Iran, North Korea, and the Bomb

North Korea’s latest nuclear test has caused a significant stir in regards to Iran and the heading of this regime’s nuclear program. There are those who believe the Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was a successful agreement and are suggesting a similar path vis-à-vis Pyongyang.

Others, however, believe Iran is in the same path as North Korea and the JCPOA is providing Tehran an opportunity to complete its research on nuclear weapons.

And there are also voices expressing grave concerns about Iran’s intentions being far more dangerous than North Korea's and considering Tehran having a nuclear bomb being gravely more lethal than Pyongyang.

Why is Iran’s nuclear program more dangerous than North Korea?

Nuclear weapons for Iran and North Korea are tantamount to means of maintaining their regime in power. However, the two states have adopted different strategies in seeking the bomb.

Pyongyang’s posture is of defensive nature to keep its rule intact. Tehran, on the other hand, has a strategy of aggressiveness. Iran has relied on exporting its “revolution” and meddling in other countries, in order to safeguard its regime back home.

Therefore, Tehran needs this ultimate weapon to continue its expansion and warmongering, whereas North Korea’s goal is preserving its power at home -- it doesn’t have eyes set abroad.

Pyongyang has never claimed its strategic depth lies in Seoul or Tokyo. Tehran, however, officially considers Damascus its strategic depth and has dispatched a conglomerate of troops and proxy forces to fight in Syria. This very strategy makes Iran far more dangerous than North Korea.

On the other hand, Iran lies in the Middle East and such a regime becoming a nuclear power will launch a nuclear arms race amongst neighbors, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey. As a reminder, Japan and South Korea do not seek nuclear weapons and enjoy the protection of the U.S. nuclear umbrella. This is why we are not witnessing Seoul and Tokyo taking measures to pursue nuclear arms in response to Pyongyang’s six nuclear detonations.

Iran, with massive oil and gas resources, enjoys enormous budgets to pursue its nuclear and ballistic missile ambitions. A lack of finances is a major dilemma for North Korea, leading to the latter selling nuclear and missile technology to the former.

Iran advancing nuclear objectives despite JCPOA

JCPOA advocates and opponents can put forward a variety of arguments regarding the nuclear deal and its role. What is obvious, however, is that the JCPOA has not only failed to halt Iran’s nuclear program, in fact it has provided significant support in this regard.

JCPOA advocates claim Tehran must not be further pressured or placed under new sanctions as such measures may push Tehran to abandon the deal altogether.

Tehran is the main party in need of this pact and no measures will lead to its exit. Ali Akbar Salehi, chief of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, specifically explained Tehran’s viewpoint.

“If the United States pulls out of the agreement, but the rest of the countries stay committed -- namely Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia -- then Iran would most probably stick with the commitments to the agreement,” he said in an interview with Germany’s Der Spiegel.

Iran profiting from the JCPOA

In the JCPOA, Tehran finds an opportunity to continue its research without any major hindrance, and rest assured Iran will abandon the deal when its research leads to obtaining nuclear weapons.

The status quo is as Iran wishes, with no military sites inspected. On the other hand, by allowing inspectors into revealed sites Iran has become a country supported by the Obama administration and European states.

Crippling sanctions have been lifted and billions of dollars placed at Iran’s disposal. As a result, Iran is continuing its nuclear weapons ambitions and keeping a low profile in this regard.

The fact that Iran has maintained its nuclear capacity, and even improved it, has been emphasized time and again by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Atomic Energy Organization chief Ali Akbar Salehi.

Iran can enrich uranium within five days if the U.S. imposes more sanctions on Iran, Salehi warned on August 22. He claimed Iran could even achieve 20% enriched uranium in five days -- a level at which it could then quickly be processed further into weapons-grade nuclear material.

"If we make the determination, we are able to resume 20 percent-enrichment in at most five days," Salehi told state broadcaster IRIB.

A week earlier Rouhani announced that Iran could abandon its nuclear agreement with world powers "within hours" if Washington imposes any more new sanctions.

"If America wants to go back to the experience of imposing sanctions, Iran would certainly return in a short time -- not a week or a month but within hours -- to conditions more advanced than before the start of negotiations," Rouhani told a session of parliament broadcast live on state television.

Rouhani is also scheduled to deliver a speech at the UN General Assembly this upcoming Tuesday and the Iranian community in the United States has annually staged a massive rally. Rallied by the Organization of Iranian American Community, the demonstrators have each year made their voice heard how Rouhani is not their president and the Iranian regime deserves no place in the world body.

And representing the UN and the international community, the path taken by the P5+1 with Iran is somewhat similar to that of North Korea from the 1990s. Although Pyongyang’s objective of obtaining nuclear weapons differs from Tehran, Kim Jong Un took advantage of the negotiations and the agreements made to buy time and produce the bomb he needed.

This mistake must not be repeated with the illusion that the JCPOA will rein in Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Iran has continued to strive to obtain nuclear weapons and spent hundreds of millions of dollars to procure ballistic missiles as means of delivery for its nuclear warheads.

Iran is an unstable regime with no social base and has remained in power thanks to crackdowns and exporting crises abroad. Obtaining nuclear weapons would complete its agenda of domestic crackdown and foreign crises.

To this end, viewing Iran’s nuclear program according to the JCPOA framework will lead to another case of the world being deceived, and the central banker of international terrorism obtaining nuclear weapons.

Therefore, a comprehensive policy is needed to restrain Iran while targeting this regime’s regional meddling, holding it accountable for human rights violations, and placing all military and non-military sites under inspection. 

