Archive for the ‘IAEA’ category

Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program: On Course, Underground, Uninspected

April 25, 2017

Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program: On Course, Underground, Uninspected, Center for Security Policy, Clare M. Lopez, April 24, 2017

The Iranian regime’s nuclear weapons program, born in secrecy and kept hidden for years, has never skipped a beat and today continues on course in underground and military facilities to which inspectors have no access. On 21 April 2017, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the oldest, largest, and best organized democratic Iranian opposition group presented startling new evidence that the jihadist regime in Tehran is violating the terms of the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) agreement reached in July 2015 among the P-5 +1 (Permanent Five Members of the UN Security Council plus Germany), the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), and Iran.

As will be recalled, it was the NCRI that first blew the lid off Iran’s clandestine nuclear weapons program in 2002, at a time when it had been in progress for at least fourteen years (since 1988), unbeknownst to most of the world, including the IAEA. Virtually all of the Iranian nuclear sites now known publicly were only retroactively ‘declared’ by the mullahs’ regime after exposure: the Natanz enrichment site, Isfahan conversion site, Fordow enrichment and Research and Development (R&D) site, Lavizan-Shian, and more. Regularly corroborated additional revelations since 2002 by the NCRI have built a record of credibility that should prompt a closer official look at these new reports by the U.S. State and Defense Departments, National Security Council (NSC), and White House.

Alireza Jafarzadeh, deputy director of NCRI’s Washington office, provided a devastating expose of the ongoing activities of the Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (SPND), the Tehran-based element of the Iranian Ministry of Defense that has primary responsibility for the regime’s nuclear weapons development. The SPND, established in February 2011, was officially sanctioned by the U.S. Department of State in August 2014 for engaging in nuclear weapons R&D.   Mohsen Fakhrizadeh (aka Dr. Hassan Mohseni), the founder and director of the SPND and a veteran IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps) brigadier general, was designated individually under UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1747 in 2007 and by the U.S. in July 2008 for his involvement in Iran’s proscribed WMD activities. Despite these designations, and the IAEA’s failure to resolve the many critical indicators of “Possible Military Dimensions” related to Iran’s nuclear program as specified in the November 2011 IAEA Board of Governors report, the July 2015 JCPOA inexplicably lifted sanctions against the SPND.

It is hardly surprising, then, to learn that the SPND not only continues critical weaponization research involving nuclear warheads, triggers, and explosives, but has expanded that work at each of seven subordinate locations. One of these, revealed by the NCRI in 2009 but never declared to the IAEA, is the Center for Research and Expansion of Technologies on Explosions and Impact (Markaz-e Tahghighat va Tose’e Fanavari-e Enfejar va Zarbeh or METFAZ), which works on triggers and high-impact, non-conventional explosives. The current METFAZ director is a Ministry of Defense engineer named Mohammad Ferdowsi, whose expertise is in high explosives. Ferdowsi also serves as chairman of the board of directors of the High-Explosive Society of Malek Ashtar University (affiliated with the Defense Ministry).

After conclusion of the July 2015 JCPOA, much of METFAZ’s personnel and work was moved to the Parchin military facility for better cover and security. Parchin Chemical Industries, an element of Iran’s Defense Industries Organization (DIO), was sanctioned by the U.S. Department of the Treasury in 2008 for importing “a chemical precursor for solid propellant oxidizer, possibly to be used for ballistic missiles.” Parchin is the location where the IAEA long suspected Iran was conducting test explosions for nuclear detonators. In October 2014, Iran finally admitted to using Parchin to test exploding bridge wires, but implausibly claimed they were not for weapons development. Equally incredibly, the IAEA concluded a secret side deal with Iran that allowed it to collect its own samples at Parchin—in which the IAEA in fact did find evidence of enriched uranium. But despite that and more evidence, the JCPOA was concluded and sanctions against Parchin Chemical Industries were lifted.

Within Parchin are twelve separate military and missile complexes. According to the NCRI’s new information, METFAZ has established a new location within one of these that is near the center of Parchin and referred to simply as the “Research Academy” in SPND internal communications. Located on the sprawling Parchin complex some 30 miles southeast of Tehran, the new METFAZ center is called the Chemical Plan of Zeinoddin and is located in a section called Plan 6. It’s completely fenced in and protected by heavy security under control of the IRGC’s Intelligence Service. What goes on there is concealed from the IAEA, and likely with good reason.

Old and New Locations for the SPND

METFAZ’s Research Academy Location within Parchin Plan 6 Area

Lambasting the Iranian regime for its ongoing regional aggression and support to terrorist organizations, as Secretary of State Tillerson did on 20 April 2017, is certainly a step in the right direction. Noting that after ten years, Iran can break out and build all the bombs it wants is also a useful observation. But neither of those comes close to fulfilling the Trump campaign pledge to “rip up” the JCPOA – or hold Iran accountable for its violations of the JCPOA. Secretary Tillerson’s 18 April letter to U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, certifying that Iran was in compliance with the 2015 deal, simply cannot be squared with the NCRI’s latest revelations, which it has shared with both the U.S. government and the IAEA. Indeed, the independent Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) issued a March 3, 2017 report in which it explicitly states about the IAEA’s 24 February 2017 Quarterly report, “Nowhere in the report does the IAEA state that Iran is fully compliant with the JCPOA, and it should not make that judgement.”

The real problem with the JCPOA—and why it needs to be ripped to shreds—is not what’s in it: it’s what’s been left out or exempted in any number of secret side deals that the U.S. and IAEA concluded with the Iranians. Among critical issues either explicitly permitted or simply not covered in the JCPOA are the following:

  • Iran keeps its entire nuclear infrastructure intact
  • Iran keeps all its centrifuges and is allowed to work on newer models
  • Iran can deny IAEA inspectors access to any site it seeks to keep off-limits
  • Iran can continue its ballistic missile nuclear weapons delivery system research, development, and testing
  • Iran’s nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and ballistic missile collaboration with North Korea is not mentioned in the JCPOA
  • Iran’s ongoing support for terrorism is off-limits for the JCPOA

The Trump administration must make good on its campaign promises with regard to Iran, its nuclear weapons program, and the JCPOA. The U.S. with its international partners and the IAEA must demand that Iran fully implement all UN Security Council Resolutions (including the one prohibiting Iran from any nuclear enrichment activities); accept the Additional Protocol; and allow unhindered access for IAEA inspectors to all suspected centers and facilities.

