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tv   U.S. Policy Toward Iran Syria  CSPAN  July 28, 2018 1:53am-3:13am EDT

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twitter, or facebook. , sunday,al series august 5. live from noon until 3:00 eastern. analystsn-policy discuss u.s. relations with it a rant and syria in attempts to make both governments confront international agreements. this is an hour and 15 minutes. >> thank you for your patience. i'm the chief executive here. thank you very much for joining us in this conversation about the crisis of compliance. it is an honor for me to a juice -- moderate the panel with some interesting insights and remarks after the speech. before introduce her, i want to
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thank you for attending. please turn off your cell phones. folks are live streaming and on c-span. we will be live tweeting this. we are nonpartisan policy institute focuses on foreign policy. the issue of nuclear weapons and chemical weapons has been essential to the work we have done for over 15 years. we are particularly grateful to be hosting this discussion. you, we'veoduce to had the pleasure of working with her over many years. she is now the assistance secretary of state for compliance. she was sworn in after an incredible clear -- career in public service. she spent two decades that the house foreign affairs committee.
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we had the honor of working with her at hvac on many of the issues that are dear and near to our hearts. worked every regional and functional issue. she spearheaded multiple legislative efforts across a range of foreign-policy priorities. with a particular focus on counter proliferation, to hold violators and regimes accountable. particularly rogue states such as north korea. grateful for her service to our country. i know i sleep better at night knowing that she is assistant secretary and such a critical position. welcome. [applause] >> thank you so much. as mark was saying, i look around the room and i see so many friends. former colleagues. friendships that were built in
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the legislative trenches, so to speak. we were working collaboratively legislative solutions to the threats posed by these pariah states. monthsarks exactly three since my confirmation. i cannot think of a better place. or a better environment to commemorate the three months. thank you for having me. as well aso the toby cliff, who is not the room. thank you to cliff and to everyone at fdd. i am humbled by the opportunity to discuss some of the challenges posed by these pariah states to the united states and other responsible nations. into to address their previous or current violations of their obligations under the nuclear nonproliferation treaty of the
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chemical weapons convention. continues to refuse to provide or acknowledge information regarding the military dimensions of its past nuclear activities. the foundation for defense of democracies has been in the forefront of efforts to keep these issues before the american people and to support efforts by president trump and his administration to confront and .mpose rules on iran we are delving into some of the actions by these regimes which constitute an unusual and extraordinary stretch to u.s. national security and global peace and stability. i would like to share a few points with this group about the history and mission of the bureau that i am fortunate to lead.
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it is one of only a handful at the department of state mandated by congress with specific statutory authorities. of which is personal responsibility within the department for verification and compliance with arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament agreements or politically binding commitments to which the united states is a party. but congress expressly created a position of assistant secretary for verification and compliance, statutory name of the position i currently hold. it is verification to the same forl as any official regional affairs and provide a specialist official within the department of state in negotiations on arms agreements from the perspective of verifiability.
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we developed frameworks for inspection and verification and are required to evaluate the verifiability of any such report and submit assessments to the chairman of the relevant committees in congress. we have policy and technical experts. chemists, biologists, engineers, former missile commanders, former international inspectors. fromcome with information a myriad of sources to arrive at determinations of verifiability and compliance. whether focused on chemicals, radiological's, and nuclear weapons, their delivery system, or activities in outer space or under the sea. or any other new domains of
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central warfare. abc is also responsible for the preparations on behalf of the secretary of state of what is known as the compliance report. the report on adherence to and compliance with arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament agreements. in order to fulfill this mission, abc was tasked as the principal policy community representative to the intelligence community on verification and compliance matters. on the verification front, we are able to drive development of monetary and detection technologies that can help enable a compliance or noncompliance determination. i can assure you, we take our mission extremely serious. we view it as integral to the implementation and to advancing the goals delineated in the
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national security surgery -- strategy unveiled in december of last year. let's turn to syria. under the rubric of defending our nation against weapons of mass destruction, this strategy i referenced notes how the syrian regimes use chemical weapons against their own citizens. undermined international norms against these heinous weapons, which may and courage -- to use them. syria has brazenly violated the international norms prohibiting the use of chemical agents as weapons. bringing a horror that blighted the onset of the 20th century into the current landscape.
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reactedble states have using all of the chemical weapons convention, cwc, in particular to bring the assad regime back into compliance. the united states was critical in ensuring the creation of a fact-finding mission for the organization for the provision of chemical weapons, opcw. and the united nations joint investigative mechanism. these investigations culminated in reports clearly establishing the syrian-arab republic was responsible for at least four cases of chemical weapon use and the so-called islamic state was responsible for another two. after the russian federation vetoed the extension of the
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mandate in order to hide the assaad's regimes crimes, we worked seriously with other -- parties to give them the authority to fulfill the jim's old mission. we continued our efforts, and just last month, we were successful in ensuring that the u.k. drafted, u.s.-supported, and cosponsored decision was adopted at a special conference of state parties at the opcw. i would be remiss if i did not also note u.s. efforts outside of the opcw to put pressure on damascus over its use of these weapons.
