Nowhere, no-time supervision of Iran

Anywhere-anytime access was the minimum prerequisite for a verifiable deal – and Obama has abandoned this. The P5+1 agreement with the Ayatollahs allows Iran to keep its nuclear facilities without truly intrusive international supervision of what goes on deep inside them. 

Published in Israel Hayom, July 14, 2015.

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The New York Times reported Tuesday morning that the accord about to be announced between the P5+1 and Iran was meant as a “political agreement,” not a “legally binding treaty.”

Indeed, the two sides “announced understandings” and presented a 159 page document, but did not sign anything.

It will take months of additional negotiations to develop the relevant implementation documents. All of which is meant to obfuscate the details, Israeli officials fear, and cloud the matter enough to confuse or bamboozle Congress. It will also allow the Iranians to (correctly) claim that they never truly “signed away” their nuclear capacities. In the meantime, UN and other international mechanisms to lift sanctions on Iran will go into high gear….

However, the root corruption of the agreement is that Iran gets to keep its nuclear facilities, and there will be no truly intrusive international supervision of what goes on deep inside them.

The accord leaves Iran with all its nuclear development facilities intact, including the Fordo underground center, instead of dismantling them. This allows the Iranians to continue refining their nuclear skills. Even at low levels of enrichment (3.5 and 5 percent, which is not useful for a bomb) this provides a framework with which Teheran can bypass Western restrictions and hoodwink Western inspectors.

After all, Iran has clandestinely crossed every “red line” set by the West over the past 20 years – putting nuclear plants online, building heavy water facilities, refining uranium, working on explosive triggers and warheads, and generally breaching all its obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty – and has gotten away with it. It has lied, formally and repeatedly, to the international community about its nuclear efforts.

So any deal that scales back sanctions and allows Iran to keep operating its advanced nuclear development facilities even at a low-level – is a fatal bargain. So warned Simon Henderson of the Washington Institute and Olli Heinonen, a former deputy director general of the IAEA, as far back as two years ago.

US President Obama’s response to this was to promise that he would accept nothing less than a Western right to conduct “anywhere, anytime” international inspections of Iran’s secret-most nuclear and military facilities.

Indeed, veteran investigators have testified in front of Congress literally dozens of times that anytime-anywhere access is a minimum prerequisite to a verifiable deal.

But alas Obama has now backed down from that. It’s an American collapse.

Under the terms of the accord announced today, UN inspectors will have to “coordinate” their visits to suspect Iranian sites, “in consultation between Iran and the world powers.” Worse still, Iran will have the right to deny and challenge UN requests to send inspectors to suspicious sites. In these cases, an arbitration board composed of Iran and the powers would decide on the issue. This, of course, gives Teheran time to cover up any sign of non-compliance with its commitments.

They call this “managed access,” which is a euphemism for nowhere, no-time inspections.

This means that Iran will continue to play the negotiation game, over every Western inspection request. With lawyers and more lawyers; diplomats and more diplomats; meeting in hotel after hotel, for endless negotiations.

In other words, Iran will be able to delay access to military or nuclear sites, just as it has done with the Parchin military base, where Iran is suspected to have experimented with nuclear weapon production.

Only now, under the new accord and after at least three years of requests (and after a major Iranian clean-up effort, documented by Western satellite photos) will Iran finally “grant” access to Parchin. Sometime soon.

Yay. What a great victory for Obama and nuclear containment of Iran.

David M. Weinberg is a think tank director, columnist and lobbyist who is a sharp critic of Israel’s detractors and of post-Zionist trends in Israel. Read more »
A passionate speaker, David M. Weinberg lectures widely in Israel, the U.S. and Canada to Jewish and non-Jewish audiences. He speaks on international politics and Middle East strategic affairs, Israeli diplomacy and defense strategy, intelligence matters and more. Click here to book David Weinberg as a speaker

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