Archive for the ‘Iran nuke inspections’ category

Iran Follows In North Korea’s Footsteps: Nuclearization, Missile Development Alongside Agreements With The Superpowers; EU3, IAEA Director-General Submitted To Obama Administration Pressure, Agreed To JCPOA With No Real Inspection, No Response To Iran’s Missile Program; French President: ‘Absolutely Necessary’ That JCPOA Be ‘Supplemented’

September 9, 2017

Iran Follows In North Korea’s Footsteps: Nuclearization, Missile Development Alongside Agreements With The Superpowers; EU3, IAEA Director-General Submitted To Obama Administration Pressure, Agreed To JCPOA With No Real Inspection, No Response To Iran’s Missile Program; French President: ‘Absolutely Necessary’ That JCPOA Be ‘Supplemented’, MEMRI, September 8, 2017

(Please see also, Powers may end up with Iranian model for NKorea. Obama would be very proud. –DM)

Introduction

Top Iranian officials have stated in the past that Tehran is learning from the experience of North Korea in attempting to actualize aspirations for regional supremacy and gaining the status of a global nuclear power.

Iran has achieved both of these under the cover of an agreement with the superpowers that protects it from both attack and inspection, and allows it to proceed, legitimately and with the help of the superpowers, to develop its nuclear capabilities. These include detonation of a nuclear device “for research purposes” as well as the continued development of its missile program, without any restrictions whatsoever under the agreement.

Iran Follows In North Korea’s Footsteps

Like North Korea, which came to several agreements with U.S. administrations, i.e. the Clinton and Obama administrations, as well as with other superpowers, yet continued with its military nuclear program without allowing real inspection of its sites, and also continued to develop long-range ballistic missiles, Tehran is utilizing the JCPOA to develop its nuclear capabilities without allowing real inspection, while continuing to develop and freely test long-range missiles.

It was President Obama who pressured the EU3 – the UK, France, and Germany – and the International Nuclear Energy Agency (IAEA) to agree to no inspection of military and other suspect sites, and to keep the issue of missiles separate from the JCPOA, thus enabling Iran to do as North Korea has done, without any significant response from the West. Iran, which monitored the West’s reaction to North Korea’s activity, concluded that it could do the same, and this lesson has been expressed in statements by top Iranian officials.

For example, Supreme National Security Council secretary Ali Larijani said in a September 2005 speech: “I recommend once again that you pay attention to the conduct of North Korea. After two years of dealings with North Korea, what have you got? You have accepted North Korea ‘s nuclear technology in the field of uranium enrichment. So accept ours now.”[1]

The Kayhan daily, which is affiliated with Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, wrote in an October 12, 2006 editorial titled “Lessons from North Korea”: ” “[North] Korea has built a [nuclear] bomb before the American’s eyes, despite the great pressure it was under, and [despite] years of harsh international sanctions – and no one has managed to do anything [against it]. What this means precisely is that if any country, such as North Korea, concludes, for political or security reasons, that it must have nuclear weapons, it will ultimately succeed in implementing its wish – even if the whole world doesn’t want it to. The superpowers may manage to slow down [its] path [in going] nuclear, or may apply economic and psychological pressures on it and on its citizens – but   in the end the wish that arises from among the people is what prevails and determines the policy.”[2]

An article in Sobh-e Sadeq, the weekly of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), published in June 2008, called North Korea’s decision to destroy the cooling tower of the reactor at Yongbyon that month “a strategic deception” aimed at alleviating the pressure from the superpowers that oppose its nuclear activity. It added that the destruction of this facility could be a step towards another nuclear test. Also according to the article, the destruction of the tower, the use of which had long been suspended, did not prevent North Korea from being able to revive its activity, thanks to its knowhow, and with its stock of plutonium it could conduct at least another eight nuclear tests.[3]

The Iran Diplomacy research center, which is close to the Iranian Foreign Ministry, called, in April 2009, for careful study of the U.S. reaction to North Korea’s launch that month of a long-range missile, saying that the North Korean model could be applied to the Middle East.[4]

The conservative Iranian daily Resalat stated, following the North Korean missile launch, that the U.S. was weak and could not force its position on North Korea, which, it said, benefits from Russian and Chinese support. It added that the Obama administration was facing a difficult dilemma. If it adopted the harsh position of the preceding Bush administration, Obama’s conciliatory image would be harmed. If it gave in to North Korea, it would strengthen North Korea’s position in southeast Asia.[5]

Iran acted based on North Korea’s experience, but with greater sophistication, as manifested in the following aspects:

1. Instead of rejecting inspections out of hand like North Korea, Tehran created a framework under which only declared nuclear sites could be inspected, along with a different framework in which there would be no inspections of military and other sites, and gained full Western cooperation for this, in addition to tremendous benefits for itself. The West agreed to this Iranian scheme, and the President of the United States himself even explained on July 14, 2015, the day this agreement was announced, that “[t]he IAEA will have access where necessary, when necessary.”[6]Today, the U.S. is obligated to reconfirm every quarter that Iran is meeting the terms of the agreement even though inspection is limited to certain sites only.

