Archive for the ‘Iran compliance with JCPOA’ category

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Re -Imposition of Sanctions Pursuant to the May 8, 2018 National Security Presidential Memorandum Relating to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)

May 9, 2018

U.S. Treasury Department 5-08-2018

Source: Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Re -Imposition of Sanctions Pursuant to the May 8, 2018 National Security Presidential Memorandum R elating to the Joint Comprehen sive Plan of Action

{Here are the official details regarding sanctions and the JCPOA withdrawal. – LS}

Note: This document is in PDF format. Click HERE or the source link above to view.

Netanyahu says Israel obtained ‘half a ton’ of documents on Iran’s nuclear weapons program

April 30, 2018

By Guy Taylor – The Washington Times – Updated: 2:17 p.m. on Monday, April 30, 2018

Source Link:

{Absolutely amazing. – LS}

Israel’s prime minister says his government has obtained “half a ton” of secret Iranian documents proving the Tehran government once had a nuclear weapons program.

Calling it a “great intelligence achievement,” Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that the documents show that Iran lied about its nuclear ambitions before signing a 2015 deal with world powers.

Iran has denied ever seeking nuclear weapons.

In a nationally televised address, Netanyahu said Israel recently uncovered 55,000 documents and 183 CDs of information from Iran’s “nuclear archives.”

Speaking in English, perhaps with an international audience in mind, he says the material is filled with incriminating evidence showing the Iranian program, called “Project Amad,” was to develop a weapon.

President Donald Trump is to decide by May 12 whether to pull out of the international deal with Iran. Netanyahu has led calls for Trump to withdraw.

Act 2 of Trump clampdown on Iran: Re-imposing sanctions lifted under nuclear accord

January 6, 2018

Act 2 of Trump clampdown on Iran: Re-imposing sanctions lifted under nuclear accord, DEBKAfile, January 6, 2018

On the heels of the first protests to hit the Iranian regime, Washington will turn the screw by negating financial benefits afforded by the nuclear deal.  To this end, President Donald Trump will use the deadlines he faces as of next week for certifying the Iranian nuclear deal and approving sanctions waivers. This intent was indicated by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in an AP interview Friday, Jan. 5.

Since the president had demanded that the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran be either “fixed or cancelled,” Tillerson said the administration was working with lawmakers on legislation for making it more acceptable to the president. Last October, Trump reluctantly waived sanctions for another three months. However, since sanctions relief was not incorporated in the nuclear deal, which Iran signed with six world nations three years ago, the US may set them aside without being accused of non-compliance. The US may therefore certify the framework while emptying it of the economic benefits the Obama administration granted, which funneled hundreds of billions of dollars to the Iranian treasury.

This is what Tillerson meant by “fixing” rather than “cancelling” the nuclear accord. He is charged with reformulating the deal, while upholding the Trump policy for countering Iran’s regional aggression and continuing support for anti-regime protests. These steps are components of the drawn-out, staged war of attrition the Trump administration has begun orchestrating against the revolutionary Shiite regime in Tehran for the year of 2018.

The following steps are already in the pipeline, DEBKAfile reports:

  1. President Trump may refrain this time from signing on to the sanction waivers, but may re-certify Iran’s compliance with the accord.
  2. The US Treasury Department has meanwhile announced new sanctions targeting banks, financial entities and officials – whether involved in Iran’s missile program or propping up the Revolutionary Guard Corps and its actions to suppress popular dissent.
  3. Washington will likewise target entities in the Middle East and beyond that serve Tehran and receive Iranian financial assistance and weapons. Examples are Lebanon, Hizballah, the Iraqi Shiite militias under Iranian command, Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and others.
  4. A broad US strategy is now in place for halting or slashing American aid programs to entities and governments which refuse to cooperate with the administration’s policy objectives.
  5. Donald Trump’s original plan was to work closely with the Europeans on his drive against Iran. Since the European governments have not only opted out of cooperation but are flatly opposed to US support for the Iranian protesters, Washington is forging ahead on its own, without reference to any European capital.
    Trump has thus scrapped one of the basic principles which gave birth to the nuclear accord, close cooperation between the US, Russia and the leading European powers.
  6. The breakup of this transatlantic partnership confronts Russia’s Vladimir Putin with a dilemma. Lining up with Europe on Iran would place Moscow on a collision course with the Trump administration. That Moscow knows exactly what is at stake was evident in the remarks made by Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on Jan. 4, in response to Washington’s call for a UN Security Council to discuss repression in Iran: “We warn the US against attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran.” He also cautioned Washington against being “tempted to use the moment to raise new issues with regard to the JCPOA (the 2015 nuclear accord.)