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on key figures within the syrian regime. the department of state's efforts to -- supplies to the cw program, and military airstrikes. i also don't want to minimize the important role that our partners have played in the effort from the eu's long-standing ban on syria to france's international partnership against impunity, and the french and british involvement in this past april's airstrikes. now, syria's blatant disregard for its international obligations is not limited to just chemical weapons conventions. syria also remains in continued noncompliance with the treaty on the nonproliferation agreement
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with the atomic energy agency, as a result of its clandestine efforts to construct an undeclared plutonium production reactor in eastern syria. for those of you who are familiar with the facility, it was built with north korean assistance. while the al-kabar reactor was destroyed by an israeli airstrike in 2007, syria has persistently refused to cooperate with investigation and denied the agency's request for information and access to address all outstanding questions regarding its activities at the site and other related sites. syria failure to cooperate remains a matter of ongoing concern indeed, for all of us. moreover, syria's efforts to
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impede the iea's investigation illustrates the degree to which the assaad regime is willing to go to conceal its clandestine nuclear activities. rather than responding in good faith to the iea's requests for information and access, they have gone to great lengths to deceive, up the skate, distract international attention from its perennial noncompliance, and in many instances, with the assistance of the russian federation. the trump administration has been clear that we cannot allow syria's npte and iea safeguard noncompliance to fade in our collective memories. all outstanding questions regarding syria's noncompliance
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must be resolved. clearly, the behavior of the assaad regime, presents a start challenge to all other parties' agreements, at least those that remain in compliance with their own obligations. as well as a challenge to the role that these very agreements play in the maintenance of international peace and security. within the region, the ongoing conflict, fueled by assaad's determination to remain in power through any means necessary ads adds to instability that provides opportunities for even larger threats to develop. as i mentioned, the so-called islamic state's use of chemical
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weapons. syria has provided an opportunity for its fellow rogue, iran to expand its influence in order to threaten the security of israel and other targets around the entire mediterranean region. turning to iran and the jcpoa. the jcpoa agreement was flawed at multiple levels. first, i'd like to address the technical problems. it allows iran to continue to conduct activities on more efficient centrifuge machines, that if deployed on a larger scale, would significantly reduce the number required to produce highly enriched uranium, and could make clandestine enrichment of facilities more difficult to detect.
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it also does not provide irreversibility of limitations imposed on existing centrifuge equipment. in excess of jcpoa limitations are stored, not destroyed. president trump has underscored the dangers posed by the provisions in the jcpoa. technical examples include ending the limits on iran's stockpile of uranium hexafluoride, enriched to 3.67% percent. the advanced ir-8 centrifuges, and eventually, ending containment and surveillance of centrifuge rotors and bellows, as well as ending the prohibition to operating additional heavy water reactors
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or accumulation of heavy water. the verification provisions of the jcpoa did not go far enough. given iran's history of clandestine nuclear activities and extensive sanitation campaigns, something one of the members of our audience knows extremely well, having been an iea inspector. their extensive sanitation campaigns to conceal the nature and scope of these efforts, once detected, effective verification in iran requires an extra uses inspection regime that ensures the paramount objective of permanently denying iran any pathway to nuclear weapons. the jcpoa, at a political level,
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creates the conditions under which iran's noncompliance had been addressed prior to the negotiation and implementation of the jcpoa. these conditions have drastically been altered. since the negotiation and limitation of this agreement. unanswered questions about the possible military dimensions of iran's past military activities still loom large in our assessment of the potential threat that iran represents. playing on the other party's evident desire to keep the jcpoa alive, iran is trying to throw a scare into other jcpoa parties over continued compliance, providing them the economic benefits that iran believes are due to the regime under the jcpoa.
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most concerning of all, perhaps, as it relates to broader u.s. nonproliferation objectives, the jcpoa did not cover iran's missile programs or its other wmd programs and activities. the jcpoa failed to prevent iran from ever having fissile production capabilities. they were permitted to rapidly break out into weaponization. along with its failure to address iran's aggressiveness behavior in the region, is why president trump has described the jcpoa as a terrible deal. iran has served its perceived, inalienable right under the npt. but it must be viewed in its entirety.
