Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday unsurprisingly hailed the nuclear agreement struck with US-led world powers, and derided the “failed” efforts of the “warmongering Zionists.” His delight, Iran’s delight, is readily understandable.
The agreement legitimizes Iran’s nuclear program, allows it to retain core nuclear facilities, permits it to continue research in areas that will dramatically speed its breakout to the bomb should it choose to flout the deal, but also enables it to wait out those restrictions and proceed to become a nuclear threshold state with full international legitimacy. Here’s how.
1. Was the Iranian regime required, as a condition for this deal, to disclose the previous military dimensions of its nuclear program — to come clean on its violations — in order both to ensure effective inspections of all relevant facilities and to shatter the Iranian-dispelled myth that it has never breached its non-proliferation obligations? No. (This failure, arguably the original sin of the Western negotiating approach, is expertly detailed here by Emily B. Landau.) Rather than exposing Iran’s violations, the new deal solemnly asserts that the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which Iran has failed to honor “remains the cornerstone” of ongoing efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. The deal provides for a mechanism “to address past and present issues of concern relating to its nuclear programme,” but Iran has managed to dodge such efforts for years, and the deal inspires little hope of change in that area, blithely anticipating “closing the issue” in the next few months.
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