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Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Strategic Alliances for a Secure, Connected, and Prosperous Region

Dore Gold on BBC: The Iranians Are Going to Put All Their Illicit Weapons Development in Uninspected Sites

Filed under: Iran, Nuclear Warfare, U.S. Policy

Dore Gold: I think President Trump has done exactly what was needed to be done, and he zeroed in on three central flaws with the Iran agreement that will have to be fixed in any future agreement.

Number one: You talk about the sunset clause, this notion that an arms control agreement just fades away after a number of years. Whether it’s 10 years or 13 years, you can’t have agreements of that sort. That’s like saying an arms control agreement is a carton of milk with an expiration date at the top.

Second: He pointed out a flaw that everybody notices and everybody talks about, but no one does anything about it. I was Israel’s UN Ambassador in the 1990s, and I saw how the United Nations dealt with the weapons of mass destruction of Iraq and Saddam Hussein. One thing the UN did was include in weapons of mass destruction not just nuclear, not just chemical, but also the ballistic missile forces of Iraq. But the ballistic missiles were kept out of the Iran agreement. That has to be corrected.

Finally, the verification: It’s no big deal to have verification in declared sites. The Iranians say, “Here, you can look at these sites, but you have no access to undeclared sites, military sites.” So it’s clear that the Iranians are going to put all their illicit weapons development in the undeclared sites. By the way, that’s what they did in the past.

BBC Anchor: You see all these flaws in this agreement. What is your solution, if this isn’t?

Dore Gold: Well, historically in arms control, you can take a bad agreement and turn it into a good agreement. There was the SALT 2 treaty under President Carter. It was such a failure that they didn’t even give it to the U.S. Senate for ratification because they knew it wouldn’t pass the Senate. So what happened instead? Instead, a new set of treaties called START were negotiated by President Reagan that created stability between the superpowers and brought about a real détente. That’s what you have to do now.

BBC Anchor: Dr. Gold, I’m looking at the immediate results of the announcement from the White House. We’ve already heard from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. He has told Iran’s nuclear agency to prepare to resume enrichment on an industrial scale. Hasn’t this been entirely counterproductive?

Dore Gold: I don’t believe so, because the Iran agreement even with all its flaws –

BBC Anchor: So it’s better if Iran says, “Now go ahead with uranium enrichment?”

Dore Gold: Well, that’s their choice, but they were also moved by real interests just a few years ago to agree to the Iran agreement, and I think those interests are still there. But they’re up against a real tough American negotiator who wants to protect the interests of the United States and the interests of American allies, whether they’re in the Gulf or they’re in the Mediterranean, and I think that’s critical. We cannot have a shoddy piece of negotiation, which the Iranians are violating and which will inevitably lead to a massive Iranian nuclear arsenal. The kind of agreement that I think President Trump wants will not do that.

BBC Anchor: As a result of this announcement, does Israel feel safer now?

Dore Gold: When we look at the long term, we can be certain that by the year 2030 we will not be facing an Iran with a massive nuclear arsenal. Right now, they can build all the missiles they want and at the end of the agreement, when the sunset clause kicks in, they can start enriching uranium in massive quantities. You will be facing a new Soviet Union, like you had in the Cold War, but it’ll be a Shiite fundamentalist state. That’s dangerous, not just for Israel, but for the world.

BBC Anchor: We are out of time. Thank you very much, Dr. Dore Gold, joining us from Jerusalem.