In a signal that the US is showing no sign of attempting to normalise relations with Iran, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) has accused Donald Trump of violating the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and threatening to withhold a congressionally mandated certification of Iran’s compliance in mid-October.
In addition the NIAC has suggested that there is mounting evidence that the US is seeking to unilaterally withdrawal from the JCPOA and accused UN Ambassador Nikki Haley of trying to stoke up controversy in the media over International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections of non-nuclear military sites in Iran. It has also been reported that Haley abstained from presenting any evidence to justify such inspections at her meeting with the IAEA in Vienna.
The IAEA role with respect to JCPOA is to ensure that Iran abides by the terms of the agreement and does not produce weapons-grade plutonium or enriched uranium that could be used for nuclear weapons. In addition the IAEA have the authority to send inspectors to Iranian sites, including military ones, should they have reason to believe that illegal nuclear activities were being undertaken there.
Haley recently met officials from the IAEA stating that following, “They (IAEA) have a very strong verification program in Iran, I was pleased to hear about all that they are doing. Having said that, as good as the IAEA is, it can only be as good as what they are permitted to see. Iran has publicly declared that it will not allow access to military sites, but the JCPOA makes no distinction between military and non-military sites,” and followed up by saying, “There are also numerous undeclared sites that have not been inspected yet, that’s a problem. I have good confidence in the IAEA, but they are dealing with a country that has a clear history of lying and pursuing covert nuclear programs.”
The IAEA however were quite clear in saying that they see no reason to search Iranian military sites to verify that they are in compliance with the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement as they do not suspect anything untoward occurring on such facilities. In addition, they were declined Washington’s request, saying “We’re not going to visit a military site like Parchin just to send a political signal.”
The IAEA have also made it clear to Washington that unless they suspect Iranian wrongdoing they would not conduct any searches. Whilst the US State Department issues a statement to Congress every 90 days regarding whether or not Iran is still in compliance with the JCPOA, it has been suggested that Trump is pushing the State Department to declare Iran non-compliant.
Despite the fact that the UN, the IAEA, France and Russia have requested that the US declare Iran to be complaint with the JCPOA, Washington continues to have this belligerent stance seeking to make baseless accusations with regards to Iran’s conduct. The IAEA went as far as saying that it is possible for the Trump administration to cause the JCPOA deal to collapse but the IAEA had no intention of giving them any excuse or reason to do so.
The US administration continues to make statements and accusations without producing a single shred of evidence to support such claims and expects the world to take this on face value. This is yet another example of the US inadvertently isolating itself on the world stage through its foreign policy. Washington’s continued efforts to demonise Iran are now largely falling on deaf ears and in the process damaging their credibility, not only with other nations but also agencies such as the UN and the IAEA.