2. Tehran took the issue of long-range ballistic missile development out of the negotiations for the JCPOA, and in the absence of an international treaty regulating the issue of long-term missiles, the Obama administration allowed Iran to continue to develop its missile capability to the point where it threatens the Middle East and the West. It should be noted that Iran calls its long-range missiles “defensive missiles” but that by any accepted standard they are offensive missiles; it also threatens the countries of the region with them.


On missile, in Hebrew and Farsi: Israel Should Be Wiped Off the Face of the Earth.” Photo: Fars, Iran, March 9, 2016. See also MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 6349, Iran Launches Long-Range Missiles Emblazoned With Slogan: ‘Israel Should Be Wiped Off The Face Of The Earth,’ March 16, 2016.

3. The JCPOA was written in such a way that it expires after a certain time period, as do the restrictions and certain qualifications to which Tehran agreed.

4. The U.S. administration acquiesced to Tehran’s demand that its heavy water be stored in nearby Oman, its proxy, where it will be in immediate reach of Iran. The administration also acquiesced to Iran’s demand that it be allowed to continue developing advanced-generation centrifuges, such that after the JCPOA expires in 2025 it will be able to skip significant stages in its nuclearization process.<

What Inspection Did The EU3 And IAEA Agree To Under Pressure From The Obama Administration?

IAEA director-general Yukia Amano recently announced that the IAEA could enter any site in Iran to inspect it. But his statements are misleading, because the JCPOA does not allow real inspection of any nuclear site except for those declared by Iran. The following are the terms agreed to in the JCPOA by Amano and the Europeans:[7]

  1. The JCPOA created a unique inspection framework for Iran that bypasses the Additional Protocol, which allows inspection of military sites, which Iran accepted as a voluntary and unilateral step, and from which it can drop out without violating the JCPOA.
  2. The JCPOA transferred the authority to make clear professional decisions from the IAEA to a political supreme forum whose authority supersedes that of the IAEA – with the agreement of IAEA director-general Yukia Amano, who relinquished his status under pressure from Obama.
  3. The JCPOA set out a series of restrictions for conducting inspections; for example, any claim by the IAEA must not be motivated by an intent to damage Iranian military or security activity. This wording hands Iran the tools to prevent any inspection of any security or other site, by arguing that such an inspection is motivated by an intent to damage its military activity. The procedure demands that the information that casts suspicion on any of these sites and that prompts a request for inspection be revealed to Iran, Russia, and China – and this demand, which cannot be met, is aimed at stopping the inspection process in its tracks.
  4. The JCPOA created a political precedent for a non-credible inspection process, through closing Iran’s PMD (Possible Military Dimensions) file by a predetermined political decision and while negotiating with Iran about writing the IAEA report on the PMD – i.e. the file was not closed independently by the IAEA. That is, IAEA inspectors did not visit the sites, and the samples from these sites were taken by the Iranians themselves and handed over to the IAEA inspectors without any way of ascertaining that the sample taken is what was handed over. IAEA director-general Yukia Amano submitted to the Obama administration’s pressure to agree to this unprofessional and non-credible procedure, violating the trust placed in him and in the IAEA as an independent, professional, and authoritative body. This is because the Iranians made their acceptance of the JCPOA conditional upon the closure of their PMD file in this exact way, so that there could be no entrance to suspect military sites. Additionally, he submitted to Iran’s refusal to allow the IAEAto question Iranian nuclear scientists, and agreed not to mention the term “PMD” in the report focusing on this issue, because Iran opposed this. Furthermore, the IAEA report on the PMD issue stated that there was indeed suspect activity in Iran, but refrained from stating that the Iranian regime was responsible for it.

These were also clarified by Iran’s representative in the IAEA, Reza Najafi, in a September 21, 2015  interview with the ISNA news agency. He said: “I deny the Reuters report that the samples from Parchin were taken in the presence of IAEA inspectors. We ourselves took the samples. This is the red line for us, and no inspector is authorized to enter a military site and conduct an inspection. The visit of Amano and his deputy was strictly a general protocol visit; they had no equipment, not even a cellphone, their visit did not last more than a few minutes, [and it was] only  in order for them to see that there is nothing suspicious and that the claims about [Parchin] were completely wrong.”[8]

See also the following MEMRI reports:

French President Macron: It Is “Absolutely Necessary” That The JCPOA “Be Supplemented… As Far As The Use Of Ballistic Missiles Is Concerned”

French President Emmanuel Macron, in an August 29, 2017 Paris speech to a conference of French ambassadors, spoke of the need to fortify the JCPOA as part of the nonproliferation regime, and proposed “absolutely necessary” supplementation of it “as far as the use of ballistic missiles is concerned” after 2025 when the JCPOA expires. He said: “[T]his agreement [JCPOA] was improved thanks to the intervention of France. There is no alternative to the nonproliferation regime and we will be extremely strict as to its implementation. The framework of this agreement is good. It can be supplemented by some work [on it] after 2025 – an absolutely necessary work as far as the use of ballistic missiles is concerned.”[9]

* A. Savyon is Director of the MEMRI Iran Studies Project; Y. Carmon is President of MEMRI.