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one article of the npt must be viewed under consideration of other articles. article 4 speaks that the state's party's rights to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. but it connects that right to conformity with articles one and article 2 -- articles 1 and 2. -- and confirmation of the peaceful nature of a peaceful program -- of a nuclear program. iran has not yet demonstrated to the world that it has rectified its egregious record of noncompliance. and with articles 2 and 3, which led the ia board of governors to
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refer the iran matter to the un security council, and led to the passage of 10 resolutions between 2006 and 2014. iran is also using the jcpoa to justify its renewed acquisition of equipment and materials, ostensibly for its peaceful program. and these programs have a dual use application. there is a disclosure by israel, of its discovery of thousands of documents preserved and in storage, regarding iran's nuclear weapons --iran's past nuclear weapons program, including plans for a nuclear device, should leave no one in doubt that iran has not yet clearly put its unlawful nuclear weapons ambitions forever behind it.
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experts are monitoring these and other developments that would inform -- going forward on iranian compliance with, again, the totality of its obligations. looking ahead, president trump has made it clear that we need to abandon the jcpoa mindset. but in withdrawing from this deal, the president also said it is the policy of the united states that is, one, iran be denied a nuclear weapon and intercontinental ballistic missiles. he later said that the policy of the united states is to counter iran's progressive development of missiles and other asymmetric
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and conventional weapons capabilities. secretary of state pompeo has described how this policy will be pursued, and has said president trump is ready, willing, and able to negotiate a new deal. but the deal is not the objective. our goal, the trump administration's goal is to protect the american people. and we will not renegotiate the jcpoa itself. those are direct quotes from secretary of state pompeo. any new agreements must address the full spectrum of threats to u.s. security and interests presented by iranian noncompliance with its obligations. it should verifiable he and indefinitely deny iran all caps to nuclear -- all paths to nuclear and weapons of mass destruction. it should not merely contain, control, or delay the regime's efforts.
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as such, it is incumbent for the u.s., in moving beyond the jcpoa, to seek what is termed "effective verification." the senate foreign relations committee report accompanied the legislation which created my position as assistant secretary for verification and compliance at the bureau. effective verification consists of a high level of assurance in the united states's ability to detect a militarily significant violation in a timely fashion, and should also, and i must emphasize this, because it has relevance to the jcpoa and iran's compliance, should provide detections of patterns of marginal violations.
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i would like to close with one observation. nothing in the conduct of foreign policies is ever done in a vacuum. the state that we must seek for the successful conclusion of any deal with iran must also inform and be informed by the end state that we are seeking for north korea. inconsistency in our approach to either negotiation will undermine our credibility, and most likely doom the process for successfully dealing with the threats to our security posed by these and other actors, and the threats posed to address the proliferation challenges of the future. once again, i would like to refer to the national security strategy. in it, the president states, the
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scourge of the world today, a small group of rogue regimes that violate all principles of free and civilized states. the strategy calls for the augmentation of measures to prevent the spread of, and to eliminate, wmd and related materials. it furthere underscores the need to hold state and nonstate actors accountable for wmds. accountability is critical for deterrence. to do so, we must be always vigilant, intensifying monitoring, detection, and verification of the activities of these pariah rogue regimes. wishful thinking cannot substitute for such vigilance,
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and hope cannot be allowed to replace rigor. noncompliance and blatant disregard of international norms must be dutifully and thoroughly reviewed, documented, and assessed. this is where the -- comes into focus, on the compliance report and other tools, serving as the predicate for other actions and accountabilities. i would like to just say, i am honored and humbled by the opportunity to work with abc professionals in the service of our nation to ensure that this accountability will lead to the prevention of wmd proliferation and to the elimination of the
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threats to our national security and interests posed by these rogue regimes. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you. we are going to move right into the panel. i would like to welcome the panelists to the stage. for reactions to the speech, i'm pleased to introduce my colleague, a senior fellow who previously served for 11 years at the department of state. to his right is the executive director of the wisconsin
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project on nuclear arms control. she receives -- oversees the risk report database. andrew tabler focuses his research on syria and policy in the levant, and has access to -- access to syria. 14 years of residence in the middle east. great experts on iran, syria, nonproliferation and compliance issues. i'd like your immediate reaction to the comments, anything that struck you or stood out? >> i thought it was an important reiteration of some of the key points we've seen coming out of the administration. one thing that struck me, particularly as an international lawyer, was the statement in
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which she said iran has not yet demonstrated that it has rectified its record of noncompliance with articles 2 and 3 of the npt. my own view is that the iranian nuclear archive, which was taken out of iran by the israelis, is raising a lot of questions indeed about whether iran is currently in noncompliance, in violation of the nuclear nonproliferation treaty -- which is required by the nuclear nonproliferation treaty. i wonder if the statement was, perhaps, a reference to the continuing questions, i would say exacerbated by the material as part of the archives. >> i was struck, and andrew and i were speaking about this
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before coming on here, happily struck by the focus on syria, with regards to chemical weapons frustrating ton me, by the lack of continued, sustained emphasis and need to do something about that, both in the opcw and in the u.n., and outside of those organizations, that not enough can be done. and the shortcomings of the jcpoa and the path forward on how to look for improvements. >> thank you for having me here today and thank you for coming out. it is interesting, most of the time, when we look at this problem, they see it as paramount. starts in syria and goes to iran.
