Iran’s Parliament Alters the Deal

Despite reports that Iran’s parliament has endorsed the deal with the P5+1, the actual law endorsed by the parliament differs substantially from the JCPOA.  As IranTruth reported on Monday, the parliament hotly debated the deal and finally passed a law that held Iran to only completely voluntary compliance on a provisional basis.  Now Lori Lowenthal Marcus has a report on a translation of the law passed by parliament that shows that the Iranian law is simply not the same as the JCPOA.

Ending Israel’s program is apparently point one of the nine point document approved by the Majlis on Tuesday.

Amir Tehari tweet

Under Point five of the Majlis version of the Nuclear Iran Deal, conversion of enriched uranium at the Arak plutonium plant is conditional to other side deals.

Point six of the Majlis Nuclear Iran Deal forbids the inspection of any military site or the interviewing of any officer, which, Taheri points out, were promoted as key elements of the Nuclear Iran Deal by U.S. President Obama and his administration.

Point seven of the Majlis version of the Nuclear Iran Deal calls on the Iranian government to strengthen Iran’s defense, especially its missile arsenal.

The nine point Majlis document, following Tuesday’s approval, now goes to the Iranian Council of Guardians for their review on Thursday. That is the same day President Obama has said he will affix his signature to the version of the deal drafted by his negotiators.

As Taheri pointed out in an article first published in the New York Post, “Obama Will Be the Only Person Sticking to the Iran Deal.”

This is completely in line with the warning expressed by Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) David S. Jonas, in his article “Five Reasons Why the Iran Deal is Still a Really Bad Idea.”  In addition to serving as political cover for Iran to pursue the bomb, he writes, it gives Iran room to prevent inspections.  Even under the terms of the JCPOA, Iran is permitted the latitude to pursue “peaceful” enrichment and nuclear activities.  Point six of the Iranian parliamentary bill, which forbids inspecting military sites or interviewing military officers, will block IAEA inspectors from learning about any other sort of activities, while the “peaceful” program will give apology for a whole host of possible secret activities.

Likewise, as Jonas pointed out, the only language in the JCPOA that is strong on the subject of Iran’s nuclear weapons program is in the nonbinding preface.  That reads “Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek, develop, or acquire any nuclear weapons.”  However, the preface does not have an enforcement clause, and the statement is merely an affirmation by Iran’s government.  Iran’s leadership has openly stated that it intends defiance of the Security Council ruling on the JCPOA.  As Iranian deputy foreign minister Araghchi stated, the JCPOA itself is in no way binding on Iran.  He advised the Iranian parliament not to ratify the deal:

Araghchi also noted that he believes it is not in Iran’s benefit for the Iranian parliament, the Majlis, to ratify the nuclear deal because there is a “series of voluntary actions in the JCPOA that will turn into obligations should the Majlis approves the deal.”

The parliament appears to have followed his advice.  The document they produced is not a ratification of the deal as written, but a completely new agreement that declares its project not to be the elimination of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, but of Israel’s.  It commits Iran to nothing, making “provisional” even those parts of the deal it claims to endorse.  It makes new demands on the international community with regard to the complete elimination of sanctions, demands that go beyond everything it agreed to with the JCPOA.  It bans the IAEA from receiving cooperation from military officers or the ability to inspect military facilities.  Rejecting even the very weak language on ballistic missiles contained in the deal — which “calls upon” rather than requiring Iran not to pursue such weapons — the Iranian version of the deal obligates its military to pursue advanced missile technology.

To what degree can you have a deal if no one agrees about what the terms of the deal really are?  The United States’ negotiating team agreed to a bad deal.  Iran’s alterations make the deal even worse.