Beginning to fill relevant USG positions with officers untainted by association with the failed JCPOA or Iran Lobby affiliates like NIAC (National Iranian American Council) is an imperative and urgent first step. Announcing U.S. intent to end all activities associated with the JCPOA, hold Iran to account for its human rights abuses, involvement in the 9/11 attacks, and continuing support for terrorism would be natural subsequent policy positions.

We look forward to the results of the JCPOA policy review that Secretary Tillerson has announced.

Iran violating U.S. deal with secret nukes research, opposition group says

April 21, 2017

Iran violating U.S. deal with secret nukes research, opposition group says, Washington TimesRowan Scarborough, April 21, 2017

In this photo obtained from the Iranian Mehr News Agency, Iranian army members prepare missiles to be launched during a maneuver at an undisclosed location in Iran on Nov. 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Mehr News Agency, Majid Asgaripour) **FILE**

The council and MEK have a good track record over the years of disclosing Iranian nuke programs that operated under the radars of Western intelligence agencies. It boasts an extensive spying network inside the Defense Ministry, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and other organs of the hard-line Islamic state ruled by religious mullahs.

The MEK said METFAZ is operating in a secret location unbeknownst to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the world’s nuclear watchdog. In official communications, the regime refers to it as the code name “Research Academy.”

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Iran is cheating on its historical deal with the U.S. by secretly conducting research into nuclear weapons components such as bomb triggers and enriched uranium, the main Iranian opposition group said Friday.

The regime is doing engineering and weaponization testing at a walled military complex south of Tehran, a location which Iran has declared off-limits to inspectors, said the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and its main operational arm, the People’s Mujaheddin of Iran (MEK).

“This is the site that has been kept secret,” said Alireza Jafrazadeh, NCRI’s Washington office deputy director. “There is secret research to manufacture the bomb and basically cover up the real activities of the Iranian regime.”

The 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), negotiated by the Obama administration, has become a major foreign policy issue for the Trump White House as it evaluates whether to reimpose economic sanctions on Tehran. Iran has benefited with billions of dollars in freed-up funds while it pursues interventions in Iraq, Syria and Yemen against U.S. interests.

The NCRI-MEK report came the day after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson lambasted Iran for its expansionist terrorist activities in the region which he said violated the spirit of the JCPOA. He called the deal a “failed approach” since Iran can break out and build bombs after 10 years.

The JCPOA outlaws the type of weaponization work described by the NCRI-MEK report.

The State Department reported this week that Iran was abiding by the deal hammered out by former Secretary of State John Kerry and approved by Russia and other powers.

The NCRI rebutted that conclusion during a press conference in Washington by saying it is providing new information on Iranian misdeeds.

The council and MEK have a good track record over the years of disclosing Iranian nuke programs that operated under the radars of Western intelligence agencies. It boasts an extensive spying network inside the Defense Ministry, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and other organs of the hard-line Islamic state ruled by religious mullahs.

The NCRI asserts that Iran’s so-called “declared” sites were not disclosed by Iran, but by the intelligence work of MEK.

The heart of the NCRI-MEK intelligence report is a research operation known as the Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (SPND) and its seven subdivision, which MEK said it first exposed in 2011.

“They are carrying out their research in various fields related to the manufacturing of a nuclear weapon,” the council’s report said. “In some of these fields, new initiatives have also been undertaken in order to keep the real objectives of the research a secret and to cover up the real activities.”

One those subdivisions, the Center of Research and Expansion of Technologies on Explosions and Impact (METFAZ) works on triggers and explosive yields, the statement said. The MEK disclosed METFAZ’s existence in 2009.

The MEK said METFAZ is operating in a secret location unbeknownst to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the world’s nuclear watchdog. In official communications, the regime refers to it as the code name “Research Academy.”

The council investigation said that for the mullahs to continue METFAZ’s work undetected, they downsized a center in Sanjariana and transferred the research and testing to a new site in the military district of Parchin 20 miles south of Tehran.

“We are disclosing this for the first time today,” Mr. Jafrazadeh said. “They felt this was optimum location for shielding the actives of METFAZ.”

Reporters asked Mr. Jafrazadeh why the U.S.’s latest 90-day report to Congress say Iran was complying if it is now cheating.

He answered that the assessment is based on the IAEA monitoring known sites and measuring technical metrics, such as the amounts of enriched uranium.

He said that what the council is disclosing is secret weaponization work that now needs to be investigated. He said the council provided its report in the last few days to the Trump administration and the IAEA.

“We’re talking about an extensive covert operation by the Iranian regime,” he said.

Mr. Jafrazadeh said that when the IAEA visited a limited number of sites at Parchin in 2015, Iran had cleansed them of weaponization evidence.

“It needs to be inspected immediately,” Mr. Jafrazadeh said. He predicted this new intelligence report will prompt Iran to “clean out” its illicit work.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has said that “inspection of our military sites is out of the question and is one of our red lines.” A number of Iranian leaders have repeated that warning in recent months.

The MEK provided satellite photos and descriptions of the exact locations of nuclear research inside the Parchin complex, such as “Plan 6” which is located at “the end of Babaj highway, Khojir-Parchin military road, after the tunnel on the southern side of Mamlo Dam.”

The site is protected by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the dominant security force inside Iran.

The report described the musical chairs this way: “The move resulted in the subsiding of activities at the Sanjarian site. The Iranian regime has done its utmost to keep the Research Academy, which is an important site, a secret from the eyes of international organizations. The reason for the move was based on the conclusion reached by regime officials that the probability for the IAEA to get access to Parchin in the future is extremely low, which means that the site is an optimal location for shielding the regime’s activities in this regard.”

To bolster its findings, the MEK released what it said are the nuts and bolts of Iran’s cheating, such as the identities of 15 METFAZ personnel and their jobs descriptions, and addresses of various secret sites.

The SPND network is headquartered in Tehran in the “Nour Building,” near the Defense Minister which supervises operations.

“In order to understand the regime’s secret and illicit activities, it is critical that the IAEA inspect and monitor not only the Research Academy, but also all other sites related to SPND,” the NCRIR-MEK said. “This will help shed light on the scope of the regime’s secret military and nuclear activities.”

It added, “The weaponization program must be totally dismantled. There is no reason to maintain SPND, and all its subordinate organizations, including METFAZ. They have no peaceful, energy use whatsoever and, their only function is to facilitate the development of the nuclear bomb.”

Mr. Jafrazadeh termed as “ridiculous” Iran’s restrictions on military site inspections since it is the military that oversees nuclear bomb research.

The NCRI received a boost this week when Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain, Arizona Republican, attended a council event in Tirana, Albania, its new home after spending years in Iraq.

