Senator Moran Warns of Toleration for a Nuclear Iran as Zarif Urges Acceptance

Moran questioned the administration’s claim that the Iran nuclear agreement currently taking shape would keep Iran at least a year away from breaking out to a nuclear weapon and would hold it in that position for at least the ten years.

Quite to the contrary, Moran joined with a number of other Congresspersons, especially his fellow Republicans, who say that the deal would give Iran too much leeway to cheat and to gradually inch closer to nuclear weapons capability.

“American foreign policy with respect to Iran has long been centered around the goal of preventing Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapon capability,” Moran explained. “Today, this policy has weathered and been allowed to be weakened. It’s become a policy of delayed tolerance of a nuclear Iran.”

These concerns are encouraged by a variety of public statements by Iranian officials demanding up-front relief from economic sanctions and balking at requests for intrusive inspections and truly long-term restrictions on Iran’s nuclear capabilities. And the fact that these statements continue to be made as the negotiating parties move toward a June 30 deadline for a nuclear agreement gives many of Obama’s opponents the impression that the president is accommodating Iranian expectations.

Such critics can be expected to believe their views have been still further substantiated by this week’s UN review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which was attended by the world’s nuclear powers as well as the 120 members of the Non-Aligned Movement, of which Iran is a part. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif took the opportunity to address the gathering by effectively reversing the thinking that has informed international opposition to Iran’s nuclear program, which is presumed to be aimed at attainment of nuclear weapons.

“We call upon the nuclear-weapons states to immediately cease their plans to further invest in modernizing and extending the life span of their nuclear weapons and related facilities,” Zarif said, according to First Post. The vague reference to “related facilities” suggests that Zarif may be encouraging restrictions on nuclear activities that are civilian in nature, yet could have potential applications to a nuclear weapons program. This is something that Iran has consistently objected to in negotiations over its own nuclear program.

Yet in the same speech Zarif insisted that there should be no restrictions on the transfer of nuclear technology and nuclear know-how to signatories of the NPT that are not yet nuclear-armed states. Many opponents of the current nuclear negotiations are of the opinion that the Obama administration’s concessions regarding Iran’s nuclear enrichment capabilities constitute acknowledgment of Iran’s so-called “right to enrich.”

Zarif’s remarks assert even more nuclear rights and potentially even outline a situation in which Western democracies have a greater obligation to limit nuclear proliferation than do rogue states like Iran.