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Iran missile test : Is JCPOA a failure?

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The nuclear agreement of 2015, known as the JCPOA, was meant to be a way to curb the nuclear program of the Iranian regime and limit their ability to become a nuclear power. Yet, this agreement has been seen by various experts as filled with loopholes and flaws, many of which have been used by the regime to push their weapons program forward.

One area of contention is ballistic missiles. On September 23, the Iranian regime announced they would be testing a new ballistic missile, known as Khorramshahr. This missile is said to have a range of about 2,000 km and the ability to carry several warheads, according to the IRGC Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the commander of IRGC Aerospace.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) has issued a statement, calling the purpose of this missile test to “explicitly violate United Nations Security Council resolution 2231.”

“This action well confirms the fact that the unjustified concessions received in the nuclear deal not only do not change the behavior of this regime, but has also emboldened it in breaking the laws, and exploiting the gaps and weaknesses in the JCPOA to expand terrorism and fundamentalism and crisis in the region,” said the NCRI.

The NCRI also called for a decisive response from the international community for this breach of Security Council Resolution 2231 and the continued testing and development of these missiles. Other agencies, including the International Atomic Energy Agency, note that Iran is largely complying with the nuclear deal.

During President Trump’s speech to the UN General Assembly on September 19, he made know how he felt about the JCPOA.

“The Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into,” said Trump. “Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it, believe me.”

On September 21, 45 national security experts sent a letter to U.S. President Trump, urging him to withdraw the United States from the deeply flawed JCPOA. Instead, they encouraged him to use a comprehensive plan drafted by former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton. The letter noted that the agreement was dangerous, because it allows Iran to continue to pursue nuclear weapons capability and ignores Iran’s increasingly destabilizing behavior throughout the region.

“Your campaign statements accurately reflected that the JCPOA is a fraud since it allows Iran to continue its nuclear weapons program while the agreement is in effect by permitting it to enrich uranium, operate and develop advanced uranium centrifuges and operate a heavy-water reactor. Such limited restrictions as the deal actually imposes on Iran’s enrichment program will expire in eight years. In addition, the JCPOA’s inspection provisions are wholly inadequate,” noted the signatories.

They also noted concerns about the major advances in North Korea’s nuclear program, seeing the relationship between these two regimes growing. Bolton has also noted that evidence of past nuclear cooperation between these two nations did not bode well for the future.

However, all these actions ignore the political reality of Iran, which is that Rouhani is simply a mouthpiece, who ultimately must bow to the will of the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei. While Rouhani may say all the right things to appear moderate, his government has continued the historical violations of human rights and executions have increased. Additionally, he has no power to stand up to Khamenei, leaving him unable to affect real change in Iran.

For the international community, it is time to take off the rose-colored glasses and recognize the Iranian regime for what it is, not what they wish it would be, and act accordingly.

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