What exactly has the P5+1 group won in negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program? Barack Obama and John Kerry both insist that the framework for the deal ensures verification of compliance on restrictions against military use, while Iran has said for weeks that they won’t allow for inspections at military facilities — precisely where that work would take place. Iran’s Supreme Leader upped the ante today. Ali Khameini told graduates at a military academy that not only will he reject any inspections at nuclear facilities, but he won’t even allow inspectors to interview nuclear scientists to determine the direction of their work:
After the last round of talks ended on Friday, a barrage of complaints erupted on the Iranian state news media over reported demands by the United States for broad mandates for nuclear inspectors working for the United Nations nuclear watchdog.
The comments by Ayatollah Khamenei seemingly cement the Iranian position that a requirement for inspections of sites not designated by the country as part of its nuclear energy program is a nonstarter. While not new, the statement could further tie the hands of Iran’s negotiating team, led by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who on Friday said that a comprehensive deal before the self-imposed June 30 deadline was still possible. …
“They say the right to interview nuclear scientists must be given,” Ayatollah Khamenei said, according to his website. “This means interrogation. I will not let foreigners come and talk to scientists and dear children of the nation who have developed this science up to this level.”
If that’s the case, then what exactly does “verification” mean in terms of this deal? If the IAEA cannot access the military installations or talk to the scientists working at them (the Iranians are afraid of having them identified for assassination), then that leaves … trusting them not to violate the agreement. Just as a reminder, we’re in this position because the world trusted them not to violate the Non-Proliferation Treaty to which Iran is a signatory, and look how well that worked out.
Last week, John Kerry argued that the deal he’s crafting with Tehran could “serve as an example to North Korea.” Undoubtedly it already is:
“There is a stark comparison between the direction in which he is moving and the direction in which Iran has chosen to move, at least to this moment. And our hopes are that if we can, at the end of June, succeed in achieving an agreement with Iran, perhaps that can serve as an example to North Korea about a better way to move, a better way to try to behave, a more legitimate entry road to the global community and to the norms of international behavior.”
At least from Iran’s behavior, it looks like the example is this: Keep talking as long as possible and the West will eventually cave. Not even the kangaroo-court trial of an American citizen will stop the appeasement. Jason Rezaian will finally go to court next week in Tehran on absurd espionage charges, a trial which the Obama administration has declined to link to ongoing negotiations:
State TV and other news outlets quoted an unnamed judiciary official as saying the first session of the trial of Jason Rezaian, 39, will be held next Tuesday. The official did not say whether the hearing would be open to the public.
It said two other suspects who were detained alongside Rezaian will also be tried.
Rezaian’s defense lawyer, Leila Ahsan, confirmed the report. She told The Associated Press that she learned of the hearing from news outlets but confirmed the news with the court.
The National, which employs Rezaian’s wife Yeganeh Salehi, says that neither had been allowed to meet with an attorney until April — and only for an hour, in the presence of Iranian authorities:
The charges against Salehi and a third suspect — both of whom are currently on bail — have never been specified publicly. The third person, who has not been named, is a freelance photographer who worked for foreign media.
“It seems that all three will appear together,” said Leila Ahsan, the lawyer representing Rezaian and Salehi.
“If there is sufficient time the trial will start but if not the proceedings will be dealt with in another court session.”
Rezaian was not allowed to meet Ms Ahsan to prepare for the trial until earlier this month when they met in the presence of judiciary officials for about an hour, his brother, Ali, told the Voice of American Persian service. He said it was unlikely Rezaian will be allowed to meet her again before next week’s trial.
Yes, it’s quite an example Kerry et al are setting for North Korea.