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it shows syria remains a major problem in this regard, the on the civil war, beyond the politics. syria, their chemical weapons stockpile, -- it was one of the largest stockpiles in tehe world. there were issues with the reactor. to think that the first time that north korea would be found outside of its borders would be there of all places. and you had bashar's erratic and malevolent nature. his behavior was sort of all over the place.
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it is clear that syria is it is clear that syria is becoming a bigger problem. ofr verified cases chemical abuse. as part of the subsequent redline agreement, the subsequent violating of the cwc through the use of chlorine and -- of chlorine and sarin in a couple of cases, and multiple problems, obviously, with the declarations. begs the question of where did it come from in the first place. it would be a good question, i don't know, what other violators have we had to that degree? in this roughly 20 year history?
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we had the nuclear problem outstanding, looking forward to emphasizing that. i thought it was interesting that she was referring to how much the concept is changed. -- wanted a military convention by a number of different countries, then his side has iran and the russian federation. it imply that some of the subsequent problems she talked about, threats coming from iran, that syria could potentially be a launch pad to these problems, and part of the general concern of iran projecting its power to the mediterranean and beyond.
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>> they are very technical, legalistic, a lot of acronyms. on top of this are humanitarian issues. in syria, they are stunning. you could say, our syria policy, broadly speaking, as been an abysmal bipartisan failure. despite all of the speeches given and sanctions issued, and the limited military strike, bashar al-assad has won the syrian civil war, used the most karen this tactics, chemical weapons and conventional weapons. half a million died and a million refugees. he emerged out of this not only victorious but in winning this victory walked on proliferation norms. what norms are left?
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it is a very good point. in my opinion, this is that i am not an expert on this. the policy as we see now is that of the obama situation is because they handled the syrian civil war and the choices along the way. since that time, in order to affect the outcome of the civil war would mean wind to become more militarily involved. the united states decided it did not want to do that for a variety of reasons. we are left with the current variety of reasons. we are left with the current situation in which we have a humanitarian disaster and we have people outside of their homes and instances of the use of chemical weapons as it pertains to this discussion. it is important to note that
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western countries have noticed that it's not so much where bashar used in this or that, but that it is a set pattern of behavior that has grown down the ground downn the -- the syrian people under iranian and russian influence fears. >> we have had dozens of sanctions against the assad public condemnation, lots of speeches, limited military strikes from the united states and key allies. none of this has worked. are we going to bring a sought
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and his henchmen to justice? is there indications that sanctions are a useless tool in deterring and punishing wmd violations and military strikes of the limited nature that were leveled by president trump seem to have no affect? what do you say to that? >> i feel like there are some positive elements to be drawn out of syria with what has happened, both from a nonproliferation point of view and from more broadly. at first, i would say the process through the opcw and united nations has been slow, but there has been some success. syria admitted a declaration of its chemical weapons stockpile. that declared stockpile was destroyed. the facilities that syria
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declared were visited by u.n. inspectors. there was a process that was successful. surely we can see from the continued use of the weapons is that the declaration was not complete. there has been technical teams going out to verify the declaration. you see a bit of a parallel. you see the value of the declaration and the way it can be used to motivate our guide inspectors. you did have opcw inspectors able to interview personnel and review documents and compare samples. all of this was extremely valuable. it allows us at the present time to assign blame. that is why you have the difference between the four instances where we can say for sure the aside regime -- assad
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regime was responsible. >> you had chemical weapons, sanctions, military strikes, condemnations, and declarations, and at the end of the day he was using chemical weapons to slaughter his own people. that was in the chemical context. syria was building the plutonium reactor with north korean help. lots of discussion about this very the bush administration decided they wanted to handle that diplomatically. through a process and the israelis say thank you very much and blew the reactor to smithereens so they no longer program, andr
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thank god. if it had, bashar al-assad may have had access to those. that with the use of wmds you are better off obliterating it then using the mechanisms of the u.n. or whatever other agencies? i put that out provocatively. >> it worked for a while. >> i think it works for a single reactor. >> they are not complying anyway in terms of follow-up in inquiries, inspections and so and so. we don't know if the syrian nuclear program is finished. this is a very important part of the secretary's discussion. we don't know that. we do know that he responds to military action unilateral , military action for a time. it is the mowing the grass concept. it is not mowing the whole yard, it is pinpointing parts of the yard. >> valerie is right. there have been small victories along the way in terms of not
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holding accountable but attributing blame for the chemical weapons and strikes, etc. overall, i am concerned that the message of bashar al-assad civil war and not being held accountable for all of the things he has done, including the wmd and with regard to non-wmd atrocities. the message to rogue regimes is you ought to fight with no holds barred, and if you win, you won't pay a price for it. it sends unfortunately a green regimes,other rogue other brutal dictators to fight no holds barred and violate all of these norms. it seems to me that we need to find a way of reversing that. since it looks like bashar al-assad will win, we have to find some other way of reversing that.
