Eight Ways You're Wrong About Iran's Nuclear Program

"Let's examine some of the current false Iran nuclear memes before we’re led down the yellow-cake road again."

This meme has been expressed, for example, by Senator Robert Menendez, among many others. He has stated that “Current sanctions brought Iran to the negotiating table and a credible threat of future sanctions will require Iran to cooperate and act in good faith at the negotiating table.” However cliché, the statement is untrue. Iran was at the negotiating table almost ten years ago and offered the same concessions back then. The sanctions are not what resulted in the recent breakthrough interim agreement between the world powers and Iran. The main thing that changed is the improved atmospherics, which “allowed” the P5+1 to sign a deal with Iran. The election of Iranian president Rouhani, a moderate and erudite leader, permitted the world powers to sign a deal with Iran—a “reward” the US was unwilling to bestow upon the loudmouthed and provocative Ahmedinejad, mostly for domestic reasons.

It is important to underline that Iran has offered nothing more in terms of concessions now than what it offered in 2005. The sanctions did not bring Iran to the negotiating table—Tehran was always there—and the sanctions definitely did not wring out extra concessions from Iran. Basically, were it not for western intransigence and the bad atmospherics, the interim deal signed in late 2013 could have been signed in 2005.

This brings us to next false meme:

Meme 3: “Iran has dragged out negotiations unnecessarily—the West sees the nuclear issue as an urgent matter and desperately wants to resolve it but is frustrated by Tehran's foot-dragging”

As mentioned above, the world powers could have gotten the same concessions out of Iran back in 2005 but have only now decided to seriously engage with Iran. As the New York Times has reported, “Mr. Obama’s aides seem content with stalemate.” The main thing this foot-dragging by the west indicates is that it does not see the Iranian nuclear issue as particularly important. This is unsurprising because the US Intelligence community is aware—with a “high level of confidence”that there is no nuclear weapons program in Iran right now.