United States Institute of Peace

The Iran Primer

Iran Primer's Blog

Zarif Addresses UN Arms Conference

On April 27, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons in an address to the 2015 Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty (NPT) conference in New York. In his role as chair of the coordinating bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement, an organization of some 120 developing countries, Zarif also called for the “non-discriminatory and balanced implementation” of the NPT. Parties to the treaty meet every five years to review it. The following are Zarif’s prepared remarks as provided by Iran’s mission to the United Nations.

Madam President,
Excellencies
Distinguished Delegates,
 
I have the privilege to speak on behalf of the Group of the Non-Aligned States Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). I would like to congratulate you, Madam President, on your election as President of this Review Conference and assures you of our group’s full cooperation. We hope that under your able leadership, the Conference will have a successful outcome. 
 
Madam President,
 
AS the Non-Aligned States Parties to the Treaty, we emphasize the role of the Treaty as the essential foundation for the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime as well as for promoting international cooperation and assistance in support of the inalienable right of States Parties to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The NPT Review Conferences are very important events in our collective efforts to achieve the objectives of the Treaty. It is important that we all strive to strengthen the Treaty by adopting substantive outcome documents, which reflect the determination and commitment of States Parties to continue their efforts in good faith to achieve the objectives of the NPT.
 
However, to ensure the realization of the objectives of the Treaty, and thereby its long-term success and credibility, implementation of the obligations under the Treaty, and the agreements of its Review Conferences, is imperative. In this context, the Group reiterates that the full, non-discriminatory and balanced implementation of the three pillars of the NPT is crucial for maintaining its credibility, realizing its objectives, and promoting international peace and security.
 
Five years ago, the Review Conference succeeded in agreeing to an action plan on nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation, peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and implementation of the 1995 Resolution on the Middle East. Regrettably, the status of the implementation of the 2010 action plan is far from encouraging.
 
The nuclear-weapon-States have not made progress in eliminating their nuclear weapons. The role of nuclear weapons in security policies of the nuclear-weapon-States has not diminished. Some nuclear weapons States are modernizing their nuclear arsenals and planning research on new nuclear warheads, others have announced their intention to develop new delivery vehicles for nuclear weapons. The non-nuclear-weapons States Parties have not yet received unequivocal and legally binding security assurances. The transfer of nuclear technology continues to face impediments inconsistent with the Treaty, and no progress has been made to achieve universal adherence to the Treaty in the Middle East; to give but a few examples of the lack of implementation of the 1995, 2000 and 2010 agreements.
 
The broad support for the UN General Assembly High level Meeting on Nuclear Disarmament in 2013 and the Vienna Conference on Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in 2014 reflects increasingly widespread concern and impatience with the lack of progress towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons.    
 
Madam President,
 
We in the Non-Aligned Movement consider nuclear disarmament as its highest priority and reiterates once again that the continued existence of nuclear weapons poses the greatest threat to humanity. We remain extremely concerned at their possible use or threat of use and are convinced that their total elimination is the only absolute guarantee against such use or threat of use.
 
The nuclear-weapon-States, in the 2010 NPT Review Conference, committed to accelerate concrete progress on the steps leading to nuclear disarmament, and to fulfilling their obligations under Article VI of the Treaty and their unequivocal undertakings to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals. We express deep concern at the continued lack of progress in the implementation of nuclear disarmament obligations and commitments by the nuclear-weapon-States, which could undermine the object and purpose of the Treaty and the credibility of the non-proliferation regime.
 
Full compliance of the nuclear-weapon-States with their nuclear disarmament undertakings is imperative, and will enhance confidence in the non-proliferation and disarmament regime. Each article of the Treaty is binding on all States Parties at all times and in all circumstances. 
 
We underline the unanimous conclusion of the International Court of Justice that there exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and to bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control.
 
We reaffirm our proposal for the urgent commencement of negotiating and bringing to a successful conclusion, in the Conference on Disarmament, a comprehensive nuclear weapons convention, which includes a phased program and a specified time frame for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. In this context, our Group has put forward a working paper entitled “elements for a plan of action for the elimination of nuclear weapons”.   
 
