December 9, 2018

Report: Nuclear Deal Allowed Iran to Advance Its Nuclear Weapons Program

A recent report from the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies exposes the aspects of the Iran nuclear deal that have enabled Tehran into advancing their nuclear weapons program.

Jacob Nagel, who is a professor at the Israel Institute of Technology and served in various Israeli defense positions, argues that the key flaws in the Iran deal stem from Annex I, Section T of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which is vaguely worded and doesn’t come close to addressing the issues with Iran’s nuclear program highlighted by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)’s 2011 report on the matter.

“While preventing Iran from engaging in the activities enumerated in Section T could prevent Iran from closing some of the technological gaps remaining for the completion of its weaponization aspirations, the lack of detail in this section undermines the ability of the IAEA to effectively monitor the terms,” Nagel writes. “For example, does the use of high explosive lenses instead of multipoint explosive detonation systems violate the limitations?”

Consequently, under the deal Iran can begin looking into developing centrifuges that can “enrich uranium 15-20 times faster than” their current centrifuges; Iran can then build those more advanced centrifuges “in less than a decade.” The deal also gives Iran the opportunity to build more heavy water reactors after 15 years and to continue their current use of the Arak heavy water reactor. The deal does compel Iran to modify the reactor so they can’t establish plutonium weaponry, however the Arak reactor “may allow Iranian scientists to get their hands on technology relevant to developing a plutonium-based nuclear bomb” due to a prior agreement between the Iranians and the Chinese.

Additionally, Nagel argues that the nuclear deal completely ignored Iran’s arsenal of ballistic missiles, enabling Iran into launching 23 missile tests from July 2015-January 2018. The deal also allows Iran to test explosives that don’t fall under the deal’s purview of a bomb, thus providing Iran with a loophole to test weaponry.

To solve these issues with the deal, Nagel suggests implementing “anytime, anywhere” IAEA inspections on Iranian civilian and military sites where weaponization activities have taken place and better restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program.

“The termination of restrictions on Iranian nuclear activity is fast approaching,” Nagel writes. “Washington and its allies must fix the fatal flaws of the nuclear deal and prevent Iran from becoming a threshold nuclear state.”

The changes that Nagel recommends are similar to the fixes that President Trump wants in the deal; if those changes aren’t implemented then Trump has signaled that he will cause the United States to exit from the deal altogether.

Read the full report here.

H/T: Washington Free Beacon