Clare Lopez: Trump Takes Aim at Iran’s ‘Clandestine Nuclear Weapons Program’

October 18, 2017

Clare Lopez: Trump Takes Aim at Iran’s ‘Clandestine Nuclear Weapons Program’, Breitbart,  Clare M. Lopez, October 17, 2017

AFP

Iran remains a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and is obligated under the terms of that agreement to disclose all nuclear sites to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Of course, it never has. In fact, of all the facilities now known to be part of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, not one was ever reported first by the Iranian regime itself.

Denying re-certification for the Iranian nuclear deal is an important first step as is the Treasury Department designation and sanctioning of the IRGC. Designating the IRGC to the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) list and complete withdrawal from the JCPOA should follow. Seeking the support of our closest allies and partners to implement a follow-on set of measures, including sanctions and increasingly coercive commercial, diplomatic, legal, military, and political steps, is also critical if we are to ensure that this Tehran regime never has the ability to deploy deliverable nuclear weapons that threaten any of us.

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President Donald J. Trump put the Iranian regime on notice with his speech last week: the time when the United States (U.S.) government would turn a blind eye to its decades-long drive for deliverable nuclear weapons is over. Citing a long litany of destabilizing, rogue behavior on the part of Tehran, the president announced he would not re-certify Iranian compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or Iran nuclear deal.

That is a necessary and first step, but must be followed up with a clear U.S. strategy for ending Iranian support to Islamic terror proxies and the criminal regime of Syrian Bashar al-Assad, its reckless regional aggression, human rights abuses against its own people, and above all, development of an entire range of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) – biological, chemical, and nuclear – as well as the ballistic missiles on which to deliver them.

By making explicit references to “Iran’s clandestine nuclear weapons program” and “illicit nuclear program,” President Trump acknowledged what many have known for a long time: there has never been a time since 1988, when the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini first ordered his Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to “get the bomb,” that Iran has not had a clandestine nuclear weapons program. The world first learned publicly about that illicit program in 2002, when the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) blew the lid off the program with revelations about places whose names are now well-known, including Natanz and Isfahan. Iran remains a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and is obligated under the terms of that agreement to disclose all nuclear sites to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Of course, it never has. In fact, of all the facilities now known to be part of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, not one was ever reported first by the Iranian regime itself.

One of the most glaring problems with the terms of the JCPOA is that there is no obligatory mechanism under which the Iranian regime is compelled to open facilities to IAEA inspection where it is suspected that nuclear weapons work is being done. Iran’s leadership has made quite clear in numerous public statements that it will never allow inspectors onto military sites it declares off-limits. Unfortunately, this means there is no chance under the terms of the JCPOA for IAEA inspectors ever to clear up the many unresolved “Possible Military Dimensions” of Iran’s nuclear program – involving nuclear warhead work, explosive charges to initiate the implosion sequence of a nuclear bomb, and more – that were enumerated in the November 2011 quarterly report on the Iranian nuclear program by the IAEA Board of Governors.

On 11 October 2017, the NCRI issued a new report, entitled “Iran’s Nuclear Core: Uninspected Military Sites,” which reveals four more of the clandestine sites where the Iranian military is conducting nuclear weapons R&D. While Iran’s alarming and destabilizing geo-strategic behavior certainly provides more than enough reason for the president to find the JCPOA not in America’s national security interests, it is the Iranian regime’s blatant violation of the nuclear NPT as well as material breaches of the JCPOA (especially section T, that deals with nuclear warhead work), that fully justify U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal entirely.

Denying re-certification for the Iranian nuclear deal is an important first step as is the Treasury Department designation and sanctioning of the IRGC. Designating the IRGC to the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) list and complete withdrawal from the JCPOA should follow. Seeking the support of our closest allies and partners to implement a follow-on set of measures, including sanctions and increasingly coercive commercial, diplomatic, legal, military, and political steps, is also critical if we are to ensure that this Tehran regime never has the ability to deploy deliverable nuclear weapons that threaten any of us.

Clare M. Lopez is the Vice President for Research and Analysis at the Center for Security Policy.

Trump Admin Will Not Commit to Designating IRGC as Terror Group

October 11, 2017

Trump Admin Will Not Commit to Designating IRGC as Terror Group, Washington Free Beacon , October 11, 2017

Members of the Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps / Getty Images

Trump last week signed new sanctions legislation mandating that the United States extend a terror designation to the IRGC, marking the first time in U.S. history a foreign country’s military branch would be hit with such a designation.