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i don't know what that would be. it seems to me that should be a high priority. it is not just about bashar al-assad but trying to stop him and future brutal dictators from engaging in the things he did. >> let's switch topics to the second part of the speech, which was about iran. you had mentioned this was one of your takeaways about the israeli archives and its importance. and there was real debate about the importance of the archives, what was said, it wasn't a big deal and it wasn't a violation of the jcpoa or the safeguard agreement. what is your view of
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significance and doing that atomic archive what does it say to you and specifically as an international lawyer, can one say that the existence of this is a violation of the jcpoa and international agreements? >> in my view, the nuclear archives seem to indicate that iran is currently in violation of its obligations. a similar point in the speech, the archives show that the iranian nuclear weapons program was larger, more sophisticated more focused and more advanced , than previously understood. the archives contain considerable previously unknown data on nuclear weapons design, high explosives tests related to weapons development, individuals involved for research development and testing. some of the archive images appeared to show undisclosed equipment deployed for nuclear weapons work.
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in discussing u.s. withdraw from the jcpoa, many analysts have asserted that iran is in compliance with the deals terms that they are not in violation of their commitments and the sole concern is a future change in iranian behavior. under that view, the international community is in a waiting mode with iran claiming the moral high ground and holding the reins at the brink of a nuclear breakout. it's nuclear program unassailable until it seems capricious. the atomic archive provides substantial evidence of current iranian violation of its agreements. too little attention has been paid to this. the iaea and broader international treaty need to investigate these questions now
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and iran is obligated to cooperate with iaea on their investigation. by investigating where it would fulfill its mandate and help to significantly reduce iran's ability to have a bomb at its choice. the problem is legal and political commitments tend to serve as constraints only if they are enforced. the failure to punish lesser violations, such as retention of nuclear weapons design material or retention of information received from outside nuclear weapons engineers, that typically serves to greater violations. if you are not going to hold a ron -- iran accountable for holding onto this material, then it seems to me that iran will be more likely to dash to create a nuclear weapon at a time of its choosing. >> do you agree with that analysis? ares saying that there .xplicit violations
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there has been an argument that a section would prevent iran from acquiring, seeking, developing nuclear weapons, that the retention of this mass of archives for nuclear weaponization is a violation of one of the sections. are you as confident? >> i am not. not having seen the full scope of the archive or having seen quite a limited amount that was in benjamin netanyahu's visitation and in some new -- news stories since then, my assessment is that it provides a lot more detail and in some cases images which are quite vivid about elements of iran's nuclear weapons development history that we knew about in terms of the production of
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material, weaponization of that material and testing. >> let me stop you there. i don't want you to focus on whether it was new or not how -- not. that is a debate we cannot have because we don't know. what i'm asking more specifically is the fact that iran retained that documentation, not only retained the documentation but then decided after the jcpoa to take all of the information, consolidate it and go hide it somewhere in tehran so can be -- it can be used in the future potentially for some military nuclear program. in your view, is that a violation of the jcpoa, mtp? >> i would say it certainly jcpoaes the spirit of the
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and certainly, iran's treaty commitments under the mtp. it does reinforce a fundamental problem that iran never made a full declaration of its work in the past. that declaration would've guided inspectors in a strong mandate and basis for accessing the military sites where the work took place. none of these things took place. this reinforces one of the main shortcomings of the jcpoa. >> andrew, i want to involve you because we skipped past two quickly. there is an argument made by folks in the obama administration and some in israel that the deal reached with the russians and the syrians on bashar al-assad's chemical weapons program, as you
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pointed out was massive, at the end of the day, most of it was destroyed. they were able to get inspectors in there. there was an argument made that it at least diminished what was otherwise a very significant risk certainly to israel and to jordan and some of the neighboring countries. do you accept that line of argument? >> yes i do. first of all, it reduced the declared stockpile of chemical weapons and that is indisputable. that is a great victory in terms of getting the agents out of syria. the course of the work could have gone either way. i never thought it was going to completely collapse, but it could have significantly contracted and it could've gotten into the hands of more
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irresponsible parties, and that was a risk. the problem is, western countries have highlighted this and the declarations themselves were incomplete. there were concerns about that. that proved to be true in the sense that they have used sarin since the destruction of all of the declared stockpile. that remains a big problem. the larger problem ended up being a complete political failure in the sense that it was always put to us that it was either a strike or the chemical weapons deal. in and outside of the u.s. government, this was a big debate. there could've been a strike and you get the local balance and you get the deal, and that would have put us in a better direction. we will never know that. unfortunately, we end up with a rogue regime so to speak under
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-- with 60% under iran's control and with outstanding issues on cnbc and mtp. >> let me turn back to iran, because we are talking about rogue regimes and imperfect arms-control agreements and nonproliferation agreements, the fact that you can get certain declarations but at the end of the day they are incomplete. i was pulling some stats here. july 18, the iran announced they built a factory that they could -- that can produce six centrifuges a day and the factory has started all of its work. it was separately said that iran has a stockpile of 950 tons of uranium, including 400 tons imported after the jcpoa was finalized. significant? does this raise concern for you? we are in the process of re-imposing sanctions against iran.