Appendix: Additional MEMRI Reports On The Subject

 

[1] See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 994, Iranian Nuclear Chief Ali Larijani: The West Should Learn the Lesson of North Korea, September 26, 2005.

[2] Kayhan (Iran), October 12, 2006. See also MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 1321, Iranian Daily Close to Supreme Leader Khamenei: ‘If Any Country Such as North Korea, Concludes, for Political or Security Reasons, That It Must Have Nuclear Weapons, It Will Ultimately Succeed… Even if the Whole World Is Opposed…’ October 13, 2006.

[3] Sobh-e Sadeq (Iran), June 30, 2008.

[4] Iran Diplomacy (Iran), April 6, 2009.

[5] Resalat (Iran), April 6, 2009.

[6] Obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office, July 14, 2015.

[7] See Section Q of Annex of the JCPOA, pp 42-43, Apps.washingtonpost.com/g/documents/world/full-text-of-the-iran-nuclear-deal/1651. See also MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1325 – Discussion Of Iranian Violations Of JCPOA Is Futile; The Inspection Procedure Designed By The Obama Administration Precludes Actual Inspection And Proof Of Violations, August 18, 2017.

[8] ISNA (Iran), September 21, 2015.

[9] Elysee.fr, August 29, 2017.

Nikki Haley: Trump Has Grounds to Declare Iran in Violation of Nuclear Deal

September 5, 2017

Nikki Haley: Trump Has Grounds to Declare Iran in Violation of Nuclear Deal, Washington Free Beacon, , September 5, 2017

Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley / Getty Images

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Tuesday said President Donald Trump would be justified if he denied Iranian compliance to the nuclear accord when it comes up for a quarterly review next month, though she said she does not know what Trump will decide.

In a speech at the American Enterprise Institute think tank in Washington, D.C., Haley detailed a strong case for Trump to declare Iran in violation of the agreement, warning the United States will be “dealing with the next North Korea” if the regime is left unchecked.

“We’re allowing them to have behavior that’s in violation of the resolution right in front of us,” she said. “We’re allowing them to sit there and actually tell the [International Atomic Energy Agency] that they’re not going to let them inspect military sites where we know they have had covert nuclear operations in the past. What I want the country to understand is we need to wake up.”

Haley said if Trump chooses to declare Iran in violation, it would not automatically trigger a U.S. withdrawal from the accord. Instead, she said the decision to leave the accord would be tossed to Congress, leaving room for lawmakers to keep in place U.S. sanctions relief.

The Trump administration has been weighing since April whether to scrap the deal, despite disagreement from U.S. allies in Europe who helped implement the agreement two years ago. Haley acknowledged European objections, but added: “This is about U.S. national security. This is not about European security.”

She said the international community’s unwillingness to challenge regime behavior “for fear of damaging the nuclear agreement” typifies the threat the deal poses to American national security, describing it as “too big to fail.”

U.S. law requires the president to notify Congress every 90 days on whether Iran is adhering to the accord, which aimed to limit Tehran’s nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of sanctions related to the program. The Trump administration has twice recertified the agreement, though Trump warnedin July he would not continue to do so indefinitely. The next recertification deadline is in October.

Haley said she would not predict the president’s decision, but suggested repercussions if Iran continues to deny the IAEA access to its military sites to ensure Tehran’s compliance to the accord.

“If the president finds that he cannot certify Iranian compliance, it would be a message to Congress that the administration believes either that Iran is in violation of the deal, or that the lifting of sanctions against Iran is not appropriate and proportional to the regime’s behavior, or that the lifting of sanctions is not in the U.S. national security interest, or any combination of the three,” she said.

Haley traveled to Vienna last week to pressure UN atomic watchdogs to check Iran’s undeclared military sites to verify it is not concealing activities barred by the deal.

Powers may end up with Iranian model for NKorea

September 3, 2017

Powers may end up with Iranian model for NKorea, DEBKAfile, September 3, 2017

(Obama’s “deal” with Iran (also known as the Iran scam) worked perfectly — for Iran. An even better deal for North Korea? Great idea. Not. Perhaps the “Israeli option” is the only realistic option available. Please see also, Germany’s Merkel: Iran deal a model for solving North Korea problem. — DM)

The only time military action was applied against a North Korean nuclear facility was on Sept. 6, 2007 when the Israeli Air Force and special forces blew up the plutonium reactor under construction by North Korea in the eastern Syrian province of Deir ez-Zour, in Operation Orchard. This plant was intended to be Iran’s main supplier of plutonium and had it been finished, would have accelerated Tehran’s advance towards a hydrogen bomb.

The North Korean leader will want much more than the deal won by Tehran, for a 10-year moratorium against a $150 billion pledge and many other rewards. Kim, whose arsenal is far more advanced, will certainly go a lot higher. His leverage for extortion is unassailable. He can either bargain for a mountain of cash or carry on looming over his Pacific neighbors and the United States, armed with advanced ballistic missiles and a nuclear bomb. He would then be faithful to the legacy of his father Kim Jong-Il, who declared in 1995 that a nuclear program was the only guarantee of his dynasty’s survival.

For now, both Iran and North Korea, long in cahoots on their weapons programs, are riding high.