The decision of some nuclear-weapon States to modernize their nuclear weapons is a source of serious concern. The modernization of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems undermines the unilateral and bilateral reductions made so far.
 
The improvement of existing nuclear weapons and the development of new types of nuclear weapons violate the commitments undertaken by the nuclear-weapon States at the time of the conclusion of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. Such actions are incompatible with action 1 of the Final Document of the 2010 Review Conference, in which all States Parties committed to pursue policies that are fully compatible with the Treaty and the objective of achieving a world without nuclear weapons.
 
We call upon the nuclear-weapon States to immediately cease their plans to further invest in modernizing and extending the life span of their nuclear weapons and related facilities.
 
We recall the commitment made by some nuclear-weapon States, under action 4 of the 2010 action plan, to further reduce their arsenals of nuclear weapons and strongly urge them to adopt all required measures in order to achieve deeper reductions in their nuclear arsenals in realization of the objective of the total elimination of nuclear weapons.
 
In this regard, reductions in deployments and in operational status cannot substitute for irreversible cuts in, and the total elimination of, nuclear weapons and, accordingly, calls on the nuclear-weapon States to apply the principles of transparency, irreversibility and verifiability to all such cuts.
 
We remain deeply concerned by military and security doctrines of the nuclear-weapon States as well as that of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, in which they justify the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons and maintain unjustifiably the concept of security based on nuclear deterrence and nuclear military alliances.
 
We firmly believe that any use or threat of use of nuclear weapons would be a crime against humanity and a violation of the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and international law, in particular international humanitarian law. In this regard, we strongly call for the complete exclusion of the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons from military doctrines. The nuclear-weapon States shall seriously refrain, under any circumstances, from the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons against any non-nuclear-weapon States parties to the Treaty.
 
Pending the total elimination of nuclear weapons, it is the legitimate right of all non‑nuclear-weapon States Parties to receive effective, universal, unconditional, non‑discriminatory and irrevocable legally binding security assurances against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons under all circumstances. We express our dissatisfaction over the lack of required political will and efforts by the nuclear-weapon-States to fully address this legitimate interest.
 
Madam President,
 
Our Group reaffirms its principled position on nuclear non-proliferation, and underscores the necessity of the full and non-discriminatory implementation of Articles I and II of the Treaty by all States Parties. In our view, any horizontal proliferation and nuclear-weapon-sharing by States Parties constitute a violation of non-proliferation obligations under articles I and II. We call upon the nuclear-weapon-States to undertake to accept full-scope safeguards in order to assure compliance with their non-proliferation obligations.   
 
Proliferation concerns are best addressed through multilaterally negotiated, universal, comprehensive and nondiscriminatory agreements. Additional measures related to the safeguards shall not affect the rights of the non-nuclear-weapon-States parties to the Treaty.
 
We recognize the IAEA as the sole competent authority for the verification of the fulfillment of safeguards obligations assumed by States parties under the NPT, express full confidence in the IAEA and strongly reject attempts to politicize the work of the IAEA. In this context, the Group underlines the importance of strict observance of the IAEA Statute and relevant comprehensive safeguards agreements, in conducting verification activities.
 
We underline the importance of universal adherence to the Treaty and call upon all non-parties to the Treaty to accede to the Treaty, as non-nuclear-weapon States, and place all their nuclear facilities under IAEA full-scope safeguards. All States Parties should make every effort to achieve the universality of the Treaty and refrain from taking any actions that could negatively affect prospects for the universality of the Treaty. In this context, we welcome the accession of Palestine as the 191st State-party to the Treaty.
 
Strict observance of and adherence to IAEA comprehensive safeguards and to the Treaty are conditions for any cooperation in the nuclear area with States not parties to the Treaty. All States parties to the Treaty shall refrain from the transfer of nuclear technology and materials to States not party to the Treaty unless these conditions are met.
 