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what are we going to do about those centrifuges, that now massive stockpile of uranium? talk about this in the context also of some of the other violations you believe are happening. >> sure, thanks. i want to briefly go back to the point about the iran nuclear archives. the existing data about how to make nuclear weapons, you contrast that with what happened in the libya and south africa situation. those are countries that really came clean. pursuant to an agreement with the u.s. and the u.k., libya in 2004 allowed a team of experts to enter the country, and completely dismantle its wmd structure. libya turned over the nuclear weapons designs it received. the u.s.-u.k. team shipped out of libya a thousand tons of
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sensitive documents from nuclear missile components. that is a country really coming clean with regard to nuclear weapons. the same thing with regard to south africa. they decided in 1992 dismantle -- 1990 two dismantle their program and they destroyed the hardware, manufacturing information. in 1993, they burned over 12,000 documents containing that kind of information. in contrast, you have the iranian regime which is basically holding all of the information, and i have not seen the archives myself, but according to the reports, they have been continuing the work, just under a different guys. -- guise. it seems there is a violation going on. when you contrast with what happened in the libya and south africa situation, it brings out
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the problems of the current iran nuclear situation. with regard to the announcement on july 18, i took a quick look, and it looks like these may both be steps that are designed to demonstrate iranian restlessness without clearly violating the jcpoa. i met that he said a factory has been dealt and started, and not centrifuges were installed which would raise questions. the iranian stockpile appears to refer to non-enriched uranium rather than enriched uranium. the challenge when you are already throwing so much at iran sanction wise, is you have little left to respond to and deter incremental problematic steps. this is a matter of violating the jcpoa, which it may not be. since the u.s. has withdrawn
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from the jcpoa, it would be up to the eu three to respond with commensurate measures. what do they have and what are their plans to respond to incremental violations of the jcpoa, or incremental violations of the mtp and the safeguards agreement? i have seen no evidence of a plan and certainly no announcement of if iran does ask, we will respond with -- iran does x, we will respond with y. it seems to me that is something you need to have. >> it struck me in the assistant secretary's speech that there was reference to iranian wmd's. are there iranian wmd's? what do we know of iran's chemical or biological weapons programs? i seem to recall the four main statutes of sanctions legislation that was passed and termination provisions that the sanctions will only be
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terminated permanently when iran permanently dismantles its nuclear, chemical and biological programs. is that speculative? do we know much in the public domain about those programs? >> i was struck by that sentence in her speech. it seemed to be different than the formulations i have seen in the past. i had a chance to quickly look at the annual compliance report by the state department last issued in march 2018, which had very little to say about an iranian chemical weapons program. it states that you cannot certify iran met its obligations under the convention, yet here she is talking about one of the problems of jcpoa was that it did not address iran's other wmd programs.
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is she indicating that now she believes iran does have other wmd programs? if so, that appears at least to chemical weapons to be perhaps a change from the compliance reports that her own team issued in march 2018. i think it would be interesting for somebody to probe and see was this a significant statement? was this an indication something was going on, new information going on about a wmd program or were we just putting that in there? >> there was a recommendation for an enterprising reporter. he wants to follow-up on that. we are out of time. we will go to q&a. we will have microphones going around.
