Iran’s state-controlled Persian newspapers last week propagated the idea that Tehran has not violated the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal. The Iranian leaders have also been promoting this misinformation. One particular official who is spearheading this narrative is Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif.
In an attempt to obtain concessions from the EU, Zarif told reporters that: “Actions by the Europeans have not been enough, so we will move ahead with our plan.” He also tweeted: “We have not violated the JCPOA,” and said: “We had previously announced this and were transparent in saying what we are going to do… We consider it our right, reserved in the nuclear deal.”
But such claims are totally absurd. The Iranian leaders need to examine the terms of the JCPOA instead of issuing statements with no proof. It clearly states that there are limitations on all enrichment-related activities. Paragraph A section 7 states: “During the 15-year period, and as Iran gradually moves to meet international qualification standards for nuclear fuel produced in Iran, it will keep its uranium stockpile under 300 kilograms.” This demonstrates that Iran’s announcement that it had surpassed the 300-kilogram cap is in direct violation of the JCPOA.
While Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the senior cadre of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) enjoy the final say in Iran’s domestic and foreign policies, Zarif and President Hassan Rouhani set the tone on the international stage to ensure the survival of the regime and the supreme leader. In other words, Iran’s presidential office and foreign ministry do not pursue policies without first receiving the blessings of Khamenei and the IRGC. Although Rouhani and Zarif are labeled as moderates, they are loyal confidants of the supreme leader.
For example, Zarif is a member of Iran’s powerful Supreme National Security Council — an organization with 12 permanent members who make policy recommendations to Khamenei in order to advance the revolutionary and geopolitical interests of the theocratic establishment. This is why, after the US leveled sanctions on Iran’s supreme leader and eight senior IRGC commanders for the first time since the establishment of the mullah regime in 1979, Washington last month announced that sanctions would soon be imposed on Iran’s foreign minister too.
But this is not the first time Iran has violated the nuclear deal and spread misinformation regarding its nuclear activities. Since the JCPOA was adopted on Oct. 18, 2015, the Iranian regime has repeatedly test-fired long-range ballistic missiles and laser-guided surface-to-surface missiles. The nuclear agreement clearly stipulates that Iran should not undertake any ballistic missile activity “until the date eight years after the JCPOA adoption day or until the date on which the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) submits a report confirming the broader conclusion, whichever is earlier.”
In addition, Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, revealed in its annual report released in July 2016 that the Iranian government had pursued a “clandestine” path toward obtaining illicit nuclear technology and equipment from German companies “at what is, even by international standards, a quantitatively high level.” The report also stated that “it is safe to expect that Iran will continue its intensive procurement activities in Germany using clandestine methods to achieve its objectives.”
Finally, the Iranian opposition group, the National Council for Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which was the first to reveal Iran’s clandestine nuclear activities in two major sites, Natanz and Arak, released in 2017 critical information showing that Iran’s research and development activities, as well as nuclear activities, were continuing at the military site at Parchin, which is out of reach of the IAEA’s inspectors.
Due to the NCRI’s influence inside Iran, its information is believed to be highly credible. Frank Pabian, an adviser on nuclear non-proliferation matters at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, previously told the New York Times that the NCRI is “right 90 percent of the time.”
This shows that Iran has been most likely breaching another term of the JCPOA, which states: “Iran’s long-term plan includes certain agreed limitations on all uranium enrichment and uranium enrichment-related activities, including certain limitations on specific research and development activities for the first eight years, to be followed by gradual evolution, at a reasonable pace, to the next stage of its enrichment activities for exclusively peaceful purposes.”
This also points to the fact that the IAEA has failed on several occasions to detect Iran’s nuclear activities, which includes increasing its level of uranium enrichment above the 3.67 percent limit set by the JCPOA.
In a nutshell, the Iranian regime has long been violating the agreement in order to achieve its nuclear and hegemonic ambitions. It is incumbent on the UN Security Council to immediately take appropriate measures.