He met privately with NCRI leader Maryam Rajavi.

The Washington Times asked the State Department to respond to the NCRI-MEK investigation.

A spokesman referred to Mr. Tillerson’s April 18 letter to Congress certifying that Iran is in compliance. Mr. Tillerson added that the Trump administration will conduct a review of whether the suspension of economic sanctions under JCPOA is in the U.S’s interest.

“Notwithstanding, Iran remains a leading state sponsor of terror through many platforms and methods,” Mr. Tillerson wrote.

How Hilary’s foreign policy ‘succeeded’ for Iran

June 4, 2016

How Hilary’s foreign policy ‘succeeded’ for Iran, DEBKAfile, June 4, 2016

6Hardline Ayatolla Ahmad Janati

Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential frontrunner, declared Thursday June 2 in a major foreign policy address: ‘We are now safer than we were before this agreement (the International-Iran nuclear deal).”

A short while before her speech, the State Department, published its yearly report on world terror, and determined, as in past years, that Iran remains “the leading state sponsor of terrorism, on account of its support for designated terrorist groups and proxy militias in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq.”

Three days earlier, on May 31, scientists at the Institute for Science and International Security, published an extensive analysis of the second report of the IAEA in Vienna, whose job it is to monitor the Iranian nuclear program and establish whether Tehran’s is complying with its commitments.

Their report is titled: IAEA’s Second JCPOA Report: Key Information Still Missing.

The American scientists found oversights in the international watchdog’s report, suggesting collaboration between the Obama administration and the IAEA to conceal Iranian violations.

The scientists offered some examples of these omissions:

Data is lacking on the number of centrifuges, including advanced models, operating in Natanz enrichment facilities as well as the Fordo underground plant. There is no information on what happened to the 20 percent-enriched uranium still remaining in Iran.

Another example is the lack of information on the Iran’s heavy water which is provisionally stored in Oman. Who does it belong to and who oversees it?

These are just a few examples of the blanks in the promised oversight over Iran’s nuclear program, not to mention Iran’s banned ballistic missile program which is geared to design missiles able to reach the US.

The Obama administration had based his detente with Tehran, capped by the nuclear deal, on producing a breakthrough in US-Iran relations. It was intended to strengthen the moderate, reformist and liberal political elements in Iran. ButDEBKAfile sources and Iranian experts report that the exact opposite happened, as is evident in two important elections held in Iran in the past two weeks.

In the elections to the Assembly of Experts, the body which chooses Iran’s top leader, the 91-year-old Ayatollah Ahmad Janati was elected. He is one of the most extreme hardliners in Iran.

A few days later, Ali Larijani was re-elected as Speaker of the Iranian Parliament. Larijani is close to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He won by a land slide over the reformist candidate put forward by President Hassan Rouhani.

Five months ago, when the first results of the Iranian elections to the Majlis and to the Assembly of Experts came in, there were cries of joys in the Obama administration. US Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Muhammad Jawad Zarif proclaimed it at the time a victory for the moderates.

Where did these ‘moderates’ disappear in the interim and how did they become supporters of the extremists?

On Friday, June 3, less than 24 hours after Clinton’s foreign policy speech, Iran’s leader Ayatollah Khamenei celebrated his victory over American policy saying: Iran has many small and big enemies, but foremost among them are America and Britain. “Any cooperation with the US,” he stressed, “is an act against Iran’s independence.”

Iran Threatens to Walk Away From Nuke Deal After New Missile Test

March 8, 2016

Iran Threatens to Walk Away From Nuke Deal After New Missile Test, Washington Free Beacon, March 8, 2016

FILE - This file picture released by the official website of the Iranian Defense Ministry on Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015, claims to show the launching of an Emad long-range ballistic surface-to-surface missile in an undisclosed location. Iran tested a ballistic missile again in November 2015, a U.S. official said Dec. 8, describing the second such test since this summerís nuclear agreement. The State Department said only that it was conducting a "serious review" of such reports. The test occurred on Nov. 21, according to the official, coming on top of an Oct. 10 test Iran confirmed at the time. The official said other undeclared tests occurred earlier than that, but declined to elaborate. The official wasnít authorized to speak on the matter and demanded anonymity. (Iranian Defense Ministry via AP)

FILE – This file picture released by the official website of the Iranian Defense Ministry on Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015, claims to show the launching of an Emad long-range ballistic surface-to-surface missile in an undisclosed location. Iran tested a ballistic missile again in November 2015, a U.S. official said Dec. 8, describing the second such test since this summerís nuclear agreement. The State Department said only that it was conducting a “serious review” of such reports. The test occurred on Nov. 21, according to the official, coming on top of an Oct. 10 test Iran confirmed at the time. The official said other undeclared tests occurred earlier than that, but declined to elaborate. The official wasnít authorized to speak on the matter and demanded anonymity. (Iranian Defense Ministry via AP)

Iranian leaders now say that they are poised to walk away from the deal if the United States and other global powers fail to advance the Islamic Republic’s “national interests.”

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Iran on Tuesday again threatened to walk away from the nuclear agreement reached last year with global powers, hours after the country breached international agreements by test-firing ballistic missiles.

Iran’s most recent ballistic missile test, which violates current U.N. Security Council resolutions, comes a day after the international community’s nuclear watchdog organization disclosed that it is prohibited by the nuclear agreement from publicly reporting on potential violations by Iran.

Iranian leaders now say that they are poised to walk away from the deal if the United States and other global powers fail to advance the Islamic Republic’s “national interests.”

“If our interests are not met under the nuclear deal, there will be no reason for us to continue,” Abbas Araqchi, Iran’s deputy foreign minister, warned during remarks delivered to a group of Iranian officials in Tehran.

“If other parties decide, they could easily violate the deal,” Araqchi was quoted as saying by Iran’s state-controlled media. “However, they know this will come with costs.”

Araqchi appeared to allude to the United States possibly leveling new economic sanctions as a result of the missile test. The Obama administration moved forward with new sanctions earlier this year as a result of the country’s previous missile tests.

Iran’s latest missile test drew outrage from longtime regime critics on Capitol Hill.

“The administration’s response to Iran’s new salvo of threatening missile tests in violation of international law cannot once again be, it’s ‘not supposed to be doing that,’” Sen. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) said in a statement. “Now is the time for new crippling sanctions against Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Ministry of Defense, Aerospace Industries Organization, and other related entities driving the Iranian ballistic missile program.”

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) warned that the nuclear agreement has done little to moderate Iran’s rogue behavior.