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i see my friend mark fitzpatrick over there who managed to get by security. >> thanks so much for this invitation. i'm so glad you got to the compliance issue of iran. using chemical weapons today, iran, she didn't mention any cases of noncompliance. she did refer one time but did not mention any examples that we put up on not clarifying how they got past the past cases of safeguards and noncompliance for a decade or more or do you still think there is noncompliance because of the atomic archives? can you with some degree of specificity say what provisions of the mtp of iran's safeguard obligations or of the jcpoa, the retention of documents of past nuclear weapons development
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work? and we did say past, what are the specific provisions being violated? thank you. >> the relevant mtp article two under which iran is obligated not to manufacturer or acquire nuclear weapons or receive any assistance in their manufacture. it seems to me that iran's evident retention of the atomic archives including its own , nuclear weapons design work as well as tangible and substantive material it has received, and it's keeping of its research team puts iran currently in violation of article two because it has long been interpreted by the united states. we will publish something on that shortly. the most important and effective way to remedy this violation of the mtp would be for the iaea to do something similar what was -- to what was done with libya
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and south africa. iran's comprehensive safeguards agreement, which iran has entered into with the iaea pursuant to article three of the mtp requires iran to provide the iaea with information including all information about relevant safeguarding material. the atomic archives appears to show that iran's nuclear program is far more extensive than iaea inspectors previously understood. iran appears to have had and may still have nuclear related material and facilities that it was and is required by the comprehensive safeguard agreement to declare to the iaea, but has not declared it to the iaea.
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that places them in current violations of the safeguards agreement and mtp article three which requires iran to comply with the safeguards agreement. it seems to me that a remedy is that the iaea should take special inspections of previously undeclared and other suspect sites reflected in the archive to determine the significance of iran's failure to report to the iaea nuclear material activities in facilities as required by the comprehensive safeguards agreement. >> could i add to that? >> i would like to briefly. when we think of compliance with the jcpoa, something that the assistant secretary didn't reference is that it is important to look at the recent allegations in the un's secretary-general reports for nuclear procurement. we know there is a debate about who is responsible. and who is technically in noncompliance for having sent nuclear material to iran outside the procurement channel established by the jcpoa, but
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iran has some obligations on side as well and the most recent report contained a number of allegations about nuclear tool use fails or transfer to iran -- dual use fails or transfer to iran that this did not go to the procurement channel. that is a compliance channel i wish got more attention. >> i will take a quick prerogative as moderator. i think section t of the jcpoa is worth taking a look at. it exclusively prohibits iran from seeking nuclear weapons. if you are taking a massive archive of detailed designs and documents about how to build nuclear weapons, you're taking documents sitting in various places in iran and consolidating are claimed as time -- claim this time --
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clandestinely moving until warehouse in tehran, hopefully keeping that away from the iaea and prying eyes of western intelligence, that a commonsense reading of the section t suggests iran is in violation because it is attempting to still seek wmd's. if they weren't, they wouldn't try to move these documents and keep them away from inspectors. >> mark, you are famously in the camp in terms of the jcpoa, and what i would like to ask the panel is having identified these problems, where do we go from here? the documentation emerged a week before president trump withdrew from the jcpoa. one course of action might have been to actually confront the iranians over this documentation and initiate a discussion or at least attempt to and have that be a factor in your decision as to whether to stay with the agreement.
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but instead, they got out of the agreement altogether. we're not party to this agreement in the united states. at the same time, they are putting severe sanctions on basically tied to iranian behavior in the region. if iran were to satisfy u.s. concerns on the nuclear front, we won't take the sanctions off because they have to cease ties with hezbollah and a whole range of activities. we are not party to this agreement. sanctions don't seem to be an effective tool to resolving compliance issues. europe is keeping the agreement. the west is no longer unified. as much as president trump talks about wanting to talk with the iranians, there are no new negotiations going on and no discussion that anyone can identify. i would like to hear the panel say having gotten out of this,
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how you think one could constructively try to resolve these issues with the iranians. >> i have ideas, but i am the moderator. i will turn it over to you. let me take michael's question and ask you somewhat of a counterfactual. if iran was in violation of section t of the agreement for this nuclear archive because it was seeking nuclear weapons, why not actually take that violation, go to the joint commission, accuse iran of being in violation, give them a certain amount of time to explain themselves and come clean on the pmd issue, if they didn't move at the joint commission and then at the u.n. to snap back sanctions against iran and the u.s. stays in the
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deal and uses sanctions, nonnuclear, against the central bank for supporting bashar al-assad financing has lot or -- lots of other activities, why not keep it and a certain violations of them say they are not in violation for moving hundreds of thousands of documents to a secret warehouse so they could restart a wmd program in the future? >> why not, indeed. >> why not, indeed. i cowrote a piece with my colleague saying exactly that before the president withdrew from the deal. it was titled "atomic archive strengthens case to fix nuclear deal." basically my article, which was published, argued that the u.s. should have stayed in the deal and used the additional information in the archives to ofh iran and take advantage
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not just the npt. when i talked about violations, i focused on mtp and the comprehensive safeguards agreement because iran is clearly still in those and they are legally binding. it is hard for the u.s. to make arguments about the jcpoa in violations since we have withdrawn from the jcpoa. what is the route forward? obviously, the administration has decided to ramp up sanctions on iran and try to reach a new deal with iran. -- bet going to be does successful? i don't know. i know a lot of british companies are pulling out of doing business with iran. will the deal be better than the jcpoa? i don't know. i suppose it could happen. was that my preferred course of action, no it wasn't. >> i also wonder -- i think i know the answer to this, but what is the administration's desired outcome for the jcpoa?