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Even North Korea’s 150-kiloton hydrogen bomb and avowed ability to fit it onto an intercontinental ballistic missile, as Kim Jong-un demonstrated Sunday, Sept. 3, have so far drawn nothing more decisive from the world’s powers that words of condemnation and threats of stronger sanctions..

President Donald Trump called North Korea a rogue state whose words and actions were “hostile and dangerous to the United States” and convened a meeting with his national security team. Yet stronger sanctions are on the table, including stopping trade with countries doing business with North Korea.

Japan’s Shinzo Abe, already rattled by the North Korean missile that flew over his country, said the latest nuclear test, the most powerful thus far, “is completely unacceptable and we must lodge a strong protest.

South Korea said that its northern neighbor’s defiant sixth nuclear test should be met with the “strongest possible” response, including new UN Security Council sanctions to “completely isolate” the country.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed Sunday to “appropriately deal with” the latest nuclear test by North Korea. The state news agency Xinhua said, “The two leaders agreed to stick to the goal of denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula and keep close communication and coordination to deal with the new situation.”

But still, there is no sign of all these powers getting together for tangible, effective concerted action.

Since the Kim regime’s the first underground nuclear test on Oct. 9, 2006, almost every conceivable penalty and deterrent has been tried to rein in the rogue nation’s gallop towards a nuclear weapon, barring full-blown military aggression.

None worked, mainly because they were imposed piecemeal and never fully followed through. But most of all, this was because the big powers never lined up as one and pooled all their resources at the same time for concerted action. Sanctions were never comprehensive and so were never a solution.

The only time military action was applied against a North Korean nuclear facility was on Sept. 6, 2007 when the Israeli Air Force and special forces blew up the plutonium reactor under construction by North Korea in the eastern Syrian province of Deir ez-Zour, in Operation Orchard. This plant was intended to be Iran’s main supplier of plutonium and had it been finished, would have accelerated Tehran’s advance towards a hydrogen bomb.

The Israeli example has long been set aside, mainly since it was overtaken by Obama’s pro-Iran policy. Successive governments led by Binyamin Netanyahu also set this precedent aside over heavy resistance among Israel’s politicians and some of its generals to an attack on Iran’s nuclear program before it matured.

North Korea’s latest nuclear test was estimated by experts to be five times more powerful than the WWII bomb which destroyed Nagasaki. The Vienna-based Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty said it was evidence that Pyongyang’s nuclear program is “advancing rapidly.”

The leading world powers’ only real weapon against this advance is unity. But because this is so elusive, their governments – and because a military attack is seen as the worst option – those governments are apparently moving towards getting reconciled to living with a nuclear-armed Kim regime.

Against Iran, six world powers (the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany), did team up and so were able to negotiate the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran, which left its weapons and missile programs intact although relatively free of effective oversight.

If a similar lineup confronted Kim front-un with a collective seven-day ultimatum to dismantle those programs or else face their destruction, he might decided to sit down and talk.. As things stand today, he is free to shoot ballistic missiles over Japan and detonate a hydrogen bomb like a child’s firecrackers, while the world begs him on bended knee to come and discuss freezing his belligerent programs on the Iranian model.

The North Korean leader will want much more than the deal won by Tehran, for a 10-year moratorium against a $150 billion pledge and many other rewards. Kim, whose arsenal is far more advanced, will certainly go a lot higher. His leverage for extortion is unassailable. He can either bargain for a mountain of cash or carry on looming over his Pacific neighbors and the United States, armed with advanced ballistic missiles and a nuclear bomb. He would then be faithful to the legacy of his father Kim Jong-Il, who declared in 1995 that a nuclear program was the only guarantee of his dynasty’s survival.

Attempts to starve his country and force the regime into submission have fallen short. Even South Korea does not dare stop sending aid to allay its compatriots’ endemic famine. For now, both Iran and North Korea, long in cahoots on their weapons programs, are riding high.

JCPOA Noncompliance — A Totalitarian Imperative

August 29, 2017

JCPOA Noncompliance — A Totalitarian Imperative, Center for Security Policy, Peter Pry, August 28, 2017

Originally published at Newsmax

Mr. President, don’t let Iran become another North Korea. Tear-up the JCPOA!

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Democracies have a blind faith that treaties can disarm totalitarian regimes. The notion that “peace in our time” is possible through a scrap of paper is an irrational addiction in Washington, D.C., the opioid of the U.S. State Department.

The free world is free because it has laws and contracts, and an ideological imperative to believe in the efficacy of negotiation and compromise. The totalitarian world is not free because its laws and contracts are lies, merely a propagandistic means to the end of tyranny, where the ideological imperative is to enslave.

Never the twain shall meet. But the free world never learns war cannot be outlawed by the Kellogg-Briand Pact of Aug. 27, 1928 or, just as absurdly, a world without nuclear weapons achieved by negotiating with North Korea an Agreed Framework (1994) or with Iran a Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA, 2015).

Perhaps the best warning against JCPOA is the long, failed history of arms control.

True believers in JCPOA should read two books, Barton Whaley’s “Covert German Rearmament 1919-1939: Deception and Misperception” and John Jordan’s “Warships After Washington.” Both books describe cheating by Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan on the Versailles Treaty of June 28, 1919, the Washington Naval Treaty of  Feb. 6, 1922, the London Naval Treaty of April 22, 1930, and the Second London Naval Treaty of March 25, 1936.

