MESOP : Iran Openly Declares That It Intends To Violate UNSCR 2231 That Endorses The JCPOA

September 22, 2015MEMRI Daily Brief No.58 -By: Yigal Carmon*

In statements, three Iranian leaders – President Hassan Rohani, Foreign Minister Zarif, and Deputy Foreign Minister and senior negotiator Abbas Araghchi – emphasized that Iran has no intention of abiding by UNSRC 2231, which includes the JCPOA and another element; rather, that they will abide only by the original JCPOA.

The Iran nuclear deal consists of the following:

A.   A set of understandings between Iran and the P5+1 powers (as well as the remaining disagreements) all in a single package called the JCPOA. It is not a contract between Iran and the P5+1 countries as a group or any single one of them, and hence no document was signed.

B.   This set of mutual understandings (as well as disagreements) packaged in the JCPOA was transferred, following the conclusion of negotiations in Vienna on July 14, 2015, to the UN Security Council, for endorsement as a UN Security Council resolution. The resolution, UNSCR 2231, was passed on July 25, 2015 and it includes, in addition to the JCPOA, another element (Annex B) with further stipulations regarding Iran. For example, it addresses the sanctions on Iran’s missile development project.

To understand why UNSCR 2231 is structured in this way, we can look at statements by top Iranian negotiators about the process that led up to it:

In a July 20, 2015 interview on Iranian Channel 2, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister and senior negotiator Abbas Araghchi said that there had been tough bargaining between the Iranian and American delegations over the issue of the arms embargo on Iran and the sanctions related to Iran’s missile development project. “The Americans sought their inclusion in the JCPOA, claiming that otherwise they could not face criticism from Arab countries in the region. When they said that they could not lift the sanctions altogether, we told them explicitly that in that case there is no agreement. We told them that the national security issues are non-negotiable and that we will not accept an agreement which continues the embargo on weapons and the sanctions on missile development. In the end, the Americans said, We will put the issue of the embargo and the missiles in the UN Security Council Resolution separate from the agreement.”

In the same interview, Araghchi was asked whether Iran could refrain from carrying out UNSCR 2231; he replied: “Yes we can; just as we refrained from complying with UN Security Council resolutions, we can do so with regards to 2231.”

Araghchi also referred to the Iranian Foreign Ministry statement issued following the passage of UNSCR 2231: “The Iranian Foreign Ministry statement explicitly noted that Iran does not attach legitimacy to any restriction and any threat. If UNSCR 2231 will be violated by Iran, it will be a violation of the Security Council resolution and not of the JCPOA, similar to what happened 10 years ago when we violated Security Council resolutions and nothing happened. The text of the JCPOA notes the fact that the content of the JCPOA and of the UN Security Council resolution are two separate things.”[1]

Foreign Minister Zarif, in an August 9, 2015 media interview, reiterated the Iranian position regarding the difference between the JCPOA and UNSCR 2231, with a focus on the consequences of possible violation of the two by Iran. He said: “There is a difference between the JCPOA and UNSCR 2231. Violating the JCPOA has consequences, while violating UNSCR 2231 has no consequences.”[2]

Indeed, the restrictions regarding missiles are mentioned only in UNSCR 2231, and not in the JCPOA.

On August 29, 2015, Iranian President Hassan Rohani said: “There is nothing about the topic of missiles, defense, and weapons in the JCPOA.  Whatever we have about it is in Resolution [UNSCR] 2231… Moreover, we have formally announced that we are not committed to all the sections that appear in the resolution [2231], and we specified in the JCPOA that violation of the resolution [2231] does not mean violation of the JCPOA…[3]

The meaning of all this is that in everything related to the issue of missile development, Iran will disregard UNSCR 2231. Already during the negotiations, it insisted on no imposition of sanctions on Iran regarding its missile development (and no sanctions at all). When the Americans moved the sanctions on the missile program to UNSCR 2231, Iran did not object, as, according to their statements above, they can violate Security Council resolutions, as they have done in the past, and this will not be regarded as a violation of the JCPOA.


[1] .

