Washington, 25 Jun – Iran’s main opposition group on Thursday unveiled a detailed report on Tehran’s strategies in nuclear negotiations with the world powers, which it is purportedly pursuing to keep its nuclear infrastructure intact and retain the capability to produce a nuclear weapon.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the group which first blew the whistle on Iran’s secret uranium enrichment and heavy-water sites in 2002, provided the 28-page report titled “Can the Iran regime be trusted?” at a press conference in Washington.
The group said Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who “personally defined and articulated the framework for the nuclear talks for the negotiation team”, had put red lines for international inspectors having access to Iranian military sites and nuclear scientists and any halt to nuclear Research and Development (R&D).
“The framework that Khamenei has specified … has been that the talks must only focus on previously revealed sites, projects and aspects of the nuclear program that cannot be denied. In the meantime, the apparatus in its entirety, especially the weaponization aspect and its various branches, must remain untouched, intact, and not mentioned in the talks at all. Attention and focus in this regard should be marginalized and made secondary issues in the talks”, said Alireza Jafarzadeh, deputy director of the group’s Washington bureau.
“The Iranian regime has deliberately used the illusion of ‘trust building’ to neutralize necessary and indispensable ‘transparency’ measures that are the critical components of any successful nuclear agreement”.
The report, reviewing two periods of international negotiations with Iran (2003-2004 and 2013-2015), specified seven ‘principles’ in Tehran’s approach regarding the talks.
“As far as Tehran is concerned the military dimensions of the nuclear program have been removed as much as possible from the talks; they either have never been discussed or they have been intentionally minimized or watered down. The military sites have in principle been excluded from inspections. In exceptional cases where access has been granted, it has been fully controlled, limited, opaque and specifically designed to remove the issue from the table”, the report said.
“The negotiations and even any agreements that have been made have just involved the disclosed aspects of the nuclear program and Tehran has never showed any desire to reveal all aspects of its nuclear program”.
Under Khamenei’s orders, the report said, “Research and Development has not ceased at any juncture”.
“The composition of key and decision-making figures on the nuclear program has not changed significantly in the past two decades and they remain mostly the same individuals”.
The NCRI report said Tehran had employed at least eight tactics to achieve its goals in the nuclear negotiations:
Buying time and prolonging the negotiations; distracting attention from the Possible Military Dimensions of the programme; refusing or deferring access of the UN nuclear watchdog (IAEA) to sensitive sites; refusing to provide information and lack of transparency regarding projects, smuggling networks, or illicit measures until disclosures are made by other sources; deferring providing answers until lengthy reports are prepared and until pertinent authorities of the regime’s counterparts have studied the reports; inducing a perception that negotiations are proceeding forward as a tactic to extract concessions; removing the issue of Research and Development from discussions; and carrying out side talks to resolve outstanding issues with just one party in the talks on the margins of the negotiations and then cornering other parties on the topic as a ‘fait accompli’.