In an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Gen. H. R. McMaster, the administration’s national security adviser, told host Chris Wallace that Iran “has already violated parts of the agreement,” referring to the 2015 nuclear deal.
McMaster called for “rigorous enforcement” of the deal, observing that the deal was not meant for “giving this regime cover to develop a nuclear capability.” He also described the deal as currently being “under-enforced.”
When Wallace said that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had found that Iran was “complying with the deal,” McMaster responded, “the IAEA has identified and we’ve identified some of these breaches that Iran has then corrected.” However, the number of breaches showed that “they’re not just walking up to the line on the agreement. They’re crossing the line at times.”
In addition to Iran’s ongoing violations of the nuclear deal, which he characterized using President Donald Trump’s description as “the worst deal,” McMaster noted that Iran is increasing its destabilizing behavior in the Middle East by, for instance, providing up to 80% of the foreign fighters currently in Syria defending the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
McMaster asserted that “we can’t allow this deal to enable” Iran’s “destabilizing behavior.”
In a research memo published this week, Tzvi Kahn, a senior Iran analyst at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, backed up McMaster’s assertions. Khan noted that Iran has violated the deal numerous times in “letter and spirit,” including twice by accumulating heavy water in excess of the limits set in the deal, assembling advanced centrifuges, attempting to obtain carbon fibers used in manufacturing centrifuges and refusing inspections of military sites.
“Misleading claims of IAEA certification of Iranian compliance implicitly bestow an authoritative legal imprimatur on Tehran’s nuclear activities where none exists,” Kahn asserted. “In so doing, they obscure not only key omissions in the IAEA’s reporting of Iranian behavior, but also evidence that Iran has violated the deal’s letter and spirit – problems that should have elicited a response by members of the Joint Commission.”
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