[2] Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said this at an August 9, 2015 conference sponsored by the Iranian daily Ittil’at with other senior negotiators in attendance. See text in Farsi here.

[3], August 30, 2015.


MESOP : WHO TESTS WHOM ? – Iranian Experts Test Parchin Site Without Presence of UN Nuclear Inspectors

Head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations nuclear watchdog, says that the samples meet strict agency standards. The Associated Press and Francois Murphy Sep 21, 2015 5:14 PM – REUTERS and AP – Environmental samples have been taken at a sensitive military site in Iran, the head of the UN nuclear watchdog said on Monday, citing “significant progress” in its investigation of Tehran’s past activities. Such sampling is usually done by experts of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency. But IAEA chief Yukiya Amano says that Iranians carried out that part of the probe at Parchin. The transfer appeared to be part of a confidential draft agreement with the agency that allows Iran to gather its own samples.

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PolicyWatch 2487 – September 21, 2015 – Featuring David Petraeus and James F. Jeffrey –  On September 16, The Washington Institute held a special one-day conference on the ramifications of the Iran nuclear agreement. The following is a rapporteur’s summary of remarks by former CIA director Gen. David Petraeus (Ret.) and James Jeffrey, the former U.S. ambassador to Iraq and Turkey. To read summaries of other panels or watch video of the forum, visit the event webpage (

Although it is far too soon to assess the nuclear deal’s impact on the Middle East, it may prove to be a watershed moment for the region, in terms of both Iran and America’s role there. It is reasonable to suggest that the deal will increase the resources available to the regime over time — meaning more money and weapons to escalate its destabilizing regional activities if it so chooses, in part through clients and proxies such as Hezbollah, the Assad regime, Hamas, Yemen’s Houthis, and various Shiite militias in Iraq. More broadly, the deal could accelerate the imbalance of power between Iran and its Sunni Arab rivals.

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September 21, 2015 – Featuring Robert Einhorn and Olli Heinonen –

On September 16, The Washington Institute held a special one-day conference on the ramifications of the Iran nuclear agreement. The following is a rapporteur’s summary of remarks by former State Department counterproliferation advisor Robert Einhorn and former IAEA deputy director-general Olli Heinonen. Read Part 1, featuring Ellen Laipson and Amos Yadlin (, or download remarks by Treasury official Adam Szubin (


The nuclear deal with Iran is a net plus for nonproliferation. The question of whether other regional countries will go down the nuclear path depends on whether Tehran complies with the terms, and whether the deal is perceived as an effective barrier to the Islamic Republic obtaining a nuclear weapon. Another variable is Iran’s regional behavior. Will it use the presumed windfall from sanctions relief to support proxies? A third variable is the role of the United States. Is Washington seen as a reliable security partner, one fully committed to preventing Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons indefinitely?

Yet proliferation risks need to be examined in terms of individual countries. Egypt considered the idea of nuclear weapons in the 1950s and 1960s, and it has engaged in certain related activities over the years. Today, however, it faces internal threats, so it is difficult to imagine Egyptian leaders seeing nuclear weapons as necessary. In addition, Cairo does not have the financial capability.

Turkey is economically stronger than Egypt but still struggling. Like Cairo, it does not feel directly threatened by Iran — it sees Tehran as more of a regional rival.

Saudi Arabia has the greatest incentive to match Iran’s nuclear capabilities. In recent years, Saudi confidence in Washington’s reliability on security issues has declined. The kingdom clearly has the financial resources to make a run for nuclear weapons, but it lacks the expertise and skilled personnel needed for an indigenous program. And while the Saudis may have funded Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program, it is doubtful that Islamabad would risk becoming an accomplice to a Saudi weapons program. Without Pakistani help, Riyadh has very few options.

Civil nuclear energy programs in the region do not pose a threat, though they do provide a venue for gaining expertise and are a first step toward potentially obtaining nuclear weapons. The United Arab Emirates undertook a commitment not to enrich or reprocess uranium, but they still have civil nuclear power programs.

Given all of these factors, one outcome seems most likely: just as there is only one country in the Middle East with nuclear weapons today, there will be only one country with nuclear weapons in twenty years.

