The Iran Deals Critical Flaw is its Lack of Real Inspection by
Yigal Carmon and A. Savyon
Recently, Western officials and commentators who support the
JCPOA began to address two issues related to the JCPOA that they themselves
admit to be problems that must be addressed. However, these issues Iran's
development of long-range ballistic missiles, and the sunset clause, which
refers to the removal, in eight to 10 years, of the restrictions on Iran set out
in the agreement are either not part of the JCPOA, i.e. the missiles, or are
a long way off, i.e. the sunset clause, and therefore need not necessarily be
addressed immediately. Thus, by raising these two issues they are diverting
attention from the main, critical problem in the agreement which does require
immediate attention: its lack of real inspection. This problem came up again
recently when it was reported that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
had chosen to refrain from inspecting sites in Iran based
on information submitted to it about possible violations.
It should be clarified that when Iran, the IAEA, and the heads of
the parties to the JCPOA reiterate that there is robust, intrusive, and
unprecedented inspection, they are perpetuating the false depiction of the
section of the JCPOA concerning inspection. This is because the inspection
procedure takes place only at sites where Iran has agreed to allow inspection,
that is, sites Iran itself has declared as nuclear sites, but not at any other
sites in Iran, including military sites. The Obama administration and the
countries party to the JCPOA designed the JCPOA in a way that on the one hand
they can claim that a robust inspection is being applied while on the other hand
they allowed Iran to evade inspection in all other sites.
Carrying out inspections in the other sites can take place
only after political negotiations in the Joint Commission of the JCPOA which
comprises the U.S., U.K., France,
Germany, Russia, China, the IAEA,
and Iran and only after some 30 days have passed from the time
of the submission of the intelligence information that prompted the request for
inspection, and only after the sources of this intelligence have been fully
revealed to Iran, Russia, and China. Under these conditions, there is no
possibility of real and effective inspection of Iran's nuclear activity (see
MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis No. 1325, Discussion Of Iranian Violations Of JCPOA Is Futile; The
Inspection Procedure Designed By The Obama Administration Precludes Actual
Inspection And Proof Of Violations, August 18, 2017).
Despite the above, IAEA secretary-general Yukiya Amano stated, on
August 31 and September 11, 2017, that the IAEA is free to carry out inspections
at any site necessary, regardless of whether the site is nuclear or military. Amano
based this statement not on the JCPOA which does not allow this but on
the Additional Protocol, that allows inspection of military sites. But Iran's
agreement to accept the Additional Protocol was voluntary, and it can exit it at
any time without this being considered a violation of the JCPOA.
Iranian officials, on their part, argue that Amano
"fabricated" this claim of such a right, and reiterated the Iranian
regime's position that it does not allow IAEA inspectors at military sites (see
MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 7098, Iranian Regime Officials: We Will Not Allow IAEA To Enter
Iranian Military Sites; 'The Claim Of Such A Right Is Fabricated By [IAEA
Director] Amano Himself,' September 19, 2017).
Therefore, Amano's declaration that the IAEA has the right to
inspect military sites in Iran can be tested only if an attempt is made to
actualize it. However, when information requiring an IAEA inspection was
presented to Amano, he refrained from doing so, in order not to confront Iran
and in order not to reveal that he had agreed to a process that ties his hands
Obama Administration Has Transformed The IAEA Into A Non-Professional Body
Acting As A Political Organ
The following list demonstrates how the Obama administration has
turned the IAEA into a non-professional political organ:
The Obama administration and the parties to the JCPOA
created an inspection framework unique to Iran that bypasses the Additional
Protocol, which allows inspection of military sites, and which was accepted
voluntarily and unilaterally by Iran, and from which it can drop out without
violating the JCPOA.
The Obama administration and the parties to the JCPOA
created a political forum supreme to the IAEA the Joint Commission of the
JCPOA whose authority supersedes that of the IAEA. This was done with the
consent of IAEA director-general Yukiya Amano, who relinquished his status under
pressure from President Obama.
Director-general Amano agreed to the closure of the
file on the PMD
(Possible Military Dimensions) of Iran's nuclear program by a predetermined
political decision to close it. This was done due to Iran's threat that it would
have not accepted the JCPOA; he agreed to a special arrangement for
inspection in Iran, the Road Map; and he also agreed to make a token visit to
the Parchin military site, which was a totally non-credible inspection
procedure. Thus, for example, IAEA inspectors did not themselves visit Parchin,
and the samples from
these sites were taken by the Iranians themselves and handed over to the IAEA
inspectors without any way of ascertaining that the samples taken were the ones
handed over to the IAEA. Iran's representative in the IAEA, Reza
Najafi, said in a September 21, 2015 interview with the ISNA news agency:
"I deny the Reuters report that the samples from Parchin were taken in the
presence of IAEA inspectors. We ourselves took the samples. This is the red line
for us, and no inspector is authorized to enter a military site and conduct an
inspection. The visit of Amano and his deputy was strictly a general protocol
visit; they had no equipment, not even a cellphone, their visit did not last
more than a few minutes, [and it was] only in order for them to see that there
is nothing suspicious and that the claims about [Parchin] were completely
Yukiya Amano submitted to Iran's refusal to allow its nuclear scientists to be
questioned. He accepted the Iranian demand not to mention the term "PMD"
in the IAEA report. It should be mentioned that despite all these obstructions
to the investigation of the PMD the IAEA report confirmed that there was indeed
suspect nuclear activity in Iran, but refrained from stating that the Iranian
regime was responsible for this activity, as agreed in advance by Amano. For
broader review and analysis of the IAEA's scandalous investigation of the PMD,
see additional MEMRI reports.
