It started just after the nuclear deal with Iran (the Joint Comprehensive Program of Action or JCPOA) was signed last July when Iranian officials said they would not comply with the agreement’s provisions requiring Iran to comply with U.N. missile sanctions for eight years.
On Oct. 22, Iranian tested the Emad missile, a long-range missile with a range of about 800 miles. According to Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan, the Emad is Iran’s first long-range missile that can be precision-guided until it reaches its target.
What is the likely target for this missile? Hint: Iran’s western border is about 650 miles from Jerusalem.
A few days later, Iranian TV broadcast pictures of an underground tunnel storing medium and long-range ballistic missiles.
While the location was not provided, the broadcast said the facility is one of hundreds of underground missile bases scattered across the country.
Two weeks ago the Iranian parliament approved its own amended version of the JCPOA that is drastically different, substantially limits Iran’s cooperation, and demands additional concessions.
Last week, Supreme Leader Khamanei “endorsed” the nuclear deal with a letter to President Rouhani that placed ten conditions on Iran’s acceptance of the agreement.
According to Yigal Carmen and Ayelet Savyon of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI): “The set of conditions laid out by Khamenei creates a situation in which not only does the Iranian side refrain from approving the JCPOA but, with nearly every point, creates a separate obstacle, such that executing the agreement is not possible.”
Iranian behavior has grown worse in other ways over the past month. Iran reportedly has sent hundreds of troops and Hezbollah fighters to Syria over the past few weeks to prop up the Assad regime.
On October 11th, an Iranian court convicted Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian of espionage.
Iran continues to imprison three other innocent Americans: Iranian-American Christian pastor Saeed Abedini, former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati, and former FBI agent Robert Levinson.
We learned today that Iran arrested another American, Iranian-American businessman Siamak Namazi, two weeks ago while he was visiting relatives in Tehran. Namazi’s arrest is puzzling since he has strongly backed the JCPOA and the lifting of sanctions against Iran.
Namazi may have been detained due to a power struggle between Iranian hardliners who oppose the nuclear deal and President Rouhani.
However, a Wall Street Journal story published today cited businessmen interviewed inside and outside of Iran who said over the last few weeks, Iranian businessmen with links to foreign companies have been detained, interrogated and warned against wading into economic monopolies controlled by the Revolutionary Guard Corps.
The Journal also reported that Iran recently arrested a Lebanese information-technology specialist who lives in Washington and has permanent-resident status in the U.S.
The missile test and actions by the Iranian parliament and Supreme Leader Khamenei to place severe conditions on Iran’s acceptance of the JCPOA is a clear sign that Iran has no intention of complying with the nuclear deal announced last July and is pressing for further concessions.
Members of Congress who voted to support the JCPOA last month should have seen this coming and must be held accountable for supporting this fraudulent agreement at the polls.
The detention of Namazi and the harassment of businessmen may indicate infighting between Iranian supporters and opponents of the nuclear deal.
However, I believe it also is a sign that Iran continues to have a terrible investment climate. Opponents of the Iran deal need to publicize this fact to limit the financial windfall Tehran was supposed to gain from the lifting of trade sanctions under the JCPOA.
Fred Fleitz, a former CIA analyst, followed the Iranian nuclear program for the CIA, State Department, and House Intelligence Committee. He is senior vice president for policy and programs at the Center for Security Policy. Read more reports from Fred Fleitz — Click Here Now.
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