“Far from pushing Iran to a more moderate engagement with its neighbors, this nuclear deal is enabling Iran’s aggression and terrorist activities,” McCarthy said in a statement. “Sanctions relief is fueling Iran’s proxies from Yemen to Iraq to Syria to Lebanon. Meanwhile, Khamenei and the Iranian regime are acting with impunity because they know President Obama will not hold them accountable and risk the public destruction of his nuclear deal, the cornerstone of the president’s foreign policy legacy.”

McCarthy went on to demand that the Obama administration step forward with new sanctions as punishment for the missile test.

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department had difficulty Monday explaining why the nuclear agreement limits public reporting by the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, on potential deal violations by Iran.

Yukiya Amano, the IAEA’s chief, disclosed on Monday that his agency is no longer permitted to release details about Iran’s nuclear program and compliance with the deal. The limited public reporting is a byproduct of the nuclear agreement, according to Amano.

When asked about these comments again Tuesday, a State Department official told the Free Beacon that the IAEA’s reports would continue to provide a complete picture of Iran’s nuclear program, though it remains unclear if this information will be made publicly available.

“There isn’t less stringent monitoring or reporting on Iran’s nuclear program,” the official said. “The IAEA’s access to Iran’s nuclear program and its authorization to report on it has actually expanded. It’s a distortion to say that if there is less detail in the first and only post-Implementation Day IAEA report then that somehow implies less stringent monitoring or less insight into Iran’s nuclear program.”

While the IAEA “needs to report on different issues” under the final version of the nuclear agreement, the agency continues to provide “a tremendous amount of information about Iran’s current, much smaller nuclear program,” the source maintained.

The IAEA’s most recent February report—which was viewed by nuclear experts as incomplete and short on detail—“accurately portrays the status of Iran’s nuclear program,” including its efforts to uphold the nuclear deal, the official added.

“We expect this professional level of reporting to continue in the future,” the official said.

The Iran Deal: From Bad to Worse

December 21, 2015

The Iran Deal: From Bad to Worse, Power LineJohn Hinderaker, December 20, 2015

[I]s there a deal or not? It hasn’t been signed, and the parties have never agreed on what its terms are supposed to be. In the meantime, if a deal exists, Iran is violating it. Does anyone care? Certainly not President Obama.

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The Iran nuclear deal has faded from the headlines. That must mean things are going well, right?

Just kidding. Amir Taheri brings us up to date:

Last month the president sent his Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to Vienna to twist the arm of International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano into issuing a favorable report on the state of the Iranian nuclear program.

The yes-or-no question Amano faced was simple: Has Iran closed the military aspect of its nuclear program?

Being an honorable man, Amano could not provide the straight “yes” that Muniz was asking for. “Much progress has been made, but much remains to be done,” he said. “More confidence building is needed, and verification of what Iran is doing may need many more weeks.”

Amano also hedged in his formal report to the IAEA board of governors. In paragraph 79 of the report, he states that the IAEA is in no position to categorically report that all of Iran’s nuclear program is entirely peaceful. That’s because the IAEA does not have access to all nuclear sites in the Islamic Republic.

I think it is blindingly obvious that Iran continues its progress toward becoming a nuclear power. Taheri makes a point that I also have emphasized repeatedly:

Meanwhile, Iran openly flouts the deal — and UN Security Council resolutions — by testing a new generation of medium-range ballistic missiles known as “Al-Qadr 110.”

These tests make sense only if Tehran continues to contemplate a military nuclear dimension to its program. The two new missiles are designed to carry warheads of between 75 to 100 kilograms. It makes no sense to deploy a ballistic missile over a distance of 1,800 to 2,000 kilometers — that is to say, capable of reaching all capitals in the Middle East and parts of Europe — simply to carry a payload of TNT.

One basic question is, is there a deal or not? It hasn’t been signed, and the parties have never agreed on what its terms are supposed to be. In the meantime, if a deal exists, Iran is violating it. Does anyone care? Certainly not President Obama.

It’s embarrassing enough that Obama pushed off implementation of the nuclear deal from last week until the end of January. But here’s the dirty little secret: It doesn’t matter. From Iran’s point of view, it’s getting everything it wants, deal or no deal.

The EU already has gotten rid of most sanctions against the nation, and Obama has suspended our sanctions for 90 days. Assets have been unfrozen, pumping an estimated $8 billion into Tehran. Iran is set to recover some $120 billion.

I can’t wait to see how that famous “snap back” provision will work.

All for a nuclear agreement that Iran has not signed and seemingly has no intention of following.

Remember when Obama claimed the deal would block Iran from obtaining a nuclear bomb for fifteen years? The Iranians have never agreed to any such thing:

Behruz Kamalvand, spokesman for the Iranian Atomic Energy commission, said the Obama deal “does not change our nuclear program by a single iota.”

“We continue doing exactly what we were doing before,” he says.

Nice work, Barack! Taheri itemizes some of the fallout from the administration’s craven diplomacy:

After two years of secret negotiations, Obama, far from resolving the Iranian nuclear issue, has made it even more complicated.

In the process, he has virtually killed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, discredited the IAEA, made a mockery of the UN Security Council and emboldened the most radical faction within the Khomeinist regime.

The truth is that there is no deal. It was not the mullahs who took Obama for a ride. It was Obama who hitched a ride with them.

Obama’s “the chance of a lifetime” is just that — for Iran.

The Iran deal isn’t merely sub-par diplomacy, it is a scandal. I don’t see how a president who took seriously his duty to preserve American security could have entered into it. There is another scandal, too: a journalistic one. Here, as in so many instances, reporters have covered up for the Obama administration by deliberately failing to report the facts surrounding the Iranian nuclear debacle. It would be interesting to compare the number of minutes that network news broadcasts have devoted, over the last few months, to the fulminations of Donald Trump with the minutes they have devoted to the crumbling of the Iran agreement. Likewise with column inches in our supposedly sophisticated newspapers.

When the first Iranian nuclear bomb explodes, whether in Europe, Israel or the United States, a number of people will have much to answer for, and they won’t all be officials in the Obama administration.

Kerry Welcomes End of Investigation into Iran’s Past Nuclear Efforts (Including Lies)

December 16, 2015

Kerry Welcomes End of Investigation into Iran’s Past Nuclear Efforts (Including Lies), The Jewish PressLori Lowenthal Marcus, December 15, 2015

IAEA-AmanoIAEA’S Dir. Gen. Yukiya Amano in Vienna. Sept. 14, 2015. Photo Credit: YouTube screen capture

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is thrilled that the world’s nuclear watchdog agency has decided, despite the continued lying by Iran about its nuclear weapons program and its violations of UN ballistic missile bans, to close its investigation into whether there had been any possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

Kerry’s statement, released on Tuesday, Dec. 15, noted that a Dec. 2 assessment by Yukiya Amano, Director General of the IAEA, revealed Iran had engaged in activities consistent with a nuclear weapons program as recently as a mere six years ago.

