The National Council of Resistance of Iran, which enjoys bi-partisan support from American politicians, says that the Parchin side deal allows Iran to “keep its previous work in the acquisition of the nuclear bomb perpetually secret which in turn will keep open the path for secret work and deceptions aimed at bomb-making.” They find the Associated Press report credible as it matches their own reporting going back eleven years.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran is one of two organizations claiming to be a government in exile since the Iranian revolution of 1979. The NCRI has been in formal existence since 1982. It enjoys wide bi-partisan support in the United States, with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton having cleared it of what her department found to be improper allegations by the Iranian government. Howard Dean, Newt Gingrich and John Bolton have also expressed their support for this organization, which champions human rights, the rights of women, and religious freedom. It is regarded by the Iranian regime as a terrorist organization, but both the United States and the European Union have rejected Iran’s characterization.
The NCRI’s statement on the Parchin deal says that its terms indicate that “the Iran regime is acutely fearful of revelations concerning its clandestine activities at Parchin” and that it will permit inspection of the site “under no terms.” NCRI accuses the IAEA of having agreed to terms that “are a de facto agreement not to inspect Parchin” and to permit the Iranian government to hide both its previous work and any secret work that it elects to continue there.
The statement draws particular attention to the signature of Brigadier General Ali Hosseini Tash of the Iran Revolutionary Guards Corps. NCRI has been reporting on Tash’s involvement in the nuclear weapons program for more than a decade, and describes him as “one of the principle officials involved in the acquisition of the nuclear weapon… who is totally familiar with [the] regime’s deceptions and clandestine work[.]” That he has been placed in charge of overseeing the Parchin facility’s relationship with the IAEA indicates to the NCRI that the regime is aware of the great sensitivity of the site. Parchin has reportedly already been undergoing extensive demolition, which suggests NCRI is correct about Iran’s knowledge of just how dangerous a genuine inspections program would be for Iran’s ability to keep secrets about their previous work. The choice of Tash to oversee this indicates “that the mullahs understand only firmness,” the NCRI believes.
According to NCRI’s previous reporting, Tash became the Ministry of Defense’s official for its Education Research Institute, which was tasked with nuclear and biological warfare research. In 2005, an NCRI report held that a Dr. Nasser Ehsani was working directly under the supervision of Tash to produce Beryllium Oxide as a component for plutonium bombs. In 2011, President Rouhani named him as one “handpicked by the regime’s leaders” as a member of Iran’s Supreme Nuclear Committee.
The alignment of the AP’s reported agreement with his signature suggests to the NCRI that the report is credible. A different kind of agreement would have been signed by a different kind of man. This kind of agreement is exactly the kind of agreement that a Revolutionary Guards commander handpicked by the mullahs for membership in their Supreme Nuclear Committee would sign. The NCRI, a group taken seriously by American political leaders of both parties and the European Union, believes the deal is credible and that it is unacceptable. It will not only allow Iran to cover its previous work on a bomb, the deal will allow Iran cover to continue to work on a bomb.