After Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, expressed his opposition to the inspection of Iranian military facilities and the interrogation of Iranian scientists as part of any would-be nuclear deal, the issue quickly became the most controversial aspect of the nuclear negotiations in Iran. It is only natural that allowing foreign inspectors access to Iranian military facilities and making Iranian scientists vulnerable to such questioning would damage Iranian national pride, as it would in any country. In fact, this is a matter that threatens to scuttle the entire negotiating process.
This unprecedentedly invasive type of inspections hearkens back to the issue of possible military dimensions (PMD) to the Iranian nuclear program. Western concerns over PMD go back to even before 2003, when the Iranian nuclear program first came under international spotlight.
In his 2006 book “State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration,” The New York Times journalist James Risen revealed that the CIA had attempted to plant evidence in Iran that would make it seem the country was pursuing nuclear weapons in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Such “evidence” could feasibly have been used as a pretext for military intervention against Iran.
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This article was written by Seyed Hossein Mousavian for Al-Monitor on June 5, 2015. Ambassador Seyed Hossein Mousavian is a research scholar at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School and a former spokesman for Iran’s nuclear negotiators.