Analysis: Key weaknesses of the Iran nuclear agreement

The agreement allows Iran to keep 5,000 uranium enrichment centrifuges at Natanz, and another 1,000 centrifuges at its underground enrichment facility in Fordow.

April 5, 2015 00:50
1 minute read.
US and Iranian negotiators meet in Lausanne for nuclear talks

US and Iranian negotiators meet in Lausanne for nuclear talks. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Several critical weak spots emerge from the framework nuclear agreement between Iran and P5+1 powers.

The agreement allows Iran to keep 5,000 uranium enrichment centrifuges at Natanz, and another 1,000 centrifuges at its underground enrichment facility in Fordow. The fact that Iran can keep this many centrifuges is, in and of itself, problematic.

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Additionally, the agreement allows the Iranians to continue research and development at Fordow, though ostensibly, this research will not be connected to the nuclear program.

That, however, suggests Iranian deceit. The entire Fordow facility, which was built secretly inside a mountain near the Shi’ite holy city of Qom, is a nuclear facility to begin with.

The claim that Iran will suddenly alter the facility’s entire purpose, or the nature of the research that goes on there, is unconvincing.

From the information available, it remains unclear whether the nuclear agreement will take effect for 10 or for 15 years.

Furthermore, Iran will be allowed to continue research and development on more advanced, faster centrifuges – knowledge that can be used at any time to create the infrastructure to break through to nuclear weapons, at a time of its choosing.

According to the deal, Iran will keep 300 kilograms of 3.5-percent low-enriched uranium, but the destination of the remaining LEU is shrouded in uncertainty.

The deal has not set clear terms regarding intrusive inspections. It has assigned the task of investigating the Iranian nuclear program’s military dimensions to the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Another question mark surrounds the issue of sanctions. Will they be gradually lifted, or removed in one stroke? It appears as if negotiators have agreed that the UN Security Council will at some point cancel all sanctions, except those targeting Iran’s weapons development capabilities and nuclear knowledge.

But Tehran continues with its arms development regardless, and maintains an international smuggling network, which sees the weapons moved all over the Middle East, from Hezbollah in Lebanon to Houthi forces in Yemen. Iran’s missile development and production program continues full steam ahead.

Last but certainly not least, Iran continues to activate terrorist proxies around the region. As a result, the nuclear deal is full of holes. One thing seems certain; Iran will continue to direct terrorism against Israel and moderate Sunni states.

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