Iranian intransigence is the primary obstacle to a deal over its nuclear program, according to an analysis written Tuesday in The National Interest by Emily Landau, a non-proliferation expert for Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies.
[I]f the P5+1–Iran negotiations break down, it will be because of Iran, the dangerous and defiant proliferator that has barely budged, not only over the past twelve months, but over the past twelve years. It will be the fault of Iran’s harsh and uncompromising leadership, who has no interest in a deal that would undermine Iran’s ability to move to nuclear weapons at a time of its choosing.
Landau points out that despite some cosmetic, reversible concession, Iran has not, in fact, retreated from a single position it held at the beginning of negotiations.
Iran has refused to budge from its insistence on maintaining its quick breakout capability, so if it has agreed to anything at all with regard to P5+1 demands, it is the absolute minimum, and nothing that would undermine this capability. In fact, over the past year, Iran has been very vocal about everything it will not do: it will not dismantle centrifuges, nor will it close problematic facilities; indeed, Iran wants to significantly expand its nuclear program. Iran refuses to discuss the weaponization activities it is suspected of having carried out, and it has been stonewalling on the requests of the IAEA in this regard. Iran blatantly ignored an August 25 deadline that the IAEA set for Iran to answer only two to three questions on its list. Iran also refuses to discuss its vast ballistic-missile program, because according to Iran, these delivery mechanisms are “non-nuclear.”
Moreover, Landau points out that the negotiations have gotten away from the primary reason Iran was subject to sanctions by six United Nations Security Council resolutions in the first place, specifically the “cheating and deception per its NPT [Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty] commitment not to work on a military capability.”
Landau expresses her disappointment that rather than pressing Iran over its violations, the P5+1 “have been making offers of concessions and softening their demands” in the face of Iran’s “utter contempt and disdain for their major interlocutor in the nuclear talks.”
This last point was made in an editorial in The Washington Post in October, which observed that while the West has made significant efforts to compromise with Iran, “[i]f Iran has made similar efforts to bridge the gaps between the two sides, there is no report of them.”