TEHRAN – A professor of the State University of Minnesota says the Iranian missile program mentioned in the UN secretary general’s report “has nothing to do with” the nuclear deal signed last year between Iran and great powers.
“The Iranian missile program has nothing to do with the JCPOA, and so it cannot be in contradiction to that agreement,” William O. Beeman tells the Tehran Times.
Following is the text of the interview:
Q: Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, in his recent report claimed that the Iranian missile program is “not consistent” with the spirit of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Even the U.S. and Russia criticized Ban for the report, saying he had overstepped his mandate. Please explain.
A: I don’t know why Secretary Ban Ki-Moon has issued this incorrect opinion. The Iranian missile program has nothing to do with the JCPOA, and so it cannot be in contradiction to that agreement. However, some people have interpreted the missile program as pertaining to another UN sanction provision. I think that the Secretary’s remarks need to be examined in context, however my opinion is that he was mistaken.
“I don’t know why Secretary Ban Ki-Moon has issued this incorrect opinion,” Minnesota professor says.
Q: The Associated Press recently claimed it has obtained a document that outlines Tehran’s plans to expand its uranium enrichment program after the first 10 years of the nuclear deal. It said that “confidential document eases Iran nuke constraints”. Why did the AP publish such a report at this time?
A: The AP article was written by George Jahn, who is a notoriously hostile reporter against Iran. The information in the article was based on anonymous sources that were not documented. In the past Mr. Jahn has based his inaccurate reports on anonymous Israeli sources. Many Middle East experts have complained to the AP about Mr. Jahn’s inaccurate reporting and his role as a mouthpiece for right-wing Israeli propaganda against Iran, but the AP continues to defend him. He has been denounced regularly on expert Middle East sites. I hope you will mention him by name and document his long-standing pattern of inaccurate reporting on Iran.
Q: What is your assessment about the implementation of the JCPOA?
A: Iran has adhered scrupulously to the JCPOA, but Iran has not realized the promised benefits that were supposed to accrue. As anyone can see the Republican Party still thinks that the agreement was detrimental to the United States. Recently the House of Representatives voted to block the sale of Boeing aircraft to Iran (this has not been enacted into law–it must pass the Senate and be signed by the President). This is a pattern in the U.S. Congress, where Republicans and some Democrats are able to capitalize on continued negative feelings toward Iran for political gain. The U.S. Treasury is another source of obstruction to the realization of Iranian benefits from the agreement. They continue to drag their feet in issuing opinions about Iran’s access to the international banking system. The United States maintains some old sanctions against Iran that are not related to the JCPOA. The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) at the U.S. Treasury Department maintains that European banks “may” be violating American banking sanctions IF their transactions involve U.S. dollars. They warn that if Treasury determines that these transactions violate the non-JCPOA related U.S. sanctions, the European banks may be fined. This has made European and Asian banks afraid to enter into financial transactions with Iran ?because the fines in the past have been substantial–billions of dollars. By not clarifying these matters, the OFAC, which is staffed by people who are extremely hostile to Iran, has managed to unilaterally block the financial benefits for Iran involving all the other P5+1 nations.
“The Republicans, who dominate Congress, have made the JCPOA an election issue.”
The New York Times today (July 21) did issue an editorial advocating allowing the Boeing sales to go forward, and European officials have expressed frustration with the U.S. Treasury blocking of transactions with Iran. Foreign Minister Zarif has also expressed frustration with this, and has complained to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
But the reality is that the Republicans, who dominate Congress, have made the JCPOA an election issue, and will do everything possible to block the implementation of the agreement from the U.S. side. President Obama knows this and has decided not to take this up until after the election, to avoid hurting Democrat’s chances in the election. If there are any regulatory changes, they will unfortunately be delayed until after the November 8 elections.
By Tehran Times