Iran Was Violating the Nuclear Deal Even before the U.S. Pulled Out

In a formal report on Monday, the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), made clear—without saying it outright—that the Islamic Republic had deliberately misled the agency about its ongoing nuclear activities. Richard Goldberg explains what this means with regard to the White House’s hopes of reviving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the 2015 agreement with Tehran is formally known:

These revelations undermine the very core of the JCPOA and will pose serious challenges to any attempt to resurrect the agreement. First, it’s clear now that Iran deceived the IAEA in 2015 and never provided a complete or truthful accounting of its undeclared nuclear activities. . . . Second, critical deficiencies in the JCPOA’s inspection regime are on full display. . . . Most concerning, Iran keeps its military facilities, [including those where nuclear research is taking place], off-limits to IAEA inspections—leaving a gaping hole in its verification regime.

Third, the IAEA is pulling on a thread that opened while America remained a participant in the JCPOA. Unlike other nuclear misconduct topping the news, including the enrichment of uranium, Iran’s nuclear deceit is not a response to U.S. withdrawal from the deal [in 2018] or imposition of sanctions—it is a fundamental breach of its nuclear obligations and commitments, including the nonproliferation treaty [it signed in 1968].

Papering over Iran’s breach of its most fundamental nuclear obligations in favor of the empty reassurances provided by a flawed nuclear agreement would be an enormous strategic mistake—not just for the new administration’s Iran policy but for other regimes watching across the world. To reward Iran with sanctions relief for concealing undeclared nuclear material and activities poses a far greater threat to the global nonproliferation regime than withdrawal from flawed agreements.

Read more at Dispatch

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


Why Saturday Was a Resounding Defeat for Iran

Yaakov Lappin provides a concise and useful overview of what transpired on Saturday. For him, the bottom line is this:

Iran and its jihadist Middle Eastern axis sustained a resounding strategic defeat. . . . The fact that 99 percent of the threats were intercepted means that a central pillar of Iranian force projection—its missile and UAV arsenals—has been proven to be no match for Israel’s air force, for its multilayered air-defense system, or for regional cooperation with allies.

Iran must now await Israel’s retaliation, and unlike Israel, Iranian air defenses are by comparison limited in scope. After its own failure on Sunday, Iran now relies almost exclusively on Hizballah for an ability to threaten Israel.

And even as Iran continues to work on developing newer and deadlier missiles, the IDF is staying a few steps ahead:

Israel is expecting its Iron Beam laser-interception system, which can shoot down rockets, mortars, and UAVs, to become operational soon, and is developing an interceptor (Sky Sonic) for Iran’s future hypersonic missile (Fattah), which is in development.

The Iron Beam will change the situation in a crucial way. Israell’s defensive response on Saturday reportedly cost it around $1 billion. While Iron Beam may have to be used in concert with other systems, it is far cheaper and doesn’t run the risk of running out of ammunition.

Read more at JNS

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Iron Dome, Israeli Security, Israeli technology