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Iran nuclear deal under scrutiny in Washington conference

NCRI – The Iran Nuclear Deal and its impact on regional security, nuclear weapons verification challenges and on the situation inside Iran were discussed on Monday in a conference at the National Press Club in Washington that was streamed live online at ncr-iran.org.

The panel included: Dr. Olli Heinonen, the highly regarded nuclear inspector of Harvard’s Belfer Center and former deputy director of the United Nations nuclear watchdog (IAEA); Commander Kirk Lippold who was Commander of the USS Cole when it was attacked by terrorists in Yemen in 2000; and Mr Alireza Jafarzadeh, author of ‘The Iran Threat’ and Deputy Director of the U.S. office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) who first exposed the major nuclear sites of Iran’s regime in Natanz and Arak in 2002.

Dr. Olli Heinonen claimed that, as a technical expert, he is not there to take sides or judge whether the nuclear deal with Iran is a good one or a bad one – he is simply there from a technical and verification viewpoint. However, he said that the first thing that struck him when the nuclear deal was announced was that “Iran is not changing its nuclear course.”

He also said that it is a great “weakness” of the deal that there will be a 24-day delay before the IAEA can get access to nuclear sites. As has been proven in the past, he said “a lot can be sabotaged” in the 24 days before inspectors are granted access. He also said that he hopes that the US government and other governments will make the IAEA reports public.

Commander Kirk Lippold, in his opening statement, said that he opposes the deal because it fails to address the ballistic threat. He recognises that nuclear and ballistic weapons are the most destructive to mankind. Ignoring the issue of development and proliferation of ballistic weapons only benefits the regime in Iran – no other parties to the deal benefit from this.

Another reason for opposing the deal is that the billions of dollars freed up by the deal will be used by the regime to maintain their status as the number one state sponsor of terrorism. Cmdr. Lippold said that instead of the money going towards Iran’s infrastructure, healthcare, education etc., it will go towards terrorism. Unless the deal is modified, all it will do is legitimize the regime’s terrorist activities.

Lippold also highlighted that, contrary to what has been reported, those that are opposed to the deal are not warmongering. He said that the Iranian regime is “putting us on a path to war” and that we cannot trust the regime given how it has acted in the past. He questioned why all the countries in the region have expressed concern about the nuclear agreement – surely this a strong indicator that the deal has some major shortcomings. He added that we need to “admit that our administration made a mistake.”

Mr Alireza Jafarzadeh opened by saying that a significant portion of the Iranian regime’s nuclear program should have been dismantled during negotiations, but this is not the case – the negotiations have failed to end the nuclear threat. He emphasised that the people of Iran are fed up with the deal and confirmed that it is not their “national pride,” contrary to what the mullahs have claimed.

Mr. Jafarzadeh said he would like to see governments put more pressure on the regime – an important step that must be taken in order to weaken the regime and pave the way for the ultimate solution: democratic change.

One of Mr. Jafarzadeh’s main concerns is that the regime has now had many dealings with the IAEA. It has extensive knowledge about how the agency works and is now using this knowledge to become better at conducting cover-ups and clean-ups before any inspectors are finally granted access. This 24-day delay gives the regime the chance to do this. He added that the regime is “rotten to the core” and is being given the opportunity to fine-tune its cheating and deception.

Mr. Jafarzadeh claimed that the regime has already devised and put in place cover-up plans for its currently undeclared sites. This means that once a request has been made for access, the regime will initiate its plan to remove traces of enriched uranium, cover-up its activities and deceive as it always does.