For some reason, Kerry seemed to find that reassuring.

The Secretary of State said that with the consensus adoption by the IAEA Board of Governors, it will now be able to “turn its focus now to the full implementation and verification of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).”

In other words, everyone can now move towards lifting sanctions against Iran which not only continued to lie about its past nuclear activity, but which has already twice violated United Nations missile bans on it since the time the JCPOA was agreed to in July.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power acknowledged Iran’s October violation of the missile ban.

Iran’s latest violation of the missile ban was made public by a United Nations Panel in a report dated Dec. 11, Reuters reported on Tuesday. That report was forwarded to the UNSC’s sanctions committee.

Iran has consistently said it will defy any limitations on its ballistic missile program, whether enshrined in UN resolutions or otherwise.

Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-KS) was outraged by the IAEA’s decision, and the green light it gives to the administration’s willingness to move towards implementation of its nearly toothless Nuclear Iran Deal.

“The vote today is a total capitulation to the Iranian regime’s aggressively dishonest behavior with respect to its commitment under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Sadly, though not surprisingly, the IAEA Board of Governors closed the investigation into Iran’s nuclear program, despite proof of Iran’s dishonesty and in the absence of thorough, truthful answers to many outstanding issues. The president will now use this decision to lift sanctions on Iran without having the complete truth regarding its nuclear weapons related activity. This is a grave and historic error that sends the wrong message,” wrote Pompeo.

The Kansas member of Congress pointed out that the Iran deal, which lasts for more than a decade, means many more years of the U.S. and its partner nations look the other way while the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism continues “cheating, lying, and breaking the rules.”

“This is wholly unacceptable and will most assuredly lead to more of the same from Ayatollah Khamenei. Other rogue nations now know too that America will accept deceit and fraud in dealings with respect to nuclear proliferation.”

Kerry said on Tuesday that the watchdog agency can still investigate Iran if “there is reason to believe” that country is “pursuing any covert nuclear activities in the future, as it had in the past. In fact, the JCPOA – by providing for implementation of the Additional Protocol as well as other enhanced transparency measures – puts the IAEA in a far better position to pursue any future concerns that may arise.”

The IAEA may be able to continue to investigate, but given that past violations have been met with no consequences, it’s a cold assurance that such investigations can continue.

Incredibly, Kerry’s statement concludes:

Today’s resolution makes clear that the IAEA’s Board of Governors will be watching closely to verify that Iran fully implements its commitments under the JCPOA. We will remain intensely focused going forward on the full implementation of the JCPOA in order to ensure the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program.

Isn’t that comforting?

The Prospects For JCPOA Implementation Following The Release Of IAEA Sec-Gen Amano’s Report On The PMD Of Iran’s Nuclear Program

December 8, 2015

The Prospects For JCPOA Implementation Following The Release Of IAEA Sec-Gen Amano’s Report On The PMD Of Iran’s Nuclear Program, MEMRI, A. Savyon, Y. Carmon, and U. Kafash, December 8, 2015

Introduction

On December 2, 2015, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) secretary-general Yukiya Amano released his report on the Possible Military Dimensions (PMD) of Iran’s nuclear program.[1]

The report’s findings, whatever they turned out to be, were not supposed to impact the continued implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in any way – even if they were completely negative regarding Iran. From the outset, it was agreed that all that Iran was obligated to do was to cooperate with the IAEA investigation of its PMD, and nothing more.

The next milestone date for the continued implementation of the JCPOA is December 15, 2015, when Amano’s PMD report will be presented to the IAEA Board of Governors and the latter will resolve whether to close Iran’s PMD dossier in the IAEA. This resolution is meant to be adopted by the UN Security Council.

The implementation process is meant to be continued by Iran – that is, Iran must meet its obligations under the JCPOA. These consist primarily of the removal of nine tons of low-grade enriched uranium from the country, the dismantling of centrifuges so that only 6,000 active ones remain, the pouring of concrete into the core of the Arak nuclear reactor such that it will not be able to be used to manufacture plutonium, the adoption of the Additional Protocol, and more.

After that, the IAEA will check to verify that Iran has carried these out; when it announces that it has, the next milestone date, Implementation Day, will come into force. At that time, Europe and the U.S. will carry out their promise, made October 19, 2015, to lift and suspend their sanctions on Iran.

It was Iran itself that made Amano’s PMD report a problematic issue, and, essentially, a condition for its continued implementation of the JCPOA. Iran demanded that the IAEA Board of Governors close its PMD dossier, and, according to some Iranian spokesmen, it should do so in a way that completely exonerates Iran of accusations against it regarding development of a military nuclear program. That is, Iran will not be satisfied with a closure of the dossier that is merely formal if Amano’s report does not completely exonerate it.

To this end, in the days leading up to the release of the report, Iran pressured the IAEA and the P5+1, with the aim of ensuring that the report would completely clear Iran of suspicions regarding PMD.[2]

In addition to its direct pressure on Amano, Iran also implemented political pressure on the P5+1, warning that if the dossier remained open, Iran would not implement its obligations under the JCPOA, and that the West had to choose between the PMD, that is, accusing Iran of developing a military nuclear program, and implementing the JCPOA.[3]

The Findings Of Amano’s PMD Report

Iran’s pressure netted only partial success. Prior to the report’s release, Amano stated: “What I can now say is that this is an issue that cannot be answered by ‘yes’ and ‘no.'”[4] The report included aspects that were both positive and negative for Iran.

On the one hand, it stated: “The Agency has not found indications of an undeclared nuclear fuel cycle in Iran, beyond those activities declared retrospectively by Iran. The Agency has found no indications of Iran having conducted activities which can be directly traced to the ‘uranium metal document’ or to design information for a nuclear explosive device from the clandestine nuclear supply network.”

However, it also said: “The Agency assesses that explosive bridgewire (EBW) detonators developed by Iran have characteristics relevant to a nuclear explosive device.”

