It turns out that John Kerry’s State Dept. grades Iran on a curve, as can be seen from an exchange between State Department spokesperson Mark Toner and a reporter on Wednesday. The reporter pointed out Wednesday’s IAEA report which found Iran to be in violation of the heavy water stockpile provision, for a second time.
Can Iran still be considered to be adhering to its commitments?
Toner confirmed that, “indeed, the IAEA has observed that Iran has slightly exceeded its 130 metric ton heavy water stockpile limit under the JCPOA by 100 kilograms,” but stressed that “that’s about one-tenth of a metric ton,” which doesn’t sound so bad, until one does the math and realizes it’s about 220 pounds of heavy water.
Heavy water is used as a moderating agent in reactors fueled by natural uranium, so the amount of heavy water Iran has been creating should be more than enough to scare us.
All of which was lost on Toner, who actually told this reporter: “It’s important to note that Iran made no effort to hide what it was doing from the IAEA. During the course of its ongoing heavy water production, Iran produced a little more heavy water than permitted but is now taking steps to address the issue by shipping the excess quantity out of the country, we expect in the coming days. So the IAEA flagged us. Iran made no attempt to hide it, and they’re taking immediate steps to address it.”
Yes, world peace has been secured for 100 years… The sheer absurdity of Toner’s comments was not lost on the pesky reporter, and the following harsh back & forth ensued:
Reporter: And that’s supposed to make – that’s supposed to be a relief, that they made no effort to hide it?
Toner: No, I just wanted to – I said —
Reporter: So it’s okay if they blatantly violate it and don’t try and to – don’t try to cover it up? I don’t get it.
Toner: Well, Matt —
Reporter: It’s a violation, is it not?
Toner: Well, look, it is – so they exceeded the limits. They acknowledged it.
Reporter: Right. That’s a violation, is it not?
Toner: Well, again, it’s – but they’re addressing it. I mean, this is something that —
Reporter: But did they – so you don’t think – they violated the deal and you can’t – and you won’t say that they violated the deal? I don’t —
Toner: So they – again, yes, they exceeded the allowable amount of heavy water that they were permitted.
Reporter: Is that or is that not a violation of the agreement? Whether or not they’re taking steps to address it, they still violated it, didn’t they?
Toner: I’m not sure whether that constitutes a formal violation. I’d have to look into that, to be honest with you. I mean, they certainly exceeded, again, what their – their allowable amount of heavy water. Whether that constitutes, again, a formal violation of JCPOA writ large, I’m not certain about that. Again, what’s important here is that this was detected, it was acknowledged, and they’re taking steps to address it.
Thank God, only two more months of this remain…David Israel