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A closer look at the Iranian regime’s nuclear program

Iran's clandestine nuclear program
Iran's clandestine nuclear program

Analysis by PMOI/MEK


Feb. 18, 2019 - The world powers and Iranian regime signed an accord on July 14, 2015, to put an end to more than a decade of tensions between western powers and Tehran over the mullahs’ clandestine nuclear program. The agreement, dubbed by some of its proponents as somewhat a historic deal, was to control and regulate the Iranian regime’s plans to become a nuclear power in return to yet to be fully disclosed rewards and incentives.

The Obama administration and its former U.S. secretary of state John Kerry, the front line negotiator, made this agreement center focus of their Middle East policy by giving Iran even more concessions and leeway in the region. They literally viewed the deal as their legacy.

However, as time passed and the public relations campaign and euphemism subsided, sober realities revealed a different picture about not only the deal, but also the parties involved. This particularly included the true intention of te Iranian regime for going through all of these motions.



Iran’s need for nuclear weapons


There are more reasons, documents and statements made by high ranking Iranian officials to believe that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the nuclear is officially termed, was not final chapter of Tehran’s nuclear ambitions and its stand off with the West. The mullahs’ regime signed this accord under growing domestic unrest coupled with economic hardship only to get a respite as well as securing legitimacy for future development. Getting on good term with the West, having tremendous cash rewards and unimpeded political dominance in the region was a jackpot for the Iranian regime and their agenda.


The ruling theocracy of Iran has never hidden its desire and plan for regional and world dominance with their brand of caliphates style government. Knowing that their anachronistic ideology contradicts modern day values, they have instead chosen path of animosity and hostility as a way of existence. At home, they maintained their rule of power by unparalleled brutality, suppression, imprisonment, terror and executions. Beyond Iran’s border, they have unleashed mayhem and fear through financing terror groups, proxy wars, playing spoiler as well as a massive publicity media campaign.



A brief look back


Under the presidency of Ali Akbar Heshemi Rafsanjani, Iran’s previously suspended nuclear program, dating back to the pre-1979 revolution Shah era, was resumed with the help of Russia and China. While as a member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Iran provided the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors access to its nuclear facilities, major parts of its program remained concealed.


In 2002, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) revealed two previously undisclosed facilities in Natanz and Arak. The former being a nuclear enrichment complex and the latter a heavy water reactor plant. Satellite images later confirmed the existence of these facilities.


The NCRI revelation triggered a series of inspections and negotiations between Iran and world powers. In 2003, the IAEA confirmed that the Iranian regime had failed to uphold its commitments under the NPT.


Under international pressure, Tehran agreed in late 2003 to allow snap IAEA inspections of its facilities under the Additional Protocol, suspend all enrichment-related activities and reiterate its commitment, reiterated in the newly signed 2004 Paris Agreement.


However, as tension escalated, Tehran reneged on its promises in 2005, resuming uranium enrichment work and cutting IAEA’s access to its facilities. During this period, the Iranian Resistance further exposed the disguised dimensions of Iran’s nuclear activities, including thousands of centrifuges the regime had hidden from international inspectors.


In 2006, Iran’s nuclear dossier was deferred to the United Nations Security Council, which demanded Tehran suspend its nuclear activities by late August that same year or face sanctions. As Iran failed to comply, the UNSC subsequently imposed a series of actions against Iran’s import of nuclear and ballistic missile technology.


The UNSC went on to pass a total of six resolution over Iran’s nuclear program between 2002-2010, ratcheting up sanctions on entities and activities in response to Iran’s continued defiance oo the international community’s demands to halt its nuclear enrichment program.


During this period, IAEA released a number of reports, none of which could confirm Iran’s claims that its program was peaceful. In the meantime, Iran continued to strengthen its uranium enrichment capacities and proceed with the construction of the Arak heavy water reactor. In parallel, Iran obstructed inspections on its facilities and destroyed evidence that could relate to past weaponization activities.


According to the IAEA, in May2010, Iran’s uranium stockpile had grown to 2.5 tons, enough to fuel tow nuclear warheads. By 2013, Iran had more than 8,000 kilograms of 3.5% low enriched uranium (LEU) and 280nkilograms of nearly 20% enriched uranium.


In 2013, under the pressure of economic sanctions and fearing social unrest, Iran agreed to re-engage in negotiations with the P5+1, consisting of the U.S, UK, France, China, Russia and Germany, in order to reach a compromise on its nuclear program.


After a series of tense negotiations lasting the better part of two years, Iran and world powers struck a deal on July 14, 2015. The accord, known as the JCPOA, set curbs on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for the lifting international sanctions and access to more than $100 billion worth of assets frozen abroad.



The Iran nuclear deal


The JCPOA, which came into effect on January 16, 2016, aims at extending Iran’s breakout time (the window necessary for Iran to produce a nuclear bomb if it pulled out of the JCPOA) from a few months to a year. The nuclear deal also sought to supposedly cut off Tehran’s reach to nuclear bombs through the facilities of Fordow, Arak and Natanz, and a fourth secret pathway.


The goal is meant to be achieved by Iran agreeing to capping its uranium stockpile and enrichment level, redesigning to allow inspections of its known sites and agreeing to a framework for the inspection of previously undeclared sites.


However, while proponents of the deal, including the Obama administration, claim the deal has prevented full-fledged military conflict and helped promote peace in the region, many facets of the deal have made it controversial and subject to criticism by pundits and politicians.


The fact that the deal acknowledges uranium enrichment for Iran, a regime that is associated with extremist groups, and terrorism in the Middle East and across the globe, has caused much concern, especially among other countries of the region.  Meanwhile, the robustness of the inspections have also come under question.


Moreover, there’s been a lot of debate over the sunset clause, the section of the accord that allows Iran to resume the expansion and advancement of its nuclear program after ten years, which effectively gives Tehran the green light to seek nuclear weapons technology without fear of reprisal once the deal is expired.


Also, no provisions have been placed to prevent Iranian regime from taking advantage of the economic benefits of the deal to fuel other dangerous activities in the region, namely its meddling in Middle East countries and its support of terrorism.


The future of Iran’s nuclear program


The JCPOA’s future is tenuous and in could of doubt. After its signing, Iran has toed the line on several reprises and violated the spirit of the deal if not the letter.


Following an escalation wave of discontent in the administration U.S. President Donald Trump, and countries of the Middle East region, over the concessions given to Iran under the nuclear deal, Washington decided to pull out of the agreement in May 2018. Following this decision, sanctions have been returning against the Iranian regime, cutting it deeply short of finances it uses to support terrorism across the globe, prop the Assad regime in Syria, fund the Lebanese Hezbollah and Houthis in Yemen, and pro-Tehran militias in Iraq. These malign activities also include ballistic missile development and proliferation, parallel to secret a nuclear weapons drive despite signing the JCPOA.

The Iranian regime, for its part has threatened to retrace its steps and resume its nuclear program. There are no signs of a decrease in tensions in this regard.