by Hugh Fitzgerald
Will the putatively incoming Biden Administration listen? The President-elect-apparent has told everyone he is eager to return to the Iran Deal. But how has Iran been observing the Iran Deal that, without American participation, is still in force with the U.K., France, Germany, Russia, and China? The answer is clear: It hasn’t been observing the deal’s provisions, and it hasn’t even bothered, in some cases, to hide it. The disturbing report is here: “UN watchdog warns Iran again violating nuclear deal with world powers,” Israel Hayom, November 12, 2020:
Iran continues to increase its stockpile of low-enriched uranium far beyond the limits set in a landmark nuclear deal with world powers and to enrich it to a greater purity than permitted, the UN’s atomic watchdog agency said Wednesday, Nov. 11.
The International Atomic Energy Agency reported that as of Nov. 2, Iran had a stockpile of 2,442.9 kilograms (5,385.7 pounds) of low-enriched uranium, up from 2,105.4 kilograms (4,641.6 pounds) reported on Aug. 25.
The nuclear deal signed in 2015 with the United States, Germany, France, Britain, China and Russia, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, allows Iran only to keep a stockpile of 202.8 kilograms (447 pounds).
The IAEA reported that Iran has also been continuing to enrich uranium to a purity of up to 4.5%, higher than the 3.67% allowed under the deal….
In other words, Iran has now stockpiled 12 times the permissible amount of low-enriched uranium set out in the Iran Deal. Furthermore, it has enriched the uranium to a higher level of purity – 4.5% rather than the 3.67% that had been set as its limit.
By deliberately, brazenly, announcing its violations, Tehran hopes to convince the five members of the original Iran Deal to help Iran’s economy survive the crippling sanctions imposed on it by the Trump Administration. The implied promise is that if they do so, Iran will stop its violations of the deal. So far Iran’s gambit hasn’t produced results, and its economy continues to crater.
At the same time, the Iranian government has continued to allow International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors full access to its nuclear facilities, a key reason the countries that remain parties to the JCPOA say it’s worth preserving.
It is not quite true that the Iranian government allows the IAEA “full access to its nuclear facilities.” It provides access only to those sites that the IAEA knows about; it does not volunteer information about the sites it knows are still hidden from the world. It also allows “full access” to sites after a delay — not as soon as IAEA inspectors demand, but only after Iran has given itself time to clean the site and remove any evidence of its nuclear program. Fortunately, it has not been able to remove all the small particles of enriched uranium that the IAEA then has found at these inspection sites.
The goal of the agreement is to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon, something the country insists it does not intend to do.
Iran does not intend to build a nuclear weapon? Then why has it spent a fortune on thousands of centrifuges used to enrich uranium? Why did it build the advanced centrifuge facility at Natanz, that was destroyed by an act of Israeli sabotage? Why did it hasten to rebuild that plant, only this time underground? Why does Iran choose to now place almost all of its nuclear facilities deep underground, and inside mountains, if it has no intention of building a nuclear weapon, and therefore has nothing to hide? What are we to make of the 100,000 pages of Top Secret information– Iran’s entire nuclear archive – that Israeli agents located in central Tehran and smuggled back to Israel – an archive that offered evidence of a far more extensive nuclear weapons program that Iran had begun years earlier than anyone knew?
A widely cited analysis by the Washington-based Arms Control Association suggests that Iran now has more than double the material it would need to make a nuclear weapon. However, IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi told The Associated Press in an interview last month that his agency does not share that assessment….
So Iran has produced enough weapons-grade fissile material for two nuclear weapons. But don’t worry; Iran says it has “no intention” of producing nuclear weapons. Why would Iran lie?
In the quarterly report distributed to members on Wednesday, the IAEA said it still has questions from the discovery last year of particles of uranium of man-made origin at a site outside Tehran not declared by Iran.
Iran has offered no explanation for the IAEA’s discovery of uranium at that site, which only became known after the Israelis had discovered mention of it in Iran’s nuclear archive. Iran insisted that the site had nothing to do with a nuclear program. With a straight face, an Iranian spokesman explained that the site was a “carpet cleaning facility.”
The United States and Israel had been pressing the IAEA for some time to look into the Turquzabad facility, which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described to the UN in 2018 as a “secret atomic warehouse.”
The IAEA would never have found out about the Turquzabad facility on its own. Again, the IAEA has the Israelis to thank. For it was they who learned of the full extent of Iran’s nuclear program from reading the archival material they seized, including information about such undeclared and hidden sites as that at Turquzabad.
In the current report, the IAEA said the “compositions of these isotopically altered particles” found there were “similar to particles found in Iran in the past, originating from imported centrifuge components.” It said it found Iran’s response to questions last month “unsatisfactory.”
“Unsatisfactory” is the IAEA’s diplomatic way of describing Iran’s series of bold-faced lies about its nuclear program.
Following an assessment of this new information, the agency informed Iran that it continues to consider Iran’s response to be not technically credible,” the IAEA wrote this week [in mid-November]. “A full and prompt explanation from Iran…is needed.”
No such “prompt explanation” from Iran has been forthcoming. And it won’t be. The Supreme Leader takes as his mental motto the retort beloved of second-graders: “That’s for me to know and you to find out.”
First published in Jihad Watch.