It’s no secret that Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran (JCPOA) was an absolute failure. On top of that, we believe the agreement may actually have aided Iran’s nuclear program.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is responsible for making sure Iran obeys the rules outlines by the JCPOA, made an important discovery last winter that has been all-but-ignored until this month.
Last December, IAEA agents discovered traces of fabricated uranium at a clandestine military base southeast of Tehran. These particles are believed to be left over from nuclear operations ten or more years in the past. Tehran has long claimed that it had not been pursuing a bomb, but the IAEA’s discovery proves this is a lie.
Iran continues to argue that the Parchin facility was used only to test conventional weapons, but officials agree that the presence of uranium makes this claim unlikely.
“Administration officials also said the discovery hasn’t altered the assessment by US intelligence that Tehran suspended its bomb-making efforts in 2003,” reports the Wall Street Journal.
The IAEA report was released just a few months after the Obama Administration had blocked Republican efforts to do away with the nuclear deal, which blocks key parts of Iran’s nuclear program for ten years or more in exchange for the lifting of crippling international sanctions. Many rightly fear that Iran will continue to work on covert nuclear programs while the plan is in effect.
The deal also required Iran to address a body of evidence presented by the IAEA that showed Iran’s military had use of a centralized program to build a nuclear weapon until 2003. Iranian officials have repeatedly denied this charge, claiming that many of the documents presented by the IAEA were faked. On top of that, Iran did not even allow IAEA agents to speak with top nuclear scientists during their initial investigation (July-December of 2015).
But the agents were allowed to take soil samples from numerous facilities, which led to the discovery of two man-made uranium particles. Such a tiny amount of uranium can’t prove much, but the fact that Iran’s claims about the facility don’t match test results or satellite images can prove they were up to something.
In addition, it was later discovered that Iran had tried to cleanse the area before the inspection by removing soil and infrastructure (sounds a lot like Hillary deleting most of her emails before she handed over the server). “The assumption in the [US] government is that these were nuclear weapons-related experiments,” confirms Robert Einhorn, one of the JCPOA’s top negotiators.
The IAEA’s discovery has fueled the fire for critics who rightly argue that Obama “lost” the nuclear deal. He should have gone further in demanding that Tehran answer more questions concerning past nuclear projects before lifting the sanctions – an act that funneled millions of dollars into Iran.
The IAEA typically requires more samples when it discovers irregularities like uranium, but according to the JCPOA, Iran is only required to submit to a single inspection of each site.
You may recall that when Obama announced the deal, he assured us that “inspectors will also be able to access any suspicious location…the organization responsible for the inspections, the IAEA, will have access where necessary, when necessary…”
The Obama Administration is shrugging off the whole thing, claiming they knew all about Parchin and what Iran had been doing a decade ago. “We already know what they did there,” said one US official. “Going there [Parchin] again would unlikely reveal much else that’s new. What’s important now is that they can’t do it again.”
On the contrary, recent satellite images obtained by the Institute for Science and International Security reveal serious construction taking place at Parchin. David Albright, head of the institute, worries that this activity will “further complicate” any efforts to continue the uranium investigation.
“Parchin is an active military facility, and construction there does not necessarily indicate any nuclear-related activity,” argued a State Department official. “At this time, we have no information that would lead us to believe that there is undeclared nuclear activity taking place anywhere in Iran.”
Author’s Note: What I see from this story is that the US government knows Iran was doing some kind of weapons work, but it doesn’t know exactly what because the JCPOA doesn’t force them to explain. Iran has shown us time and time again that it doesn’t play by the rules. The fact that the Obama Administration is trusting Iran not to work on nuclear weapons development is absurd.
Donald Trump, who has promised to do away with the JCPOA on day one, may be our only hope of ending this farce before it blows up in our faces (no pun intended).