The Iran nuclear talks could not be going better...for Iran

It seems that there is no limit to how far the administration will go to get a deal with the Islamic Republic on nukes.  June 30 is supposed to be the deadline for talks between the P5+1 nations and Iran on its nuclear program, but both sides claim that the talks could go well beyond that.

In April, the parties reached an “interim agreement” that was highly favorable to Tehran.  Iran would cut the number of its working centrifuges that produce uranium but would be allowed to upgrade them for greater efficiency.  Iran would be allowed secret nuclear “research” at the hardened underground site of Fordow.  The plutonium heavy-water production plant at Arak would stay open.  There would be inspections to ensure compliance.  The sanctions imposed by the West would be gradually withdrawn.

But the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, intervened this week in the discussions and laid down Tehran’s new positions: the sanctions must not be gradually lifted as Iran complies, but “immediately” when the signatures on the final accord are dry.  His other intervention?  Mandating that no inspections ever take place at military sites or involve “unconventional inspections” of other facilities.  The talks continue despite this apparent repudiation of the April framework by Iran.

But this week, something else was revealed that appears to mark a craven new low in the P5+1’s desperation to get any deal at all.  The AP obtained a copy of one of the five non-final secret “annexes” being negotiated.  The one called “Civil Nuclear Cooperation” is shockingly beneficial to Iran.  Apparently, the P5+1 nations will essentially hand over nuclear technology to Iran, including “high tech reactors and other state of the art equipment.”  In essence, though not on paper, it mandates that if Iran lacks any tools necessary for a nuclear bomb breakout production, no problem: at least one nation of the P5+1 will be allowed to hand them over.

The handouts will be especially pronounced, according to the secret draft, in the area of plutonium production at the heavy-water facility of Arak.  Iran would get several light-water nuclear reactors instead, and the Arak facility would be modified to be less “proliferation prone,” but Iran would still be in “the leadership role” during the refurbishing.

What is to stop Iran from using the LWRs given to it by the West to break out to bomb production?  Nothing.  All it has to do is keep the spent fuel, hide it from any inspectors, and reprocess the fuel to create a plutonium bomb.

What is to stop Iran, given the supreme leader’s refusal to allow inspections of “special” sites, from using the hidden underground facility at Fordow to further enrich uranium well beyond the 3.67% it agreed to, using the 10,000 centrifuges it is supposed to put into “storage”?  Nothing.
 What is to stop Iran from endlessly delaying the Western assistance to the Arak heavy-water facility so that Iran has enough time to produce weapons-grade plutonium?  Nothing.

If the Obama administration were actually a mole for Iran, its negotiating posture with the Islamic Republic would be identical.

Christopher S. Carson, a lawyer, was a Bradley Fellow at Georgetown University.

It seems that there is no limit to how far the administration will go to get a deal with the Islamic Republic on nukes.  June 30 is supposed to be the deadline for talks between the P5+1 nations and Iran on its nuclear program, but both sides claim that the talks could go well beyond that.

In April, the parties reached an “interim agreement” that was highly favorable to Tehran.  Iran would cut the number of its working centrifuges that produce uranium but would be allowed to upgrade them for greater efficiency.  Iran would be allowed secret nuclear “research” at the hardened underground site of Fordow.  The plutonium heavy-water production plant at Arak would stay open.  There would be inspections to ensure compliance.  The sanctions imposed by the West would be gradually withdrawn.

But the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, intervened this week in the discussions and laid down Tehran’s new positions: the sanctions must not be gradually lifted as Iran complies, but “immediately” when the signatures on the final accord are dry.  His other intervention?  Mandating that no inspections ever take place at military sites or involve “unconventional inspections” of other facilities.  The talks continue despite this apparent repudiation of the April framework by Iran.

But this week, something else was revealed that appears to mark a craven new low in the P5+1’s desperation to get any deal at all.  The AP obtained a copy of one of the five non-final secret “annexes” being negotiated.  The one called “Civil Nuclear Cooperation” is shockingly beneficial to Iran.  Apparently, the P5+1 nations will essentially hand over nuclear technology to Iran, including “high tech reactors and other state of the art equipment.”  In essence, though not on paper, it mandates that if Iran lacks any tools necessary for a nuclear bomb breakout production, no problem: at least one nation of the P5+1 will be allowed to hand them over.

The handouts will be especially pronounced, according to the secret draft, in the area of plutonium production at the heavy-water facility of Arak.  Iran would get several light-water nuclear reactors instead, and the Arak facility would be modified to be less “proliferation prone,” but Iran would still be in “the leadership role” during the refurbishing.

What is to stop Iran from using the LWRs given to it by the West to break out to bomb production?  Nothing.  All it has to do is keep the spent fuel, hide it from any inspectors, and reprocess the fuel to create a plutonium bomb.

What is to stop Iran, given the supreme leader’s refusal to allow inspections of “special” sites, from using the hidden underground facility at Fordow to further enrich uranium well beyond the 3.67% it agreed to, using the 10,000 centrifuges it is supposed to put into “storage”?  Nothing.
 What is to stop Iran from endlessly delaying the Western assistance to the Arak heavy-water facility so that Iran has enough time to produce weapons-grade plutonium?  Nothing.

If the Obama administration were actually a mole for Iran, its negotiating posture with the Islamic Republic would be identical.

Christopher S. Carson, a lawyer, was a Bradley Fellow at Georgetown University.