Resolution, which unanimously endorsed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (Vienna nuclear accord) signed by Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif, called on Iran “not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic technology until the date eight years after the JCPOA Adoption Day.” [Emphasis added.]
Tehran retorted that none of its ballistic missiles were designed to deliver nuclear weapons, and so this provision was void. Shortly after its passage, the foreign ministry in Tehran issued an assurance that “…the country’s ballistic missile program and capability is untouched and unrestricted by Resolution 2231.” [Emphasis added.]
This appears to confirm that all of Iran’s ballistic missile sites are off-limits to inspectors.
V. What does Kerry know?
When questioned by members of Congress on the secret deals, Secretary Kerry testified that he had neither seen nor read them but that he had been fully briefed and knew “exactly” what they say. Put charitably, it seems unlikely that he knew that much.
Less charitably, Kerry knew far more than he said and declined to be forthcoming. Now that two Iranian officials have provided highly important information, thus far probably unknown to Congress, will Kerry have additional comments? Not if he can help it.
I wrote early and often about the miserable “deal” about to be entered into by P5+1 under Obama’s dubious leadership. As Iranian officials provide additional information it should be clear — even to the most enthusiastic “deal” supporters — that the “deal” is far worse than earlier thought possible and that the U.S. Congress is obligated to disapprove it and to override any Obama veto, partisan politics notwithstanding.
UPDATE, August 5th
The U.S. intelligence community has informed Congress of evidence that Iran was sanitizing its suspected nuclear military site at Parchin, in broad daylight, days after agreeing to a nuclear deal with world powers.
For senior lawmakers in both parties, the evidence calls into question Iran’s intention to fully account for the possible military dimensions of its current and past nuclear development. The International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran have a side agreement meant to resolve past suspicions about the Parchin site, and lawmakers’ concerns about it has already become a flashpoint because they do not have access to its text.
Nor will they have access to Parchin or other military sites.
Intelligence officials and lawmakers who have seen the new evidence, which is still classified, told us that satellite imagery picked up by U.S. government assets in mid- and late July showed that Iran had moved bulldozers and other heavy machinery to the Parchin site and that the U.S. intelligence community concluded with high confidence that the Iranian government was working to clean up the site ahead of planned inspections by the IAEA. [Emphasis added.]