DOUBTS ON IRAN NU­CLEAR DEAL

The Washington Times Daily - - WORLD - BY BILL GERTZ

Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son no­ti­fied Congress on Wed­nes­day that Iran was com­ply­ing with the 2015 in­ter­na­tional agree­ment on its nu­clear pro­gram.

In the first such re­view by the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion, Mr. Tiller­son stated in a let­ter to House Speaker Paul D. Ryan that Tehran has met the com­pli­ance con­di­tions out­lined in the 2015 Nu­clear Agree­ment Re­view Act, passed by Congress amid doubts about the ac­cord.

“Not­with­stand­ing, Iran re­mains a lead­ing state spon­sor of ter­ror through many plat­forms and meth­ods,” Mr. Tiller­son stated, not­ing that Pres­i­dent Trump or­dered an in­ter­a­gency re­view of the ac­cord known as the Joint Com­pre­hen­sive Plan of Ac­tion (JCPOA).

The re­view “will eval­u­ate whether sus­pen­sion of sanc­tions re­lated to Iran pur­suant to the JCPOA is vi­tal to the na­tional se­cu­rity in­ter­ests of the United States,” he said.

The state­ment sug­gests the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion could re-im­pose sanc­tions on Iran, some­thing Tehran has said would lead it to pull out of a deal crit­ics say will al­low the Is­lamic repub­lic to de­velop nu­clear arms in 10 years.

The Iran deal per­mits ura­nium en­rich­ment and calls for “snap-back” sanc­tions if Tehran fails to abide by its terms, which are aimed at pre­vent­ing de­vel­op­ment of nu­clear arms.

The JCPOA re­stricts ex­ten­sive in­ter­na­tional mon­i­tor­ing to de­clared nu­clear fa­cil­i­ties and calls upon Iran to per­mit in­spec­tions when any sus­pi­cious fa­cil­i­ties are spot­ted.

How­ever, Iran in the past has stymied in­ter­na­tional mon­i­tor­ing of sus­pect nu­clear sites, like the Parchin fa­cil­ity that was not in­cluded in the Iran deal. Parchin, lo­cated some 20 miles south­east of Tehran, was the lo­ca­tion for most of Iran’s past nu­clear arms-re­lated work.

CIA Direc­tor Mike Pom­peo, a critic of the Iran deal when he was a Repub­li­can mem­ber of Congress, said re­cently that in­tel­li­gence es­ti­mates of Ira­nian com­pli­ance with the nu­clear ac­cord re­main un­cer­tain.

“I don’t want to say much about their com­pli­ance with the agree­ment,” Mr. Pom­peo said dur­ing re­marks at the Cen­ter for Strate­gic and In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies last week. “I pre­fer to present that to the pres­i­dent and let him com­mu­ni­cate

that. You should know we are ac­tively en­gaged in a lot of work to as­sist the pres­i­dent in mak­ing sure he has an un­der­stand­ing of where the Ira­ni­ans are com­ply­ing and where they might not be.”

Mr. Pom­peo then sug­gested Iran could cheat as Syria did in hid­ing chem­i­cal weapons that were re­quired to be given up un­der an Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion-bro­kered agree­ment.

“We should all be mind­ful, given what took place in Syria, and go back and read that JCPOA and what it talks about in terms of de­clared fa­cil­i­ties and un­de­clared fa­cil­i­ties, and how much ac­cess the IAEA will have to each of those two very dis­tinct groups,” Mr. Pom­peo said.

“So that might sug­gest to you what level of cer­tainty we can ever hope to present to the com­man­der-in-chief,” he said.

Mr. Pom­peo also said the Iran nu­clear agree­ment has not led to a more be­nign Iran, as agree­ment sup­port­ers pre­dicted would take place.

Among the in­creas­ing threats are Iran’s grow­ing mis­sile ca­pa­bil­i­ties, as well as Ira­nian sub­ver­sion in Iraq and Ye­men. “The list of Ira­nian trans­gres­sions has in­creased dra­mat­i­cally since

the date that the JCPOA was signed,” he said.

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