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  November 25, 2016

Former IAEA Director: 'Very Dishonest' to Claim Iran Violated the Nuclear Deal

Robert Kelley says the Iranians have stuck to the agreement for a full year now
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JAISAL NOOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network, I’m Jaisal Noor in Baltimore. President Obama seeking to fortify the Iran Nuclear Deal, before leaving office, The Wall Street Journal is reporting. With the expectation president elect Trump may follow through on his campaign promise to undo the deal. Trump’s pick to head the CIA, Mike Pompeo, echo Trump’s criticism of the deal and now says he looks forward to quote rolling back the disastrous deal with the world’s largest state sponsor of terrors.

Now joining us to discuss this is Robert Kelley. He’s a former nuclear weapons analyst at Los Alamos National Laboratory and a former director at the IAEA. Thanks so much for joining us again.

ROBERT KELLEY: Good evening.

NOOR: So Fox News reported on November 10th, along with several other media outlets, that quote Iran violated one of the terms of its Nuclear Deal signed with the 6 world powers by exceeding the limit of its heavy water stock pile. That’s according to a report from the UN and UN monitors on Wednesday the confidential report was seen by the Associated Press. The article went on to say that the deal specifies the heavy water limit of 143.3 tons the IAEA found Iran stock pile exceeded that amount by .1 metric tons. Continuing that it marked the second time Iran stepped over the limit, according to investigators. So, give us your response to this news and it comes at time when Trump and his advisors are really, throughout the campaign have set sights on this deal. And its unclear whats gonna happen now but that is the context that this report was released on November 10.

KELLEY: Its clear they’re politically motivated rhetoric. Its not true that there was a violation because a violation would assume there was a limit. The numbers you gave a second ago didn’t sound right but let’s go with that anyway. There’s been a small exceeding limit that was agreed to that was not part of the main treaty. Its not actually a treaty it was an agreement on a security council resolution.

Let’s say that you as an individual make a will. You go to your lawyer, you make the will, its countersigned, you pay the lawyer. But you can have a codicil on the side that says there are some things outside the will that can change without changing the whole will. That’s what’s going on here. There is a codicil that the 2 sides have agreed that there will be a limit at which Iran will say that I don’t really need this material and I’ll sell any excess. And what’s happened is they’ve reached that limit. They’ve gone over by 100 kilograms and they have already in fact sold the 5 tons of material so this whole thing is an attempt to stir the teapot. They’re way under the agreed upon limit anyway. That’s not a violation its an agreed upon thing that’s outside of the main agreement.

Remember there’s a lot of fuss here a few months ago that there were so called secret side agreements. Well, we have to assume that in those secret side agreements, there are some agreements about, if you go over a little bit then we’ll have to do something about it. If you go back to the Threshold Test Band Treaty, the 2 sides were negotiating, there were scientists. And the records of that treaty negotiation said there clearly, we as technical people know sometimes you hold the truth by a little bit and a couple times a year is no big deal. That’s probably in the same side agreements and its really very very dishonest of people to call this a violation.

NOOR: Can you comment a little about the timing of that report as well?

KELLEY: I don’t think that the Director General had any choice he does a quarterly report and unfortunately it came close to the election but I don’t see that the timing of it other than using the word concerned, really was very important. He had to issue that report at that time.

NOOR: I wanted to play a clip of former Ambassador to UN John Bolton speaking on Fox News about the Iran Nuclear Deal, he’s one of the people considered for a post in the Turmp administration.


JOHN BOLTON: Well, I’ve said consistently, I think this deal is a strategic disaster for the United States. I think the sooner we get out of it the better. I think in the opening days of the administration he should make that clear. And I reject this argument that somehow we should try to hold the Autolus to the strict terms of the deal and let them try to withdraw from it. Number 1, this deal’s gonna crater at some point and the notion that we allow them to determine when they withdraw from it to put our interest in their hands in terms of timing, I think it’s a mistake.


NOOR: So that’s John Bolton saying the deal is gonna fall apart anyway, its better we withdraw from it on our terms. Anyway he went on to say it was gonna help avoid the Europeans getting further entrenched because with the lifting of some of the sanctions there’s been more trade between Iran and the Europeans. What’s your response to that?

KELLEY: Well, look at John Bolton and John Bolton’s a failed ambassador. He couldn’t even be confirmed he had to be confirmed under recessed appointment. He lasted just a matter of months. He’s a war hawk, he’s demanding bombing, he’ll look for any excuse he can to try to make the Iranians look bad, to try to make the IAEA look bad and in the process, get his wish of going to bomb. The deal is a pretty good deal. And the Iranians have stuck to it now for a year officially and longer than that if you count the run up to the deal being put in place. Its working great. People like Netanyahu are saying let it run. People like Chuck Schumer are saying let it run. We need to see it for a longer period. So Bolton is polar. He’s way out there in the edge and he’s entitled to his opinion he just happens to be wrong.

NOOR: For our viewers, can you explain to us what would happen if the deal is undone? By the US or Iran. What would happen next, what would happen as far as Iran’s nuclear capabilities, they’d be free to build a nuclear weapon if they chose to, is that correct?

KELLEY: Iran is free to build a nuclear weapon under normal circumstances without this deal, its not prohibited under The Non-Proliferation Treaty. They would have to simply report what that they’re doing it. So, I find that kind of a theoretical question, one that’s off the mark. If the Americans want to try to put Iran back in the box again and Iran says well the only way that I can fight back is to try to build a nuclear weapon, then maybe they’ll do that. They have other ways of trying to respond.

NOOR: Alright, thank you so much for joining us Robert Kelley former nuclear weapons analyst from Los Alamos National Laboratory, former director at the IAEA.

KELLEY: Good night.

NOOR: Thank you for joining us at The Real News Network.


DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


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