Belfer Iran Brief—Iran's arms deal with Iraq and other news

Belfer Iran Brief

The IAEA withheld a report on Iran’s weaponization activities last year, Senate Republicans failed again to get a vote on new sanctions, Iran talked with Iraq and North Korea, and more in this edition of weekly news from the Iran portfolio for February 22-28, 2014.

 

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By Andrew Wojtanik

Highlights

  • IAEA reportedly chose not to release a report on Iran’s possible weapons-related activities last year to avoid disrupting negotiations. (Reuters, 2/27)
  • U.S. chief negotiator Wendy Sherman: “I would like there to be zero enrichment. I would like there to be no facilities. I would like there not to be an indigenous program. I would like many things in life. But that does not mean I will get them.” (Jerusalem Post, 2/24)
  • Iran reportedly reached an arms deal with Iraq worth $195 million last November. (Reuters, 2/24)

Diplomacy and nuclear issue

  • U.S. chief negotiator Wendy Sherman: “I would like there to be zero enrichment. I would like there to be no facilities. I would like there not to be an indigenous program. I would like many things in life. But that does not mean I will get them.” (Jerusalem Post, 2/24)
  • Secretary Kerry suggested that Iran, in line with the stipulations of the interim deal, has done “everything that they were required to do with respect to the reductions. There’s no centrifuge challenge. They haven’t put any in. They…have reduced their 5 percent. They have reduced the 20 (percent). They are in the middle of doing all the things that they are required to do.” (Reuters, 2/26) Note: Iran has not yet reduced its stockpile of 5% enriched uranium. In fact, it has grown by nearly 500 kilograms to 7,609kg since last November.
    IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano
    June 3, 2013 - IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano waits for the start of an IAEA board of governors meeting. (AP Photo/Hans Punz)
  • IAEA reportedly chose not to release a report on Iran’s possible weapons-related activities last year to avoid disrupting negotiations. (Reuters, 2/27)
    • Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz urged the IAEA to publish the report. (Reuters, 2/28)
  • New satellite images showed renewed work at the Parchin military base. (GSN, 2/26)

Sanctions and Iran’s economy

  • In an effort to force a vote on Iran sanctions, Senate Republicans attempted to introduce an amendment that would append additional sanctions against Iran to a veterans’ benefits bill. (Politico, 2/27)
    • Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) cut debate on the bill and blocked introduction of amendments. The bill failed to pass a procedural vote needed to continue debate.
  • Ayatollah Khamenei: “The trend of implementing the broad policies of resistance economy must continue as a constant and unstoppable movement until reaching results.” (AEI, 2/25)
    • “Importation, food security and strategic reserves are important axes of the broad resistance economy policies. Aside from these matters, we must prevent unnecessary imports.”

Iranian domestic politics

  • Former President Hashemi Rafsanjani accused Mahmoud Ahmedinejad of squandering Iran’s natural resources and damaging relations with Saudi Arabia. (al-Monitor, 2/27)
  • State Department released a report indicating that Iran’s human rights situation has not improved under the new Rouhani administration. (NYT, 2/27)

US-Iran relations

  • No significant developments.

Geopolitics and Iran

  • Iran reportedly reached an arms deal with Iraq worth $195 million last November. (Reuters, 2/24)
  • Iran and Iraq reportedly achieved an accord on a border dispute over the Shatt-al-Arab River. (Tehran Times, 2/26)
  • Two Pakistani security guards were killed in a suicide bombing outside the Iranian consulate in Peshawar, Pakistan. (Reuters, 2/24)
    • A Pakistani Taliban offshoot claimed responsibility for the attack.
  • Foreign Minister Javad Zarif hosted North Korea’s deputy foreign minister in Tehran. (Fars, 2/24)

Israel

  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “I see with concern that Iran believes that it will realize its plan to be a nuclear threshold state, with the ability to continue enrichment, develop nuclear weapons, and develop surface-to-surface intercontinental missiles without being interfered with.” (Arutz Sheva, 2/23)
    • Agreement “should dismantle Iran’s ability to produce nuclear weapons.”
  • Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz, after talks with U.S. chief negotiator Wendy Sherman: “Israel reiterated and made clear its position that an agreement with Iran must include dismantling its ability to progress toward a nuclear weapon.” (Jerusalem Post, 2/24)
  • Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), after returning from Israel: Israel’s “position is no, no, no: No enrichment, no centrifuges, no weaponization program.” (al-Monitor, 2/24)

“Red lines,” “points of no return,” and military strikes

  • No significant developments.

Uncertain or dubious claims

  • No significant claims.

 

Andrew Wojtanik is a research assistant at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.