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Ten New Reasons to Worry About the Iran Deal


Since the P5+1 deal with Iran—the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—was announced on July 14, there has been much discussion and debate about it, with lots more undoubtedly to come.

No less important, however, are a number of revealing developments that give a glimpse of what may well lie ahead. We ignore or downplay them at our peril.

First, the Associated Press (AP) reported that it saw a copy of a draft agreement between the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Iran, which has now been made publicly available. According to two anonymous officials, the text does not differ from the final confidential deal between Iran and the IAEA regarding Parchin, the site of Iran’s nuclear weaponization program. Startlingly, according to the document, IAEA officials will rely on Iran’s own experts to take a limited number of environmental samples, videos, and photographs for review by the Vienna-based nuclear watchdog. Moreover, the IAEA would only be granted a single visit to the site “as a courtesy” by Tehran.

If accurate—and the United States has not disputed the AP dispatch to date—this is nothing short of stunning. It is the equivalent of putting Dracula in charge of the blood bank. How could we possibly trust Iran, with its history of deception and deceit, to be in the driver’s seat in trying to ascertain the possible military dimensions of Iran’s own nuclear program over the years?

Second, the ink on the deal was barely dry and German Vice Chancellor and Minister of Economy Sigmar Gabriel was already headed to Tehran with a business delegation. They could hardly wait to start talks on new commercial opportunities, lest they be beaten to the Iranian capital by other export-seeking nations. The German official did ask Iran to stop calling for Israel’s destruction, but when the Iranians rebuffed the request, that didn’t present an impediment to the talks. In fact, just one day before the visit, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei described Israel as a “terrorist, baby-killer government.”

Third, not to be outdone, Laurent Fabius traveled to Tehran, the first French Foreign Minister to do so in 12 years. He told his interlocutors that France would be back in September with a large business delegation of “around a hundred” leaders in the automobile, farming, and environment industries.

Fourth, Switzerland didn’t even wait for the actual implementation of the deal before announcing that it was unilaterally dropping its own sanctions against Iran, including in the all-important banking sector. In an upside-down understanding of the JCPOA’s logic of lifting sanctions only after Tehran complies with the agreement, the Swiss government asserted: “Should implementation of the agreement fail, the Federal Council reserves the right to reintroduce the lifted measures.”

Fifth, according to media reports, China announced the prospect of a billion-dollar deal to sell Tehran 24 advanced jet fighters for the air force in exchange for access to Iran’s largest oil field.


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