As for missiles, short-range programs are not terribly worrisome from a nuclear perspective, though they can be. But medium- or intermediate-range missile capabilities are cause for concern. There is a growing missile race in the Middle East. Past UN Security Council decisions contained restrictions on missile technology, but Iran never accepted their legitimacy. Restrictions on ballistic missiles have been renewed in a new Security Council resolution, but they are not included in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which the Iranians argue is the only binding document.

Iran’s space program has raised concerns as well; it has rockets that can boost satellites into orbit, and that is the same technology used to boost a ballistic missile. The targets are different, but the technology is the same. Clearly, the Iranians could seek to develop a long-range missile capability under the guise of a space program. They have already conducted a number of tests, and the assumption is that they will try to improve their space launch capability.

To keep Iran’s behavior in check, all parties must play their role. The sanctions community has to be vigilant and willing to restore restrictions if Iran violates the agreement’s terms. But the most important actors in determining whether Iran obtains a nuclear weapon are the U.S. president and Congress. They need to support America’s regional partners and maintain a strong, credible commitment to the issue.


Iran’s nuclear program will not really be contained by the JCPOA, because it can expand in fifteen years. And it will pose a risk to other countries. Should these countries look to the United States for security assistance or obtain their own nuclear capabilities? This is the situation the international community is facing — the Iran deal will make the proposal for a “Weapons of Mass Destruction-Free Zone” in the Middle East much more complicated.

Building nuclear programs takes time, so there will not be any abrupt changes in the region’s proliferation status. Since the nuclear agreement is already in place, the question therefore becomes how to reduce the risks of breakout. Yet while various measures could help alleviate concerns in the region, there are numerous proliferation risks as well.

Saudi Arabia has launched an ambitious nuclear power program as part of its efforts to develop the economy. The kingdom also wants to be prepared in case it needs to build its independent fuel-cycle capabilities. But Pakistan shares a border with Iran, so it will think twice before helping Saudi Arabia further its nuclear program.

More worrisome are the “possible military dimensions” of Iran’s nuclear program, which will haunt the international community for years. The JCPOA is not a nonproliferation agreement, but rather a political agreement with a nonproliferation aspect. Iran has not changed its nuclear course and continues uranium enrichment, and it is only implementing provisional restrictions. In addition to longstanding concerns about missiles, one should not discount the potential risk of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapon — a type of nuclear device exploded high in the atmosphere in order to disrupt electrical components on the ground. Iran could design such a weapon, though its greater challenge may lie in developing a missile delivery system capable of reaching the United States. The reality of the EMP risk is unclear; North Korea might be more of a threat on this issue than Iran.

More broadly, the International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran could have avoided much controversy if they had not made their agreements confidential. Yet there is still a mechanism by which this information can be made available: per Article 5 of the IAEA safeguards agreement with Iran, any members of the agency’s Board of Governors can ask to see the confidential “side letter,” and even go public with it if they so choose. Since Iran and agency officials are talking about the verification regime, the board has ample reason to request those details, and IAEA officials cannot say no because the board has authority over them. If one of the board’s thirty-five member countries — which include the United States — asks to see the agreement, then the agency has to show it. Yet they have apparently not made such a request thus far, likely to avoid stoking more public debate on the particulars of the inspection process.

Whatever the case, Washington will be one of the main actors in keeping Iran’s behavior in check, as will those neighboring countries who would most feel the effects of a nuclear Iran. Within ten to fifteen years, Iran’s breakout time will lessen significantly and could become as short as a couple weeks. The question would then be whether Tehran is in fact making a nuclear device. The only way to find out will be intelligence.

This summary was prepared by Erica Wenig.

