As part of its interim agreement with the U.S., Iran stopped key construction at its heavy-water production plant at Arak. However according to a Foreign Policy report, the Iranians have been quietly “going on an international shopping spree to acquire components for a heavy-water reactor that American officials have long feared could be used in the production of nuclear weapons-grade plutonium. The article notes that the U.N. Security Council was advised of the shopping spree.
The U.S. allegations were detailed in a confidential Nov. 7 report by an eight-member panel of experts that advises a U.N. Security Council committee that oversees international compliance with U.N. sanctions on Iran. The report, which cites an unnamed state as the source of the allegation, doesn’t identify the United States by name. But diplomatic sources confirmed that the United States presented the briefing.
The confidential report, portions of which were made available to Foreign Policy, notes that “one member state highlighted during consultations with the panel a number of developments regarding proliferation-sensitive procurement by Iran.” The delegation, the report continued, “informed the panel that it had observed no recent downturn in procurement” in recent months. It did cite a “relative decrease in centrifuge enrichment related-procurement” in recent months. But it added that it had detected “an increase in procurement on behalf of the IR-40 Heavy Water Research Reactor at Arak.”
At the same time, some foreign governments have stopped telling the U.N. about violations by Iran:
In its November report, the panel, which is charged with tracking Iran’s nuclear purchasing program, said that they had not received a single report from a U.N. government of a sanctions violation by Iran between July and November 2014. In the past, the U.N. has investigated dozens of cases of sanctions violations involving businesses in countries ranging from Nigeria to China.
The report’s authors suggested that countries may have been reluctant to report Iranian violations of the sanctions in deference to Iran’s new leader, Hassan Rouhani, who was elected president in June 2013 on a pledge to repair relations with the world and secure an end to years of crippling economic sanctions, and out of concern that doing so could risk upsetting sensitive nuclear talks.
This raises the question of why the U.S. is still negotiating with Iran. The administration must be aware of these developments. Is the White House so desperate for a face-saving agreement that it is willing to negotiate when the other side is ignoring the promises it made? This is known in international affairs, to put it in terms publishable at a family blog, as capitulation. But don’t worry: They are keeping it a secret.
Cross-posted at The Lid