Israel to JCPOA signatories: is this what you wished?

Israel to JCPOA signatories: is this what you wished?

Baku, Azerbaijan, May 2

By Azer Ahmadbayli – Trend:

Events taking place in the Middle East in the run-up to the May 12 decision of the US are intensifying at an alarming rate.

Tensions among the region’s key adversaries and some other world actors seem to have reached close to the breaking point.

It reminds the game of chicken when two drivers highball directly towards each other until one of them either swerves or both die in the crash. It even seems like at least one of them deliberately has taken the steering wheel off so that there be no temptation to swerve.

A week ago Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani said that his country will quit the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) if the US leaves the nuclear agreement. A telling claim!

According to 'The National Interest’, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, when asked in an interview in New York on April 23 whether Tehran’s response to US withdrawal from the nuclear agreement may potentially include withdrawing from the NPT, said: “There are some people in Iran who are talking about that. That’s not, certainly, the government’s position. But we have very active public opinion and we have always been responsive to public opinion. But what I see in the cards as the first stage of our response to US official withdrawal would be to contemplate also withdrawing from the JCPOA."

The key word here is “the first stage.” Does this mean that in the next stage it can, however, be possible for Tehran to withdraw from the NPT?

All the week aggressive rhetoric and mutual accusations were going on.

Two days ago, Israel attacked a number of military facilities controlled by Iran in Syria.

Military expert Alex Veksler said in an interview with Iton.TV that deep-laying underground reinforced concrete bunkers, where Iranian ‘earth-earth’ class tactical missiles with precision guidance, capable of covering any spot in Israel, had been stored, were destroyed near the city of Hama in Syria.

In total, more than 200 missiles were destroyed. As a result of the air strike, a number of Iranian military advisers and fighters of the pro-Iranian Shiite militia, mostly officers, were killed. The official Syrian media reported on 26 dead. It was the main and largest facility of the Shiite militias in Syria managed by Iran, the expert said.

Veksler also said that during the strike depth charges were used as even in some European countries 2-3 point tremors were recorded. It was a very powerful attack with great destruction.

In addition, Israel launched two more strikes on military targets near Aleppo and Sahlab.

Many news analysts believe the attacks are a message to Damascus and Moscow that until pro-Iranian forces are deployed in Syria, no political resolution is possible in the country.

A few days earlier, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had visited Saudi Arabia and met Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman. A little later the Saudi Air Forces bombed the Interior Ministry building in Sana'a, Yemen, where top leaders of the Houthi rebels were at that moment. After that, Pompeo visited Jerusalem and met Prime Minister Netanyahu. And again, a few hours later, Israel attacked pro-Iranian facilities in Syria. These coincidences prompted many commentators to believe that there is close coordination and handover of military intelligence between Israel and the USA against Iran – in Syria and the whole region.

Meanwhile, an expected tough reaction has come from Iran. Tehran will respond to attacks on its facilities in Syria, Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said, according to Al Manar TV. “Now for each of your strike you will get retaliatory strikes.” The Iranian leader warned that “the era, when the enemy managed to avoid a response after strikes, has passed.”

The next day, Prime Minister Netanyahu in his special address on the state TV released materials that, in the opinion of the Israeli leadership, irrefutably prove that Iran continues to develop nuclear weapons.

During the presentation of classified documents, Netanyahu said that before the signing of the nuclear agreement and after its conclusion, Tehran deceived the world community, secretly continuing its nuclear research in order to obtain nuclear weapons. The documents contain the design, production and testing of five warheads, each for 10 kilotons, to be mounted on missiles.

According to the Prime Minister, if the information about the secret activities of Iran became known in 2015, the nuclear agreement would not have taken place.

Iranian officials have rejected the statements saying this has been done to justify Trump’s exit from the nuclear agreement.

After making the intelligence about the Iranian military nuclear program public, Netanyahu contacted the heads of all the countries-signatories of the nuclear agreement to inform them of the newly revealed data.

On May 1, Israeli media reported that a delegation of nuclear experts from France, Great Britain and Germany would arrive in Israel in the coming days to make themselves familiar with the information contained in the secret Iranian archive. Representatives of Russia, China and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) were also invited to visit Israel to study the documents and ensure their importance.

Now the main issue will not be the US withdrawal from the nuclear agreement – it has already been decided, as many believe.

The main issue is now whether the EU members will join Trump's decision to withdraw from the nuclear agreement and impose sanctions against Iran anew, if the nuclear experts confirm the statements of the Israeli leadership and prove Tehran is playing a double game.

Russia, unlike Western countries, has so far insisted on maintaining the Iranian nuclear agreement without any changes and amendments.

However, it cannot be excluded that Russia might also support the US if it is finally and irrefutably proven that Iran has all this time continued secret activities on developing nuclear weapons.

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