As Iran announces it will halt complementary access requests by the International Atomic Energy Agency under the Additional Protocol, let's remember that Iran was already in breach of its AP commitment last year during a stand-off over undeclared nuclear sites. Short thread.
The media focuses a lot on what we can see Iran doing: enrichment. What Iran wants us to see for their own extortion strategy to gain sanctions relief without giving up its nuclear ambitions. It's time to focus on what we don't see - what Iran doesn't want us to see or to learn.
Based on news reports and statements by the IAEA over the last two years, it's clear that Iran is facing a full-blown investigation into undeclared nuclear material, sites and activities -- a clear breach of its fundamental obligations under the NPT.
We've seen reports that a warehouse exposed by Israeli PM Netanyahu was inspected and samples taken there tested positive for the presence of nuclear material. The same is true for at least two more undeclared nuclear sites in Iran. This included a standoff last year over access.
Iran didn't know who would win the US prez election. And it was afraid that the E3 might join the US in the snapback of UN sanctions. An access crisis may indeed have forced the UK's hand. The IAEA likely used this leverage to get Iran to allow inspectors in to take more samples.
We recently saw the @WSJ break news that IAEA samples taken at these additional undeclared sites came back positive for nuclear material. Reuters confirmed the WSJ report late last week. The IAEA is likely to report about this as the March Board of Governors meeting approaches.
What is Iran hiding? Why? What are the consequences for NPT non-compliance? Iran doesn't want this conversation. It destroys the premise of the JCPOA and represents a major hurdle for those who wish to resurrect it. But to understand today's news, you need to ask those questions.

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More from @rich_goldberg

18 Feb
And here we go. Biden just reversed US policy and endorsed: an Iranian enrichment program, nuclear sunsets, nuclear-capable missile testing and Iran's import of advanced conventional weapons from Russia and China. The move raises a number of questions.…
Executive Order 13949 threatens sanctions against persons who attempt to transfer arms to Iran. It is the unilateral imposition of an arms embargo on Iran via US secondary sanctions in the absence of consensus over UN snapback. Is Biden planning to rescind or not enforce it now?
Does the administration have a position on whether the E3 should pursue snapback if Iran suspends its implementation of the Additional Protocol? Or is this just a broad transatlantic message of appeasement in the face of Iranian extortion - no snapback no matter what Iran does?
Read 4 tweets
16 Feb
Notable how the Biden administration is going out of its way to avoid using even the most veiled of military threats like "we will never allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons." True for the nuclear file; true last night after attack on US forces. Dangerous projection of weakness.
Thursday's press briefing...
Q: Obama used to say before JCPOA that it was unacceptable for Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon, explicitly ruled out containment of a nuclear Iran as a policy option & reserved all options to prevent Iran from obtaining a bomb.…
A: We will not countenance a nuclear-armed Iran. Our approach – and as we have talked about, we are pursuing a diplomatic one – will be to ensure that Iran can never acquire a nuclear weapon. That was at the crux of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Read 4 tweets
14 Jan
One of the most important statements on Mideast policy over the past four years. It's more than eight years in the making. USG finally upends the fiction of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). Numbers & policy statements to be cited by scholars for years. Thread.
UNRWA claims to serve millions of “Palestinian refugees." These "refugees" are in some cases kept in poverty and hopelessness, told they are waiting for the day when they will return to their rightful homes within modern Israel (to end the Jewish majority of the state).
Of course, most people served by UNRWA don’t meet basic criteria for refugee status. Most are either citizens of other countries or live within Palestinian territories. Most were not displaced by conflict. Yet @StateDept has promoted UNRWA’s fiction for decades - with taxpayer $.
Read 15 tweets
6 Dec 20
Just read this @DanielBShapiro, which essentially asks “why can’t we all just get along” if a Biden administration decides to go back into the Iran nuclear deal. Sounds nice on its face but the details reveal at least three major fallacies. Thread.…
First, if you accept premise the Iran deal was "good" for US/Israel in first 5 years, but then good for Iran once sunsets kicked in, you’d have to conclude the deal today is now "bad" for US/Israel. The first sunset has already kicked in (arms embargo). The second comes in 2023.
Iran won't agree to extend sunsets already bagged. Nor will they agree to extend future sunsets when offered sanctions relief up front. Going back into a deal that is already expiring & giving up all leverage up front should be added to the dictionary as a definition of insanity.
Read 13 tweets
8 Nov 20
Four days later, I stand by this tweet. I was a Republican staffer on Capitol Hill when I served as a reservist in Afghanistan. My commander in chief was President Obama. I was honored to serve in the Trump administration. And I congratulate President-elect Biden and his team. /1
We have serious policy differences in America. How to create economic opportunity. How to empower everyone in our country to achieve the American dream. How to keep our country safe & secure. These differences will continue. High-minded debate makes us all better. /2
Violence is not who we are. Intimidation & threats are not who we are. Dehumanizing our fellow Americans is not who we are. This is an emotional period for many. Some joyous, others distraught. We should treat each other with respect as the president-elect encouraged tonight. /3
Read 5 tweets
21 Aug 20
THREAD. Reading E3 letter to the Security Council (which by the way shreds any credibility for those countries to ever opine on the virtues of international law again) it becomes clear that they (plus Russia and China) would have said a US snapback in May 2018 was invalid, too.
Obama, Biden, Kerry, Sherman, Lew & others vowed the US could snapback even if all other countries opposed it. Were they lying? Was that the understanding? Are these official lying today when they say we could have in 2018 but we can't now? Was this supposed to be a jump ball?
The answer is: you are supposed to read the language of a binding Security Council Resolution and defer to the complaint of a named party if at any time that party wants to snapback. UNSCR 2231 makes clear US can go directly to the Council to snapback, bypassing the JCPOA JC.
Read 8 tweets

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