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Telegraph News@TelegraphNews 1h1 hour agoIran hails Jeremy Corbyn for ‘shaking the British ruling class’ 



PolicyWatch 2485 – September 18, 2015 – Featuring Ellen Laipson and Amos Yadlin

On September 16, The Washington Institute held a special one-day conference on the ramifications of the Iran nuclear agreement. The following is a rapporteur’s summary of remarks by former U.S. national intelligence officer Ellen Laipson and former Israeli defense intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin (Ret.). The other panels will be summarized in forthcoming PolicyWatches; the keynote address by Adam Szubin, the Treasury Department’s acting under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, is available at – Iran has been heavily monitored for a long time. It was a priority target before the P5+1 talks, and monitoring increased during the negotiation process. Many techniques are available to continue this monitoring, and they have been improving. Technology for remote sensing is more advanced, open-source techniques are more useful, and financial intelligence networks are vastly better than they were. The Treasury Department in particular has acquired great expertise in tracking illicit transactions. It has deployed personnel to areas with high levels of Iranian commerce, and its Office of Foreign Assets Control has become a major source of intelligence on Iran’s behavior.

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THE GERMAN KURDISH CHAPTER MESOP : da capo al fine ! Auf Waldheims Spuren – Der österreichische Präsident Heinz Fischer ist mit einer großen Wirtschaftsdelegation in den Iran gereist.

VON STEPHAN GRIGAT / jungle world

Es war der erste Besuch eines europäischen Staatsoberhaupts im Iran seit 2004: Der österreichische Bundespräsident Heinz Fischer hat vergangene Woche dem iranischen Regime seine Aufwartung gemacht. Neben dem sozialdemokratischen Präsidenten reisten Wirtschaftsminister und Vizekanzler Reinhold Mitterlehner, Außenminister Sebastian Kurz und Wirtschaftskammer-Präsident Christoph Leitl von der konservativen Österreichischen Volkspartei (ÖVP) mit. Letzterer freute sich über »die größte Wirtschaftsdelegation, die jemals einen Bundespräsidenten auf Staatsbesuch begleitet hat«. 240 österreichische Manager von 140 Firmen hatten sich aufgemacht, um bei einem Wirtschaftsforum mit rund 700 iranischen Geschäftsleuten unter den Konterfeis von Ruhollah Khomeini und Ali Khamenei neue Geschäftsmöglichkeiten zu sondieren.

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EAST KURDISTAN (IRAN) – BEYOND THE VOTE – Implications for the Sanctions Regime on Iran

Adam Szubin – Acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Treasury Department – United States

KEYNOTE REMARKS – Earlier today, senior Treasury official Adam Szubin delivered the keynote address at a special one-day Washington Institute conference on the nuclear deal’s ramifications. His remarks focused on the impact of the sanctions relief that will be extended to Iran, as well as the specific nature and scope of the numerous restrictions that will remain in place. The under secretary offered detailed answers to several pressing questions: How much extra money will Tehran actually have access to once it fulfills its obligations? When will this money become available? How much of it will likely need be earmarked for urgent economic and oil-industry revitalization, as opposed to terrorism sponsorship, arms transfers, and other destabilizing activities? And how exactly will the U.S. government and its partners enforce remaining sanctions, deter violations, punish infractions, and, if necessary, institute “snap back”?

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Macht, Umwelt und eine bevorstehende Völkerwanderung / Von ALI SADRZADEH

Der Iran geht einer Umweltkatastrophe entgegen, die das Land irreversibel verändern wird. Präsidentenberater Issa Kalantari spricht von einer bevorstehenden Fluchtbewegung von unbekanntem Ausmaß. Die Misere sei vor allem das Werk von Menschen: Hauptverantwortung trage der frühere Präsident Ahmadinedschad, so Kalantari. Er müsse wegen Genozids angeklagt werden. mehr »

Ohne Flüchtlinge keine Aufmerksamkeit. Und je höher ihre Zahl, umso größer muss die Katastrophe sein, der sie entkommen sind. Und nun das: „Geht es so weiter wie bisher, dann werden in absehbarer Zeit 50 Millionen Iraner heimatlos sein. Sie werden gezwungen sein, das Land zu verlassen.“ Eine erschreckende Prognose, deren Eintreten das aktuelle syrische Drama weit in den Schatten stellen würde. Noch erschreckender ist, dass dieser Satz keineswegs von irgendeinem sensationsgierigen Journalisten stammt, sondern von einem anerkannten Experten.

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