One of the key demands the U.S and the P+5 partners made of Iran is that the rogue nation come clean about all the elements of its nuclear program prior to the agreement. On Tuesday Secretary of State John Kerry walked away from that requirement.
Without that critical demand being met, the international community cannot confirm that Iran has halted its pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Iran agreed in November 2013 to resolve with the IAEA a list of possible military-related nuclear activities in twelve areas. At present, Iran has resolved questions in only one of these areas and has claimed the other areas are based on forgeries and fabrications.
Yet, during a Tuesday teleconference Kerry responded to a question from the New York Times’s Michael Gordon on whether concerns over atomic work by Iran’s military would “need to be fully resolved before sanctions are eased or released or removed or suspended on Iran as part of that agreement.”
Kerry answered with America’s latest concession:
Michael, the possible military dimensions [PMDs], frankly, gets distorted a little bit in some of the discussion, in that we’re not fixated on Iran specifically accounting for what they did at one point in time or another. We know what they did. We have no doubt. We have absolute knowledge with respect to the certain military activities they were engaged in. What we’re concerned about is going forward. It’s critical to us to know that going forward, those activities have been stopped, and that we can account for that in a legitimate way. That clearly is one of the requirements in our judgment for what has to be achieved in order to have a legitimate agreement. And in order to have an agreement to trigger any kind of material significant sanctions relief, we would have to have those answers
So, Iran will not have to tell anyone what its programs were because, supposedly, our intelligence is infallible. Well, except for the secret nuclear plants we didn’t know about until the Iranian resistance told us. And then there’s the other things the West doesn’t know about Iran’s past atomic work (the first few are from current and former IAEA inspectors):
- how far Iran got on testing nuclear detonators;
- whether Iran maintains the infrastructure to do further tests and build on that work;
- whether Iran diverted nuclear material, including enriched material, for past or future clandestine purposes;
- what nuclear assets and knowledge Iran acquired from North Korea and is keeping on the shelf;
- what nuclear assets and knowledge Iran acquired from Russia and is keeping, etc.;
- how Iran skirted inspectors in the past and whether they could repeat those tricks in the future;
- what the Iranians managed to destroy when they literally paved over the Parchin site.
Every time the administration has needed to defend negotiations it has asked Congress and the public for breathing room by promising it would force the Iranians to meet their PMD obligations. Lead negotiator Wendy Sherman sold the interim Joint Plan of Action (JPOA) to Congress in December 2013 by telling them that under the interim agreement Iran had agreed to “address past and present practices, which is IAEAspeak for “possible military dimensions” and that “we intend to support the IAEA in its efforts to deal with same. A few months later Sherman told Senate Foreign Relations Committee that “in the Joint Plan of Action we have required that Iran come clean” (maybe she meant they would have to take a long shower). The same month she told AIPAC attendees to “create space” for talks because “the possible military dimensions of the Iranian nuclear program will have to be addressed.” Kerry, for his part, told PBS in April, in the immediate aftermath of Lausanne that on PMDs the Iranians will “have to do it. It will be done.”
Well its not being done, just as like much of what we were told at the beginning of negotiations isn’t being done. Sometimes it seems as the next concession the P+5 wrestles out of Iran will be the first. If the deal continues this way, the final product is going to be very ugly.
Cross-posted at The Lid