Checkpoint Asia

As ‘Maximum Pressure’ Fails to Move Iran Dirty Tricks Become More Likely

Pompeo needs it for his political future

What’s up with Jared Kushner’s great Middle East peace plan? It seems to be as much alive as that famous parrot.

The other big Middle East project the Trump administration launched intended to achieve a new nuclear deal with Iran. That project isn’t doing well either.

The proof of the ‘historic success’ of the ever working ‘maximum pressure’ is this:

Today Iran started to feed Uranium hexafluoride into some 700 new centrifuges. They will increase its stockpile of enriched Uranium.

As the maximum pressure does not create the desired results the U.S., or some other country, tried to use an outrageous provocation:

The European Union and United States expressed concern on Thursday at Iran’s holding of an inspector from the U.N. nuclear watchdog last week, with the U.S. envoy to the agency calling it an “outrageous provocation” that must have consequences.

Iran confirmed that it prevented the inspector from gaining access to its main uranium-enrichment facility at Natanz. Its envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency told reporters that it was because she tested positive for traces of explosives but then no longer did after going to the toilet while waiting for a further search, which prompted further investigation.

Nice try. Good that it did not work. That inspector will never again work in Iran.

Iran is fully within its rights when it de-designates certain IAEA inspectors. The guidelines for Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements (pdf) with the IAEA, which apply to the CSA Iran signed, stipulate:

AGENCY INSPECTORS9. The Agreement should provide that the State shall take the necessary steps to ensure that Agency inspectors can effectively discharge their functions under the Agreement. The Agency shall secure the consent of the State to the designation of Agency inspectors to that State. If the State, either upon proposal of a designation or at any other time after a designation has been made, objects to the designation, the Agency shall propose to the State an alternative designation or designations.

There are some 160 IAEA inspectors designated for Iran. It will be easy to find a replacement for the one that had to leave.

It is quite sensible that Iran has extensive access controls at its facilities for arriving IAEA inspectors. Many of these inspectors are likely spies and some may have nefarious intent. Even a tiny bit of explosives could create some critical damage to the control systems at Natanz. Spreading some tiny amount of highly enriched Uranium in an Iranian facility would be another simple trick to create some rhetorical uproar at the IAEA.

Secretary Pompous is Trump’s point man for the Iran issue. He has failed to achieve the declared aim and has little to no credibility left. He will soon leave his position to run for the Senate to then use that position as a jump board for a presidential candidacy in the 2024 election. Some evangelicals would probably vote for him, but I do not see how he would get much traction beyond that group.

As the ‘maximum pressure’ campaign fails to achieve its objective we will now probably see a phase of more dirty tricks from the CIA and Mossad side. In mid 2017 the CIA, then under Pompous, created an Iran taskforce of which so far was little heard:

Iran has been one of the hardest targets for the C.I.A. The agency has extremely limited access to the country — no American embassy is open to provide diplomatic cover — and Iran’s intelligence services have spent nearly four decades trying to counter American espionage and covert operations.The challenge to start carrying out President Trump’s views falls to Mr. D’Andrea, a chain-smoking convert to Islam, who comes with an outsize reputation and the track record to back it up: Perhaps no single C.I.A. official is more responsible for weakening Al Qaeda.

Two and a half year must have been sufficient time to prepared for some rather large operations. Over the next few months we will likely hear of them.

Source: Moon of Alabama