Pompeo’s demands on Iran at odds with reality


Secretary of State Mike Pompeo laid out a list of demands on Iran in a speech threatening to “crush” the country on Monday. His bellicose words come weeks after President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal and are nothing short of an ultimatum demanding Iran’s total surrender to U.S. wishes.

“Sanctions are going back in full effect, and new ones are coming,” Pompeo declared, “The Iranian regime should know this is just the beginning.”

Pompeo’s twelve demands reflect a misunderstanding of Iranian foreign policy, international law, and the realities of the region.

The 12 Demands—Rebutted

First, Pompeo contended that Iran must “declare to the IAEA a full account of the prior military dimensions of its nuclear program.” However, as part of the nuclear deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) resolved the issue of “possible military dimensions” to Iran’s nuclear program after years of investigation, including visits to military sites. In December 2015, the agency issued its “final assessment on past and present outstanding issues regarding Iran’s nuclear program.”

Second, Pompeo called on Iran to “stop uranium enrichment and never pursue plutonium reprocessing,” including “closing its heavy water reactor.” Such a demand is in direct contravention to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which allows signatories to develop the nuclear fuel cycle for civilian purposes, including enrichment.

As an NPT member, Iran has developed a uranium enrichment program, as have other states such as Brazil, Argentina, and Japan. Iran’s enrichment program was also recognized by UN resolution 2231, which endorsed the JCPOA.

Third, Pompeo stated that “Iran must also provide the IAEA with unqualified access to all sites throughout the country.” With the JCPOA, Iran has already accepted the highest standards on nuclear transparency in the history of nonproliferation. This includes accepting the safeguards agreement, additional protocol, and subsidiary arrangement 3.1.

Fourth, Pompeo said that Iran “must end its proliferation of ballistic missiles and halt further development of nuclear-capable missiles.” As arms control experts at organizations such as the International Institute for Strategic Studies have explained, none of Iran’s modern missiles is designed to be “nuclear capable.” Importantly, the context of Iran’s missile program is its falling victim to Iraqi missiles during the eight-year Iran-Iraq War, when Iran did not have the means to deter Iraq. Indeed, no nation in recent history has fallen victim to missile attacks as thoroughly as Iran has. Furthermore, ballistic missiles are a conventional armament that Iran has a strategic need to develop, especially to balance the threat posed by Israel’s nuclear-tipped missiles and Saudi Arabia’s long-range Dong Feng-3 missiles and, moreover, as a deterrence to possible U.S. attack.

Fifth, Pompeo called on Iran to “release all U.S. citizens … detained on spurious charges or missing in Iran.” In this regard, Pompeo should respect that Iran is a sovereign country, just like the United States. His demand is just as illegitimate as if Iran asked the United States to release all Iranian prisoners held in U.S. jails.

Lobe Log for more

Comments are closed.