Thursday, 16 January, 2020

US scientists to Trump: Keep the Iran Nuclear Deal

On Monday, a group of 37  U.S.  scientists published a letter they wrote to president-elect Donald Trump encouraging him to stand by the disastrous nuclear deal (JCPOA) Barack Obama signed with Iran.

29 of the same scientists had written Obama in August of 2015, praising JCPOA as “an innovative agreement, with much more stringent constraints than any previously negotiated non- proliferation framework.” Last January, the International Atomic Energy Agency advised the international community to remove the sanctions it had placed on Iran, stating Iran had slowed its nuclear program enough to begin receiving relief from longstanding sanctions.

There seems to be a split among incoming members of the Trump Administration; his nominee for Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, is rumored to favor keeping the deal, having said, “I want to make clear there’s no going back. Absent a clear and present violation [by Iran], I don’t think we can take advantage of some new president—Republican or Democrat—and say, ‘well, we’re not going to live up to our word in this agreement.’” Meanwhile, Trump’s incoming national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, said in June 2015, even before the final agreement was made, that Iran was hiding nuclear facilities.

The letter writers opined:

Iran has deactivated and put into storage under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) seal about 2/3 of its centrifuges, and it has exported more than 95% of its stockpile of low-enriched uranium—a springboard to weapon-usable highly enriched uranium. Iran no longer produces uranium with enrichment near 20%, as it did before the interim Joint Plan of Action (JPOA), but is restricted to 3.67% enrichment. As a result of the reduced centrifuge capacity and the elimination of the large stock of partially enriched uranium, the breakout time for Iran to produce enough highly enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon has increased to many months, from just a few weeks during the time that the JPOA was under negotiation.

Well, that’s certainly comforting, that it would only take months “to produce enough highly enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon.” Cause for celebration!

The scientists add, “IAEA inspectors now have the right to daily access at Iran’s enrichment plant at Natanz, and monitoring devices there make continuous on-line enrichment measurements. We are confident that no surprise breakout at this facility is possible.”

Trusting the IAEA? Isn’t that the same organization that concluded in December 2015 that Iran had not conducted nuclear weapons-related research after 2009? Yet as Iran Watch reported:

By the end of 2007, Iran had commenced feeding uranium hexafluoride gas into approximately 3,000 centrifuges it had installed at its site at Natanz. All were of the IR-1 variety. The number of these centrifuges then rose steadily. By late 2008 Iran had installed almost 5,000 centrifuges, and by August 2015, Iran had installed over 15,000 centrifuges and was feeding gas into more than 9,000 of them.  In February 2013, Iran began installing a more advanced centrifuge model at Natanz, referred to as the IR-2m.  By August 2015, 1,008 IR-2m centrifuges had been installed, though none had been fed with uranium gas. During this same period Iran made great strides in producing uranium hexafluoride at its Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF) in Isfahan. From March 2004 through February 2011, Iran produced a total of 371 tons of this material.

None of Iran’s history of lying matters to these scientists; but then, their generally naïve attitude toward the most brutal regimes on earth was exemplified by one of the leaders of their group, Siegfried S. Hecker, who naively concluded after North Korea conducted nuclear tests last January that the despotic regime was only thinking of defending itself. He stated:

But the thing that seems clear, just in terms of the nuclear weapons piece of this, is that North Korea looks at these nuclear weapons as a deterrent. During all of my visits and the discussions with their Foreign Ministry and the diplomats, rather than the technical people, they talked about their deterrent. So the emphasis was always deterrent, meaning deterring the United States from essentially, you know, going into North Korea, or, as they like to say, you know, our hostile policies.

These scientists want to enable the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism to manufacture a nuclear bomb in months?

Trump should burn the letter before America gets burned in a nuclear way.

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