Madam President,
 
We in the Group of NAM States Parties to the NPT emphasize the significance of full, effective and non-discriminatory implementation of Article IV of the Treaty on "the inalienable right of all the parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with Articles I and II of this Treaty". This constitutes one of the fundamental objectives of the Treaty and as stipulated in that Article, nothing in the Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting this inalienable right.
 
Each State party, in line with its national requirements and in accordance with the rights and obligations under the Treaty, has a sovereign right to define its national energy and fuel-cycle policies, including the inalienable right to develop, for peaceful purposes, a full national nuclear fuel-cycle. Accordingly, the choices and decisions of each State party in the field of peaceful uses of nuclear energy should be fully respected.
 
We underline the right of all States parties to participate in the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. We strongly reject, and call for the immediate removal of, any restrictions or limitations posed on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, including restrictions on exports to other States parties of nuclear material, equipment and technology for peaceful purposes.
Concerns related to nuclear proliferation shall not, in any way, restrict the inalienable right of any State party to develop all aspects of nuclear science and technology for peaceful purposes, without discrimination, as stipulated in Article IV of the Treaty. States parties should refrain from any action that would limit certain peaceful nuclear activities on the grounds of their "sensitivity", as the Treaty does not prohibit the transfer or use of nuclear technology, equipment or material based on such grounds.
 
Madam President,
 
The Heads of State or Government of the Non-Aligned Movement, in their Tehran Summit Declaration of 2012, reiterated their support for the establishment of a zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East and as a priority step to this end, reaffirmed the need for the speedy establishment of a NWFZ in the Middle East. They also called upon all parties concerned to take urgent and practical steps for the establishment of such a zone and, pending its establishment, demanded that Israel, the only one in the region that has neither joined the NPT nor declared its intention to do so, to renounce possession of nuclear weapons, to accede to the NPT without precondition and further delay, to place promptly all its nuclear facilities under IAEA full-scope safeguards and to conduct its nuclear related activities in conformity with the non-proliferation regime. They expressed great concern over the acquisition of nuclear capability by Israel which poses a serious and continuing threat to the security of neighboring and other States, and condemned Israel for continuing to develop and stockpile nuclear arsenals. They also called for the total and complete prohibition of the transfer of all nuclear-related equipment, information, material and facilities, resources or devices and the extension of assistance in the nuclear related scientific or technological fields to Israel.
 
We are determined to continue pursuing, as a matter of high priority, the implementation of the 1995 Resolution and the 2010 action plan on the Middle East and strongly support the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. The 1995 Resolution on the Middle East constitutes an integral and essential part of the package of decisions reached that enabled the indefinite extension of the Treaty without a vote in 1995. This resolution remains valid until its objectives are achieved.
 
We express our serious concern over the long delay in the implementation of the 1995 Resolution and urge the three cosponsors of the Resolution, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Russian Federation, to take all necessary measures to fully implement it without any further delay.
 
We recall the consensus decision of the 2010 NPT Review Conference on convening, in 2012, of a Conference on the establishment of a zone free from nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, and are profoundly disappointed by the failure of the conveners to convene the conference in 2012 as scheduled. This failure is contrary to the letter and spirit of the 1995 Resolution on the Middle East and contradicts and violates the collective agreement of the States Parties reached at the 2010 NPT Review Conference. We strongly reject the arguments presented by the Conveners for not convening the Conference as mandated.
 
We also strongly call for the withdrawal of any related reservations or unilateral interpretative declarations that are incompatible with the object and purpose of those treaties establishing nuclear weapon free zones and their protocols.
 
Madam President,
 
Our Group underscores the importance of renewed political will by all States parties to achieve a successful conclusion of the 2015 review process and stands ready to engage constructively with other partners towards this objective. We are of the view that the 2010 NPT action plan represents an outcome that the 2015 NPT Review Process can build upon to strengthen the implementation of the Treaty, especially in nuclear disarmament, and in achieving its universality. We are determined to continue our collective efforts in pursuing the realization of NAM priorities in the 2015 NPT review process, in particular to begin negotiations on a comprehensive nuclear weapons convention as called for by the UNGA Resolution 68/32.
 
