With days to go before the upcoming June 30 deadline, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rejected a key provision of the framework agreement reached between Iran and the six world powers.
The agreement is meant to limit Iran’s nuclear program and prevent the Islamic republic from being able to build an atomic bomb.
According to the framework agreement hammered out in Lausanne, Switzerland in April, Iran agreed to "limit domestic enrichment capacity and research and development… for ten years."
Yet on Tuesday, in a live speech televised across Iran, the Ayatollah specifically nixed this limitation, declaring, “Freezing Iran's research and development (R&D) for a long time like 10 or 12 years is not acceptable.”
Limiting research and development of Iran’s nuclear technology is mentioned four separate times in the framework agreement, with R&D on advanced centrifuges under a 15-year R&D ban.
Khamenei also demanded sanctions relief begin immediately upon the signing of the agreement. However, once an agreement is signed, sanctions cannot be lifted until the U.S. Congress reviews the document. According to a new law – which was signed by U.S. President Barack Obama – Congress has 30 days to review any agreement.
The demand for immediate sanctions relief is a new ultimatum issued by the ayatollah.
Earlier this week, the Iranian parliament rejected any inspections of the country's nuclear program that are not “conventional” visits, effectively banning any scrutiny of Iranian military sites.
Inspection of military sites is a key factor in assuring the agreement is effective in real terms, according to the former deputy director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Olli Heinonen.
A new report titled “Verifying a Final Nuclear Deal with Iran,” written by Heinonen and signed by 20 foreign-policy experts across the political spectrum, examines possible military dimensions (PMD) of the Iranian nuclear program, coupled with inadequate verifiability provisions, that could make any agreement worthless.
Earlier this week, Iranian lawmakers voted to take away their own power to veto any final agreement. Amending their previous legislation, legislators put the veto power into the hands of the Supreme National Security Council, a group made up of ministers and military commanders chosen by Khamenei and headed by Iranian President Hasan Rouhani.
With the power to make or break the agreement concentrated in the hands of Khamenei and his allies, the latest posturing by the Iranian supreme leader calls into question the efficacy of any agreement between Iran and the West.
The following chart was posted from the Twitter account @Khamenei_ir, obstensibly a legimimate account of the Iranian leader. The chart details Iran's "red lines" versus the ewquirements of the framework agreement: