Particularly of issue is the question of verification. Iran has been famously deceptive about its activities, barring international inspectors’ access to suspicious sites and stonewalling a probe by the International Atomic Energy Agency into the past military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear work. As Dr. Alejo Vidal-Quadras, a former Spanish Member of the European Parliament and president of the International Committee in Search of Justice (ISJ) put it in an online talk broadcast Tuesday through IranFreedom.org, “[The leaders of the Iranian regime] never comply with agreements, they never respect agreements, and they always go on with hidden nuclear activities.”
In his question-and-answer session, Vidal-Quadras also referred to an ISJ report, released last November, that detailed the overlap between civilian and military infrastructures that are dedicated to nuclear research and uranium enrichment. The former MP and trained radiation physicist declared that the report clearly proved that the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program is and always has been military in nature, with civilian personnel and institutions operating as a sort of cover for illicit nuclear work.
Such claims undermine Iranian officials’ attempts to separate Iran’s military sites from the nuclear issue in absence of any international inspections. On Monday, IANS quoted Hamid Baeidinejad, a member of the Iranian negotiating team as saying that Iran’s military facilities have nothing to do with the nuclear issue and need not be inspected by the IAEA.
This came alongside comments by Majid Takht-e-Ravanchi, another Iranian negotiator regarding “excessive demands by the opposite side” of the nuclear talks.
IANS also notes that IAEA Directory Yukiya Amano recently declared that he expects the June 30 agreement to give his organization the authority to pursue inspections of Iran’s military sites. But it is not clear whether this is the case, especially in light of ongoing disputes about the exact provisions outlined in the framework agreement that was announced on April 2.
Alongside other persistent questions about what the final agreement will entail, many analysts and critics have raised the question of whether Iran will be required to provide answers about the past military dimensions of its nuclear program. The IAEA probe on this topic has only generated serious replies to one of a dozen key questions, despite having been ongoing for as long as the P5+1 negotiations.
If the results of that probe align with the findings of the ISJ report last November, it will strongly contradict the Iranian narrative about its nuclear program, which it has used to justify many of the regime’s intransigent positions, including resistance to intrusive inspections and refusal to prove compliance before the removal of sanctions.