ANALYSIS: Iran Nuclear Negotiations Dead as Mossad Widens Operations

As talks in Qatar hit dead end, Iran admits it’s been working on a nuclear bomb all along; Israel intensifies war against IRGC.

By Yochanan Visser | | Topics: Iran
Iranian protesting against attempts to halt their nation's nuclear program burn Israeli and US flags on July 16, 2022.
Iranian protesting against attempts to halt their nation's nuclear program burn Israeli and US flags on July 16, 2022. Photo: EPA-EFE/ABEDIN TAHERKENAREH

While the negotiations between Iran and the United States on the return to the nuclear agreement (JCPOA) now seem to have reached a dead end, it appears that the Israeli foreign secret service Mossad is still active within the borders of the Islamic Republic.

Two officials of the regime of Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Ali Khamenei meanwhile indicated that Iran is indeed working on the development of a nuclear weapon.

Let’s start with the negotiation process for a return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA), the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers.

Those indirect negotiations between the US and Iran were recently renewed after a long period of stagnation in Qatar, Iran’s Arab neighbor.

However, after less than two days, the talks broke down again when it emerged that Iran had not put forward any new positions and maintained its demand that the country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps be removed from the US list of terrorist organizations.

 

US now pessimistic about a deal

The state of affairs is now that the US administration no longer believes in a return to the JCPOA, but still has no credible “plan B” for Iran’s increasing nuclear threat.

Brett McGurk is a counter-terrorism expert on the Middle East and now serves as the region’s security affairs coordinator for the US National Security Council in President Joe Biden’s administration.

McGurk told a group of experts recently that it was “highly unlikely” that there would be a “multilateral nuclear deal with Iran in the near future.”

The Biden administration, however, does not want to use the military option against Iran and believes political isolation of the fanatical regime and the reintroduction of biting sanctions will be sufficient, according to McGurk.

See: Israel Disappointed With Biden Over Approach to Iran

According to this line of thinking, this could force Iran to forgo further steps that would make the country the second Islamic nation to gain nuclear weapons. Pakistan is the other Islamic nation in possession of nuclear weapons.

However, Iran has demonstrated that no sanctions regime will influence its drive to obtain an atomic bomb.

The mullahs in Tehran know how to duck these sanctions and are making a fortune by smuggling drugs in southern America and the Middle East, and by Bitcoin mining among other ways to finance its nuclear program and its imperialistic drive.

Just this week Iran announced that it exported gas worth $3 billion over the first three months of 2022 despite the sanctions currently in place.

 

EU frustrated

The European Union, meanwhile, shows that it is increasingly frustrated with Iran’s behavior and is desperately looking for ways to keep the diplomatic track alive.

Joseph Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy commissioner, warned this week that the final failure of negotiations on a new or revised nuclear deal would create a “dangerous nuclear crisis,” but stopped short of announcing measures that would increase the pressure on Iran.

Borrell was the one who arranged the failed talks between Iran and the US in Qatar after having visited Tehran in a last-ditch attempt to revive the negotiations with Iran.

See our article on Israel condemning Borrell for his ill-advised trip to Iran.

He now urges both the US and Iran to accept the text of the concept deal that he put together after 15 months of fruitless mediation between the countries.

 

Iran is working hard on the bomb

Iran, however, shows that it is unimpressed by the threats from the Americans or by Borrell’s supplications, and continues to work feverishly on its nuclear weapons program.

Iran installed new IR-6 and IR-8 centrifuges in the underground nuclear facility Fordo last month, and can therefore produce enough highly enriched uranium to manufacture a nuclear weapon in a short time.

At the same time, Iran announced that it wouldn’t reactivate 27 International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) cameras monitoring Iran’s various nuclear activities.

It has now become absolutely clear that Iran’s nuclear program is aimed at obtaining atomic weapons.

This was again reaffirmed by a former top diplomat of the Islamic Republic after the head of Iran’s atomic agency said something similar last year.