Also read “The President’s Unclassified Report to the Congress on Soviet Noncompliance with Arms Control Agreements” (Released Feb. 1, 1985) wherein is described the USSR’s cheating on the major arms control agreements of the Cold War. The State Department is still sitting on the even more shocking classified version.

Now, Clare Lopez, a former CIA clandestine services officer who is vice president for research and analysis at the Center for Security Policy (CSP), one of the best Washington, D.C. think tanks, has written the definitive study titled “Why Trump Must Not Re-Certify Iranian JCPOA Compliance.” (Center for Security Policy, Aug. 23, 2017).

Lopez has deep expertise in the ideology of radical Islam that drives the Islamic Republic of Iran and their Islamic Revolutionary Guard to be the world’s leading sponsors of international terrorism — and why development of an Islamic Bomb is an ideological religious imperative for Iran.

The mullahs who run Iran, and the fanatical Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps who run Iran’s nuclear and missile programs, will never betray Allah by surrendering their Islamic bomb — the most powerful weapon for material and spiritual victory in their global jihad.

Failure by the U.S. State Department to understand the ideological motives behind Iran’s nuclear missile program is repeating State’s catastrophic misunderstanding that the ideological imperatives of totalitarianism made inevitable North Korea’s cheating on former-President Bill Clinton’s Agreed Framework.

Totalitarian Iran and North Korea, despite profound ideological differences, are strategic partners in a nuclear missile “axis of evil” because the free world is even more abhorrent to Tehran and Pyongyang than each other.

Key Findings from Clare Lopez’s “Why Trump Must Not Re-Certify Iranian JCPOA Compliance”:

—”It is imperative that President Trump not recertify the Iranian regime as compliant with the provisions of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) when the next deadline comes due in October 2017;”

— “Tehran is explicitly and demonstrably out of compliance with the JCPOA on numerous specific counts’”

— “The nature of the Iranian regime is self-avowedly jihadist per its own constitution, which   declares the objective of the regime is global conquest by an Islamic State under rule of Islamic Law (shariah) – thus, its nuclear weapons program is a means to achieve that objective;”

— “The Iranian regime is signatory to a host of international conventions and treaties but has a documented record of violations that lends little credence to its JCPOA pledges;”

— “The Iranian regime most notably violated the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) for at least 14 years before getting caught and publicly revealed with a clandestine nuclear weapons program in 2002.”

— “The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) documented a long list of so-called Possible Military Dimensions (PMDs) related to the Iranian nuclear program in November 2011 that strongly suggest its assessment that Iran had an advanced nuclear weapons program and possibly nuclear warheads at that time;”

— “More recent revelations demonstrate that the Iranian regime continues to work on nuclear warheads and explosive charges to initiate the implosion sequence of a nuclear bomb at clandestine sites off-limits to IAEA inspections;”

— “Even after the July 2015 JCPOA, the Iranian regime has been confronted with credible information that it is operating more advanced centrifuges than permitted, exceeding limits on production of heavy water, and covertly procuring nuclear and missile technology outside of JCPOA-approved channels: these are all material breaches of the JCPOA;”

— “The Iranian regime’s nuclear weapon and ballistic missile ‘Joint Venture’ with North Korea dates back at least to the 1990s and continues currently with especial concern about the sharing of expertise on warhead miniaturization and Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) technology;”

— “Denial of recertification of Iranian compliance with the JCPOA must be the first step in a complete review of the nuclear and ballistic missile threats from both Iran and North Korea.”

Mr. President, don’t let Iran become another North Korea. Tear-up the JCPOA!

READ GAC REPORT EXECUTIVE SUMMARY HERE (PDF)

Peter Vincent Pry is executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security. He served in the Congressional EMP Commission, the Congressional Strategic Posture Commission, the House Armed Services Committee, and the CIA. He is author of “Blackout Wars.” 

Nuclear Agreement Under Pressure, Though Methods are Uncertain

August 29, 2017

Nuclear Agreement Under Pressure, Though Methods are Uncertain, Iran News Update, Edward Carney, August 29, 2017

(Please see also, Discussion Of Iranian Violations Of JCPOA Is Futile; The Inspection Procedure Designed By The Obama Administration Precludes Actual Inspection And Proof Of Violations. The Iran scam was never ratified by the U.S. Senate and the Iran – IAEA deals remain secret. We should exit.— DM)

As was reported last week, various Iranian officials have responded to that pressure by saying that the country could dramatically increase its levels and quantities of nuclear enrichment in a matter of days.

Although intended as a threat against decertifying Iranian compliance, these remarks may also have the effect of raising questions about how the Islamic Republic could resume nuclear activities at such a high level if it had not been engaged in undisclosed activities while the JCPOA was being enforced.

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On Monday, The Guardian reported upon the pressure supposedly being exerted on American intelligence agencies by the White House as US President Donald Trump looks forward to the October deadly for the quarter-annual report to Congress on Iranian compliance with the 2015 nuclear agreement. On the campaign trail, Trump repeatedly referred to that agreement as one of the worst deals ever negotiated, and in recent weeks he has indicated that he would have deemed Iran to be out of compliance at his earliest opportunity, thus precipitating the deal’s cancellation, if not for the intervention of his foreign policy team.

