June 24, 2015 | Quote

Iran Nuclear Deal Clouded by Long Record of Deception

Iran’s long record of hiding its nuclear and military programs from outside inspectors is coming under fresh scrutiny as the U.S. and other world powers race to meet a June 30 deadline for a final deal to curb Tehran’s program and open its nuclear sites to closer international inspection.

While advocates say the deal represents the best chance to date for Western powers and Iran to overcome more than a decade of heated tension around program, critics argue that Tehran’s long record of cheating, evading and concealing its activities from U.N. inspectors renders any agreement worthless.

Although Iran may have spent years hiding its efforts from the IAEA, Mr. Kerry told reporters, the Obama administration is prepared to look beyond such history. “We’re not fixated on Iran specifically accounting for what they did at one point in time or another,” he said. “We know what they did. We have no doubt. We have absolute knowledge with respect to the certain military activities they were engaged in.”


The comments triggered outrage among some analysts, including Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, who once advised the administration on Iran policy.

“If you look forward without looking back, then you miss decades of Iranian nuclear mendacity and a well-established record of Iranian cheating and challenging the IAEA,” Mr. Dubowitz said in an interview. “I think Secretary Kerry should be more cautious in assuming that the U.S. intelligence community has ‘absolute knowledge’ of Iran’s nuclear program.

“The Iranians stonewalled the IAEA for years. They’ve been denying inspectors access, and they’ve been building illicit nuclear facilities that we’ve been unable to detect,” he said. “We’ve gone through six separate U.N. Security Council resolutions since 2006, and time and time again, in every report, the IAEA has said it was unable to certify that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful — that there are no undeclared sites or activities and there is no illicit diversion of nuclear material.”

With that as a backdrop, skeptics such as Mr. Dubowitz said there are still big questions about how the world will respond if Iran is found to be secretly — or even openly — pursuing a weapon after a final is reached.

“If they stonewall the IAEA and deny access to inspectors, what are we going to do in order prevent that?” he asked. “Once the deal has gone through, we’ll be out of peaceful coercion options that could allow us to enforce a deal. We’ll no longer have leverage.

“We will be left with two alternatives: surrender to Iranian stonewalling, or use military force to prevent it.

“Why would you design a deal that gives Iran nuclear and economic benefits before the IAEA reaches its conclusion about the peaceful nature of the Iranian program?” Mr. Dubowitz asked. “My contention is that this deeply flawed nuclear deal is going to make war more likely, not less likely, and when that war comes, Iran will be more powerful and the consequences will be more severe.”


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