As Talks With Iran Resume, Let’s Look at the Facts

Op-Ed by U.S. Senator Mark Kirk

Iran is declaring it will not dismantle its illicit nuclear infrastructure:

·      Today, Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei declared that nuclear talks with the west will “lead nowhere.”

·      Previously, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani pledged that “under no circumstan ces” would Iran agree to dismantle a single centrifuge in a final nuclear agreement.

·      During Iran’s national day celebrations, in which American flags were burned, Rouhani declared: “We will permanently continue to progress our nuclear technology.”

·      Former Iranian top nuclear negotiator Hossein Mousavian told Iranian media in a recent interview that the Islamic republic will never agree to dismantle portions of its nuclear infrastructure.

·      Iranian nuclear negotiator Majid Takhte Ravanchi reiterated Iran would not accept the closure of “any of its nuclear sites.”

·      An Iranian official set aside the idea of potentially altering a heavy water reactor that could provide Iran with a plutonium path to nuclear weapons.

Iran is advancing its nuclear and ballistic missile programs:

·      Iran’s nuclear chief declared that his country has developed a new generation of centrifuges 15 times more powerful than those currently being used to enrich uranium, and said it might resume enrichment to 60% if necessary.

·      Iran successfully test-fired two missiles, including a long-range ballistic weapon, the official IRNA news agency reported on Monday.

·      Iranian warships dispatched to the Atlantic Ocean will travel close to U.S. maritime borders for the first time, a senior Iranian naval commander said Saturday.

·      Iranian TV aired simulated bombings of Tel Aviv and a US aircraft carrier.

·      Deputy Representative of the Supreme Leader to the IRGC Hojjat al-Eslam Abdollah Haj Sadeghi recently declared, “In the modern era we announce to our enemies America, England and the Zionist regime that we will not be satisfied with anything else other than your deaths.”

Iran’s abuse of human rights is worsening:

·      Renowned Iranian poet Hashem Shaabani was executed on January 27, 2014 for “waging war on God,” “spreading corruption on earth” and “questioning the principle of velayat-e faqih” (the rule of the jurisprudent, Iran’s system of vesting supreme power in an unelected cleric).

·      Iranian authorities announced the government’s utilization of new, more complex and undetectable Internet filtering methods.

·      Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, head of Iran’s judiciary, rejected an upcoming UN human rights report on Iran, claiming that Iran “will never cave to this type of pressure.”

·      Iran’s Justice Minister, Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi declared that opposition leaders, Mir Hoseein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, should not receive a trial.  Mousavi and Karroubi have been under house arrest since February 2011 but have yet to be officially charged with any crime.

·      Despite promises of increased social and political freedoms, Iranian authorities cancelled the annual cultural celebration organized by Chelcheragh, the weekly reformist magazine.

Iran is helping Assad in Syria while facilitating for Al-Qaeda:

·      According to the Director of National Intelligence, “Iran will continue to act assertively abroad in ways that run counter to US interests and worsen regional conflicts.  Iranian officials almost certainly believe that their support has been instrumental in sustaining Assad’s regime in Syria and will probably continue support during 2014 to bolster the regime.”

·      The Obama administration charged that Tehran has allowed senior al Qaeda members operating from Iranian soil to facilitate the movement of Sunni fighters into Syria.

Meanwhile, the sanctions regime against Iran is unraveling:

·      Iranian President Rouhani recently declared, “We have struck the first blow to the illegal sanctions, in the fields of insurance, shipping, the banking system, foodstuffs and medicine and exports of petrochemical materials.”

·      Rouhani tweeted: “You are witness to how foreign firms are visiting our country; 117 political delegations have come here.”

·      The International Monetary Fund predicted Iran’s economy could turn around due to the interim agreement.  “Prospects for 2014/15 have improved with the interim P5+1 agreement…real GDP growing by 1-2 percent in 2014/15. Inflation would potentially decline to 15-20 percent…”

·      The International Energy Agency’s monthly oil report estimated that Iranian oil exports spiked by about 100,000 barrels a day in January. That brought Iranian crude exports to just over 1.3 million barrels per day, worth almost $4 billion a month given the current price of oil.

·      Iran welcomed the most senior French trade delegation the regime has hosted in years.  An Iranian oil firm and an Indonesian company are looking to build a refinery worth at least $3 billion, officials said.