Let us work together to achieve real success by agreeing on a comprehensive, balanced and practical substantive outcome document, containing in particular clear time-bound undertakings by the nuclear weapon States to eliminate all their nuclear weapons and related delivery systems and infrastructure. Only such an outcome can bring a shred of hope that we would be able to rid the world of these inhumane weapons and to bring a safer world for our children.
 
 
Photo credit: Robin Wright

Latest US Polls on Iran Deal

The following are key findings from recent polls asking Americans about the blueprint for a nuclear deal announced on April 2 by Iran and the world’s six major powers and the talks in general.

AP-GfK Poll

A survey conducted by AP-GfK from April 23-27 found that a slight majority of Americans approve of the interim agreement reached by Iran and the world’s six major powers in late 2013. The following are key results:
 
Do you approve, disapprove, or neither approve nor disapprove of the preliminary agreement reached between Iran and six world powers that is designed to curb Iran’s nuclear program?
 
Total approve
54 percent
 Approve
24 percent
 Lean approve
31 percent
Neither —don’t lean
1 percent
Total disapprove
43 percent
 Disapprove
23 percent
 Lean disapprove
20 percent
Refused/Not answered
2
 
As you may know, as part of the preliminary deal Iran agreed to allow inspections of its nuclear facilities, ship plutonium out of the country and shut down almost half of its uranium enriching centrifuges. How confident are you that Iran will follow through with this agreement?
 
Extremely/very confident
3 percent
 Extremely confident
1 percent
 Very confident
2 percent
Moderately confident
25 percent
Not too/Not confident at all
69 percent
 Not too confident
34 percent
 Not confident at all
35 percent
Refused/Not answered
3 percent
 
Click here for the full results.
 
Quinnipiac University National Poll  
 
A majority of American voters support the blueprint for a nuclear deal, according to a new poll by Quinnipiac University conducted April 16-21. The following are key takeaways from the survey’s findings.
 
·  58 percent support the preliminary agreement with Iran to restrict that country’s program while 33 percent do not.
·  35 percent of voters are “very confident” or “somewhat confident” the agreement would prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, while 62 percent are "not so confident" or "not confident at all.”
·  Supporting the agreement are Democrats 76 - 15 percent and independent voters 60 - 33 percent, with Republicans opposed 56 - 37 percent. 
·  65 percent of voters support making any Iran agreement subject to congressional approval while 24 percent do not.
·  77 percent of voters back a negotiated settlement rather than military intervention to limit Iran’s nuclear program while 13 percent do not.
 
Click here for more information.

 

Economist/YouGov Poll
 
A new Economist/YouGov poll found that most Americans support the nuclear talks with Iran. The survey, conducted April 4-6, found that 61 percent of respondents believe the United States should negotiate with Iran over its nuclear program.
 
 
But barely a quarter of respondents said they would trust Iran to adhere to an agreement.  
 
Support for the nuclear framework announced on April 2 varied along party lines. Among Democrats, 57 percent support the framework, but only 20 percent of Republicans support it.
 
 
Click here for more information on the poll
 
Reuters/Ipsos Poll
 
A new Reuters/Ipsos poll, conducted April 3-7, found that 36 percent of respondents support the preliminary nuclear deal between Iran and the world’s six major powers. When broken down by party, 30 percent of Republicans support the deal compared to 51 percent of Democrats.
 
 
Support
Oppose
Not sure
Republicans
30 percent
30 percent
40 percent
Democrats
51 percent
10 percent
39 percent
Independents
33 percent
21 percent
45 percent
The poll also found little support for using military force as the sole way to curb Iran's nulcear program. Only 5 percent of Democrats, 11 percent of Republicans, and 6 percent of Independents supported that approach.
 
Click here for more information on the poll
 
NBC News/SurveyMonkey Poll
 
A new NBC News/SurveyMonkey Poll, conducted April 6-8, found that the majority of Americans consider Iran’s nuclear program a “major threat.” More than 70 percent of Republicans gave that response, compared to just over 40 percent of Democrats.
 
