For several weeks, rumors have circulated that Trump will decertify the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA). Trump needs no pushing on this matter, as we know, because he spoke harshly against the agreement with Iran many moons ago. Nevertheless, the anti-Iran contingent has been going full blast to make sure that he does what they favor and that Congress resurrects sanctions on Iran. Breitnart News, which is strongly biased against Iran, has consistently published articles critical of members of the Trump administration who favor certification. (Breitbart News in general exhibits strong biases concerning its favorite causes.) Continuing its anti-Iran promotional activity, Breitbart today carries an article by Morton Klein, President of the Zionist Organization of America.
Klein says “The main problem with the JCPOA…is that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which was previously charged with monitoring Iran’s behavior with regard to nuclear research and development, has been unable to perform this role since the introduction of the JCPOA, because it no longer has the ability to verify Iranian statements and activity.” This statement is 95 percent untrue, because the IAEA has been able to monitor 95% of the lettered articles in the agreement. Klein’s statement is not what the IAEA has said up and until a very recent exception. The IAEA directly contradicts Klein’s assertion:
“Verification and monitoring in Iran
“The IAEA has been verifying and monitoring the implementation by Iran of its nuclear-related commitments under the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) since January 2016.
“‘The nuclear-related commitments undertaken by Iran under the JCPOA are being implemented,’ Mr Amano told the 35-nation Board. ‘The Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of nuclear material declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement. Evaluations regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran remain ongoing.’
“‘We will continue to implement the Additional Protocol in Iran, including carrying out complementary accesses to sites and other locations, as we do in other countries with additional protocols.’ The additional protocol significantly increases the IAEA’s ability to verify the peaceful use of all nuclear materials in States with comprehensive safeguards agreements.”
Judging from the preceding, Klein’s “main problem” is a phantom.
What his case rests on solely is a recent gap in its monitoring that the IAEA noted. That’s explained here.
“Yukiya Amano told Reuters that Iran is prohibited from engaging in activities listed in Section T of Annex I of the nuclear deal, which include developing computer simulations of nuclear explosions and designing multi-point explosive detonation systems. He added that his agency does not have the ‘tools’ to verify Iran’s compliance.
“‘In other sections, for example, Iran has committed to submit declarations, place their activities under safeguards or ensure access by us,’ Amano told Reuters. ‘But in Section T I don’t see any (such commitment).'”
Prior to Section T, there are Sections B through S, that’s 18 sections running some 26 pages, containing restriction after restriction after restriction on Iran’s nuclear development, and these have been monitored by the IAEA and Iran was found to be complying. But in Section T, we find some kinds of activities that the IAEA doesn’t monitor because it lacks the system or tools to do it. This section is about “Designing, developing, acquiring, or using computer models to simulate nuclear explosive devices,” and it’s about 3 other nuclear engineering activities that go into building a nuclear device, including detonation systems, diagnostic means of assessing explosions and neutron sources driven by explosion.
The existence of this gap does not mean that the U.S. should or must unilaterally jettison the deal. It does not mean that Iran is not in compliance with the deal. It doesn’t mean that Iran is cheating. It does not prove that Iran is a bad actor. It simply means that the agreement was entered into by all parties without the monitoring agent, the IAEA, having the capability to monitor this one section.
Klein wants the U.S. to renege on the agreement, to cast it aside despite having solemnly entered into it, to go against its word. His justification, if you can call it that, is that it’s a bad deal for the U.S. In his eyes what makes it bad is what it did not do. For example, it didn’t “address and restrict Iranian ballistic missile research and development”. It didn’t bind the parties for a long enough period: It “…will enable Iran to be freed of any restrictions of any kind in a matter of some eight to ten years…” (Different parts of the deal expire in 10 to 15 years.)
But the U.S. and Iran didn’t negotiate ballistic missiles, so how can that be now a reason to break the agreement? The agreement pertains to what was negotiated, not what was not negotiated.
As for the 10-year period, the U.S. agreed to it, so how can that provision now become a reason to back out? Don’t negotiation and signing an agreement mean anything to Klein? Klein is saying that the U.S. should break its word because Iran didn’t agree to a permanent or much longer-term restriction on nuclear development. Again, the agreement pertains to what was negotiated, not some fanciful provision that is not in the agreement that Klein thinks would have been better.
Klein’s argument for decertification relies heavily upon his lengthy wish list of controls and limitations he’d love to place upon Iran, but which the agreement says nothing about.
Klein doesn’t mention Israel in this article but the existence of Israel as a sovereign state is what the anti-Iran push from Klein is all about, because Iran opposes that sovereignty. Senator Mark Kirk made the connection clear in 2016: “I strongly opposed the flawed nuclear deal because Iran would keep cheating, as shown by Iran’s numerous ballistic missile tests aimed at threatening Israel, and now by the German intelligence report on Iran’s aggressive efforts to secretly buy nuclear and missile technology.”
At present, there is no solution to the differences between Israel and Iran that the opposing sides agree on, but there are choices that can be made by the U.S. other than the status quo that point to more war. One of these is to make war on Iran on behalf of Israel. Another is for the U.S. to renege on the nuclear agreement, because that destroys any further steps in the process of coming to terms peacefully with Iran. It might increase the likelihood of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons, but this is uncertain. It makes solution of the North Korean problem more difficult. A third war-enhancing move is to reimpose sanctions on Iran. This is a form of warfare. This probably obstructs movements toward peace.
The ultimate solution has to involve both sides, Israel and Iran, giving up some of what they now insist upon. They each have to recognize the other. Israel has to give up the idea of a Jewish state and Iran has to give up the idea of a Muslim state where Israel now is. Some such modifications in political-religious thought, and there are many possibilities, are essential for peaceful living together of different peoples to become a reality.
What comes through with the rhetoric of Klein is a mix of alarm, fear and an inclination to force the other side to bend to the U.S. will. How can that possibly generate peace?9:14 pm on October 11, 2017 Email Michael S. Rozeff