The environment in which intelligence agencies are working is one in which the president has evidently made up his mind about how to proceed, even though US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley made statements to the contrary last week. Haley said that the White House is examining the evidence but still maintains that the Islamic Republic is generally untrustworthy and clearly out of compliance with parallel agreements such as UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which calls upon Iran to avoid work on nuclear-capable ballistic missiles.

Haley’s comments came in the context of a visit to the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is tasked with monitoring Iran’s nuclear activities and enforcing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. This visit was met with harsh criticism by Iranian officials, several of whom asserted that the actual American intention was not a neutral assessment of the IAEA’s investigations, but rather the spreading of doubt about the compliance judgments that the IAEA has already made.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry has already sent a formal letter of complaint to the head of the nuclear monitoring agency over this issue, and Daily Trust reported on Monday that the Iranians had also declared their intention to call a meeting of the nuclear negotiating parties, known as the P5+1, within the context of the larger meeting of the UN General Assembly, which is set to take place between September 12 and September 25. The announcement was made by Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, following up on his previous letter referring to “the harassing acts of the Americans” with regard to the nuclear agreement.

On Sunday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi indicated that Tehran would use the planned meeting to reinforce the notion that inspections of Iranian compliance would only be carried out within the framework of Iran’s own policies. Primarily, this signifies rejection of the idea often voiced in the US and by harsh critics of the Islamic Republic, that effective verification of Iranian compliance depends upon unqualified access to suspect sites within the country, including military sites.

It is not clear whether President Trump is personally convinced that the Islamic Republic is carrying out nuclear research or development at these sites, but The Guardian indicates that focus on military sites is one means by which the White House could precipitate the cancelation or renegotiation of the JCPOA. If the US convinces the IAEA that there is evidence of illicit activities at those sites, the international body can push for and ultimately force inspector access under the terms of the deal. But having made this issue a prominent red line in the past, the Islamic Republic might simply walk away from the deal rather than allow this procedure to proceed.

Thus, suspicious activity at military sites is one piece of intelligence that the Trump administration would very much like to get its hands on. And according to The Guardian, the White House is actively pushing for the revelation of this or any other data that might justify Trump’s decertification of Iranian compliance on the basis of something other than violations of the deal’s “spirit.”

This apparent pressure has led to numerous unfavorable comparisons to the politicization of intelligence regarding weapons of mass destruction in the run-up to the US invasion of Iraq. But The Guardian also quotes David Albright of the Institute for Science and International Security as disputing this comparison and noting that “the Obama administration downplayed and even hid violations and problems,” leaving serious questions open about the true extent of Iranian compliance.

The same report quoted Richard Nephew, a member of the JCPOA’s American negotiating team, as saying that there is a responsible way of asking intelligence analysts to sift back through information that has already been looked at and that might have been unjustifiably dismissed.

It is an open question as to whether the Trump administration is following such responsible procedures, as opposed to pushing a pre-determined narrative. But at the same time, the mere existence of pressure on this matter may be leading to the Islamic Republic unwittingly exposing itself to additional scrutiny. As was reported last week, various Iranian officials have responded to that pressure by saying that the country could dramatically increase its levels and quantities of nuclear enrichment in a matter of days.

Although intended as a threat against decertifying Iranian compliance, these remarks may also have the effect of raising questions about how the Islamic Republic could resume nuclear activities at such a high level if it had not been engaged in undisclosed activities while the JCPOA was being enforced.

Discussion Of Iranian Violations Of JCPOA Is Futile; The Inspection Procedure Designed By The Obama Administration Precludes Actual Inspection And Proof Of Violations

August 22, 2017

Discussion Of Iranian Violations Of JCPOA Is Futile; The Inspection Procedure Designed By The Obama Administration Precludes Actual Inspection And Proof Of Violations, MEMRI, August 18, 2017

(Obama’s Iran scam was, and continues to be, contrary to the security interests of America and much of the rest of the world. Even if Iranian violations of the JCPOA can not be proven under its terms, we need to exit. — DM)

This ridiculous inspection procedure obviously does not enable any real investigation of Iran’s continuing military nuclear activity, even when there is intelligence information about it. This situation is in direct contradiction with President Obama’s commitment when the JCPAO was announced on July 14, 2015: “Inspectors will also be able to access any suspicious location. Put simply, the organization responsible for the inspections, the IAEA, will have access where necessary, when necessary.”[2]

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The JCPOA’s Inspection Procedure Precludes Actual Inspection And Proof Of Violations

The public debate in the U.S. over the future of the JCPOA, amid media reports that President Trump has demanded that his national security team provide evidence of Iranian violations of the agreement by October 2017,[1] is a futile debate.

It will not be possible, neither in October nor at any other time, to prove that Iran is in violation of the JCPOA – even if the U.S. has intelligence that proves that it is. This is because the inspection procedure designed by the Obama administration precludes actual inspection – at Iran’s military sites and at any other suspect site, with the exclusion of Iran’s declared nuclear sites.