Iran’s nuclear program is:
All
Republicans
Democrats
Independents
Major threat
53 percent
74 percent
41 percent
50 percent
Minor threat
37 percent
23 percent
47 percent
39 percent
Not a threat at all
8 percent
1 percent
11 percent
9 percent
 
Click here for more information on the poll

 

Americans United for Change/Hart Research Poll

A poll commissioned by Americans United for Change, conducted April 6-8, found that 65 percent believe Congress should allow the agreement to move forward and monitor its implementation, while 30 percent believe Congress should take action to block the deal before it is implemented.

 
Congress should:
All
Republicans
Democrats
Independents
Allow agreement to go forward and closely monitor implementation
65 percent
47 percent
82 percent
64 percent
Block the agreement now and prevent implementation
30 percent
48 percent
15 percent
27 percent
 
Click here for more information on the poll
 

 

Tags: Poll, Reports

Kerry, Moniz Op-ed

As the United Nations conducts its five year review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Secretary of State John Kerry and Energy Secretary Earnest Moniz said it remains “at the heart of the global effort to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, and it has helped keep the world safe for 45 years.” The following are excerpts from their joint op-ed in Foreign Policy.

The NPT is elegant in its simplicity: Under the treaty, parties that do not possess nuclear weapons agree to forego them, parties that possess nuclear weapons agree to work in good faith toward nuclear disarmament, and all parties are able to access peaceful nuclear benefits like nuclear medicine and energy.
 
Nearly every country in the world has joined the NPT. The treaty is the irreplaceable foundation for international efforts to achieve the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons, a goal repeatedly affirmed by President Barack Obama as part of his ambitious Prague agenda.
 
The NPT opened the door to reducing the world’s stockpiles of nuclear weapons — and reducing the threat of nuclear war. Since the United States signed the NPT in 1968, we have cut our nuclear arsenal by almost 85 percent. Through 20-plus years of cooperation with Russia, together we turned the equivalent of 20,000 Soviet nuclear warheads into energy that is lighting homes and offices across America.
 
The barriers to proliferation are strong and growing stronger. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) plays an essential role in verifying that nuclear energy programs remain peaceful. The organization will be critical to verifying Iran’s compliance under any final understanding and monitoring the means adopted to prevent Iran from acquiring or misusing technologies and materials that could be used to secretly to build a bomb.
 
 
The United States knows that future nuclear reductions will require enhanced verification methods and that all nations share the responsibility to identify and develop them. We recently started the International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification, which will bring countries together to develop the best techniques and tools for monitoring nuclear stockpiles at lower numbers.
 
 
Through word and deed, the United States is fighting nuclear dangers across the board, but there is still much to do. Reducing and eventually eliminating the nuclear threat will never be easy, but the NPT is our best tool in this fight. The accord represents a heroic, if quiet, triumph of pragmatic cooperation to protect the world from nuclear dangers while promoting the safe, peaceful uses of the atom that can benefit mankind.
 
Click here for the full text.
 

House Foreign Affairs Committee: Verification Needed in Nuke Deal

On April 22, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs held a hearing focused on verification measures in a potential nuclear deal with Iran. Chairman Ed Royce argued that “the issue of inspections and verification will be central to how Congress judges any final agreement.” In his testimony, David Albright, President of the Institute for Science and International security, noted that Iran has generally complied with the terms of the interim nuclear agreement. But “its record remains problematic” on issues like clarifying the past military dimensions of its nuclear program.

The following are excerpts from Chairman Royce’s opening statement and testimony from expert witnesses.
 

 
Rep. Edward R. Royce, Chairman
 
“In announcing its outlines, President Obama declared that this agreement is ‘based on unprecedented verification.’ However, all of the essential elements of this inspection regime still need to be negotiated.
 
The ink wasn’t even dry on this month’s announcement…when he asserted that Tehran wouldn’t allow international inspectors access to its military facilities. And this weekend, the Deputy Head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps reiterated, “They will not even be permitted to inspect the most normal military site in their dreams.”
 
