Nuclear agreement and facts: Is Iran responsible for most terrorist acts?

Between the war in Ukraine and the war in Corona, the headlines this week grabbed another topic: the nuclear deal being formed between Iran and the powers in Vienna. The expectation of a re-signing of the agreement revoked at the time by the Trump administration led to a flood of statements, leaks, warnings and media announcements, which also contained quite a bit of confusion, unfounded assertions, and just conflicting data that left the average media consumer a little confused. We have put some order in some important issues that have come up this week to discuss the issue.

The first topic surprisingly begins with an interview that included certain humorous elements. Last weekend, journalist Barak Ravid revealed that the United States was considering removing Iran’s Revolutionary Guards from its list of terrorist organizations. Explaining this week during an interview here B. what is actually so serious about such a move, he had difficulty repeatedly.

The two presenters, Kalman Liebskind and Assaf Lieberman, sounded quite amused by the ambush into which the deputy minister was shot.

After we chuckled, we can admit that Roll did not get involved by chance. Although, in principle, if the organization is removed from the State Department’s terror list, American citizens will be able to provide it with economic or other assistance legally, and the organization’s members will even be able to stay in the US without fear of deportation or sanctions. Separate terrorism by the US administration, and in particular by the Treasury.A series of presidential decisions by various presidents, in 2007, 2011 and 2017, meant that almost all of the bans imposed on the Revolutionary Guards when Trump added them to the State Department list in 2019 were already in effect. This move, as also reflected in the White House announcement in those days, was mostly symbolic.

In the same way, going backwards from the move will also have meanings especially in this plane. This does not mean that it can be dismissed for nothing, after all the explanatory side also has importance in this struggle, but it is worth keeping proportions.

The largest terrorist organization in the world?

And here’s something more about proportions. The chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Ram Ben-Barak, did not have a hard time providing details last weekend about another element related to the Revolutionary Guards. This, in one variation or another, a number of government officials returned this week, and Bennett himself explained at a recent Yedioth conference that it was “the largest terrorist organization in the world.”

is it true? Bennett’s definition is not particularly difficult to accept. By a variety of definitions and criteria, it can certainly be argued that the Revolutionary Guards is the strongest and most established organization in the world that produces terrorism. It is a “state-supported” body, according to Bennett, that is, it is operated by the Iranian authorities, and as such is regularly and massively budgeted, acts as an orderly military force, and possesses additional capabilities that do not characterize “classic” terrorist organizations. The scope of the organization’s activities is also particularly wide – from Iraq and Afghanistan, through Bahrain and Yemen, to Syria, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. In years past, Iranian affiliates have also carried out murderous terrorist acts on distant continents such as South America and East Asia.

But is all this enough to prove that the Revolutionary Guards are behind “most of the terrorist incidents in the world,” as Ben-Barak claims? A variety of studies, intelligence reports and research institutes seem to refute this assertion. The International Atomic Energy Agency’s well-known International Counter-Terrorism Index (IEP), which has been collecting accurate data on terrorist incidents for decades, reminds us that the largest number of people paying with their lives for terrorist acts is far from the West – in Africa.

According to the index, the organizations that claimed the most lives in 2021 were ISIS for its various metastases; al-Shabab, which operates in East Africa and is affiliated with al-Qaeda; the Taliban; And also declared allegiance to al Qaeda in 2017; and Boko Haram, who controls terrorism in the Nigeria and Cameroon region. .

In general, according to most studies, following the coalition’s almost complete victory over ISIS in the Middle East, the African continent – especially the Sahel region south of the Sahara – has become the center of global terrorism. 48% of deaths from terrorist attacks in the past year have occurred there.

And what about Iran and the Revolutionary Guards? First, they too operate in Africa indirectly through Shiite militias. Second, as we have already mentioned, they are indeed directly and indirectly responsible for many violent acts, but not all of them fall under the definition of terrorism. In Yemen, for example, the Iranian regime is providing economic backing and armaments to the 2014 Houthi rebels who are waging a civil war, which according to the UN has become the most serious humanitarian crisis in the world. Where 70% of the victims are children up to the age of 5. But it is difficult to define this war, which is being waged between several armies, as a terrorist incident (the UAV attacks carried out by the Houthis against civilian targets in Yemen and Saudi Arabia are counted as terrorist incidents in the reports we mentioned).

In general, these reports are of course not an exact science. They do not count state-sponsored terrorist incidents – that is, they do not include actions directly attributed to the Revolutionary Guards, but do include actions attributed to the many organizations that Iran supports – and the very determination of what exactly is an act of terrorism is of course subjective and contains political and ideological biases. Still, they do seem to provide an important and interesting perspective.

3 years or 5 years?

It is impossible to talk about the Iranian issue without mentioning the leader of the opposition, Benjamin Netanyahu. He was interviewed this week by Fox News, warning against the “perforated agreement” that is being formed, and even stated that “by 2027, in five years, Iran will have the capacity to enrich enough uranium to produce a nuclear arsenal.” His party colleague Yuval Steinitz mentioned a different date. “Iran is getting approval (to become) a nuclear threshold state within three years from now,” he warned on Channel 13.

Why the difference? In fact, the original nuclear deal signed by the six powers (US, China, France, UK, Russia, Germany) with Iran in 2015 does not include a single expiration date. Under various restrictions and supervision).

It is not known for sure what the agreement will look like, but according to the publications, the parties are striving to return to a formula similar to the original agreement, which states that as early as 2023, the first sanctions imposed by the West are expected to expire. Then, every few years, Iran will gain other relief.

Thus, for example, in March 2024, it will be allowed to use and test 30 advanced centrifuges, and produce another 400 of these, but without the rotor essential for their final operation. At the end of 2025, ten years after the signing of the original agreement, a series of restrictions on the number of IR-1 centrifuges (the oldest) will expire, and Iran will also be able to make preparations for the use of more advanced IR-8 centrifuges. This may be the source of the contradiction between Steinitz and Netanyahu: the former referred to the moment when the restrictions on centrifuges would expire, and the latter to the time it would take from the moment they were activated until the accumulation of sufficient fissile material to produce a bomb.

The really significant reliefs, by the way, will only come at the end of 2030, so Iran will be able to cross the uranium enrichment threshold of 3.68% (the minimum threshold for civilian uses), make use of the heavy water needed to enrich uranium, and most of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s oversight will be lifted. In practice, Iran is already enriching at 60% following the US withdrawal from the 2018 agreement.

By Editor

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