Report claims loopholes in Iran nuclear deal
London - Iran has 50 tonnes of material that can be used to create nuclear weapons stored in Oman and under the Islamic republic’s control, a report by the Institute for Science and International Security, a Washington think-tank, stated.
The motivations behind the storage of the nuclear materials came with the revelation by the think-tank that Tehran received last-minute “secret” exceptions from the United States and its negotiating partners, known as the P5+1, to meet the deadline for the removal of economic sanctions.
The Institute for Science and International Security, in a report released September 1st, said the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) placed detailed limitations on Iran’s nuclear programme that needed to be met by January 16th, 2016.
The report said Iran met most of the conditions but some nuclear stocks and facilities were not in accordance with set limits by mid- January and the Joint Commission secretly exempted the Islamic republic from those limits.
The think-tank revealed that among the exemptions were two that allowed Tehran to exceed the limits set by the deal as it pertains to how much low-enriched uranium (LEU) Iran could keep in its nuclear facilities, with a senior official stating, off the record, that without the approved exemptions, the deadline would not have been met.
According to the report, a loophole was agreed to that would allow before the deadline for Iran to export heavy water in excess of the JCPOA’s 130 tonnes cap for sale on the open market.
However, with no buyers, the Joint Commission allowed Iran to store large amounts of heavy water in Oman but still under Tehran’s control, in effect, “allowing Iran to exceed its cap of 130 tonnes of heavy water as it continues to produce heavy water at its Arak facility”, the report said.
“There are a number of points regarding the Iranian nuclear agreement that warrants concern and has led some in the US to question it, while others are enthusiastic about the agreement,” said Alex Vatanka, senior fellow and Iran expert at the Middle East Institute in Washington.
Vatanka attributed the exemptions to the Obama administration’s determination to secure an agreement with Iran under any circumstances, adding that this agreement was not just a demand from Washington but that there were other parties, including Moscow, exerting pressure for this agreement.
The revelation of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member Oman’s involvement in facilitating matters for the Islamic republic, with the approval of the Joint Committee comes at a time when the majority of the GCC have either severed ties with Tehran or have downgraded relations due to what the council describes as Iranian interference in Gulf Arab affairs.
There is a belief within the other GCC members that Muscat is pivoting too closely towards Tehran and a fear that its traditional path of neutrality has been compromised. Saudi authorities were taken by surprise over news that, in late 2014, Oman brokered talks between the United States and Iran that eventually led to the nuclear agreement between Tehran and world powers.
In January, when a mob attacked the Saudi embassy in Tehran over the execution of a radical Shia preacher whose followers were tied to a number of police killings, Oman did not sever or downgrade diplomatic ties with Iran.
After the think-tank report’s release, US State Department spokesman John Kirby denied the nuclear agreement had been breached, stating: “There’s been no loosening of the commitments and Iran has not and will not under the JCPOA be allowed to exceed the limits that are spelled out in the JCPOA.”