However, the State and Treasury Departments would not confirm Wednesday that the administration intends to make good on this law, which was approved by Congress with bipartisan support.

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The Trump administration will not commit to designating the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC, Iran’s elite fighting force, as terrorists, despite a congressional mandate to do so by the end of the month, according to multiple U.S. officials and other administration insiders who told the Washington Free Beacon that holdovers from the Obama administration are working to stymie the effort.

While President Donald Trump is expected to announce this week that he will not certify Iran as in compliance with the landmark nuclear deal, it remains unclear if he will follow through with congressionally approved plans to extend a terror designation to the IRGC, a move that has prompted Iran to threaten greater attacks on U.S. forces in the Middle East.

The IRGC is responsible for numerous terror attacks on American troops over the years and has played a key role in interfering with U.S. operations in Syria. A bipartisan consensus in Congress has already backed such a designation, but key Obama-era holdovers and top national security officials who have the president’s ear are urging him to refrain, according to multiple sources who spoke to the Free Beacon.

Top lawmakers and insiders who spoke to the Free Beacon about the growing uncertainty over how best to hold Iran accountable for its terror activities expressed frustration over what they view as the administration’s inability to follow through with its foreign policy promises, particularly as they relate to Iran, which has increasingly targeted U.S. forces with military action.

New reports emerged Wednesday afternoon that Trump’s planned speech on Iran may be scaled back and not take place until Friday, if it does at all.

Trump last week signed new sanctions legislation mandating that the United States extend a terror designation to the IRGC, marking the first time in U.S. history a foreign country’s military branch would be hit with such a designation.

However, the State and Treasury Departments would not confirm Wednesday that the administration intends to make good on this law, which was approved by Congress with bipartisan support.

The administration may be getting cold feet due to the objections of key U.S. officials and those in the Treasury Department who view such a designation as harmful to American companies that have business interests in Iran, where the IRGC controls a majority of the economy, sources said.

“The IRGC is responsible for wreaking havoc throughout the Middle East and, through its Quds Force, for killing hundreds of American troops in Iraq,” Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and chair of its National Security Subcommittee, told the Free Beacon.

“The IRGC represents a quintessential terrorist group and should be designated as such,” DeSantis said.  “Whereas the Obama administration flew pallets of cash to the IRGC, the Trump administration should act to hold the IRGC accountable.  Designating it as a terrorist group is a good first step.”

Neither the State Department or White House would confirm to the Free Beacon plans to follow through with this designation, prompting speculation that the process may be held up over objections by Obama-era holdovers in the Trump administration who view the move as a shot at dismantling the former president’s nuclear deal.

“Congress didn’t ask the president to designate the full IRGC,” according to one veteran Middle East policy advisor who lobbies Congress on Iran sanctions. “They told the president to do it by veto proof majorities. Obama holdover lawyers and his establishment staffers are telling him he can use loopholes to just go after some entities and circumvent Congress.”

These same voices are continuing to advise Trump against decertifying Iranian compliance with the deal, despite the president’s personal belief that the Islamic Republic has flagrantly violated what he has repeatedly described as a bad deal.

“These are the same people advising him to certify the nuclear deal, which was also rejected by bipartisan majorities in Congress,” the source said. “They’re wrong and if they stay wrong, lawmakers will eventually make it an oversight issue.”

A State Department official declined repeated requests for clarification on what the administration intends to do about the IRGC, but told the Free Beacon officials remain “deeply troubled by Iran’s longstanding provocative activities including its support for terrorism and destabilizing activities in the region.”

“We are committed to holding Iran accountable for its behavior,” the official said. “The United States retains the authority to respond to Iran’s support for terrorism, human rights abuses, and destabilizing activities. The U.S. government constantly reviews information, through an interagency process, to evaluate potential sanctions violators for targeting under existing sanctions authorities.”

A Treasury Department official did not respond to a request for comment on the matter.

Iranian officials vowed last week to strike U.S. forces and bases in the region if the Trump administration moves forward with extending a terror designation to the IRGC.

Rep. Sean Duffy (R., Wis.), a vocal opponent of the Iran deal, told the Free Beacon that Iran would be wise to back down from its threats.

“President Obama’s terrible Iran deal predictably emboldened the Iranian regime to build up their military and antagonize the region,” Duffy said. “Iran may have been able to bully our previous president, but the American people elected President Trump to stand up for the United States on the world stage.”

“The Iranian regime is already on notice for being the world’s largest state-sponsor of terror, and it would be wise for them to back down from their belligerent posture,” Duffy added.

