Final deal unverifiable, allows Iran to expand support for terror and instability across Middle East

The Israel Project

The final deal, reached today between the P5+1 and Iran in Vienna, lifts the arms embargo on Iran in five years and allows Tehran to stonewall the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) request for access to suspect sites for up to 24 days.  The deal was met with bipartisan criticism as well as opposition from US regional allies. Although Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz told lawmakers in April to expect anytime, anywhere inspections, the deal envisions a long process of consultation, arbitration, and implementation. 24 days is more than enough time for Iran to conceal any illicit activity. Moreover, Tehran can further delay the process because it would have the right to challenge a UN request to visit a site and would sit on the arbitration board that settles disputes on inspections.

Nonproliferation and Iran experts have insisted that granting Iran the ability to manage access will severely undermine the IAEA’s ability to verify an agreement. Former Deputy Director of the IAEA Olli Heinonen has warned that inspections must not be subject to a dispute resolution mechanism because it would hinder IAEA access. President of the Institute for Science and International Security, David Albright, has similarly argued that given Iran’s history of deceiving the international community and “abusing the consultation process with the inspectors,” a deal must ensure anytime anywhere inspections. The deal falls far short of that, and thus will not prevent Iran from violating its terms.

Furthermore, the UN arms embargo on Iran, which bans Iran from exporting arms and importing major arms, will be lifted in five years, regardless of Iran’s behavior. The ban could even be lifted earlier if the IAEA grants permission to do so. This will facilitate Iran’s attempts to expand its support for terrorist proxies and other allies that destabilize the Middle East. Iran will also be able to acquire sophisticated weapons from other countries like Russia and China. Just last week at a Senate hearing, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey testified that “[u]nder no circumstances should we relieve pressure on Iran relative to ballistic missile capabilities and arms trafficking.”

Additionally, this deal ends the ban on ballistic missile trade in 8 years, possibly earlier, though administration officials originally promised that existing restrictions would remain in place. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter testified last week about the threat Iran’s ICBMs pose to the United States, stating “The reason that we want to stop Iran from having an ICBM program is that the ‘I’ in ICBM stands for ‘intercontinental,’ which means having the capability of flying from Iran to the United States.” The deal stands to weaken US national security, as well as the security of our allies.