Is Iran’s nuclear case again a matter for the Security Council?

By Mehran Barati*

The Director General of the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog on Monday June 15 called on Iranian officials to allow prompt access to “two sites” where “past nuclear activity” may have occurred. While the IAEA did not publicly name the “two sites”, we already know that during 2002 to 2004, one of the sites has been ‘Parchin’, a military base affiliated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Army (IRGC), located in the southeast of Tehran. Later on, a number of secret atomic warehouses were added to the former one, including a nuclear storage in Abadeh, situated south of Isfahan Province, as well as one in Turquzabad district, on the outskirts of Tehran Province and the last one in the Alamut region, outside Tehran (located in Qazvin Province).

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says in the past 4 months Iran has been blocking inspections at the locations specified, while it is expected to implement obligations under the Additional Protocol.

Although the ratification of the Additional Protocol was never discussed in the Majlis, in 2015 the government of Mr. Hassan Rouhani voluntarily took measures to implement it, so that the deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) could be saved. This raises several questions about the sudden decision taken by the Islamic Republic after nearly five years to prevent the agency’s officials from getting access to the locations. Is it possible that real progress has been made in Parchin or Abadeh towards achieving nuclear weapons? As already mentioned by the UN’s nuclear watchdog, was it true that in 2012 satellite imagery found evidence of quite large excavations in Parchin in attempts to clean up radioactive contamination?

Even if all the speculations prove right, this question still remains: why now did the agency and the West come up with the idea that the Islamic Republic is trying to hide something, while it’s been five years since the deal was signed between Iran and the 5+1 Besides, Iran has denied IAEA inspectors full access to its nuclear facilities. The answer to that question might be the helplessness Iran has been dealing with, as heavy sanctions imposed by the United States has brought the regime and its legitimacy to the brink of total collapse. It is obvious that negotiations have reached a dead end and no solution has been left to the country’s problems, so with an implicit threat to “nuclear weapon” the regime aims to win the support of Europeans, who do not stand another war in the Middle East. In other words, you help the system not to fall down and any measures taken to achieve nuclear weapons would be put an end to in return.

Ultimately, this means that the Islamic Republic is deliberately seeking to come under suspicion of achieving nuclear weapons. And yet, this tactic does not work anymore. According to news agencies, the regime is faced with a formal reprimand, as Germany, France and the U.K. drafted a resolution asking Iran to “fully cooperate” with the IAEA’s inspectors. In 2012, such “diplomatic rebuke” was passed by the United Nations Security Council and led into the heaviest sanctions against the Islamist regime in Iran’s history. This time, there is no need for such an enactment, since the US sanctions have had the same effect.

The European’s message to Iran is clear: your system’s survival is dependent on direct negotiations with the US and Europe on mutual concerns. The Supreme Leader and his supporters consider themselves to be the “superpower” in the world of political Islam. Thus, they still hang on in the hope that Donald Trump might lose his seat in the upcoming presidential election, while they are unaware that even a president from the Democratic Party would never return to the policy of Obama’s administration in dealing with Iran. The only way out of this dreadful crisis relies heavily on the negotiations with the West, withdrawing its troops from the countries across the Middle East and putting an end to its threats against Israel. But as the authoritarian rulers of Iran have never been capable of adopting a realistic approach to measuring their power and claims, through which they have run the country towards demolition, the Islamic Republic is no exception in our tragic history. Meanwhile, the regime’s obstinacy and devastation would lead our nation to the conclusion that its fall-down and the transition to democracy is the only way left for us. Such a practice would be costly, but the world of democracy is in support of the Iranian nation along the path.

* ITC vice General Secretary & head of  International Affairs

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