The State Department Admits That Iran May Be Concealing Nuclear Activities

April 27 2022

Last Tuesday, the State Department released an annual report on arms control, expressing “serious concerns” regarding “possible undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran.” Anthony Ruggiero and Andrea Stricker take the report’s conclusions as further evidence that “it would be a serious mistake to revive a weaker version of the 2015 nuclear deal,” which was itself inadequate.

The new findings on Iran are part of a larger publication that assesses countries’ compliance with agreements pertaining to arms control, non-proliferation, and disarmament. The latest edition of this annual report discusses the International Atomic Energy Agency’s investigation into Iran’s undeclared nuclear activities at four locations. The State Department notes that Tehran has not cooperated with the agency’s probe at those four sites, which involved Iran’s possible use or storage of nuclear material and equipment or undeclared nuclear activities.

Questions also remain about the fourth location, the site of the Islamic Republic’s alleged experiments with a uranium metal disc. In the State Department’s previous annual report, which covered 2020, the Biden administration warned that “even small amounts of undeclared uranium metal in Iran would be of serious proliferation concern given its applicability to nuclear-weapons research and development.” Just last month, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director general Rafael Grossi told the agency’s Board of Governors that Tehran did not declare experiments relating to this nuclear-weaponization activity, violating Iran’s safeguards agreement with the agency.

In the previous edition of its compliance report, the State Department emphasized that the “ongoing investigations and Iran’s failure for much of the reporting period . . . raise concern.” That is no less true today. Iran is violating its fundamental non-proliferation commitments, not just the terms of the problematic 2015 nuclear deal.

And if that is the case, it is difficult to be believe that the Islamic Republic can be trusted to adhere to future commitments.

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Read more at FDD

More about: Iran nuclear program, State Department, U.S. Foreign policy

 

Iran, America, and the Future of Democracy in the Middle East

Nov. 23 2022

Sixty-two days after the death of Mahsa Amini at the hands of the Islamic Republic’s police, the regime has failed to quash the protest movement. But it is impossible to know if the tide will turn, and what the outcome of the government’s collapse might be. Reuel Marc Gerecht considers the very real possibility that a democratic Iran will emerge, and considers the aftershocks that might follow. (Free registration required.)

American political and intellectual elites remain uneasy with democracy promotion everywhere primarily because it has failed so far in the Middle East, the epicenter of our attention the last twenty years. (Iraq’s democracy isn’t dead, but it didn’t meet American expectations.) Might our dictatorial exception for Middle Eastern Muslims change if Iran were to set in motion insurrections elsewhere in the Islamic world, in much the same way that America’s response to 9/11 probably helped to produce the rebellions against dictatorship that started in Tunisia in 2010? The failure of the so-called Arab Spring to establish one functioning democracy, the retreat of secular democracy in Turkey, and the implosion of large parts of the Arab world have left many wondering whether Middle Eastern Muslims can sustain representative government.

In 1979 the Islamic revolution shook the Middle East, putting religious militancy into overdrive and tempting Saddam Hussein to unleash his bloodiest war. The collapse of Iran’s theocracy might be similarly seismic. Washington’s dictatorial preference could fade as the contradictions between Arab tyranny and Persian democracy grow.

Washington isn’t yet invested in democracy in Iran. Yet, as Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has often noted, American hostility toward the Islamic Republic has been damaging. If the theocracy falls, Iranians will surely give America credit—vastly more credit that they will give to the European political class, who have been trying to make nice, and make money, with the clerical regime since the early 1990s—for this lasting enmity. We may well get more credit than we deserve. Both Democrats and Republicans who have dismissed the possibilities of democratic revolutions among the Muslim peoples of the Middle East will still, surely, claim it eagerly.

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Read more at Dispatch

More about: Arab democracy, Democracy, Iran, Middle East, U.S. Foreign policy