The International Atomic Energy Agency Must Tell the Truth about Iran’s Nuclear Violations

Next month, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will present a formal report on the Islamic Republic’s adherence to its obligations under the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which it signed in 1970, and reaffirmed in the 2015 nuclear agreement. Thus far, the organization has been slow in admitting that Tehran has both denied it full access to the relevant sites and failed to provide necessary information. Jacob Nagel and Andrea Stricker explain why this might finally change:

Iran has, since April, refused to cooperate with the nuclear watchdog’s inquiry, preferring to stall for time and to enter into lengthy and futile discussions. Iran has rejected cooperation in recent weeks, even after multiple high-level IAEA visits. . . . To ratchet up the pressure on Tehran and better to address the nuclear threat it poses, the agency should issue a detailed account of what it knows about the regime’s past and possibly ongoing nuclear-weapons efforts.

The IAEA recently gained new information about this, thanks to a daring 2018 Israeli raid on a nuclear warehouse just outside of Tehran. . . . Until recently, the IAEA’s investigation into the archive materials languished. The watchdog did not issue a broader, written report on issues relating to Iran’s nuclear compliance until March. It only did so after a change in leadership and persistent pressure from key member states, such as the United States.

Following a separate tip from Israel, the agency learned about a site known as Turquz-Abad—another warehouse with containers allegedly holding nuclear material and equipment for conducting tests relevant to nuclear weapons. Yet it did not act in time. Under the eyes of commercial satellites, Iran spirited away the contents and, in a massive sanitization campaign, tried to wipe the site clean.

The [IAEA] should continue to demand immediate and unrestricted access to sites, people, and information it deems relevant from the nuclear archive and other sources, re-asserting its authority over the Iran investigation. If the Islamic Republic refuses to cooperate, the Board of Governors should vote to send the matter to the United Nations Security Council for countermeasures, including the re-imposition of sanctions lifted by the flawed 2015 nuclear deal. A renewed coalition to pressure on Tehran is needed to address the regime’s nuclear program from its roots.

Read more at Newsweek

More about: Iranian nuclear program, Mossad, Nuclear proliferation, U.S. Foreign policy

American Aid to Lebanon Is a Gift to Iran

For many years, Lebanon has been a de-facto satellite of Tehran, which exerts control via its local proxy militia, Hizballah. The problem with the U.S. policy toward the country, according to Tony Badran, is that it pretends this is not the case, and continues to support the government in Beirut as if it were a bulwark against, rather than a pawn of, the Islamic Republic:

So obsessed is the Biden administration with the dubious art of using taxpayer dollars to underwrite the Lebanese pseudo-state run by the terrorist group Hizballah that it has spent its two years in office coming up with legally questionable schemes to pay the salaries of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), setting new precedents in the abuse of U.S. foreign security-assistance programs. In January, the administration rolled out its program to provide direct salary payments, in cash, to both the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Internal Security Forces (ISF).

The scale of U.S. financing of Lebanon’s Hizballah-dominated military apparatus cannot be understated: around 100,000 Lebanese are now getting cash stipends courtesy of the American taxpayer to spend in Hizballah-land. . . . This is hardly an accident. For U.S. policymakers, synergy between the LAF/ISF and Hizballah is baked into their policy, which is predicated on fostering and building up a common anti-Israel posture that joins Lebanon’s so-called “state institutions” with the country’s dominant terror group.

The implicit meaning of the U.S. bureaucratic mantra that U.S. assistance aims to “undermine Hizballah’s narrative that its weapons are necessary to defend Lebanon” is precisely that the LAF/ISF and the Lebanese terror group are jointly competing to achieve the same goals—namely, defending Lebanon from Israel.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israeli Security, Lebanon, U.S. Foreign policy