You are here:   Defence > This Deal Is No Deal

March 20,  2015: John Kerry greets Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif before the negotiations which formed the basis of the new nuclear agreement with Iran, announced on July 14

The nuclear deal the six world powers and Iran signed in Vienna in July will not prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. All it will do is postpone Iran getting the bomb. In exchange for Tehran’s acquiescence, the deal legitimises Iran’s nuclear achievements and strengthens its regime.

In return for a cash windfall, the end of its international isolation and even access to Western nuclear knowhow, Iran must only postpone and partially mothball its nuclear programme for the next decade. Some residual restrictions will remain for another five years. By 2028, though, Iran’s path to a nuclear bomb will be wide open. By contrast, Western powers only gain time and the ability to restart business with Tehran — a boon to sluggish European economies but also a critical lifeline to Iran.

Iran must first come clean on its past nuclear activities by providing answers to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations nuclear watchdog. But if the past is any guide, there is little hope Iran will reveal its nuclear secrets. After all, it stalled IAEA attempts to get answers for more than a decade. Sanctions should have been lifted as a result of, not in exchange for, a promise of some future Iranian compliance with its transparency obligations. Given what’s at stake, the IAEA is now under pressure not to scuttle the deal. Yet the agreement does little to enhance the chances of the agency succeedings. It does not force Iran to turn over decades-worth of documentation about its clandestine procurement; it does not give unfettered access to those scientists who hold the key to the nuclear kingdom; and it does not allow the IAEA to conduct those anytime, anywhere inspections which Western leaders had repeatedly and publicly declared to be essential to a good deal.

The Obama Administration, the British government and the other powers invested in this deal insist that the deal involves such unprecedented monitoring, access and restrictions on Iran’s nuclear programme that no path to a nuclear weapon remains open. This may be true for the monitoring of Iran’s declared facilities for the period during which they will be under stringent controls. But after little over a decade Iran’s nuclear facilities will be monitored only as much as they were prior to the deal, when Iran cheated the non-proliferation treaty under the noses of the international community. Besides, the agreement’s monitoring mechanisms offer no way of dealing with undeclared facilities. Much of Iran’s covert weaponisation activities took place in facilities that, thanks to the deal’s monitoring mechanisms, the international community will have a hard time inspecting. Even if Western intelligence discovers that elements of a clandestine military programme are still ongoing, a convoluted and contentious process will ensue in which the Ayatollahs have at least a temporary veto power and sensitive intelligence sources might have to be revealed.

View Full Article

Post your comment

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.