Amirahmadi says Iran still "under yoke" despite PMD closure

Originally published in Trend

By Umid Niayesh

Closure of Iran’s PMD file won’t change the fact on the ground that the country is still “under the yoke” of the IAEA, UN Security Council, and the US for at least a decade, and perhaps far into the future, believes Hooshang Amirahmadi, president of American Iranian Council.

The Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) approved a resolution on Dec. 15 on closure of the possible military dimensions (PMD) in Tehran’s nuclear program.

“The PMD file was closed because it was no longer useful as a problem subject in Iran-IAEA conflict,” Amirahmadi told Trend Dec. 16.

“Closing the file has a symbolic significance for Iran as it could never acknowledge any past diversion, but its value for the US in particular had long been diminished given the fact that even American spy agencies had said that Iran had stopped its “illicit” nuclear activities by the end of 2003.”

“The IAEA’s latest report, which provided the basis for the resolution, simply reaffirmed that conclusion,” he added.

He further said the IAEA has now closed Iran’s PMD file but it has kept Iran’s nuclear file, including the suspicion of Iran’s intention, open until the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is fully implemented.

Only then the agency will reach at its broader conclusion regarding Iran’s nuclear program, Amirahmadi said, adding that thus, moving forward, the IAEA will be “intensely” focused on its intrusive monitoring of Iran’s “full implementation of the JCPOA.”

He said in this regard the IAEA Board of Governors’ Dec. 15 resolution, reaffirms that Iran shall cooperate fully and in a timely manner with the IAEA in implementing its comprehensive safeguards agreement and additional protocol, including by providing access.

This, as Amirahmadi noted, reaffirms that such cooperation and implementation are essential for the IAEA to reach broader conclusion that all nuclear material in Iran remains in peaceful activities.

Amirahmadi further said the resolution also reaffirms that Iran shall cooperate fully and in a timely manner with the IAEA in implementing its nuclear related commitments under the JCPOA and in light of UN Security Council’s resolution 2231 (2015).

He also said the next step in this long Iranian nuclear saga is for the country to fully and verifiably implement its commitments under the JCPOA and then wait for the IAEA to give it a clean bill of health as per the JCPOA’s requirements.

“Only then, Iran can hope to gain relief from certain nuclear-related sanctions,” he said.

“Iran expects to be prepared for the IAEA by first week of January but most Western observers believe that the “Implementation Day” will occur weeks, if not months, after,” Amirahmadi added.

“Even when the “Implementation Day” occurs, sanctions relief from the US will be minimal; the real beneficiary will most likely be the EU traders. Iran itself will see some economic benefit but not to the extent that will make a big difference in the nation’s current economic plight. A real change in that direction will have to wait for a longer term when Iran prepares ground for foreign investment,” he stressed.

According to Amirahmadi, the impact of the JCPOA has already been negative for US-Iran broader relations.

“Listening to the presidential candidates’ debates, I get the feeling that hostility towards Iran will surge in the next US administration,” he noted.

“Some are going so far as to place Iran and the terrorist group “Islamic State” (IS, aka ISIS or ISIL) on the same side of the conflict in the Middle East,” he said.

“Iran is also seen as helping the Bashar Al-Assad regime and Hezbollah and as a sworn enemy of Israel,” noted Amirahmadi.