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does it see a way forward whereby the united states is no longer in the jcpoa, but there sufficient value in some element of the agreement to allow it to not actively try to get rid of it entirely? my impression from comments is that they're talking about the jcpoa in the past tense and the sanctions they are looking and placeking to have back in and have been put back in place are aimed at accelerating that. i do think there is some value for the jcpoa to continue, even if the united states is not in it. you have the procurement channel, the joint commission, the ability for inspections. there are a series of things. you have the reconfiguration of the iraq reactor and the enrichment plant. i think there are benefits to have the jcpoa, the
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administration should see there are benefits to having the jcpoa continue. that would be for me the question looking forward. >> that is a great point which we haven't thought of. it was a chemical weapons deal that president obama decided not to "enforce the red line." and not launch military strikes. he got the deal and it was fairly imperfect and flawed. it solved short-term problem but not the long-term problem. you underscored something important, which is the political dimensions of that deal and the political consequences of the deal which i think we all agree politically speaking, it has been a massive failure and catastrophe with respect to bashar al-assad and the survival of his regime. this whole discussion that nonproliferation nerds seem to have. >> the major criticism of the deal from a syria context or
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regional context was that the problem was not about the agreement concerning, but was -- what was baked into the agreement. what was baked into it was a license for iran to expand in the region, which it did massively. that is indisputable. this is where it gets down to, and it is easy which we think in terms of states. aside -- assad is winning the war. that is only in a legal case. when you look at the iranian influence in syria, it is interspersed. you get what, in israel i have heard it referred to and also other pieces is massive strategic failure. what i expected after
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withdrawing from the nuclear agreement, you would put in place a plan to roll back iranian influence in the region. the problem in that is that you need to develop military resources to doing that. at least in the case of syria, passively hold territory and keep it out of the hands of the outside regime so you can financially and other means strangle it. until now, this is still a matter of dispute, whether there was recently the deal between the israeli and russians and jordanians over the southwest and there is the issue of what to do in eastern syria and should troops stay. it would seem to me that now that the license has been revoked, the united states would be in a good place to benefit and keep the forces there, both to keep isis down and use leverage points on the regime as we try to pull the iranians with russian support out of that country.
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>> the president keeps flirting with the idea that he will withdraw the 2000 troops from eastern syria and bring them home and what, cut a deal with putin to police iranian behavior? >> there are various iterations of this, and it is a controversial issue inside of the u.s. government. we could see a reduction of troops. i think the main driver of this, and this is important to watch in the context of the southwest agreement, isis still exists in syrian territory. they are making raids a regular basis. that is far westward. the problem is, if troops are withdrawn too quickly, then the likelihood of isis reconstituting itself or reinserting itself were quickly
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goes up. that is something we all need to avoid, whether it is in terms of regional security or national security. >> any further questions? >> hi, thank you. a comparatively dumb question. you mentioned the archives, do we have an absolute sense of the actual size and location? could there possibly be more of them than are currently accounted for because you seem to be making the case that there is a violation of jcpoa, but if our understanding of their size is not complete, how do we make that determination? what is the method after i withdraw for determining the size and completeness of our understanding of those archives? >> for further details, you should talk to the gentleman sitting next to you. introduce yourself.
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he is the deputy general of the iaea. after this is over, you should have a chat. >> all i know is what i have read in the new york times and other press reports that israelis went in and took some of what was in that warehouse but for from all of it. they weren't able to carry all of it. we don't know whether there are other sites of archival material. we don't know if there are other copies of this archival material. it seems to me this is a job for the international atomic energy agency to go visit that site and see what is left. was left, thatl means the iranians moved everything out of the site after they discover the israelis broke in. where did they take it to? this is why they exist, to track down this material relative to
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iran's nuclear weapons them. as far as i can tell, the israelis have turned over copies and the iaea,ts and the europeans and the iaea, but i heard no reference to the iaea going into a run in trying to see what is left. certainly there are israeli israeli reports that are left. >> i think on that note, thank you all for coming. and thank you to c-span for broadcasting this. feel free to stay after four follow-up questions. we will see you back for another event. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit]
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