Even after the nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 was implemented, it was hard to believe Iran would completely cease its sophisticated and underhanded efforts – using front companies, proxies, and more – to develop its nuclear program.
Now, Iran’s continued efforts to do just that have come to light – with a German intelligence report revealing that Iran is not only flouting the nuclear deal (even with “the ink barely dry” on the agreement, to cite Fox News’s Benjamin Weinthal), but contravening the UN Security Council, actively pursuing a “clandestine” effort to secure illicit missile and nuclear technology at a “quantitatively high level.”
The widely-publicized report, written by Germany’s central intelligence agency, said documents pertaining to the transactions were falsified to obscure their true purpose, predicting that Iran would continue these “intensive procurement activities.” A separate regional intelligence report, meanwhile, registered dozens of Iran-linked attempts to acquire technology for proliferation purposes in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
The reports identified over 1,000 individuals in Germany associated with Iranian terror proxies such as Hezbollah and Hamas, some of them possibly working inside the European state on Iran’s behalf to commit “terrorist acts of violence.” Germany’s official response raised the possibility that Iranian hardline forces may be trying to “torpedo” the nuclear deal and undermine the country’s so-called “moderates” politically, who were said to have been fully compliant with the nuclear deal since its implementation.
However, this apparent division between “moderates” and “hardliners” in the Iranian government is not as clear-cut as the response to and coverage of the report would suggest, as both factions ultimately have the same aims. Just like the US utilized the so called split between hardliners and moderates for its political interests, as portrayed in the nytimes magazine monumental piece, we can assume that Iran exploits this split for its own political interests. While Rouhani and his ministers present a “moderate” image to the West and its media, any questionable actions inconsistent with said image are attributed to the “hardliners” when they inevitably make a splash in the press. But behind this façade of apparent division, Iran – whose post-deal missile tests were recently denounced as unconstructive and concerning by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon – seems to continue pursuing its erstwhile, pre-deal goals. Perhaps it is time for the press to cease serving as an “echo chamber” and re-examine the facts.