EXCLUSIVE – Former IAEA Deputy Director: Agency Has ‘Credibility’ Issue on Iran Nuclear Inspections

September 19, 2017

EXCLUSIVE – Former IAEA Deputy Director: Agency Has ‘Credibility’ Issue on Iran Nuclear Inspections, Breitbart, Aaron
Klein
, September 18, 2017

NEW YORK — A former deputy director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) raised questions about the credibility of that agency’s inspection and verification system for Iran’s nuclear program as required under the U.S.-brokered international nuclear accord with Tehran.

Speaking in a radio interview with this reporter, Dr. Olli Heinonen, former deputy director general of the IAEA and head of its Department of Safeguards, questioned how the IAEA can credibly inspect Iran’s nuclear program without gaining access to Iranian military bases.

Heinonen made the comments last night on his talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio,” broadcast on New York’s AM 970 The Answer and NewsTalk 990 AM in Philadelphia.

The IAEA, headquartered in Vienna, is an international body that reports to the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council. It is the agency charged with ensuring Iran is complying with the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Heinonen said he was “concerned” about the lack of IAEA access to Iran’s military bases.

He continued:

Military bases should not be sanctuaries. There is a special provision in the deal which asks the IAEA to monitor certain activities, so-called dual-use activities which can also be used for nuclear weapons purposes. IAEA has assessed that it has now verified that undertaking from Iran.

So it is hard for me to understand how you can verify that undertaking without visiting a military site and this is the most puzzling thing. And it goes to the credibility of the verification system.

How can the IAEA conclude that there have been no undeclared activities highlighted in JCPOA in those locations? This needs to be clarified and explained by the IAEA.

Last month, the IAEA declared that Iran is in compliance with the nuclear deal. However, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki R. Haley and other administration officials have argued that the IAEA should have access to Iran’s nuclear bases.

Last week, Ali Shamkhani, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, ruled out any possibility of international access to Iran’s military bases, declaring the issue an “unnecessary and closed case.”

Also last week, Haaretz cited Israeli officials revealing that a “Western entity” provided the IAEA last year with information regarding sites that Iran did not officially report as part of its nuclear program and where Tehran is suspected of carrying out activities related to nuclear capabilities, including research and development.

While one such alleged site was a civilian facility, the report stated that Iran did not allow access to other sites, claiming they were military bases.

Haaretz reported:

Iranians refused to allow inspectors to visit a series of other suspicious sites, claiming they were military bases and, therefore, not covered by the nuclear accord and that they were not required to allow access to inspectors.

McMaster Says Iran Has Violated Parts of Nuclear Deal: ‘They’re Crossing the Line’

September 18, 2017

McMaster Says Iran Has Violated Parts of Nuclear Deal: ‘They’re Crossing the Line’, Washinton Free Beacon, September 18, 2017

(Please see also, Trump considers ending Iran deal ahead of key deadline.– DM)

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said Sunday that Iran has already violated parts of the nuclear deal, adding, “They’re crossing the line at times.”

“Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace noted that President Donald Trump, who lambastes the deal brokered by the Obama administration, has had the opportunity to re-impose sanctions that were lifted as part of the agreement but has not yet done so.

“I know he has to recertify in October whether or not they are complying with it, all this talk about tearing up the agreement, in fact, isn’t he going to live with it and try to find other ways to confront Iran on other fronts?” Wallace asked.

Well, we have to see what live with it means, right?” McMaster said. “Live with can’t be giving this regime cover to develop a nuclear capability. And so, a lot of things have to happen immediately, rigorous enforcement of that agreement. It is under-enforced now. We know Iran has already violated parts of the agreement by—”

“But the IAEA says that they’re complying with it, sir,” Wallace said.

Well, the IAEA has identified and we’ve identified some of these breaches that Iran has then corrected,” McMaster said. “But what does that tell you about Iranian behavior? They’re not just walking up to the line on the agreement. They’re crossing the line at times.”

McMaster said there has to be far more rigorous enforcement of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and recognition of its flaws.

“As the president said, it is the worst deal,” McMaster said. “It gave all these benefits to the Iranian regime up front, and these benefits now they’re using to foment this humanitarian catastrophe in the greater Middle East.”

The Washington Free Beacon reported last month that Iran was caught violating the deal by shipping soldiers to Syria on commercial flights. It has also expanded its ballistic missile technology.

Iran is the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, lending support to groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas. It has proxy forces in Iraq and bolsters the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria.

Trump has reportedly been weighing a strategy to more aggressively respond to Iranian forces and its terror support.

President Barack Obama insisted the deal was the best way to stop Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon, although he acknowledged in 2015 that the theocracy’s breakout time could well be zero months when the deal’s provisions expire.