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UN IAEA: Iran Violated Nuclear Deal Before it is Even Inked

Amidst frenetic Administration efforts to spin a possible Iran deal comes evidence that it has already been violated given an IAEA Report and analysis by Washington, DC –nuclear watchdog, the Institute for Science and International Security.   Adam Kredo in today’s Washington Free Beacon  reported these last minute developments, Iran Violates Past Nuclear Promises on Eve of Deal”:

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) disclosed yesterday that Iran has failed to meet its commitments under the interim Joint Plan of Action to convert recently enriched uranium gas to powder.

While Iran has reduced the amount of enriched uranium gas in its stockpiles, it has failed to dispose of these materials in a way that satisfies the requirements of the nuclear accord struck with the United States and other powers in 2013.

Wednesday’s disclosure by the IAEA sent the State Department rushing to downplay the Iranian violation.

Obama administration officials insisted that despite Iran’s failure to meet its obligations, negotiations were still on track and that Tehran would face no repercussions.

One U.S. official who spoke with the Associated Press on Wednesday said that instead of converting its uranium gas into uranium dioxide powder as required, Iran had transformed it into another substance. The IAEA found that Iran had converted just 9 percent of the relevant stockpile into uranium dioxide.

The official went on to downplay concerns about Iran’s violation, claiming that Tehran was only having some “technical problems.”

The “technical problems by Iran had slowed the process but the United States was satisfied that Iran had met its commitments,” the AP reported the official as saying.

“Violations by Iran would complicate the Obama administration’s battle to persuade congressional opponents and other skeptics,” the AP continued.

David Albright, a nuclear expert and founder of the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), warned that the United States is weakening its requirements on Tehran as a final deal gets closer.

“The choosing of a weaker condition that must be met is not a good precedent for interpreting more important provisions in a final deal,” Albright wrote in an analysis published late Wednesday.

While Iran was not in compliance with the oxidation requirement, the IAEA found that it did get rid of uranium gas that surpassed a self-imposed benchmark of 7,650 kg.

The IAEA’s disclosures are in contrast to comments made by Kerry last summer when he assured observers that Iran would live up to the interim agreement.

“Iran has committed to take further nuclear-related steps in the next four months” and “these include a continued cap on the amount of 5 percent enriched uranium hexafluoride and a commitment to convert any material over that amount into oxide,” Kerry said.

The Israel Project (TIP), which has sent officials to Vienna to track the deal, wrote in an email to reporters that the administration looked like it was “playing Tehran’s lawyer” in a bid to defuse potential fallout from the IAEA’s report.

This is not the first time that Iran has been caught by the IAEA cheating on past nuclear arrangements.

As negotiations between the sides slip past their June 30 deadline and stretch into July, Iranian officials have become more insistent that the United States consent to demands on a range of sticking points.

President Hassan Rouhani also threatened to fully restart Iran’s nuclear program if negotiators fail to live up to any final agreement.

One Western source present in Vienna said the administration is scrambling to ensure that nothing interferes with a final deal.

“Once again, the White House will go to any length needed to preserve the Obama-Iran deal, even if it means covering up Iran’s failure to convert all of the nuclear material as promised,” said the source.

“If they had admitted Iran failed to live up to the letter of the JPOA—as is the case—this one-week extension period of the JPOA would be totally invalidated and the talks would be over,” the source added. “Like they have for months, the administration continues to hide violations and is acting more like Iran’s advocate than the honest broker the American people deserve. “

Will these IAEA/ISIS revelations upend the P5+1 Iran deliberations in Vienna?  We bet the Obama State Department and White House spokespersons will continue the charade of “don’t believe your lying eyes”. All while Iran ‘s Supreme Ruler stiff arms the talks in Vienna with new ‘red lines” trusting that greed by the P5+1 over billions of trade and development deals  will  lift $150 billion in sanctions relief upon inking a deal.  Both Israel and the US Congress are increasing wary of this deal that will provide a nuclear breakthrough by Iran. If achieved the deal  will vault Iran’s  state sponsorship of terrorism.  Iran could develop one bomb to wipe Israel off the map of the world and an ICBM to detonate an EMP over the US fulfilling their Mahdist apocalyptic dream and both Israel’s and our nightmares.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of U.S. Energy Secertary Moniz, Secretary of State Kerry and Undersecretary Wendy Sherman taken in Vienna, July 1, 2015. Source: Reuters.

Iranian Nuke Deal a House of Cards?

Tony Blinken Source AP

Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Source: AP

Newly designated Deputy Secretary of State, former Deputy National Security Adviser, Antony “Tony” Blinken testified yesterday before the House Foreign Affairs Committee chaired by California Republican Congressman, Edward Royce. Royce and Ranking Democratic Member, Elliot Engel of New York, were trying to determine the status of the Administration’s P5+1 negotiations on an agreement to rein in Iran’s nuclear program. Blinken’s boss, Secretary of State Kerry, with the assistance of Energy Secretary Dr. Ernest Moniz are huddling in Lausanne, Switzerland with Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif and nuclear program head, Ali Akbar Salehi, to reach a political agreement by a self-imposed deadline of March 31st.  Moniz and Salehi share an Alma MaterMIT, where they both earned doctorates, one in physics and the other in nuclear engineering back in the 1970’s. Moniz was an Assistant professor at MIT, while Salehi was in the nuclear engineering program.