According to a report by the Obama administration's
State Department lead coordinator on Iran, Stephen Mull, the IAEA's authority of
oversight over Iran's inventory of 8.5 tons of enriched uranium that was shipped
out of Iran in December 2015 in accordance with the JCPOA, was taken away from
the IAEA by the U.S. and given to Russia, with the consent of the parties to the
JCPOA and the IAEA itself. This was done without even determining where Russia
would store this nuclear fuel, and without U.S. verification of this. Indeed,
Mull said, at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on February 11, 2016
has not yet been decided where exactly Russia will put this information [sic]." He
went on to say: We do not have concerns about Russian custody of this
himself agreed that the oversight of the enriched Iranian uranium be removed
from his responsibility.
The IAEA agreed to a scandalous procedure for dealing
with Iran's heavy water. The parties to the JCPOA, with the consent of the IAEA transformed
Iran into an exporter of heavy water without subjecting it to the export control
system to which other exporters, such as Canada and India, are subject.
According to standard IAEA verification practices, changes in heavy water
inventory are registered not when the heavy water is removed from the territory
of the country exporting it, but only when it arrives at the destination country
that purchased it. Iran was exempted from this rule. In the decision to store
Iran's excess heavy water in Oman and by accepting a limited role of oversight
of only the removal of the heavy water from Iranian territory, and subsequently
subtracted it from the quota of heavy water permitted to Iran, as if the water
had already been sold and arrived at its destination, IAEA violated its own
rules applied to all other countries. It should be also emphasized the Amanos
acceptance of Oman a political satellite of Iran which Iran would have
no problem getting its heavy water back from Oman any time it wanted to be
the place for storing Irans heavy water was politically motivated to submit
to Iran's demand. The IAEA is not reporting on these ongoing systematic
Trump administration is also not addressing this issue at all, and states that
Iran complies with the JCPOA and violates it only "in spirit."
The September 2017 Institute for Science and
International Security (IISS) report
also stated that the IAEA had lost its professional status and that it is
operating out of political considerations and refraining from reporting on a
wide variety of Iranian violations in recent months.
In September 2017, as noted, it was reported that
Israel had given the IAEA information about Iranian violations that required an
inspection on the ground, and that the IAEA had refrained from conducting any
such inspection. An IAEA official informed Reuters anonymously, on August 31,
2017, that the IAEA was "not
going to visit a military site like Parchin just to send a political
refusal to carry out inspections at sites that are not declared by Iran as
nuclear constitutes a continuation of political and unprofessional conduct on
the part of the IAEA, with the support the JCPOA parties.
Yukiya Amano refrained from using his professional
authority regarding Section T of the JCPOA, which forbids "activities which
could contribute to the development of a nuclear explosive device." Instead
of enforcing the agreement, or announcing that Iran had violated it by not
allowing the implementation of Section T, he accepted the Iranian-Russian
interpretation of this section, according to which Amano has no status to
enforce it, and instead of calling this an Iranian violation of the JCPOA, he is
treating the most important issue in the agreement the development of models
for a nuclear bomb as "a problem for the Joint Commission"
that is, that the political forum should be the one to decide on it.
The above examples explicitly show that the problem demanding
urgent action is the lack of real inspection of sites in Iran and not Iran's
ballistic missiles nor the expiration, in eight or 10 years (i.e. the sunset
clause), of the restrictions on Iran.
Commitment To Act If The IAEA Does Not Implement Real Inspections A Test Of
On September 18, 2017, President Trump, via U.S. Energy Secretary
Rick Perry, notified the IAEA General Conference that "we will not
accept a weakly enforced or inadequately monitored deal."
With this statement, Trump has set an actual condition for the
continuation of U.S. support for the JCPOA. This demand for robust oversight is
not a demand for a change in the JCPOA, nor does it mean an exit from it, but
rather it is based on acceptance of the agreement and on the insistence that it
be rigorously enforced as it stands. If
the U.S. administration carries out Trump commitment, and if his statement does
not become yet another anti-Iran declaration that is ignored by the Department
of State, it will constitute real pressure on the IAEA to fulfill its duty in accordance to its mandate.
It should be emphasized that the parties to the JCPOA cannot
oppose Trump's demand that IAEA enforce its authority, since it is based on
acceptance of the JCPOA and not on leaving it or demanding that it be amended.
Iran, as its top officials have clarified, has a strong interest
in not leaving the JCPOA likely because of its leadership's assessment that
when it does it will expose itself to an Israeli attack.