Amir Mousavi told Russia Today this week that Iran can easily upgrade its 60 percent enriched uranium up to the 90 or even to a 95 percent level, which is needed to produce a nuclear weapon.

Mousavi said Iran now manufactures all advanced centrifuges itself and owns a large number of these centrifuges.

 

Khamenei’s fatwa

“Zionist and US threats” will not impress Iran, according to the former diplomat, who again claimed that Khamenei once issued a so-called fatwa (binding religious recommendation) against nuclear weapons production.

The problem with this claim, however, is that numerous researchers, including those at the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), have been unable to find such a fatwa.

Khamenei has only said in speeches at the beginning of his leadership that the manufacture of nuclear weapons would not make sense economically and that it would go against the principles of Shia Islam.

Fatwas can also be amended or revoked, and this is something that both Khamenei and the late ex-Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini have done regularly.

Khamenei, furthermore, said in 1987 during a secret meeting of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (IAEO) that given that “our nation has always been the object of external threats Iran had no choice but to let its enemies know that it would defend itself.”

“Every step we take from now on will serve the defense of our nation and your revolution,” Khamenei said, instructing those attending the meeting to “work hard and fast.”

 

Mossad

At the end of 2021, Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, the former head of the IAEO, told the state-controlled IRNA TV that Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the founder of Iran’s nuclear program, had been working on the production of a nuclear weapon.

Fakhrizadeh was shot dead in his car at the end of 2020, an assassination that was attributed to a team of Mossad agents.

Mossad is still active in the Islamic Republic despite claims by Iran that it ended the activities of the Israeli secret service within the IRGC.

Israeli media reported this week that Mossad agents had again interrogated an IRGC official.

This was the second time in three months that Mossad carried out such a daring operation in Iran, and the interrogation was reportedly about arms shipments to Hezbollah and other Iran-sponsored militias.

The man, Yadollah Khedmati, an IRGC commander in charge of logistics, was questioned by Mossad agents for several hours, and was then released unharmed after apologizing for his actions.

Khedmati gave Mossad information about the activities of General Ali Ashgar Nowrouzi, who was a close confidante of the assassinated IRGC Quds Brigade commander Qassam Soleimani.

Nowrouzi organized the arms shipments to Hezbollah and other militias in Syria via the land corridor in Iraq and via civil aviation companies in Iran.

A week ago, the sudden death of another IRGC commander was reported.

Said Sarmardar Mutlag, one of the key engineers in the IRGC’s ballistic missile program, died under mysterious circumstances, media reported.

His family was subsequently threatened by the regime and instructed not to disclose details of the incident.

Mossad has repeatedly assassinated Iranian nuclear scientists over the past few decades, but since last year increasingly carried out such assassinations against key IRGC members.

This was the result of a change in Israel’s strategy against Iran, which was instigated by former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who insisted that Israel should take the war against the Iranian regime to “the head of the octopus.”

Iran now regularly claims that it has arrested groups of Mossad agents, as was the case with the arrest of a group of Kurdish resistance fighters in northern Iran this week.

In this case, too, the IRGC claimed to have arrested a group of Mossad spies.

However, given the vagueness of the claims and given the fact that Mossad typically operates in a different way and almost always keeps its operations top secret, the IRGC’s claims appear to be an attempt to limit damage to the organization’s image after a series of humiliations by Mossad.

 

Gantz and MI6

Benny Gantz, Israel’s Defense Minister, also addressed Iran’s growing nuclear threat to Israel and to the world this week during a conference in Jerusalem.

When asked about Israel’s ability to seriously delay and damage Iran’s nuclear weapons program, Gantz replied in the affirmative, but added that Iran is a global problem and not Israel’s private problem.

He also said that Israel expects help from the US in case of military action against Iran, and added he no longer expects an agreement on a nuclear deal with Iran.

This is also the view of Richard Moore, the director of MI6, the British secret service.

Moore said at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado (US) that he thinks Khamenei is not interested in a deal and is just trying to buy time.

However, the director of MI6, unlike Gantz, still believes that a new nuclear deal is the best way to stop Iran.

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