With regard to the Parchin facility, Amano’s PMD report stated that “[t]he information available to the Agency… does not support Iran’s statements on the purpose of the building.” Furthermore, the report stated that “the Agency assesses that the extensive activities undertaken by Iran since February 2012 at the particular location of interest to the Agency seriously undermined the Agency’s ability to conduct effective verification.” It continued:

“The Agency assesses that Iran conducted computer modelling of a nuclear explosive device prior to 2004 and between 2005 and 2009. The Agency notes, however, the incomplete and fragmented nature of those calculations… The Agency assesses that, before the end of 2003, an organizational structure was in place in Iran suitable for the coordination of a range of activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device. Although some activities took place after 2003, they were not part of a coordinated effort. The Agency’s overall assessment is that a range of activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device were conducted in Iran prior to the end of 2003 as a coordinated effort, and some activities took place after 2003. The Agency also assesses that these activities did not advance beyond feasibility and scientific studies, and the acquisition of certain relevant technical competences and capabilities. The Agency has no credible indications of activities in Iran relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device after 2009.”[5]

Iran’s Future Moves Vis-à-vis The PMD Dossier In The IAEA Board Of Governors

Assuming that the IAEA Board of Governors follows the Iran-U.S. dictates and closes Iran’s PMD dossier[6] in spite of the findings mentioned above, it is not clear that a formal closure of the dossier by the Board of Governors would satisfy Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, or whether he would block Iran’s implementation of the JCPOA because the Amano report’s findings do not exonerate Iran.

The Iranian reactions to the report have been mixed, in accordance with the speakers’ affiliation with either the pragmatic camp of President Rohani and Foreign Minister Zarif, or the ideological camp. While the former is willing to settle for a formal closure of the PMD dossier without Iran’s complete exoneration,[7] the latter stresses that the reports’ findings determine that Iran conducted military nuclear development prior to 2009, and see this as a reason to stop the entire JCPOA process. 

The Appendix below presents statements by Deputy Foreign Minister and negotiator Abbas Aragchi, representing the pragmatic camp, and by Hossein Shariatmadari, editor of the Iranian daily Kayhan, which is affiliated with Supreme Leader Khamenei, representing the ideological camp.

It cannot be known whether Khamenei and ideological camp spokesmen will accept the Board of Governors’ resolution as sufficient. Furthermore, even if Khamenei decides to accept a closure of the PMD dossier by the Board of Governors as sufficient, his nine new conditions for Iran’s implementation of the JCPOA, as set out on October 21, 2015, remain an obstacle to Iran’s implementation of the JCPOA.[8]

Appendix

Statements By Deputy Foreign Minister Araghchi Immediately After The Release Of Amano’s PMD Report

On December 2, 2015, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi told Iranian Channel 1: “In the matter of the [Final Assessment] on Past and Present Outstanding Issues [Regarding Iran’s Nuclear Program], the Amano report states explicitly that all the claims about PMD [refer] strictly to scientific studies [and not to military development]. This is the most salient point in the Amano report. The general view of the IAEA vis-à-vis Past and Present Outstanding Issues in Iran’s nuclear program counters the claims made against Iran in the past decade.

“The IAEA assessment is that prior to 2003, research activity was carried out in Iran, not by it. Likewise, there is no sign that nuclear material was diverted to any initiatives that are not for peaceful purposes.

“The claims in the IAEA report about science and research activity are unacceptable to us, and we will inform the IAEA of our opinion on this matter within the allotted time, even though previously Amano said that his report was not black or white, but in my opinion it leans more towards the white side, particularly when the conclusion of the report explicitly rejects [the claim] that there is in Iran a military program, and it is preparing the ground for the Board of Governors to close the issue of the PMD dossier.

“The report states that there is no sign of nuclear material in matters that are not for peaceful purposes, and also that there is no sign of an undeclared nuclear fuel cycle in Iran. In the matter of equipment [for] dual use, the IAEA says that in the past Iran worked on detonators, but the report declares that these detonators had uses for both peaceful and non-peaceful purposes, and that the IAEA could not make a determination in this matter…

“Likewise, Iran’s procurements [activities] are not against [the law] and there is no organization in Iran that was established to produce an atomic bomb and nuclear weapons. The IAEA pointed out that in the past there was an organizational structure for this purpose [i.e. to create a nuclear weapon] and that in Iran’s view this, this organization could have been used for conventional weapons.

“Nowhere in the IAEA report does it say that Iran conducted dual use activity, except it is written that dual use activity was carried out in Iran; nowhere in the report does it accuse the Iranian government of operating in this direction.

“An additional positive point is that nowhere in the IAEA report is the term PMD used, since we have never officially recognized this matter and have not allowed the use of it in official documents or discussions. The JCPOA and the [IAEA] Road-map likewise do not use this term. In this report, there is use of [the term] ‘[Final Assessment] on Past and Present Outstanding Issues [Regarding Iran’s Nuclear Program] and there is no use at all of the term Possible Military Dimensions.

“The IAEA’s claim that in the past there was research concerning military nuclear activity could be a negative issue. I believe that if the IAEA had sought the truth, it would not have said such a thing. Additionally, the IAEA claimed that an explosives firing chamber was constructed at Parchin, that now does not exist. According to photos from 2000 that we have shown the IAEA, and on which the IAEA is basing its claims, there was never any such chamber at such a location. Further, the IAEA visited Parchin twice, in 2004 and 2005, and saw no such thing. We do not confirm this claim, and we did not want such a summary to appear in the IAEA report.

“All in all, when all the IAEA’s previous claims are placed next to the [Amano report’s] findings, it appears that the report’s fairness leans in Iran’s favor. The Board of Governors has no excuse to leave this dossier open…

“Although the IAEA took samples from the Parchin site, it is not declaring that it found nothing to justify its claims. We expected the IAEA to act fairly and realistically and not to present these things in the report…

“Amano is not in a position to close the PMD dossier. Amano is a [strictly] technical element that must report on his assessment according to reality, facts on the ground, and research that was carried out. The Board of Governors must resolve whether to close the PMD dossier. In my opinion, with regard to the report that Amano published, this procedure should be ended, because there is no proof that Iran’s nuclear program is military, or [was so] even in the past…

“According to the JCPOA, the P5+1 must submit to the Board of Governors a draft resolution with the aim of closing the PMD dossier. It does not appear that the board will decide otherwise in the matter, because the [political] will is to close [the dossier], and the Amano report provides a reason to do so.

“Another positive point in the Amano report is its pointing out that the Road-map was carried out perfectly by Iran. According to it, Iran met all its obligations.

