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Unless Iran Allows Inspectors into Its Military Sites, It Can Violate the Nuclear Deal with Impunity

Sept. 1 2017

Section T of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—as the agreement to restrict the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program is formally known—forbids Tehran from engaging in certain activities, and from producing or acquiring certain equipment, that would be necessary for building atomic weapons. Furthermore, it requires regular inspection of specific Iranian military sites. Yet, no such inspections seem to be taking place and, just earlier this week, an Iranian official stated outright that his government would not allow any such inspections. David Albright and Olli Heinonen explain:

Section-T verification requires the establishment of a routine inspection approach, which takes into account provisions for access to sensitive locations. Unlike the visits associated with the Parchin [research] site or past nuclear-weapons work, . . . Section-T verification should not be based on alleging violations but instead on ensuring compliance by regular IAEA monitoring. . . .

To verify Section T, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will need to ask Iran to describe or declare in writing its capabilities associated with [certain activities and types of equipment covered therein]. IAEA access [to the relevant sites] would be part of verifying these declarations. Iran may deny having any such capabilities, a statement which the IAEA would also have to verify. However, based on open sources and IAEA reporting, Iran is known to have engaged in activities covered by Section T. . . .

It is likely that some of the conditions in Section T are currently not being met and may in fact be violated by Iran.

Until suitable action is taken, the IAEA and the parties to the JCPOA are allowing the agreement to go unenforced, and Iran may well be developing detonation systems and other equipment necessary for a nuclear bomb—and getting away with it.

Read more at Institute for Science and International Security

More about: Iran, Iran nuclear program, Politics & Current Affairs, U.S. Foreign policy

Israel’s Economy Thrives While the Middle East Disintegrates

Jan. 19 2018

Now that the data have come in from 2017, it is clear that the Israeli economy had another successful year, expanding at a rate higher than that of any other advanced country. Israel’s per-capita GDP also grew, placing it above those of France and Japan. Daniel Kryger notes some of the implications regarding the Jewish state’s place in the Middle East:

The contrast between first-world Israel and the surrounding third-world Arab states is larger today than ever before. Israel’s GDP per capita is almost twenty times the GDP per capita of impoverished Egypt and five times larger than semi-developed Lebanon.

Like any human project, Israel is a never-ending work in progress and much work remains to integrate ḥaredi Jews and Israeli Arabs into Israel’s knowledge economy. Properly addressing Israel’s high costs of living requires more economic and legislative reforms and breaking up inefficient oligopolies that keep the prices artificially high. However, by any standard, the reborn Jewish state is a remarkable success story. . . .

Much has changed since OPEC launched its oil embargo against the West after the failed Arab aggression against Israel in October 1973. Before the collapse of the pro-Arab Soviet empire, China and India had no official ties with Israel and many Western and Japanese companies avoided doing business with Israel. Collapsing oil prices have dramatically eroded the power of oil-producing countries. It has become obvious that the future belongs to those who innovate, not those who happen to sit on oil. Israel has today strong commercial ties with China and a thriving partnership with India. Business delegations from Jamaica to Japan are eager to do business with Israel and benefit from Israel’s expertise. . . .

[For its part], the boycott, divest, and sanction (BDS) movement may bully Jewish and pro-Israel students on Western campuses. However, in real life, BDS stands no chance of succeeding against Israel. The reason is simple: reborn Israel has . . . become too valuable a player in the global economy.

Read more at Mida

More about: BDS, Israel & Zionism, Israeli economy, Middle East, OPEC