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Tags: nuclear talks | jcpoa

Iran Ups Defiance at Vienna Nuclear Talks With Planned 'Space' Launch

satellite view showing buildings and a vehicle in the desert

In this satellite photo by Planet Labs Inc., a support vehicle stands parked alongside a massive white gantry that typically houses a rocket on the launch pad as activity is seen at the Imam Khomeini Spaceport in Semnan province, Iran, Saturday. (Planet Labs Inc. via AP)

Fred Fleitz By Monday, 13 December 2021 08:08 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Amid a deadlock in the ongoing talks in Vienna between major powers and Iran on getting the Obama administration’s 2015 nuclear deal with Iran (the JCPOA) back on track, Iranian leaders are planning another provocation that could cause the talks to collapse: the launch of a space launch rocket to place a satellite in orbit.

Satellite imagery obtained by the Associated Press appears to show Iranian preparations to soon conduct a space launch.

The U.S. and most European states object to such launches because they believe they are actually tests to develop ICBMs carrying nuclear warheads that could hit Western Europe and beyond.

The U.S. has long claimed these launches violate a U.N. Security Council resolution barring Iran from missile tests related to delivering nuclear weapons. France has strongly condemned previous Iranian space launches as likely ICBM testing.

An Iranian space launch would come during nuclear talks that were already heading in the wrong direction because of obstructionism and impossible demands by Iranian officials. A German official said last week that Iran joined the current round of nuclear talks “with a position that set the negotiations back six months.”

The talks also are in trouble because of a surge in Iran’s nuclear program this year, including enriching uranium to 60% uranium-235 — just short or weapons grade — and new reports that Iran will soon begin weapons grade enrichment.

Iran also has refused to cooperate with IAEA nuclear inspectors since the start of the Biden presidency. Since January, Iran has denied the IAEA access to uranium mines and a plant that makes nuclear centrifuge parts. Iran also refuses to cooperate with the agency’s investigations into enriched uranium traces found at three undeclared nuclear sites.

In addition, the IAEA recently reported that Iran physically harassed female inspectors.

Iran conducting a space launch during the nuclear talks would greatly exacerbate tensions at negotiations that are already close to collapsing. Such a launch also would lead to significant pressure on the United States and European states to cancel the negotiations from Israel and states in the Middle East who are worried about Iran’s advancing its missile program which is already the largest in the region.

Iranian leaders may believe a missile launch will force the Biden administration to cave and offer partial sanctions relief in exchange for Tehran freezing part of its nuclear program. Biden officials floated this idea with Israeli officials last month. The Israeli officials and members of the U.S. Congress strongly condemned it as appeasement and giving in to Iranian nuclear blackmail.

It is time for the Biden administration to end this charade. While their efforts to revive the deeply flawed JCPOA made little sense, Iran never showed any interest in this.

Instead, Tehran massively surged its nuclear program after Biden assumed office to force the United States to buy it off for a temporary and meaningless freeze that it would never abide by.

An Iranian space launch could push European states and the United States over the edge and convince them that Iran clearly is not interested in diplomacy or cooperation on its nuclear program. They could then take another approach that is being called “Plan B” — strong sanctions and diplomatic isolation of Iran until it decides to negotiate in good faith on its nuclear program.

This would be the same “Maximum Pressure” policy that President Trump employed against Iran after he withdrew from the JCPOA in May 2018.

Will Iran’s space launch force Joe Biden to abandon the JCPOA and revert to President Trump’s Iran policy of tough sanctions?

Fred Fleitz is a Newsmax TV Contributor. He previously served as National Security Council Chief of staff, CIA analyst and as a member of the House Intelligence Committee staff. Read more reports from Fred Fleitz — Click Here Now.

© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


Fred-Fleitz
Amid a deadlock in the ongoing talks in Vienna between major powers and Iran on getting the Obama administration's 2015 nuclear deal with Iran (the JCPOA) back on track, Iranian leaders are planning another provocation that could cause the talks to collapse.
nuclear talks, jcpoa
627
2021-08-13
Monday, 13 December 2021 08:08 AM
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