Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, claimed victory over the United States shortly after the interim nuclear agreement was reached in Geneva between the Islamic Republic and the 5+1 world powers last November.
Under the agreement, Iran, in return for sanctions relief, will keep much of its nuclear infrastructure, is limited to enriching uranium to 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. Military facilities are off-limits.
Iran has always believed that America has no choice but to accept its nuclear program. In an article in April 2012 titled “The Lessons from the Past for the Negotiations in April,” Mohammad Mohammadi, an Iranian international affairs and nuclear expert, wrote, “Looking back at the past decade, all the red lines by America and the West over Iran’s nuclear issue have now been transformed into acceptance. America has always adopted radical actions at first that have changed to symbolic measures later. Iran has always known that America and the West needed a way to solve the nuclear issue with some honor, and today it is quite visible that with the defeat of America’s policies toward Iran, the talk about a need to solve the Iranian nuclear issue diplomatically is a way to obtain that honor.”
The head of the Islamic regime’s Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, in a statement reported Sunday by Fars News Agency, a media outlet run by the Revolutionary Guards, said that the regime has the capability to enrich to the 60 percent level and that it will not give up its right to higher enrichment levels. The higher the enrichment, the closer to reaching nuclear weapons capability.
“The future is bright, and currently the country is looking to further quality in its nuclear activities,” he said.
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).