Iran nuclear deal anniversary marks a new global focus on the Islamic Republic
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This month marks the second anniversary of the conclusion of the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the permanent members of the UN Security Council. The parties involved now have an opportunity to review the effectiveness of the deal and how well it serves their interests. Iran’s aggressive behavior sharpens the focus on whether the deal is going well.
It is becoming evident that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has been a rather ineffectual agreement. The deal gave the Islamic Republic tens of billions of dollars worth of sanctions relief and asked for little or nothing in return.
As far as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) can tell, Tehran is just about complying with the deal in terms of the requisite restrictions on its nuclear enrichment. However, the agreement did not permit comprehensive access for international inspections.
Iran’s nuclear chief, Ali Akbar Salehi has publicly declared that the Islamic Republic is prepared to resume its nuclear enrichment at an even higher level than prior to the implementation of the JCPOA, if the U.S. or other Western powers increase sanctions due to issues such as ballistic missile testing.
The nuclear programme runs in parallel to the ballistic missile programme and should have been addressed by the JCPOA yet was dropped due to Iranian objections. The P5+1 instead resolved to address the ballistic missile issue through the UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution 2231, which Iran has broken repeatedly.
One cannot however be surprised that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) favors expansion of Iran’s ballistic missile program. After all, it was the IRGC that carried out each of the ballistic missile tests that have violated the UNSC Resolution 2231.
The extension of the program has been endorsed by President Hassan Rouhani who is credited to have made the JCPOA possible on the Iranian side. Not long after securing election to a second term, Rouhani himself reiterated his government’s rejection of restrictions on the ballistic missile program, noting that “the Islamic nation has chosen to be strong.”
Last month, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) revealed information gathered from its intelligence network inside the Islamic Republic regarding recent escalations of missile activities. Forty two missile manufacturing, development and testing sites were identified throughout the country, all of them under the control of the IRGC. Shockingly, at least one of those sites was coordinating with the Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research, the institution that had been tasked with weaponization aspects of Tehran regime’s nuclear program.
It is crucial that the international community recognize the IRGC as a terrorist organization and blacklist it from all manner of commerce. Although much effort will be needed given the IRGC controls more than half of the Iranian gross domestic product, the benefits will be greater for the Iranian people and the wider world. A change of government in Tehran would be possible and a transition to a true democracy embodied by the leader of the NCRI Maryam Rajavi’s 10-point plan.
At the recent NCRI rally in Paris on July 1, Mrs. Rajavi appealed to the international community to condemn the IRGC as a terrorist organization and break its power. “The ruling regime is in disarray and paralyzed as never before ... Iranian society is simmering with discontent and the international community is finally getting closer to the reality that appeasing the ruling theocracy is misguided,” she said.
Unfortunately, a policy of appeasement was in motion when nuclear negotiations were concluded two years ago without addressing Tehran’s human rights violations and support for terrorism. The fall out of the JCPOA has become apparent and it is up to the world to renew its focus and take firm action against the IRGC and give freedom back to the people of Iran.
Sir David Amess, Conservative MP for Southend West in the UK House of Commons and co-chair of the British Committee for Iran Freedom (BCFIF),

The views expressed by this author are their own and are not the views of The Hill.