“The Administration has shrugged off such comments as Iranian domestic spin. But the issue of inspections and verification will be central to how Congress judges any final agreement. Will inspectors have quick, unimpeded, go-anywhere, anytime access? Who can they interview; what documents can they review; can they take environmental samples? Does the IAEA have the qualified manpower and resources to take this on? Can the framework’s ‘limited’ centrifuge research and development restriction really be verified?
 
Iran’s long history of clandestine activity and intransigence prevents the U.S. from holding any trust whatsoever in Iran. Indeed, deception has been a cornerstone of Iran’s nuclear program since its inception. So when it comes to negotiating an inspections regime over the next two months, the U.S. must gain ground, not retreat.”
 
“As one witness will testify, international inspectors can be no tougher than the countries that back them. The history of arms-control inspections is that they are easy for political leaders to tout as a solution, but are difficult to fully implement. What looks good on the white board often fails in the real world.
 
Even if verified, as one witness will note, this agreement still puts Iran on the path to being an accepted nuclear weapons threshold state. And beginning in ten years, the Administration’s lauded one-year break-out period begins to fall away and Iran will be able to enrich on an industrial scale. At the same time, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard is advancing its ballistic missile capability – under orders from the Supreme Leader to ‘mass produce.’ “
 
Mr. David Albright
Founder and President, Institute for Science and International Security
 
“Adequate verification is critical to a long-term deal in terms of verifying activities at declared nuclear sites and more importantly ensuring the absence of undeclared nuclear material and facilities. Although the interim deal under the Joint Plan of Action (JPA) strengthened the monitoring of declared sites, it did little to increase the IAEA’s ability to detect and find covert sites and activities. Inspectors have regularly reported in quarterly safeguards reports on Iran that the IAEA is not in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is used for peaceful activities.
 
Whether this situation changes will largely depend on the ability of the United States and its partners to create a comprehensive plan that establishes legally binding conditions on Iran that go beyond those in the comprehensive safeguards agreement and the Additional Protocol. A critical question will be whether the agreement establishes a verification regime adequate to promptly catch Iranian cheating. The U.S. Fact Sheet and subsequent briefings I received on the parameters of a comprehensive plan show that a considerable amount of work remains in the area of verification.
 
Recent Iranian statements disagreeing with verification provisions in the U.S. Fact Sheet raise the question of whether the U.S. negotiators have tried to oversell what has been agreed to. Iran’s public disagreements with the text could reflect also spin for domestic consumption, but more concerning, they could be attempts to create a predicate to renegotiate certain key parameters agreed to in Lausanne. U.S. officials have stated that everything in the U.S. Fact Sheet was agreed “in the room,” meaning that Iran agreed to all these parameters during the negotiations in Lausanne. If one assumes that the U.S. version is accurate, the U.S. Fact Sheet combined with briefings from officials shows that key verification arrangements remain unresolved, particularly those related to PMD issues and those that supplement the Additional Protocol. In fact, there are enough verification provisions unsettled that we at my organization cannot make a judgment about their adequacy without further progress in the negotiations.”
 
“Iran has in general been in compliance with the conditions of the JPA. However, it enriched in the IR-5 centrifuge, an act inconsistent with its JPA undertakings. When confronted by the United States, Iran quickly backed down and even took additional steps to increase confidence that enrichment in this centrifuge would not happen again. However, Iran has not shown a willingness to back down on more fundamental issues, such as resolving the IAEA’s PMD concerns, halting its illicit nuclear procurements, and fully cooperating with the IAEA. On less important issues, Iran is more cooperative but on the difficult ones, its record remains problematic.”
 
Mr. Charles Duelfer
Chairman, Omnis, Inc. and Former Chairman, UN Special Commission on Iraq [UNSCOM]
 
“I simply want to draw attention to the intricacies and the vulnerabilities of inspection systems. Too often in my experience, they served as a balancing entry for things the Security Council itself could not agree. In the event, the inspectors were subject to enormous political pressures. Indeed, the leadership positions of the inspector organization became politically sensitive. I can imagine the political machinations that will occur when current IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano’s term expires in 2017.
 
