Last Wednesday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini threatened that Tehran "would retaliate" if sanctions breaching their nuclear agreement with the U.S. were extended. If so, which agreement he is referring to?
Congressman Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to head the CIA, has appropriately been handed a big job to unravel a tangle of secretive side deals attached to the Obama administration’s now infamous "Iran deal."
It was Pompeo, along with Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, who first discovered the existence of undisclosed concessions and codicils while attending 2015 U.N.-related International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meetings in Vienna.
The existence of dark secrets first came to light a few days following the nuclear accord announcement during a meeting between Congressman Pompeo, Senator Cotton, and three top IAEA negotiators. When questioned about future compliance verification at Iran’s Parchin military facility where traces of uranium were previously discovered yet IAEA is no longer authorized to inspect, the officials casually responded that such details were covered in separate understandings negotiated between the IAEA and the Iranian government.
When Congressman Pompeo requested to see those agreements, the officials replied, "Oh no, of course not, no, you’re not going to get to see those." When further asked “Has Secretary Kerry seen these?" . . . the response was "No, Secretary Kerry hasn’t seen them. No American is ever going to get to see them."
Such implausible ignorance regarding important matters subject to legislative scrutiny explains why the "pact" terms were never presented as a binding treaty requiring approval by a two-thirds Senate vote. Nevertheless, full disclosure of agreement terms is still mandated through Congressional passage of an "Iran Nuclear Agreement Act" signed by President Obama.
U.N.-wink-and-nod-approved obfuscation of agreement violations is also apparent. An in-depth analysis released by the nonpartisan Institute for Science and International Security in November observed that "IAEA reporting is so sparse as to confirm suspicions that compliance controversies are being deliberately omitted from the report."
True circumstances and consequences are very different from commitments made by Obama back in 2013 that "Iran must accept strict limitations on its nuclear program that make it impossible to develop a nuclear weapon."
The Associated Press reported having possession of a secret "add-on" side agreement that allows Iran to expand its uranium enrichment program after 10 years . . . not the 15 years that publicly released parts of the deal had suggested.
Former CIA nuclear weapons analyst Fred Fleitz of the Center for Security Policy (CSP) told Fox News last January that few Americans understand that the deal not only allows Iran to continue to enrich uranium with its 5,000 centrifuges, but that it will also enable them to develop more advanced centrifuges while the deal is in effect.
As for claims by Kerry that Iran has "shipped out its uranium stock pile," Fleitz notes a failure of the secretary to mention that “this was a swap for an equivalent amount of uranium ore that can be converted into enriched uranium in a few months."
Perhaps most remarkable about the Iran nuclear deal is what isn’t in it . . . namely that there are no prohibitions upon their current development and testing of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles.
It’s well known that Iran has provided financing for North Korea’s nuclear program in exchange for nuclear and missile technology over the past two decades. Senior Washington Free Beacon Editor Bill Gertz has reported that details of shipments of North Korean missile components to Iran "were included in Obama’s daily intelligence briefings" which were kept secret from the U.N. during the nuclear negotiations.
So what can we hope that a President Donald Trump might actually achieve in following his campaign promises to roll back terms of a deal he has often called "disastrous"?
Can this commitment be accomplished in a way that doesn’t unnecessarily exacerbate global Iranian nuclear unrest and strengthen Tehran’s hostile alliances?
Iran and Russia were known to be planning joint military operations against the Islamic State and U.S.-backed anti-President Bashar Assad regime rebels during the time those negotiations were occurring. Resulting sanction relief will free up lots of money to purchase Russian S-300 surface-to-air missile systems that Iran ordered in 2007, three years before the U.N. imposed an arms embargo.
One logical strategy would hold friendly U.S.-allied financial institutions accountable for enforcing "know your customer" Iranian transaction rules. Another would renew sanctions on banks such as Iran’s Sepah with branches in Frankfurt, Paris, and Rome which funds their ballistic missile program.
In any case, undoing and mending the unholy global mess isn’t going to occur either easily or soon. Our best hope is that a new Trump administration with Mike Pompeo in a position of guidance and influence will bring about vital change . . . a fresh spirit of openness and resolve that our allies and adversaries can have good reasons to trust and respect.
Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture (SICSA) and the graduate program in space architecture. He is the author of “Scared Witless: Prophets and Profits of Climate Doom”(2015) and “Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax” (2012). Read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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