North Korea’s latest nuclear test has caused a significant stir in regards to Iran and the heading of this regime’s nuclear program. There are those who believe the Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was a successful agreement and are suggesting a similar path vis-à-vis Pyongyang.

Others, however, believe Iran is in the same path as North Korea and the JCPOA is providing Tehran an opportunity to complete its research on nuclear weapons.

And there are also voices expressing grave concerns about Iran’s intentions being far more dangerous than North Korea's and considering Tehran having a nuclear bomb being gravely more lethal than Pyongyang.

Why is Iran’s nuclear program more dangerous than North Korea?

Nuclear weapons for Iran and North Korea are tantamount to means of maintaining their regime in power. However, the two states have adopted different strategies in seeking the bomb.

Pyongyang’s posture is of defensive nature to keep its rule intact. Tehran, on the other hand, has a strategy of aggressiveness. Iran has relied on exporting its “revolution” and meddling in other countries, in order to safeguard its regime back home.

Therefore, Tehran needs this ultimate weapon to continue its expansion and warmongering, whereas North Korea’s goal is preserving its power at home -- it doesn’t have eyes set abroad.

Pyongyang has never claimed its strategic depth lies in Seoul or Tokyo. Tehran, however, officially considers Damascus its strategic depth and has dispatched a conglomerate of troops and proxy forces to fight in Syria. This very strategy makes Iran far more dangerous than North Korea.

On the other hand, Iran lies in the Middle East and such a regime becoming a nuclear power will launch a nuclear arms race amongst neighbors, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey. As a reminder, Japan and South Korea do not seek nuclear weapons and enjoy the protection of the U.S. nuclear umbrella. This is why we are not witnessing Seoul and Tokyo taking measures to pursue nuclear arms in response to Pyongyang’s six nuclear detonations.

Iran, with massive oil and gas resources, enjoys enormous budgets to pursue its nuclear and ballistic missile ambitions. A lack of finances is a major dilemma for North Korea, leading to the latter selling nuclear and missile technology to the former.

Iran advancing nuclear objectives despite JCPOA

JCPOA advocates and opponents can put forward a variety of arguments regarding the nuclear deal and its role. What is obvious, however, is that the JCPOA has not only failed to halt Iran’s nuclear program, in fact it has provided significant support in this regard.

JCPOA advocates claim Tehran must not be further pressured or placed under new sanctions as such measures may push Tehran to abandon the deal altogether.

Tehran is the main party in need of this pact and no measures will lead to its exit. Ali Akbar Salehi, chief of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, specifically explained Tehran’s viewpoint.

“If the United States pulls out of the agreement, but the rest of the countries stay committed -- namely Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia -- then Iran would most probably stick with the commitments to the agreement,” he said in an interview with Germany’s Der Spiegel.

Iran profiting from the JCPOA

In the JCPOA, Tehran finds an opportunity to continue its research without any major hindrance, and rest assured Iran will abandon the deal when its research leads to obtaining nuclear weapons.

The status quo is as Iran wishes, with no military sites inspected. On the other hand, by allowing inspectors into revealed sites Iran has become a country supported by the Obama administration and European states.

Crippling sanctions have been lifted and billions of dollars placed at Iran’s disposal. As a result, Iran is continuing its nuclear weapons ambitions and keeping a low profile in this regard.

The fact that Iran has maintained its nuclear capacity, and even improved it, has been emphasized time and again by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Atomic Energy Organization chief Ali Akbar Salehi.

Iran can enrich uranium within five days if the U.S. imposes more sanctions on Iran, Salehi warned on August 22. He claimed Iran could even achieve 20% enriched uranium in five days -- a level at which it could then quickly be processed further into weapons-grade nuclear material.

"If we make the determination, we are able to resume 20 percent-enrichment in at most five days," Salehi told state broadcaster IRIB.

A week earlier Rouhani announced that Iran could abandon its nuclear agreement with world powers "within hours" if Washington imposes any more new sanctions.

"If America wants to go back to the experience of imposing sanctions, Iran would certainly return in a short time -- not a week or a month but within hours -- to conditions more advanced than before the start of negotiations," Rouhani told a session of parliament broadcast live on state television.

Rouhani is also scheduled to deliver a speech at the UN General Assembly this upcoming Tuesday and the Iranian community in the United States has annually staged a massive rally. Rallied by the Organization of Iranian American Community, the demonstrators have each year made their voice heard how Rouhani is not their president and the Iranian regime deserves no place in the world body.

And representing the UN and the international community, the path taken by the P5+1 with Iran is somewhat similar to that of North Korea from the 1990s. Although Pyongyang’s objective of obtaining nuclear weapons differs from Tehran, Kim Jong Un took advantage of the negotiations and the agreements made to buy time and produce the bomb he needed.

This mistake must not be repeated with the illusion that the JCPOA will rein in Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Iran has continued to strive to obtain nuclear weapons and spent hundreds of millions of dollars to procure ballistic missiles as means of delivery for its nuclear warheads.

Iran is an unstable regime with no social base and has remained in power thanks to crackdowns and exporting crises abroad. Obtaining nuclear weapons would complete its agenda of domestic crackdown and foreign crises.

To this end, viewing Iran’s nuclear program according to the JCPOA framework will lead to another case of the world being deceived, and the central banker of international terrorism obtaining nuclear weapons.

Therefore, a comprehensive policy is needed to restrain Iran while targeting this regime’s regional meddling, holding it accountable for human rights violations, and placing all military and non-military sites under inspection. 

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