White House National Security Adviser John Bolton revealed on Tuesday that Iran repeatedly violated the 2015 nuclear deal, contradicting statements by U.S. intelligence officials that Tehran was in compliance with the now-jettisoned accord, reports The Washington Free Beacon.
Bolton was asked during a briefing for reporters if he would acknowledge Iran is complying with Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the deal is called, and told reporters, “I don’t, no.”
“I think there are plenty of cases where we’re simply incapable of saying whether they’re in compliance or not,” Bolton said. “There are others where I think they’ve clearly been in violation.”
Bolton said one example was Iran’s production of heavy water that repeatedly exceeded the limits permitted under the 2015 agreement.
Heavy water, or deuterium oxide, is a form of water used in nuclear reactors. It can be used to produce plutonium, a key fuel for nuclear weapons.
“They’re almost in the heavy water production business,” Bolton said. “They sell excess to Oman. They’ve sold it to European countries. It’s a way of keeping the heavy water production facilities alive.”
“They’re warm, and that’s part of the danger and they have exceeded the limits,” he added.
Bolton said there were other Iranian violations that he could discuss but did not do so during the briefing on President Trump’s decision to pull out of the international agreement.
The president had until May 12 to decide whether to renew a waiver of financial sanctions on Iran required under 2012 legislation. In January, Trump announced he would not renew the waiver unless shortcomings in the JCPOA were fixed.
NSC spokesman Robert Palladino said the most notable Iranian violations of the JCPO involved exceeding limits on heavy water stockpiles in 2016.
“Iran has also regularly pushed the boundaries of the deal, for example failing to meet expectations on its operation of advanced centrifuges, as the president highlighted in his speech on October 13, 2017,” he said.
“Iran’s leaders also stated that they would not allow inspections of military facilities, a position that is clearly inconsistent with Iran’s JCPOA obligation to implement the Additional Protocol,” Palladino added.
In June, Tehran announced it was shipping 20 tons of heavy water to avoid breaching the accord.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) disclosed a number of Iranian violations of the nuclear deal in July when the State Department was considering certifying Iran in compliance with the accord.
On heavy water production, Iran repeatedly exceeded limits allowed under the JCPOA for heavy water stockpiles and the material is “key to Iran’s plutonium pathway to nuclear weapons,” Cotton stated in a letter to the State Department signed by three other senators.
Under a loophole in the nuclear deal, the Iranians have claimed a right to produce unlimited amounts of heavy water and to retain ownership of the stockpiles as long as Tehran claims to be seeking foreign buyers for the heavy water, the senators stated.
“In doing so, Iran has effectively read the heavy-water limitation out of the JCPOA,” the letter states.
Other the Iranian JCPOA violations outlined by the senators include:
- Operating more advanced nuclear centrifuges than are permitted by the agreement and maintaining more advanced centrifuges than required for its permitted nuclear enrichment activities.
- German intelligence agencies reported in 2015 and 2016 that despite the JCPOA prohibitions, Iran has continued illicit attempts to buy nuclear and missile technology outside of JCPOA-approved channels.
- Iran has refused to grant international inspections of nuclear research and military facilities.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, until recently the CIA director, said April 12 of Teheran’s compliance with the nuclear accord that “I’ve seen no evidence that they’re not in compliance today.”
The judgment reflects what some intelligence critics have said is a widespread bias within the U.S. intelligence community in favor of keeping the Iran nuclear deal.
Bolton told reporters Tuesday that the Iran deal was defective and that the administration would be seeking to reach a more comprehensive international agreement that addressed the totality of Iran’s nefarious activities, including missile defense and support for terrorism.
“Look, this deal was fundamentally flawed, as the president said,” Bolton said. “It does not do what it purports to do. It does not prevent Iran from developing deliverable nuclear weapons. It allows Iran to continue technologies like uranium enrichment, reprocessing of plutonium. It allows them—even if they’re in compliance with the deal—to increase their research and development on the sophistication of their nuclear capabilities. And it simply has an utterly inadequate treatment of the military dimension of Iran’s aspirations.”
Liberal lawmakers need to understand what every other lawmaker is seeing and which is that Iran is not following the agreement under the JCPOA and Trump was correct for taking down the deal in order to create a new one.