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Reconciling the Past in the Iran Deal

There are many glaring omissions in the Iran deal currently being discussed. It is hard not to conclude that President Obama, Vice President Biden, and Secretary of State John Kerry have simply thrown in the towel. One of the missing elements, however, involves not the present but the past. The sanctions on Iran did not appear overnight. They resulted from a multi-year process in which Iranian authorities were caught violating their Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty safeguards agreement. After years of stonewalling with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as the Iranians refused to come clean on elements that inspections exposed or on issues about which the regime lied, the IAEA referred the Iranian case to the United Nations Security Council.

This initiated a new multi-year process that ultimately resulted in several unanimous or near-unanimous Security Council resolutions calling on Iran to cease enriching uranium. Never mind that Obama has shown himself to be the ultimate unilateralist, shredding 15 years of prior multilateral diplomatic agreements. Obama is so disinterested in national security and the issues which worry people with regard to Iran that he appears not to demand that Iran come clean about the past.

If Iran’s intentions are peaceful and if the West is willing to give Tehran a blank slate upon which to start anew, then the very least the Islamic Republic should do is come clean about its past work on nuclear-weapons triggers, its enrichment beyond 20 percent, its work with uranium metal, and what it is doing with plutonium at Arak. It should also come clean with regard to the origins of equipment not produced indigenously, as well as elaborate upon nuclear sites and laboratories which today remain undeclared and therefore outside the purview of the reported agreement. If there is any discrepancy between what Iran then declares and what the West knows through other sources, not only should Kerry’s deal be void, but Iran should come to understand what the meaning of crippling sanctions really is.


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