“Still, the absolute Iranian position is that if this dossier is not closed, and if even the smallest window remains open [that will allow] a return to this issue, the JCPOA will not be implemented. We have conveyed this message, in a serious manner, to the other side, that if the PMD dossier is not closed [as noted above], we will not carry out our main steps in the JCPOA. The P5+1 and the Board of Governors must choose one or the other: the PMD or the JCPOA.

“The IAEA report mentions a prohibition on the use of dual equipment in illegal matters, particularly nuclear weapons, but there is no prohibition on the use of dual equipment in ways that are for peaceful purposes or for conventional weapons. The IAEA has said that EBW [Exploding-Bridgewire Detonator] and MPI [Multipoint Initiation] are equipment that has a use in nuclear weapons, Iran has manufactured them and used them. The IAEA says explicitly that it cannot determine [which] use Iran has made of them. We have presented the IAEA with documents that show the use of this equipment in the oil industry and Amano mentioned that Iran has used dual equipment in matters of peaceful purposes…”[9]

Hossein Shariatmadari In Kayhan Editorial, December 5, 2015

In Kayhan’s December 5, 2015 editorial, Shariatmadari wrote: “On Wednesday, December 2, the IAEA released its final report on the PMD. In this report, without presenting any evidence or proof, the IAEA rejects the opinion of Iran, which Iran has stated many times, and writes that up until 2009 Iran engaged in a series of activities connected to the production of nuclear weapons. This is despite the fact that in the past 12 years Iran has absolutely rejected any deviation [in a military direction] in its civilian nuclear activity.

“In spite of the extensive and comprehensive visits by IAEA inspectors, there is no finding to this claim. Several minutes after it was released, the report was welcomed by the media in the U.S. and in the Zionist regime. It was said that this report confirms their previous statements against Iran’s nuclear program, and Iran was accused of lying and cheating for several years.

“It may be that the IAEA report will have dangerous ramifications, that should be stated:

“1.   It was told [to us] that in the nuclear talks it was agreed that the IAEA report would be grey, but that the Board of Governors will close [the matter of the] claim [regarding] the PMD by means of its final resolution. About this, it must be said that:

“a.    If this is a matter of an official agreement, where is this mentioned in the JCPOA? The answer is: Nowhere.

“b.   And if this was an oral agreement, how can the oral agreements of the rival be trusted when it has violated and continues to violate its formal obligations?!

“c.    It was told [to us] that the IAEA report would be grey – that is, with black and white points, positive and negative. Contrary to the opinion of our dear brother Dr. Araghchi, not only does this report not lean more towards white, but most of its sections are black. Additionally, the white points that the members [of the negotiating team] mention have only a white exterior, and their essence is completely black; we will address this later on.

“2.   The report states that up to 2009, Iran engaged in research and development connected to [nuclear] weapons – that is, the part of the report that addresses Iran’s nuclear challenge, which has continued for 12 years, is decided in favor of the rival. This is because in the past 12 years, the U.S. and its allies, and after that the P5+1, accused Iran of deviating in its nuclear program in the direction of nuclear weapons… Ultimately, the IAEA carried out more extensive oversight activity than [that required] in the Additional Protocol, and found no document attesting that Iran’s nuclear activity was not civilian. [Our] technical and judicial expectation was that the report would reject the claims that Iran had deviated in its nuclear program or at the very least that it would be stated [in it] that it had found no sign of such a deviation. But the report confirms the groundless and evidence-free claim of the U.S. and its allies.

“3.   Our friends [on the negotiating team] say that the general view of the report shows that its conclusion contradicts all the claims and talk against Iran’s nuclear program in the past 12 years… For 12 years [the U.S. and its allies] have claimed that Iran’s nuclear program is not civilian and is advancing in the direction of nuclear weapons. The IAEA report justifies this claim. How, then, can it be said that ‘the report contradicts the claims [against Iran] in the past 12 years!?’

“4.   The U.S. and its allies accused Iran, without presenting any proof, that up until 2009 it made efforts to obtain nuclear weapons. Now, the report justifies the claims and accuses Iran of lying, cheating, concealing, breaking the law, and more. Those responsible for the nuclear negotiations must be asked: Was this the intention of the ‘acquisition of international confidence for Iran’ that you talked so much about? Take a quick look at the statements by American, European, and Zionist elements, and at the commentary and analysis by the foreign media, that were published immediately after the report was released: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says proudly that everything we [the U.S.] said about Iran’s nuclear program was true.[10] He stresses that we [the U.S.] had never had any doubts that Iran had striven to attain nuclear weapons.[11] Reuters rejected Iran’s statements that we had never wanted nuclear weapons, and wrote, with a large headline: ‘Iran had ‘coordinated effort’ relevant to atom bombs – IAEA.’ USA Today accuses Iran of lying about its non-civilian nuclear activity up to 2009. The Times of Israel spoke respectfully of the opinion of Israeli experts that from the outset, they had said that Iran was making efforts to create nuclear weapons, and more.

“5.   The first article of the [IAEA] report states that it is ‘based on information available to the IAEA… [The points in the original report] include information obtained by the IAEA from Iran in the Framework for Cooperation, including the Road-map and the JCPOA.’ This article says, or at least can be interpreted as saying, that even the elements in Iran (as the IAEA supposes) agreed that up to 2009 Iran engaged in non-civilian [nuclear] activity. Now, tell me: What is white in this report [as Araghchi said], and what in it arouses pride?!

“6.   The IAEA report on the PMD is a final report, and the IAEA saw no need to continue to investigate. Perhaps there will be those who will see this as a white point, and as a point in [Iran’s] favor. But in effect, the IAEA is stating absolutely that Iran made efforts to attain nuclear weapons, and that there is no need to reexamine this. That is, the ground has been prepared for future exploitation [of this claim against Iran].

“7.   The report justifies the suspicion of the U.S. and its allies regarding Iran’s nuclear activity and their perception of it non-civilian. Therefore, this justifies grave restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activity, as well as unprecedented oversight on it. If we accept this report, we will destroy [with our own hands] all our achievements gained through great effort and sacrifices in blood.

“8.    The IAEA report could be more dangerous than the JCPOA, because it is an international document that proves that the opinions and proof that Iran submitted concerning its non-civilian nuclear program are unrealistic and unreliable. Therefore, the U.S. can extend the implementation of the JCPOA from 15 years to 25 years, or even for eternity, on the pretext that the IAEA report shows that you [i.e. Iran] have lied  for 12 years about your nuclear program and there is guarantee that you will not want to produce nuclear weapons under your civilian program.  

