On July 23, 2020, Alireza Jafarzadeh, the Deputy Director of the National Council of Iran – US Representative Office (NCRI-US), joined Ambassador Robert Joseph, former Undersecretary of State for Arms Control & International Security, for a discussion on last month’s explosion at Natanz nuclear facility and Tehran’s nuclear file, on Alhurra TV.
Asked about the “how the United States is dealing with Iran’s nuclear file,” Amb. Joseph explained:
“Let me say that the Trump administration has been very serious about dealing with Iran’s nuclear weapons program, much more so than the previous administration that relied on the policy of appeasement. The Trump administration withdrew from the JCPOA, the Iran nuclear agreement, which was a fatally flawed agreement and allowed Iran and the mullahs and the regime to continue their nuclear weapons program. The verification provisions were far from adequate, as we now know from recent IAEA reports.”
Former Undersecretary reminded the viewers about the importance of the IAEA’s last month resolution regarding Tehran’s violations of its nuclear commitments. He said:
“Just last month the IAEA Board of Governors passed overwhelmingly a resolution that calls on Iran, which diplomatically speaks for demands from Iran, that Iran observes its obligations under the NPT Safeguards Agreements and the additional protocol. There have been longstanding concerns about Iran’s use of dual capable technologies to pursue further its nuclear weapons, and there have been longstanding issues associated with past activities dealing with weaponization that the regime has never clarified with the IAEA and now the regime is blocking access to phase 2 sites which they are obligated to provide access to for the IAEA to conducts its business.”
When asked about the responsibility for the explosion at Natanz nuclear facility last month in iran, Mr. Joseph responded that:
“In terms of the recent developments which you referred to, including the destruction of a facility at Natanz, well, that’s a matter of speculation. I’ve read press reports that attribute it to third party states. There’s also what the regime claims and that is an accident, but I think that has very little credibility, like most claims of this regime.”
Jafarzadeh was also asked about the Natanz explosion. He said:
The explosions in Natanz and before that in the Parchin area, in Khojir, and a number of military sites, is perhaps the reaction to the illegitimate nuclear weapons program of the Iranian regime. The people of Iran, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, and the MEK are opposed to a nuclear armed Iran. But the bigger picture shows a very disastrous situation that the Iran regime is in. You have the COVID-19 pandemic that the regime is largely responsible for the very high level of casualties. You have widespread corruption that the people are fed up with. The regime has no solution for any of these problems. I would look at this as one element within the bigger picture of the status of the regime. They are clearly in big trouble and they are fearful of their overthrow.
Regarding the cause or responsibility for the incident, Mr. Jafarzadeh explained that:
“Our movement has had no role with these explosions or what happened at Natanz and other places. One thing is for sure, the people of Iran don’t want a nuclear-armed regime. Our movement doesn’t want a nuclear-armed regime because it will further prolong the rule of the clerics. It was our movement that exposed all of the major nuclear sites of Iran, including the site in Natanz. In August of 2002, it was the National Council of Resistance of Iran that exposed it, and it was after that the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations watchdog, IAEA got access to those sites and since then all of the things happening, the sanctions by the United Nations and all of that. Our views about the issue are very clear, but we had no role in those explosions.”
The NCRI-US Deputy Director was asked about the significance of Natanz nuclear facility and the way forward. He said:
“Clearly this explosion, especially because it is related to the development of more advanced centrifuges, sets back the nuclear weapons program of Iran, but we shouldn’t think that this is the end of it. We should build up the pressure and ask for the inspection of all their sites. The position of our movement is that the Iran regime doesn’t need any kind of enrichment program because enrichment capability in any form or shape is only for the purpose of building weapons. There has not been any peaceful purpose for the whole program since day one. What the United Nations and particularly the U.S. need to do is to reimpose all of the sanctions on the Iran regime at the UN because the Iran regime is in clear violation of its own commitments.”
In conclusion, Jafarzadeh added:
“Experience has shown that every time that you build pressure on the Iran regime, the regime backs down. This is a regime that is very vulnerable. It’s weak. It’s rejected by its own population. Remember, there was a series of uprisings in Iran in the past three years, most recently in January of this year, and the vast majority of the Iranian population rejected this regime. Here is the opportunity for the outside world to build up pressure on the Iran regime.”