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IAEA Inspectors Can No Longer Verify that Iran is in Compliance with the 2015 Nuclear Deal

Nov. 16 2017

On Monday the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released its eighth quarterly report on the Islamic Republic’s compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the 2015 nuclear agreement is formally known. Although the document does not mention any evidence of violation of the deal’s terms, write David Albright and Andrea Sticker, it is “so sparse in detail that it is impossible to conclude that Iran is fully complying.” The IAEA, they explain, has simply not been able to conduct the inspections necessary for verification:

This report and its predecessors are deficient in reporting on the verification and monitoring of the JCPOA overall, including Section T, which entails additional Iranian declarations and access to Iranian military sites associated with banned nuclear-weapons-development activities and associated, controlled dual-use equipment [i.e., equipment that can be used for either civilian or military nuclear programs]. . . .

The IAEA overall appears to [embrace] a limited interpretation of its mandate to verify the JCPOA in what must be viewed as a stunning reversal of safeguards practices applied in countries such as South Africa and Taiwan, where it has periodically revisited sites associated with past nuclear-weapons work. . . . The IAEA’s stance on this issue in Iran is likely to be to the detriment of both the verification and the future of the JCPOA. It may also be to the detriment of future arms-control agreements and monitoring efforts involving states such as North Korea. . . .

IAEA officials stated to the media that the agency has not visited military sites in Iran to verify the absence of military nuclear-related activities and to inspect sites previously associated with such activities. [Instead, the report] states that [inspectors] had access to the sites they “needed to visit.” [Thus] the IAEA appears to be accepting a limited, counterproductive interpretation of its mandate to verify the JCPOA.

Read more at Institute for Science and International Security

More about: Iran, Iran nuclear program, Politics & Current Affairs

 

Europe Has a Chance to Change Its Attitude toward Israel

Dec. 15 2017

In Europe earlier this week, Benjamin Netanyahu met with several officials and heads of state. Ahead of his visit, the former Italian parliamentarian Fiamma Nirenstein addressed a letter to these European leaders, urging them to reevaluate their attitudes toward the status of Jerusalem and the West Bank, the Israel-Palestinian peace process, the gravity of European anti-Semitism, and the threat posed by Hamas and Hizballah. In it she writes:

For years, the relationship between Europe and Israel has been strained. Europe tends to criticize Israel for simply defending itself against the continual threats and terrorist attacks it faces on all its borders and inside its cities. Europe too often disregards not only Israel’s most evident attempts to bring about peace—such as its disengagement from Gaza—but also chides it for its cautiousness when considering what solutions are risky and which will truly ensure the security of its citizens.

The EU has never recognized the dangers posed by Hamas and Hizballah, as well as by many other jihadist groups—some of which are backed by [the allegedly moderate] Fatah. The EU constantly blames Israel in its decisions, resolutions, papers and “non-papers,” letters, and appeals. Some of Europe’s most important figures insist that sanctions against the “territories” are necessary—a political stance that will certainly not bring about a solution to this conflict that . . . the Israelis would sincerely like to resolve. Israel has repeated many times that it is ready for direct negotiation without preconditions with the Palestinians. No answer has been received.

The European Union continues to put forth unrealistic solutions to the Israel-Palestinian issue, and the results have only aggravated the situation further. Such was the case in 2015 when it sanctioned Israeli companies and businesses in the territories over the Green Line, forcing them to close industrial centers that provided work to hundreds of Palestinians. The Europeans promoted the harmful idea that delegitimizing Israel can be accomplished through international pressure and that negotiations and direct talks with Israel can be avoided. . . .

[Meanwhile], Iran’s imperialist designs now touch all of Israel’s borders and put the entire world at risk of a disastrous war while Iran’s closest proxy, Hizballah, armed with hundreds of thousands of missiles, proudly presents the most explicit terrorist threat. Europe must confront these risks for the benefit of its citizens, first by placing Hizballah on its list of terrorist organizations and secondly, by reconsidering and revising its relationship with Iran.

Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Europe and Israel, European Union, Hizballah, Israel & Zionism, Israel diplomacy