On Friday, the president of the United States (POTUS) Donald J. Trump will announce he is "decertifying" the Iran deal — the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Decertification is the requirement imposed by a Republican Congress that every 90 days, President Obama had to certify the JCPOA was in the national interest, and therefore the U.S. was still committed to it. But the Iran deal is neither a formal treaty nor an executive agreement; it is an unsigned, nonbinding political commitment.
Trump has already certified the deal twice, but this time he is set to announce Iran has acted against the spirit of an accord the president no longer sees in our interest to honor. But decertification will not kill the Iran deal, per doves.
The doves take a softer line and make the following arguments. Because President Trump is facing near-consensus among his diplomatic and military advisers against killing it, he is unlikely to tear up the accord. The problem with the Iran deal is not that it’s a bad deal, as Trump says. The accord creates a mechanism that keeps Iran from developing sufficient fissile material for a nuclear weapon. That’s a good thing, per Haaretz, the left-of-center New York Times of Israel.
Moreover, a rejection of the deal, even one that isn’t legally binding, will exacerbate tensions with our European allies; give Moscow and Beijing an opportunity to portray Trump as a loose cannon who cannot be trusted; and display America as a rogue regime that does not abide by its agreements. It will paint Trump as a serial pyromaniac who is hell-bent on lighting new fires, per those who favor retaining the deal as is.
Two leaders of the hawks are our U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Haley argues a key issue of the verification process has been access to Iran’s military sites because of lack of cooperation of the Iranian regime with the international community. She raised the problem on Sept. 5, 2017, "For decades, the Iranian military conducted a covert nuclear weapons program — undeclared and hidden from international inspectors. In 2002, Iranian dissidents [the National Council of Resistance of Iran] revealed the existence of a uranium enrichment plant and heavy water reactor — both violations of Iran’s safeguards agreement with the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency]."
Haley pointed out this secret enrichment plant had been hidden by the Iranian regime "deep inside a mountain, deep inside an IRGC [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps] base." Haley’s "biggest concern is that Iranian leaders — the same ones who in the past were caught operating a covert nuclear program at military sites — have stated publicly that they will refuse to allow IAEA inspections of their military sites."
On July 20, Director Pompeo said Iran’s implementation of the nuclear deal has been "grudging" and "minimalist." At the Aspen Security Forum (an annual gathering of government officials, industry experts and journalists), he held the nuclear accord has not fostered stability in the region or led Iran to "become a reentrant to the Western world." He stated that Iran has been using proxy forces to expand its influence in the region and become its "kingpin."
My colleague Matthew Brodsky believes the Iran accord left untouched, ensures — rather than prevents Iran from getting nuclear weapons within the next few years.
In line with the views of these three hawks, consider an NCRI book — Iran's Nuclear Core. It shows how the nuclear weapons program of Iran operates at the heart, and not in parallel, to the civilian nuclear program. The military program is run by the IRGC, since the beginning; the main nuclear sites and nuclear research facilities have been hidden from the prying eyes of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The manuscript provides information regarding the civilian program, which functions as support and cover for a nuclear weapons program; it has over the years, changed names and modified its structure, but has neither ceased, nor has its key specialists changed. The main entities associated with the construction and development of the facilities and equipment are primarily associated with the IRGC to maintain high levels of secrecy.
The nuclear weaponization sites are primarily located in large military installations, equipped with large and extensive underground tunnels and facilities shielding these places from inspections, as well as having the ability to move things rapidly around when needed.
Universities provided valuable access to research facilities; specialists act as covers to hide the real goals of the program, as well as means to obtain dual-use technology or attacking outside experts. It not a surprise that some of the top nuclear specialists who have played a crucial role to advance the military program have senior ranks in the IRGC. Since the 1980s until the present, this program has been operated under the direct control and supervision of the highest commanders of the IRGC.
The book includes information on uninspected sites, satellite imagery of the locations, provides intelligence on the organization tasked with the weaponization of the nuclear program named, Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research, known by its Farsi acronym SPND, as well as key specialists of the program.
The Way Forward
The following measures are necessary, per the new book issued to coincide with the address on Thursday by President Trump. It is written by NCRI experts, who call for, "Immediate, complete, simultaneous and unfettered inspection of all six sites and centers associated by the IAEA and the full disclosure of the results as soon as possible.
"We [NCRI writers] stress the simultaneity of the inspection of the six sites to preclude any attempt to hide, remove, or sanitize traces relating to illicit nuclear activities. The inspection should include simultaneous and unfettered access to all parts and sections of the large military complexes without limitation."
On balance, hawks make the stronger arguments than doves. Indeed, it is not even a close call!
So, based on the research conducted in preparation for this blog, President Trump’s address should do the following: Announce Iran has acted against the spirit of the nuclear accord, e.g. with ballistic missile testing, military interventions in Syria and Yemen, as well as placing severe pressure on Iraq to bring it under Tehran’s political influence. Hence, President Trump no longer sees it in our interest to honor the Iran deal.
In this respect, there is good reason to expect President Trump’s speech to follow the lead of Ambassador Haley and Director Pompeo as well as the important contribution to the literature on weaponization and any-time any-place inspections by the writers of "Iran’s Nuclear Core," the NCRI Washington, D.C. Office.
Prof. Raymond Tanter (@AmericanCHR) served as a senior member on the Middle East Desk of the National Security Council staff in the Reagan-Bush administration, Personal Representative of the Secretary of Defense to international security and arms control talks in Europe, and is now Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan. Tanter is on the comprehensive list of conservative writers and columnists who appear in The Wall Street Journal, Townhall.com, National Review, The Weekly Standard, Human Events, The American Spectator, and now in Newsmax. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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