Additional areas of concern for consideration .. for the pending review of the proposed nuclear agreement with Iran
1. Former IAEA Official: JCPoA has No Verification Method to Detect Iran Computer Systems Designed to Simulate Nuclear Blast
Former senior IAEA official ,Olli Heinonen, said there will be no verification procedure under the recently announced nuclear dealt detect if Iran decides to develop computer systems for simulating or detonating nuclear weapons.
Speaking during a House Financial Services hearing on Wednesday, 27-year IAEA veteran Heinonen said there were several items related to nuclear development as determined by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the official name for the Iran deal announced on July 14, that were “extremely difficult to verify given their non-nuclear nature and lack of easy signature to spot.”
“[These] items include, inter alia, designing, developing, acquiring, or using computer models to simulate nuclear explosive devices, and designing, developing, fabricating, acquiring, or using multi-point explosive detonation systems suitable for a nuclear explosive device,” he said.
Heinonen — who is also a senior fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs — cast doubt on the deal’s ability to ensure reliable monitoring of Iran’s undeclared nuclear sites, which Iranian leaders routinely reject are open for inspection.
Ranking the JCPoA’s verification mechanisms on a 1-10 scale, he gave verifying Iran’s undeclared sites as nuclear free a middling 5 score, perhaps given concerns Iran could actually use the deal to bar nuclear inspectors’ access for weeks.
Directly countering the public assurances given by other members of the Obama administration that the UN inspectors would have immediate, around-the-clock access to any suspect facilities in Iran, Secretary of State John Kerry testified this week that that demand had never even been raised in the several years of negotiations.
2. Iran buys 100 Russian refueling aircraft for its air force to reach any point in the Mid East
Iran has placed an order for 100 Russian IL78 MKI tanker aircraft for refueling its air force in mid-flight, The transaction runs contrary to the ten-year arms embargo embodied in the nuclear accord the six world powers have just signed with Iran.
These tanker planes can simultaneously refuel 6-8 warplanes. Their acquisition brings Israel, 1.200km away – and the Middle East at large - within easy range of Iranian aerial bombardment. It puts Iran ahead of Israel in mid-air refueling resources.
Secretary of State John Kerry can expect some really hard questions during his trip on exactly how the Vienna accord makes the region safer, when Iran’s first act after signing is to arm itself with a huge fleet of Russian in-flight fuel tankers to expand and strengthen its range and power for aggressive aerial actions.
3. Secretary of State John Kerry and National Security Advisor Susan Rice in both testimony and TV appearances differ greatly when describing the specific provisions of the proposed Iranian nuclear agreement.
One specific example is shown in the video clips of 2 TV appearances that occurred nearly simultaneously. John Kerry states that Iran will not use the billions of dollars and is now receiving in cash to fund terror. When asked whether Iran can send money to Hezbollah, Houthis, or Shia militia in Iraq, US Secretary of State John Kerry unequivocally assures the interviewer that Iran cannot and will not fund terror. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqE3Tdf9qtI
On the other hand, Susan Rice in her near simultaneous TV appearance on CNN directly contradicted this what John Kerry had clearly affirmed in his interview. In response to questions, Rice stated that Iran will be able to fund terror.
4. At least 500 U.S. military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan were directly linked to Iran and its support for anti-American militants
— a newly disclosed statistic that offers grim context for the Obama administration's diplomatic deal with the Iranian regime aimed at curtailing the rogue nation's nuclear ambitions.
That figure underscores the controversy surrounding Washington's deal with Tehran, a long-sought goal for the president — but one that is fiercely opposed by many critics.
. Scores of American personnel were killed or maimed by highly lethal bombs, known as explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs, that Iran manufactured and supplied to Shiite militias across the border in Iraq. Many EFPs were powerful enough to destroy U.S. Humvees and breach tank hulls.
The startling number emerged last week as Sen. Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican and Army veteran who served as an infantry officer in Iraq and Afghanistan, pressed the issue at a confirmation hearing. "Senator," Dunford responded, "I know the total number of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines that were killed by Iranian activities, and the number has been recently quoted as about 500. We weren't always able to attribute the casualties we had to Iranian activity, although many times we suspected it was Iranian activity even though we didn't necessarily have the forensics to support that."
The Defense Department does not specifically track casualties linked to Iran. The 500 estimate is a ballpark figure based on intelligence assessments, according to a Pentagon official familiar with Dunford's remarks.
The memory of those deaths was surely a factor in the caution signaled by the Pentagon on Tuesday afternoon, after Obama's announcement of this landmark deal between Iran, the U.S. and five other countries.
"As we implement this historic agreement, deterrence remains a major component of America's national security," Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in a statement. The U.S. military will remain ready to "check Iranian malign influence" and "utilize the military option if necessary," he added.
The Iranian-made EFPs first appeared in Iraq in 2005 and for years were the most lethal weapon that American troops faced during the eight-year Iraq war.
Unlike the typical improvised explosive devices U.S. troops encountered there, the EFPs used more sophisticated technology and required more skilled milling to produce. Also known as "shaped" explosives, they used curved copper plates to direct or "shape" the bomb blast.
The estimate of 500 American deaths is probably on the low side, said David "Bo" Bolgiano, a retired Army Special Forces officer who deployed to Iraq in 2006 and 2007 with the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization, an organization created by the Pentagon to rapidly address the number of casualties inflicted by roadside bombs and other IEDs.
"It's very difficult to quantify because, when you have an IED explosion that occurs in theater, you'd have to connect the dots and say, 'Well, we have three U.S. casualties tied to that IED,' and then that IED is tied to a specific copper-plated EFP from Iran. Often times, those forensics are missing," Bolgiano said in an interview.
"The big EFPs from Iran were fairly easy to identify because of the metallurgy involved and the copper plate formation," he said. "We had beyond-a-reasonable-doubt proof that Iran was the main supplier of the copper-plate EFPs," said Bolgiano.
Troops referred to them as "IEDs," but that's not completely accurate, Bolgiano said.
"Improvised is a little bit misleading because it makes it sound like a basement bomb-maker, and that was not the case. The shaped charges, the copper plates, the components were anything but unsophisticated. They were designed and at the level anything that any other non-Western government would have," Bolgiano said.
Cotton contends that number is much greater than 500, with still more American troops wounded in action as a result of Iran's influence on U.S. adversaries in both war zones.
A spokeswoman for the senator, Caroline Rabbit, said Tuesday that Iran "has the blood of hundreds of Americans on its hands and this deal only gives them billions of dollars to continue killing Americans." She was unable to provide Military Times with a more-detailed breakdown of those statistics, nor was the Pentagon.
Dunford, who pending confirmation will become only the second Marine to serve as the U.S. military's top officer, referred to Iran as a "malign force," telling lawmakers that, despite a nuclear agreement, Iran will continue to exert its influence across the Middle East. One need look no farther than the Red Sea, where this past spring American naval vessels moved to block an Iranian arms shipment bound for rebel forces fighting the American-backed government in Yemen.
"If confirmed as the chairman," Dunford said, "I'll make sure that our leadership has a full range of military options to deal with Iranian activity."