Overall, I cannot imagine the circumstances in Iran playing out favorably for the inspection system. And I repeat, Tehran will have watched and learned from the Iraq experience.
 
From what has been revealed publicly, it does not seem that inspectors will have any more authority or access than the inspectors in Iraq. Indeed, they will have far less it seems.
 
Moreover, the power behind the inspectors is greatly reduced since sanctions remain OFF unless the inspectors report something negative. And, what will constitute a sufficiently negative report? Delayed access? Ambiguous data? Once commerce is flowing, it is generally understood, it will be very difficult to stop. Saddam knew this and worked this successfully through illicit trade. In the Iran case it will not even be illicit.
 
Further, unity in the Security Council is highly questionable. Moreover, I cannot imagine the Security Council delegating its decision authority to re-impose sanctions to the head of the IAEA. That would certainly make the position much more political. Any “snap-back” provision, while desirable in principle, may not be achievable in practice.”
 
“In the case of Iraq, it turned out that after 8 years of inspections Saddam had largely rid himself of militarily significant WMD capability. He did this to get out of sanctions. Often overlooked was that Saddam also acknowledged that he intended to reconstitute these programs when circumstances permitted, i.e. after he was free from sanctions. Saddam played a long game. That’s not something we are good at. We have a regular cycle of changing our leadership. Continuity between our leaders is inconsistent—indeed it is often challenged. Not so for regimes like Saddam’s in Iraq and the Supreme Leader in Iran.”
 
The Honorable Stephen G. Rademaker
National Security Advisor, Bipartisan Policy Center; and Former Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Arms Control & Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, U.S. Department of State
 
“This deal will represent acceptance by the international community of Iran as a nuclear weapons threshold state.
 
By “nuclear weapons threshold state,” I do not mean that we’re accepting that Iran will have nuclear weapons, but we are accepting that, after ten years or so, Iran will have the ability to produce nuclear weapons in very short order, within a matter of weeks, or perhaps even days. This is important because countries that are able to produce nuclear weapons virtually overnight have to be treated by the rest of the world as if they already have nuclear weapons, because at any given moment, no one knows for sure that they don’t. Such countries may not have nuclear weapons today, but they are so close to having them that they nevertheless are able to engage in nuclear intimidation of others. Consequently, those who feel intimidated will be sorely tempted to develop nuclear options of their own, potentially giving rise to the very cascade of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East that experts have long predicted would occur if Iran’s nuclear ambitions were not restrained.
 
And by “accepting,” I mean that the United States is abandoning the policy pursued for more than twenty years by the Clinton, Bush, and, until now, Obama Administrations, to make sure Iran neither had nuclear weapons nor was on the threshold of producing them. We are committing to drop our nuclear-related sanctions, accept the legitimacy of the nuclear program that is affording Iran this capability, and even to support future international transfers of equipment and technology to that program.”
 
Click here for the full statements

 

UN: Iran Complying with Interim Nuke Deal

On April 20, the U.N. nuclear watchdog reported that Iran has continued to meet its commitments under the interim nuclear agreement with the world’s six major powers. The report found that Iran was not enriching uranium above the five percent level or making "any further advances" at its enrichment facilities and heavy water reactor.

But the nuclear watchdog also noted on April 16 that Tehran has not fully addressed outstanding issues on its program related to activities that could be used to create an atomic device, such as alleged experiments on explosives, despite a "constructive exchange."

The following are some of the report’s key findings.

Since January 20, 2014, Iran has:

  • Not enriched uranium above the five percent level at its declared facilities
  • Diluted 108.4kg of its 20 percent enriched uranium down to the five percent level
  • Not made “any further advances” in its activities at the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant or Arak reactor
  • Began converting 2720kg of five percent enriched uranium into uranium oxide
  • Continued to provide daily access to enrichment facilities at Natanz and Fordow
  • Provided regular access to centrifuge assembly workshops and centrifuge rotor production workshops and storage facilities
  • Provided, for purposes of enhanced monitoring, plans for nuclear facilities, descriptions of their operations, and information on uranium mines and mills
 
Click here for the full report
 
 

Connect With Us

Our Partners

Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Logo