The 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran was meant to limit the nuclear capabilities of the Iranian regime. The current Iranian President Rouhani has been billed as a moderate, however, the actions of the regime would argue against that label.
The Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Yukiya Amano, has admitted that it has been unable to verify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear agreement and this admission comes two weeks before the U.S. is scheduled to certify Iran’s compliance again.
Amano admitted that the agency doesn’t have the means to ensure the regime is not engaged in nuclear related activities that are banned under Section T of Annex I of the nuclear agreement. Some of these activities include creating computer simulations of nuclear explosions and designing multi-point detonation systems.
“In other sections, for example, Iran has committed to submit declarations, place their activities under safeguards or ensure access by us. But in Section T, I don’t see any (such commitment),” said Amano.
The future of the deal is on shaky ground, because if Trump decides not to certify to Iran’s compliance in two weeks, the U.S. Congress will have to decide if they are going to reapply the sanctions which were lifted as part of the 2015 agreement. During his presidential campaign, President Trump indicated that he would like to remove the United States from that agreement.
During his speech at the United Nations General Assembly last week, President Trump also said the nuclear deal was an “embarrassment” to the United States and also claimed the deal was very one-sided. The US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said that the IAEA needs to extend its inspections to Iran’s military sites as it was very relevant to the deal. The Iranian government is furious about her comments and it has said that it will refuse access.
Russia, a partner with Iran in Syria, has been reportedly trying to limit the role of the IAEA and its part in the verification of Iran’s activities as they relate to the agreement. However, if the IAEA can’t provide this confirmation, then Trump will be unable to certify that Iran is fully implementing all aspects of the agreement. Earlier in September, Amano was attacked by a senior Iranian official for asserting that the IAEA could demand access to military sites.
The Rouhani government seems to be looking to the European governments for support in keeping the 2015 agreement in force. “Looking to Europeans regarding the fate of the nuclear deal, Rouhani claimed at the end of his visit to New York, ‘they (Europeans) expressed their support for the nuclear deal during our meetings and said they’ve made the U.S. aware of their viewpoints as well. Europe’s approach will hugely affect the way we will behave,’” said the Iranian State-run Mehr news agency.
The state-run websites also point to another article regarding Europe’s reaction to the U.S. October decision regarding the nuclear deal, saying, “Despite Trump’s attempts to sabotage the nuclear deal by decertifying it in October, the Europeans will react independently.”
However, Europe doesn’t seem to be wholly committed to the deal. “The leaders discussed how to counter Iran’s malign activities in the Middle East, and addressed the nuclear deal and Iran’s missile program, and its non-compliance with relevant United Nations resolutions,” said the White House in a statement they released after President Trump called German Chancellor Angela Merkel on her election victory.
According to the international community, the reality is that United States can’t claim to stay in the agreement, yet not certify Iran’s compliance in October. It is a situation that cannot be maintained. Therefore, the question is how does the United States and Europe proceed, based on their inability to truly trust Iran.
The ayatollahs are using the agreement to legitimize their regime and the exporting of terrorism throughout the region. The regime assumes that the international community will not hold them accountable for their actions and that they can continue to pursue their nuclear ambitions.
The nuclear deal is a lever that can be used to bring the regime in line. However, the reality is that change in Iran will need to happen by means of replacing the regime itself. Human rights have been neglected and the regime uses its place in the international community to continue to trample on the rights of individuals and countries throughout the region.
According to John Bolton, the idea of ‘decertifying’ the agreement but staying in it is too cute by half. He believes that President Trump needs to cut, and cut cleanly. The question is will the international support the United States if they do choose to leave behind a deal that isn’t truly keeping Iran from pursuing its nuclear ambitions.