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Who said Iran does not buckle under pressure? Just ask IAEA

Iran was previously forced to begin negotiations that led to the 2015 nuclear deal. This time around Iran has agreed to give IAEA access to inspect two of its nuclear sites.

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Critics of the Trump administration’s sanctions campaign against Iran have long argued that the Islamic Republic is impervious to pressure. This claim never had a strong foundation: After all, extreme duress — prolonged diplomatic isolation, coupled with crippling economic sanctions — forced Tehran’s theocrats to begin negotiations that led to the 2015 nuclear deal with the world powers.

More proof, if it were needed, of Iran’s susceptibility to pressure came this week, when the regime pledged to expand its cooperation with inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency. This announcement came soon after the United Nations nuclear watchdog rebuked Iran for failing to provide access to two sites where previous nuclear activity is thought to have taken place.

On Wednesday, during a visit to Tehran by IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi, the regime said it had agreed to give inspectors access to the two sites. A joint statement didn’t say when the inspections would take place, but that dates for access have been agreed.

The statement allows Iran to claim that it was “voluntarily” providing access to the sites. Grossi seems inclined to draw a curtain of charity over some of Iran’s more dubious behavior during previous inspections: In October, Tehran bizarrely claimed an IAEA inspector had tried to smuggle explosives into the enrichment facility in Natanz. But Grossi retains the right to yank the curtain back.

The joint statement is laden with caveats: “In this present context, based on analysis of available information,” the IAEA doesn’t have further questions for Iran, or further requests for access. Speaking with journalists in Vienna on his return from Tehran, Grossi said he could imagine making fresh demands if presented with more information of suspicious activity. That information could come from the inspections, or from revelations by foreign intelligence agencies — those of the U.S. and Israel prominent among them — that pay close attention to the Iranian nuclear program.

President Hassan Rouhani asserted that the agreement with the IAEA showed “Iran is ready as ever to work closely with the agency in the framework of safeguards.” This interpretation is directed at the UN Security Council, where the Trump administration is persisting with a doomed effort to reimpose the pre-2015 international sanctions. Rouhani is hoping that the nuclear deal’s other signatories will use Tehran’s cooperation with the IAEA to strengthen their argument against the so-called “snapback.”

Alert observers will recognize that the cooperation was coerced. Grossi himself pointed out that the announcement was the “result of dogged, systematic dialogue,” which is diplomatese for hardball.

The Trump administration will no doubt interpret this outcome as an argument for keeping the regime in Tehran in an economic and diplomatic straitjacket. If, as expected, efforts to “snapback” international sanctions come to naught, the U.S. will likely tighten its own sanctions, designed to punish companies and individuals seeking to do business with Iran.

Long before the coronavirus pandemic, American sanctions had hobbled the Iranian economy; the Covid-19 crisis has greatly sharpened the pain. The official death toll is nearing 20,000, but the real number is thought to be three times as high. Not even a stock market bubble can conceal the gloom. Saeed Laylaz, a prominent Tehran economist who had claimed, less than a year ago, that the Iranian economy was “stabilizing,” now concedes that the country has not come under this much pressure since the 13th-century Mongol invasion.

Even the regime’s prized nuclear program has shown itself vulnerable to sabotage — witness the blast last month at Natanz. Grossi and his inspectors would undoubtedly like a closer look there.

The regime will do its best to spin the new deal with the IAEA as a case for cutting Iran some slack. But there’s no concealing the reality that the Islamic Republic buckles under pressure.- Bloomberg

Also read: Trump is bringing the Iran nuclear deal back to life


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  1. So Trump left a deal cosigned with world powers. Iran had accepted it and was allowing regular inspections. All was well.
    Till Trump came out of the box and while the deal had something to do with Obama, he did not like that. Any other logic behind that? I don’t think so.

    So he left the treaty all by himself with no replacement and has said for two years that Iranians will come to talk again. Then he imposes destructive bullying sanctions which put the people under financial pressure instead of the government. That is just nonsense.

    A new treaty is almost impossible while Trump ordered a sneak attack that murdered an Iranian top general for no reason. They claim that the general was planning an attack on US forces but yet have failed to prove.
    And one more thing, when Iran superspeed boats may harras US navy in the Persian Gulf, that’s their country, what are we doing there?

  2. Iran has had the most cooperation with IAEA in the history. The number of inspections by IAEA teams from Iranian facilities is by far bigger than anything in the entire history of IAEA inspections. That has to be a Guinness world records.

    The inspections also grew in number because of JCPOA and decreased after US pulled out of it. So if anything US abandoning the agreement allowed Iran to kick inspectors out and limit their access because now they have an excuse.
    In other words if Trump hadn’t pulled out of JCPOA this scheduled inspection could have been the 20th one this year instead of the first!

  3. So hold on….you’re cheering maximum pressure for allowing IAEA in under limited terms, with advance notice, after years of maximum pressure, when this could have been done years ago had Trump not bailed on the JCPOA? You also don’t realize that this is Iran continuing to put Europe and others against the United States by showing some compliance while Trump attempts to bully the rest of the world into doing as it demands?

    Man…That’s some impressive logic you got there.

  4. Sadly, Bobby, you do not know the full past history of Iran’s interactions with the IAEA. A similar situation arose many years back when Iranians refused IAEA inspectors to visit a particular facility that IAEA believed was involved in the weapons program. After a lengthy song and dance, Iranians “relented” and allowed in the inspectors. Inside, the facility had turned into a bicycle manufacturing factory and it was obvious that the whole place had been scrubbed clean. However, IAEA sleuths did examine every centimeter of the HVAC ducting and found some grains of military grade uranium. Till date Iran has not accepted that report or its finding.

    So this is another song and dance. Iranians must have scrubbed clean the facility and so IAEA inspectors are welcome.
    This is a farce. Iran will eventually have their nuclear weapons. EU became their enabler and IAEA is their keystone cop.

    • Ah yes, the iranians will finally have their nuclear weapons. Remind me again, how long will that be? 6 months? 1 year? 2 years? Because it seems they’ve been that a year away from nukes since 1984. Yet another moron who believes the iranians are “about to get nukes”. If they really wanted nukes, they have it by now. If they didn’t want nukes, the actions undertaken by the US might very well change that.

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