 The latest press leak indicates that Iran might be given 40% of nuclear fuel enrichment capacity which translates to 6,000 centrifuges. That may be more than ample, Israeli PM Netanyahu, fresh from his Knesset elections victory on March 17th, contends will enable Iran to become a nuclear threshold state, although there are those who contend it may already have achieve that status.  There is debate whether any final Memorandum of Understanding will have a 10 or 25 year sunset term, and whether, Iran’s nuclear program is susceptible to so-called verifiable inspections, given evidence to the contrary compiled by the IAEA inspectors.

It was against this background that Tony Blinken provided testimony to the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He roused the skepticism of the house panel with comments that the deal would bar Iran from achieving a nuclear capability in perpetuity. An AFP report on yesterday’s hearing noted this exchange:

The Obama administration insisted before skeptical lawmakers Thursday that any deal with Iran would ensure for “perpetuity” that it could not develop nuclear weapons.

A comprehensive accord would also see “phased, proportionate” relief from tough sanctions that have severely constrained Iran’s economy, but such relief could be swiftly reversed should the Islamic republic violate any final deal, said Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Several members of Congress and other critics have warned that the ongoing negotiations between world powers and Tehran would lead to a deal that would sunset after 10 years.

Once the deal ends, critics fear the Islamic republic could once again freely crank up its nuclear program and develop a bomb.

“That is simply not true,” Blinken told a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“To the contrary, Iran would be prohibited from developing a nuclear weapon in perpetuity — and we would have a much greater ability to detect any effort by Iran to do so.”

He said that while some constraints would be lifted after a “significant period,” others would last “indefinitely, including a stringent and intrusive monitoring and inspections regime” by the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency.

And should Iran violate the agreement and begin a rush to a bomb, a process described as “breakout,” Blinken stressed that restrictions on centrifuges and uranium mills would prevent Iran from completing a nuclear bomb for at least a year.

“That would provide us more than enough time to detect and act on any Iranian transgression,” he said.

Blinken said Iran would be indefinitely barred under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty from developing or acquiring a nuclear weapon.

Democrats and Republicans alike scoffed at the suggestion that such NPT restrictions would hold back Iran; with committee Chairman Ed Royce warning that Iranians “have been violating those commitments for years.”

Lawmakers also pointed to the need to include restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missile program in any nuclear deal, as reinforcement against the country using such a delivery system for an atomic bomb.

“The critical question of the possible military dimension of Iran’s program… would have to be part of any agreement,” Blinken acknowledged.

Blinken’s colleague at State, Deputy Undersecretary Wendy Sherman, who has been actively engaged in the P5+1 negotiations, has some relevant experience in dismissing Blinken’s assertion that the deal under consideration would bar Iranian’ nuclear breakout. Ms. Sherman was part of the Clinton Administration team that put together the executive agreement in 1994 with North Korea that was also supposed to stop the DPRK’s nuclear program by substituting light water reactors. That agreement was subject to a Congressional hearing.  By 2006, North Korea successfully evaded IAEA inspections, produced a nuclear fuel stockpile and tested a device resulting in collapse of the agreement. The Bush Administration stopped fuel oil deliveries to the DPRK.

Last time I looked at Blinker’s bio, he had a Columbia Law School degree, not in physics, like Energy Secretary Moniz or Iran negotiator, Salehi, both MIT alumni.

Washington Post columnist, Al Kamen, drew attention to Blinker’s obvious qualification enabling to make his perpetuity comment about a deal to stop Iran’s nuclear program. Blinken was apparently a consultant to the HBO series, “House of Cards”.   Kamen revealed:

Sometimes it’s good not to fast-forward through the credits roll. You never know what you’ll find.

So the other evening, when the credits came up for episode nine of this season’s “House of Cards,” this popped up: “Consultant: TONY BLINKEN.”

Whoa! As in the deputy secretary of state and former White House deputy national security adviser? That’s some pretty heavy-duty consulting power. Is Blinken moonlighting for Kevin Spacey?

Well, not exactly.

Blinken, a modest sort, said in an e-mail that “‘consultant’ vastly overstated” his role, which amounted to a “few phone calls” perhaps nine months to a year ago. That would have been when he was working in the White House. The calls came from head series writer Beau Willimon and some other writers for the show who wanted to “test the veracity or not of some foreign policy story lines.”

“At this point, I don’t remember the details or the issues” involved, Blinken said. And, no, he wasn’t paid for the advice. Probably a good thing, because the episode — one of the “Putin segments” — for which he got the credit line involves, even for the “House of Cards,” a wildly implausible shootout in the Jordan River Valley. (We’re not going to say more.)

And, yes, Blinken and wife Evan Ryan, the assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs, are binge-watchers.

Watch this C-Span video clip of Deputy Secretary of State Blinken being questioned at the March 19, 2015 House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Iran nuclear negotiations:

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The photo shopped featured image is courtesy of the House of Cards TV series.