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Iran is likely to “cheat the international community” if it signs a deal with world powers to curb its nuclear program in return for the easing of economic sanctions, a nuclear proliferation expert has warned.

Speaking during a panel meeting of the Foundation for Middle Eastern Studies in Paris, Dr Bruno Tertrais, Senior Research Fellow at France’s Foundation for Strategic Research (FRS), added any agreement would only serve to embolden the totalitarian regime and could transform it into “another North Korea”.

“Assuming there is a final deal, 35 years of past Iranian behavior shows us that it is highly likely that Iran will try to test and cheat the international community,” Tertrais said.

“Even if you assume that there is a final deal, and if you assume the deal is faithfully implemented by Iran, it will leave Iran with a significant breakout capability as a threshold state.”

He added: “What happens then if Iran tests the international community and if Iran is undeterred. What happens? It could get pretty bad. It’s bad today; it could get much worse. It could go North Korea; it could go Iraq, okay? I don’t need to tell you that these are not good scenarios.”

Tertrais was speaking while debating the pros and cons of any nuclear pact with a high-profile panel that also featured Dr Olli Heinonen, former Deputy Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); former CIA director James Woolsey; former White House Director of Public Liaison Linda Chavez; and Alireza Jafarzadeh, Deputy Director of the US representative office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

He also painted a less than flattering picture of the preliminary accord reached in April in Lausanne between Iran and the P5+1 states.

“If you look at what has really been agreed, it’s only half a page. It’s the EU-Iran joint statement. All the rest is still up in the air. 

“So you look at the EU-Iran joint statement – the only existing agreement at this point that that you are left with is a very vague declaration of principles.”

Tertrais questioned exactly what had been achieved after a decade of negotiations.

Instead of preventing the Iranian regime’s march toward a nuclear weapon, “the P5+1, after 10-12 years, will have made Iran a legitimate nuclear hedger.”

He highlighted the fact that the Possible Military Dimensions of the regime’s program are “not being negotiated; it’s a separate negotiation track”.

The world powers are “sweeping it under the carpet, and that’s a problem.”

The deal, he added, would simply lead to a more radicalized regime.

“If there is no deal on June 30, we should just say goodbye,” Tertrais urged.

The P5+1 states – Britain, China, France, Russia, the US and Germany – hope to forge a written agreement with the Iranian regime by June 30 that will stymie Tehran’s nuclear efforts in exchange for sanctions relief.

But, as recently as June 21, Iran’s Majlis (parliament) voted to ban international nuclear inspectors and scientists from entering its military sites as part of any future nuclear pact with world powers.

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