“9.    If Iran accepts the IAEA report, as unfortunately is becoming clear from statements by certain elements, the document will gain international [validity], and even if the Board of Governors closes the PMD dossier, this document [i.e. the report] is sufficient in order to permanently restrict our nuclear program and to leave Iran’s nuclear activity in the laboratory and as pilot [project]. That is, on the level of ‘nothing.’ Not for nothing have the rival’s media published the report enthusiastically and applauded the IAEA and its secretary-general.

“10. With regard to the U.S.’s long list of broken promises and deception in the past 12 years of [Iran’s] nuclear challenge, it can be said fervently that even if we assume that the Board of Governors closes the PMD dossier, as the friends [in the negotiating team] say it has promised, the IAEA’s final report can serve as a good basis for future extortion and excessive demands on the part of the U.S…

“11. In conclusion, the defense of [Iran’s] national and scientific interests requires that the elements connected to the nuclear [issue] in Iran show strength and might and explicitly oppose the report and [demand that it be considered] an illegal report and not a technical report [that is, that it be considered a political report] lacking all findings and proof.”[12]

 

Endnotes:

[1] Final Assessment on Past and Present Outstanding Issues regarding Iran’s Nuclear Programme, Isis-online.org/uploads/isis-reports/documents/IAEA_PMD_Assessment_2Dec2015.pdf.

[2] Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said: “In the coming days, our experts will be in touch with IAEA experts, and if necessary, they will raise further points. It is even possible that I will meet with Amano again… According to what we were told, there are some weak points in the IAEA report, on which I have commented. I am optimistic that they will be amended. I have provided necessary comments to the Americans and Europeans.” ISNA (Iran), November 25, 2015. On November 29, 2015, he said: “We expect [IAEA secretary-general] Amano to present the Board of Governors with a realistic and moderate report. It is true that it is not possible to determine absolutely what happened 10-15 years ago, and there are various possibilities. We do not expect that Amano will present an absolute report… In any event,  the resolution [about closing the PMD dossier]  lies with the Board of Governors [and not with Amano]. Our criterion is the closure of the PMD dossier in the Board of Governors. We are waiting for its resolution.” Mehr. Iran, November 29, 2015. Also see MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 6229, Statements By Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi Indicate: IAEA’s PMD Report Is Being Written In Negotiation With Iran, Not Independently, November 27, 2015.

[3] Aragchi said on November 29, 2015: “We are now in consultation on the content of the draft resolution that the P5+1 is meant to present to the Board of Governors. In the content [of the draft resolution], they must use terms that mean closure and conclusion of the PMD dossier in the Board of Governors. If this dossier is not closed, our position is absolutely clear – this dossier must be closed, so that we implement the JCPOA. If not, we will not implement our obligations, that according to the JCPOA Iran must implement after the closure of the PMD dossier. That is, the JCPOA will not be implemented fully. Mehr (Iran), November 29, 2015. Araghchi added, “If Yukiya Amano or the Board of Governors present their report in such a way that it does not meet the obligations that were given, Iran too will stop [implementing] the JCPOA.” Press TV, Iran, November 26, 2015. Also, at a November 26, 2015 press conference, Foreign Minister Zarif said: “The Amano report, in the coming days, will help close the dossier permanently. If the report is realistic enough, Iran will move in the direction envisioned for it in the past [that is, it will implement the JCPOA].”The PMD is encapsulated, though we believe undeservedly, as ‘concerns past and present’ in the text of the JCPOA; we hope Amano’s report within upcoming days will help close the case forever. If the report is realistic enough, Iran will move in the direction predicted for it before.” Mehr (Iran), November 26, 2015. Also see similar statements by Supreme National Security Council secretary Ali Shamkhani, ISNA, Iran, November 29, 2015. Additionally, on December 1, 2015, the daily Etemaad, which is affiliated with pragmatic camp leader Hashemi Rafsanjani, stated that the negotiating team had said clearly that the West must choose between the PMD and the JCPOA.

[4] Reuters, November 26, 2015.

[5] Final Assessment on Past and Present Outstanding Issues regarding Iran’s Nuclear Programme. Isis-online.org/uploads/isis-reports/documents/IAEA_PMD_Assessment_2Dec2015.pdf.

[6] A hint at this could be found in the December 5, 2015 editorial of the Iranian daily Kayhan, in which the paper’s editor, Hossein Shariatmadari, wrote: “It was told [to us] that in the nuclear talks it was agreed that the IAEA report would be grey, but that the Board of Governors will close [the matter of the] claim [regarding] the PMD by means of its final resolution” (see Appendix for the full editorial). Also, Araghchi’s November 26, 2015 statements to Iran’s Press TV hinted at commitments to Iran in this vein: “If Yukiya Amano or the Board of Governors present their report in such a way that it does not meet the obligations that were given, Iran too will stop [implementing] the JCPOA.”

[7] Although the members of the negotiating team also claimed that the Amano report contains statements that are unacceptable. Following the report’s release, Araghchi said in a December 2, 2015 television interview: “The claims in the IAEA report about science and research activity are unacceptable to us, and we will inform the IAEA of our opinion on this matter within the allotted time… The IAEA’s claim that in the past there was research concerning military nuclear activity could be a negative issue. I believe that if the IAEA had sought the truth, it would not have said such a thing. Additionally, the IAEA claimed that an explosives firing chamber was constructed at Parchin, that now does not exist. According to photos from 2000 that we have shown the IAEA, and on which the IAEA is basing its claims, there was never any such chamber at such a location. Further, the IAEA visited Parchin twice, in 2004 and 2005, and saw no such thing. We do not confirm this claim, and we did not want such a summary to appear in the IAEA report” (for the full statements, see Appendix). ISNA, Iran, December 2, 2015. See also statements by Atomic Energy Organization of Iran director Ali Akbar Salehi: “Based on the Amano report, there remains no way to leave the PMD dossier open… Based on this [report], and on my extensive experience in the IAEA, the PMD dossier will be closed for certain, because they have not succeeded in presenting any document. Therefore, this false dossier that has entangled us for many years will be closed permanently.” Nasimonline, Iran, December 3, 2015.

[8] See MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis Series Report No. 1196, Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei’s Letter Of Guidelines To President Rohani On JCPOA Sets Nine Conditions Nullifying Original Agreement Announced July 14, 2015, October 22, 2015.

[9] ISNA (Iran), December 2, 2015.

[10] MEMRI did not find Kerry’s exact words in this regard.

[11] Kerry said at a December 4, 2015 press conference that “nobody has had any doubts whatsoever about Iran’s past military endeavors.” State.gov/secretary/remarks/2015/12/250362.htm.

[12] Kayhan (Iran), December 5, 2015.