Accordingly, the demand that intelligence information on Iranian violations be presented as a condition for taking steps against the JCPOA is based on inadequate knowledge of what the JCPOA stipulates. This is because under the agreement, the obtaining of such intelligence information is only the beginning of a detailed and binding process, which delays and in actuality does not enable inspection of a suspected site at all. Instead of an inspection of a site being immediately triggered when such information is obtained, the JCPOA requires a series of preliminary steps before any such inspection will be permitted – if it is permitted at all. That is, under the JCPOA, the U.S. must:

a) Hand over the intelligence information and information on its sources to Iran for the purpose of clarifying “concerns,” both in discussions between the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Iran, and in discussions with the Joint Commission of the JCPOA – which in addition to the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, and the IAEA includes Iran, Russia, and China – with the aim of clearing up the concerns via alternative ways that will not involve inspection of the site. The demand to reveal this information and its sources to Iran, Russia, and China is ridiculous and the U.S. cannot agree to it; since these are the conditions of the JCPOA, no further action is actually possible.

b) If no agreement on alternative ways not involving inspection of the site can be reached, there will be an additional discussion in the Joint Commission, where decisions on this matter are to be made by majority vote within seven days. Iran must comply with the decision within three additional days.

This ridiculous inspection procedure obviously does not enable any real investigation of Iran’s continuing military nuclear activity, even when there is intelligence information about it. This situation is in direct contradiction with President Obama’s commitment when the JCPAO was announced on July 14, 2015: “Inspectors will also be able to access any suspicious location. Put simply, the organization responsible for the inspections, the IAEA, will have access where necessary, when necessary.”[2]

It should be clarified that the heart of the JCPOA lies in the lifting of the nuclear sanctions on Iran, in exchange for Iran’s temporary and targeted suspension of some of its nuclear activity. The inspection procedure is not the heart of the agreement; this procedure is a section of the JCPOA aimed at ensuring that the JCPOA’s conditions are met. Additionally, it should also be mentioned that Iran and the IAEA Iran had, in July 2015, reached a “road map” agreement to resolve the military aspects of Iran’s nuclear program – the content of which is secret.[3] Accordingly, every demand by the U.S. administration aimed at changing the inspection procedure, if such a demand is made, will not constitute a demand to change the heart of the JCPOA itself – and in fact will even reinforce the JCPOA by reinforcing its inspection procedure.However, without any change to the inspection procedure itself, Iran will be able to covertly advance its military nuclear development, and there will be no real way of overseeing that development. Even if intelligence information from outside the inspection procedure is obtained, the JCPOA’s provisions make it worthless (see Appendix).

Iranian Regime: We Will Never Allow IAEA Inspectors Access To Military Sites

As soon as the JCPOA was announced, on July 14, 2015, Iranian regime officials, headed by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and top Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) commanders, stressed that IAEA inspectors would not be given access to Iran’s military sites for inspection purposes.

Khamenei, July 25, 2015: “[The foreigners] shouldn’t be allowed at all to penetrate into the country’s security and defensive boundaries under the pretext of supervision, and the country’s military officials are not permitted at all to allow the foreigners to cross these boundaries or stop the country’s defensive development under the pretext of supervision and inspection.”[4]

Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, July 22, 2015: Inspections of this kind cross “the red lines” and in the [JCPOA] negotiations Iran had “succeeded in fully ensuring” that the agreement would not allow such inspections.[5]

Khamenei’s top adviser for international affairs, Ali Akbar Velayati, July 2015 to the Arabic service of Al-Jazeera TV: “Access of inspectors from the IAEA or from any other body to Iran’s military centers is forbidden.”[6]

More recently, IRGC Aerospace Force commander Amir Ali Hajizadeh, August 7, 2017: “In the matter of the Westerners’ request to inspect our military centers, the answer is clear. We will not allow them to do such a thing.”[7]

IRGC deputy commander Hossein Salami, August 12, 2017: “I say to the dear Iranian nation, to America, and to the entire world: If in all of history and in the world, there is [only] one request that will not be complied with and will receive a negative answer, it is this request. And if there is one wish that will be buried with those wishing it, it is the wish that they will visit our military centers.”[8]

Appendix: What The JCPOA Says About The Inspection Procedure

The JCPOA’s “Q. Access” section, paragraphs 74-78, dealing with the inspection procedure:

The agreement specifies that requests for access for inspection “will not be aimed at interfering with Iranian military or other national security activities.” Furthermore, if the IAEA obtains secret intelligence information, it “will provide Iran the basis for such concerns and request clarification.”

Further: “If Iran’s explanations do not resolve the IAEA’s concerns, the Agency may request access to such locations for the sole reason to verify the absence of undeclared nuclear materials and activities or activities inconsistent with the JCPOA at such locations. The IAEA will provide Iran the reasons for access in writing and will make available relevant information.”

It continues: “Iran may propose to the IAEA alternative means of resolving the IAEA’s concerns that enable the IAEA to verify the absence of undeclared nuclear materials and activities or activities inconsistent with the JCPOA at the location in question, which should be given due and prompt consideration.

