Despite Iran’s repeated claims to the contrary, a report just issued by the nuclear watchdog agency concluded that Iran had pursued a nuclear weapons program.
The Obama administration welcomed the report issued Wednesday, Dec. 2, by the International Atomic Energy Agency, saying it would likely pave the way for the removal of economic sanctions on Tehran as early as January. The report is titled “Final Assessment of Past and Present Outstanding Issues Regarding Iran’s Nuclear Programme.”
What did the Administration find reassuring in the report? That the IAEA was unable to find evidence that Tehran’s efforts to pursue a nuclear bomb extended beyond 2009. What is the administration prepared to ignore? That Iran has been lying all along when its leaders said its nation had never pursued creating nuclear weapons.
According to the Wall Street Journal, U.S. officials are satisfied by Iran’s cooperation with the IAEA over the past five months. That apparent cooperation “likely will be seen as sufficient to allow the deal to move ahead.”
“Iran has provided what [the IAEA] says was sufficient,” said a senior U.S. official working on the implementation of the Iran deal.
The administration’s reliance on recent apparent cooperation is even less reassuring given that Iranian officials on Wednesday continued to deny they ever had a weapons program.
This new flexibility follows the statement by Secretary of State John Kerry in April of this year that if there’s going to be a deal, Iran will have to come clean on its past nuclear work. Oh, never mind.
But there is more that some might – and most should – find worrisome about the report.
Iran has consistently maintained that its Parchin military facility was simply used to store chemicals and explosives. Tehran had long refused IAEA access to Parchin. But samples taken from that site, according to this IAEA report, did not support Iran’s claims about what took place there.
Instead, the IAEA report said its analysis of samples taken from Parchin supports the view that the building was used to house a chamber where nuclear-related explosives tests likely took place.
But lying was not one of the forbidden items on the U.S. list of requirements for Iran. As far as this administration is concerned, all Iran had to do trigger sanctions relief was follow the formal obligations outlined in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action drawn up in July.
And one final concern: the IAEA report also reveals that Iran has not been forthcoming on several points of its investigation. No new information on those points has been provided since 2011.
NETANYAHU CLAIMS THE IAEA REPORT CONFIRMS IRAN CANNOT BE TRUSTED
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seized upon the findings in the IAEA report as proof that his mistrust of Iran was entirely justified.
The Israeli leader issued a statement on Wednesday that the report “proves beyond any doubt that Iran’s secret program for the development of nuclear weapons continued even after 2003, as Israel has maintained.”
Netanyahu said the most glaring example of Iran’s concealment of and deception about its nuclear program was its treatment of the Parchin facility “where the Iranians tried to hide and tamper with evidence of their illicit activities.”
The Israeli Prime Minister called on the international community to use all means at its disposal to continue and expand the IAEA investigation to make sure Iran is not able to secretly build a nuclear weapon.
“Unless and until the investigation is completed, the world will not know the full extent of Iran’s covert nuclear weapons program and where it stands today,” Netanyahu said.
The full IAEA board is scheduled to meet on Dec. 15. That board includes the U.S. and its P5+1 partners, the United Kingdom, France, China, Russia and Germany. They will decide whether to end the investigation into Iran’s nuclear activity and lift the sanctions.
Lori Lowenthal Marcus