The man who first publicly warned the West about Iran’s nuclear intentions is blasting Tuesday’s agreement as one that allows the world’s top sponsor of terrorism to grow its program, fails to provide meaningful inspections and does not force Iran to change it’s behavior at all.
Alireza Jafarzadeh is deputy director of the Washington office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, which is the Iranian parliament in exile from the government that was overthrown by Islamic radicals in 1979. Jafarzadeh says assurances from President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry that this agreement will prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon is fiction.
“First, the agreement does not prevent the Iranian regime from having a nuclear weapons capability. Second, it actually maintains and legitimizes the entire nuclear infrastructure of the Iranian regime,” he said.
Jafarzadeh has reviewed the agreement and is troubled by many aspects, starting with how little it actually restricts Iranian activities.
“It puts some cap on for the next 10-15 years, but it allows the regime to build an industrial-size nuclear program with very little limitations in about a decade. It also allows the Iranian regime to conduct research and development on advanced centrifuges,” he said.
“These are significantly more efficient centrifuges that allow the Iranian regime to use a much smaller number of centrifuges in a hidden place to provide fissile material that they need for the bomb,” said Jafarzadeh.
And inspections? Jafarzadeh says not to count on those to accomplish anything.
“It doesn’t provide anytime, anywhere access to suspect nuclear sites, including the military sites. It basically provides what they call managed access with significant delays, which takes away the whole surprise element completely. It undermines the very purpose of intrusive inspections,” he said.
The deal also provides no specifics on allowing inspections of several sites that Iranian officials have blocked United Nations weapons inspectors from visiting.
While the agreement is light on verification in his estimation, Jafarzadeh says U.S. and allied concessions are very clear.
“It is very specific when it comes to sanctions relief and the kind of break that is provided to the Iranian regime, including giving them relief in five to eight years on weapons and missile trade, which is a big problem. It actually enhances the terrorism network of the Iranian regime,” said Jafarzadeh.
He added, “When you have the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism having a nuclear weapons program legitimized by the international community and over time they can actually expand it and not diminishing it or having any requirement to change their behavior, it’s a major, major concern.”
Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, or ICBM’s, are the most likely delivery system for a future nuclear weapon. Jafarzadeh says that program isn’t addressed in the agreement either.
“Why do you want to have an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile program? The only use for is delivering nuclear weapons. There’s no country in the world that has so far developed ICBM without using it for nuclear weapons,” he said.
Along with the legitimizing of the Iranian nuclear program, some of the most nefarious groups associated with Iran would no longer be considered pariahs in the eyes of the U.S..
“A number of entities and individuals who have been involved in terrorism and weapons of mass destruction the exporting of violence in the region are going to be off the list,” said Jafarzadeh, specifically listing the Qods force and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in that category.
Earlier this year, after Obama announced he would not submit any agreement to Congress as a formal treaty, congressional leaders pushed legislation to give lawmakers the power to review and vote on the deal. However, instead of needing a two-thirds majority to approve it as in the case of treaties, a two-thirds majority is now needed to override a promised Obama veto and sink the deal.
Jafarzadeh also blasted Obama for insulting the Iranian people by referring to them and the Iranian regime interchangeably.
“The Iranian people reject this regime,” he said.
Jafarzadeh also disputes Obama’s contention that the agreement will prevent rather than trigger a Middle East arms race. He says Iran’s neighbors know exactly what this regime is capable of.
“Look at the countries that are all being troubled by the Iranian regime when they don’t have the bomb. Imagine what things would look like in the region when the Iranian regime will get the bomb,” he said.