“If the absence of undeclared nuclear materials and activities or activities inconsistent with the JCPOA cannot be verified after the implementation of the alternative arrangements agreed by Iran and the IAEA, or if the two sides are unable to reach satisfactory arrangements to verify the absence of undeclared nuclear materials and activities or activities inconsistent with the JCPOA at the specified locations within 14 days of the IAEA’s original request for access, Iran, in consultation with the members of the Joint Commission, would resolve the IAEA’s concerns through necessary means agreed between Iran and the IAEA. In the absence of an agreement, the members of the Joint Commission, by consensus or by a vote of 5 or more of its 8 members, would advise on the necessary means to resolve the IAEA’s concerns. The process of consultation with, and any action by, the members of the Joint Commission would not exceed 7 days, and Iran would implement the necessary means within 3 additional days.”[9]

 

*Y. Carmon is President of MEMRI; A. Savyon is Director of MEMRI’s Iran Studies Project.

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[1] October 2017 is the deadline for the U.S. administration to notify Congress whether or not Iran is complying with the JCPOA.

[2] Statement by the President on Iran, July 14, 2015,
Obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2015/07/14/statement-president-iran.

[4] English.farsnews.com, July 25, 2015. See also MEMRI Daily Brief No. 57, What Iran Is Permitted To Do Under The JCPOA, September 17, 2015.

[5] Latimes.com, July 22, 2015. See also MEMRI Daily Brief No. 57, What Iran Is Permitted To Do Under The JCPOA, September 17, 2015.

[6] English.farsnews.com, July 25 and August 1, 2015.

[7] Tasnim (Iran), August 7, 2017.

[8] Asr-e Iran (Iran), August 13, 2017.

[9] Apps.washingtonpost.com/g/documents/world/full-text-of-the-iran-nuclear-deal/1651.

Nikki Haley Increasing Scrutiny of Iran Amid Nuclear Deal Review

August 17, 2017

Nikki Haley Increasing Scrutiny of Iran Amid Nuclear Deal Review, Washington Free Beacon, August 17, 2017

(Please see also, President [of Iran]: Iran Could Swiftly Return to Pre-JCPOA Conditions. Will Ambassador Haley discuss — or be permitted to review — the limitations imposed on the IAEA under the “secret agreements” between it and the Iranian regime?– DM)

Nikki Haley / Getty Images

Haley will meet next week with members of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is tasked with monitoring Iran’s compliance with the deal, as part of a fact-finding mission to investigate the extent of Tehran’s nuclear activities.

The trip is part of a policy review ordered by President Donald Trump in April to evaluate Iran’s adherence to the 2015 agreement. The administration said the review will be completed before the deal is up for recertification in October.

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U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has ramped up pressure on Iran ahead of a trip to Vienna next week, where she will meet with international atomic watchdog officials concerning Tehran’s nuclear activities.

Haley on Tuesday rejected threats from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who warned the country could walk away from its nuclear agreement with world powers “within hours” if the United States continued to impose new sanctions.

Rouhani said recently enacted sanctions targeting Iran’s ballistic missile program violated its pact with the United States and five other world powers, which aimed to limit Tehran’s nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of sanctions related to the program.

Haley said the sanctions were separate from the deal and were instead imposed “to hold Iran responsible for its missile launches, support for terrorism, disregard for human rights, and violations of UN Security Council resolutions.”

“Iran cannot be allowed to use the nuclear deal to hold the world hostage,” Haley said in a statement directed at Rouhani. “The nuclear deal must not become ‘too big to fail.'”

Earlier this month, the United States, backed by Britain, France, and Germany, demanded the UN Security Council take action against Iran after the Islamic Republic launched a rocket carrying a satellite into space in late July.

The group, spearheaded by Haley, warned in a letter to the council that the Iranian missile was “inherently capable of delivering a nuclear warhead” and therefore violated an international resolution.

Under UN Security Council resolution 2231, Iran is “called upon” to refrain from conducting “any activity” related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, “including launches using such ballistic missile technology.”

The Trump administration, which previously accused Rouhani’s government of failing to comply with the “spirit” of the nuclear deal, swiftly imposed sanctions on six Iranian companies for their role in the country’s ballistic missile program in response to the rocket launch.

Haley will meet next week with members of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is tasked with monitoring Iran’s compliance with the deal, as part of a fact-finding mission to investigate the extent of Tehran’s nuclear activities.

The trip is part of a policy review ordered by President Donald Trump in April to evaluate Iran’s adherence to the 2015 agreement. The administration said the review will be completed before the deal is up for recertification in October.

If Trump rejects certification, his administration can reapply sanctions that were suspended under the pact.

Similar to Trump, Haley has repeatedly criticized the deal for empowering Iran and Russia while handicapping U.S. leverage over the Rouhani regime.

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.

Krauthammer’s Take: Obama ‘Caved’ on Inspections, Now Iran Is Developing a Nuclear Weapon

April 22, 2017

Krauthammer’s Take: Obama ‘Caved’ on Inspections, Now Iran Is Developing a Nuclear Weapon, National Review via YouTube, April 21, 2017

(Please see also, Iran violating U.S. deal with secret nukes research, opposition group says.

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).

— DM)

 

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.