By Amir Basiri
American Thinker, April 22, 2017 - There are many reasons to believe that the Iranian regime would seek nuclear weapons despite the weak and porous agreement it signed with world powers in 2015. The latest manifestation of this reality is the revelations made by National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which pertain to Tehran continuing its bomb-building efforts despite its explicit commitments to the international community.
According to the NCRI, the Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (known by the Persian acronym SPND), the body responsible for designing nuclear bombs, has been continuing and expanding its work even after the nuclear agreement came into effect last year.
The existence of SPND was first revealed by the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) in 2011 and was later placed under sanctions by the U.S. State Department for its role in developing Iran’s illicit nuclear program.
The SPND is comprised of seven divisions, which are run by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and the Defense Ministry. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a secretive IRGC officer and the chief scientist behind Iran’s nuclear program, heads the SPND.
The batch of information presented by the U.S. Representative Office of the NCRI shows that SPND has been continuing its activities in a location that remains undisclosed to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). METFAZ, the division of SPND that oversees trigger and high-impact and non-conventional explosion tests, has also transferred its operations to another clandestine location.
This behavior is in line with Tehran’s history of secrecy and evasiveness. Iran’s nuclear program was first discovered and exposed by the NCRI in 2002. Since then, Iran has continued to evade scrutiny into its nuclear program in different ways, including limiting access by international inspectors to its facilities, creating a parallel nuclear program in secret.
The nuclear deal forged in 2015 failed to address all aspects of Iran’s nuclear program, and left many loopholes for Tehran to exploit. Proponents of the deal hoped that the mullahs ruling Iran would act in good nature and stay true to their pledge.
The disclosure of new information, which follows the latest remarks of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson about Iran’s increasingly hostile behavior, proves how misplaced those hopes were.
But this latest revelation is further proof that the Iranian regime in its entirety has no intention of moderating its behavior and becoming a peaceful member of the international community.
At the end of its conference, the NCRI reiterated four key steps needed to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear bomb-making capabilities.
First, a total halt of Iran’s nuclear enrichment program, as was stipulated in previous UN Security Council Resolutions. While Iran’s hostile regime maintains the right to enrich uranium, it will always have a path to create atomic weapons and further destabilize the Middle East.
Second, the total dismantling of the weaponization program. If, as the Iranian regime claims, its nuclear program is peaceful in nature, there is no reason to maintain SPND and its subordinate organizations, including METFAZ. They have no peaceful, energy use whatsoever, and their only function is to facilitate the development of nuclear bombs.
Third, the IAEA must have airtight control over all the aspects of the regime’s nuclear program and permanent, unhindered and immediate access to all sites, including locations disclosed by the NCRI. International inspectors must also have access to, and interviews with, the key nuclear experts, including Mohsen Fakhrizadeh and his subordinates.
And fourth, Iran must come clean on all of it past activities and outstanding questions regarding the Possible Military Dimensions (PMD) of its nuclear program. The previous administration let Iran off the hook on this issue, a fact that the mullahs have been taking advantage of to deny any bomb-making activities.
If there’s one lesson to learn from the mullah’s four-decade rule, it’s that rapprochement and strategic patience is a failed game plan. A firm response to Iran’s belligerence, on the other hand, can keep the mullahs in check and prevent them from expanding their nefarious activities.