Iran boasted on Tuesday that it has created a major crack in the international sanctions against its nuclear program, claiming it has achieved its goal of acceptance of its nuclear development.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced on Tuesday that the Islamic Republic’s uranium enrichment process “will never witness the stop of enrichment in Iran and that enrichment is our red line.”
Early Sunday, Iran and the 5+1 world powers, the five permanent U.N. Security Council members plus Germany, reached an agreement in Geneva over its illicit nuclear program. Under the agreement, Iran, in return for billions of dollars in sanctions relief, will keep much of its nuclear infrastructure, is limited to enriching uranium at the five percent level for six months, will convert its highly enriched uranium of 20 percent to harmless oxide and will allow more intrusive inspections of its nuclear plants by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which will be limited to only agreed-on facilities. (RELATED: Iranian leader: Nuclear negotiations merely a maneuver to reach Islamic goal)
Rouhani said the Geneva agreement will transform the country’s banking system.
“The most important fact is that there will be no new sanctions,” he said. “This means that the sanctions regime has been broken.”
Sanctions by the United States, the United Nations and the European Union, especially in the oil and banking systems, have nearly brought Iran’s economy to its knees.
The Islamic Republic has longed believed that America and the West will eventually accept Iran’s nuclear program and reverse sanctions. International analysts believe that Iran is determined to develop nuclear weapons to use against Israel.
“The goal of the government is to break the sanctions regime and to remove them for the nation,” Rouhani said in a television interview. “Iran’s nuclear rights will be observed under [the Non-Proliferation Treaty], and [it] will continue enrichment. And at the end [of these negotiations], all of the sanctions will be removed.” He also discussed Iran’s need for more nuclear power plants, and how those new facilities will also require the continuation of the enrichment process.
Iranian officials have called the Geneva agreement a win/win as the sanctions have paralyzed the economy, with inflation and unemployment soaring and civil unrest boiling below the surface. With the agreement, all those pressures will be eased.
Meanwhile, Revolutionary Guard commanders praised the Geneva agreement. Brig. Gen, Hossein Salami spoke to Fars News Agency about the new agreement.
“Before achieving the 20 percent uranium enrichment, the Europeans and representatives of the Group 5+1 were telling our [negotiating] team proudly and arrogantly that we did not have the technology and capability to enrich uranium to higher levels, and advised us that we would be better off if we gave up enrichment to break the sanctions instead of insisting on this technology. However, when the martyred nuclear scientist [Majid] Shahriyari gave us access to 20 percent enrichment and they realized this and [assassinated] him, all their imperative, bold and boastful talks changed into request and begging.”
The head of the Revolutionary Guards’ public relations department, Brig. Gen. Ramezan Sharif, said that the United States only understands the language of force and that if it was not for the power and stability of the Islamic Republic, instead of negotiations America would not hesitate to attack.
“The pillars of the U.S. strength have become seriously shaky in the world, especially in the Middle East,” Ramezan said. “The U.S. has double standards toward social issues of nations, and the language that Americans understand is the language of force.” (RELATED: Iran general: No doubt Israel and America will be attacked)
In a related development, Bill Gertz of the Washington Free Beacon reported on Tuesday that Iranian missile experts secretly visited North Korea recently to collaborate on joint development of rocket boosters for intercontinental ballistic missiles that could carry a nuclear warhead.
Iran currently has over a thousand ballistic missiles with hundreds of mobile launchers, giving it the capability to launch missiles simultaneously at any target, which makes it harder for defensive shields to protect against an incoming assault.
Gen. Mohammad Naghdi, the commander of the Basij militia forces, also boasted that Iran will destroy Israel.
“We will be ready as the test is upon us and that day will come authorizing us to cut short the hands of usurpers and tyrants from the Muslim lands,” he said Tuesday.
Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and author of the award-winning book “A Time to Betray” (Simon & Schuster, 2010). He serves on the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and the advisory board of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran (FDI).