Pres. Obama's nuclear capitulation accelerates. . . .
Mark April 2 as April Fools' Day II.
Iran's "framework" deal--called by the president "an historic understanding" that will upon completing a final deal in three months, prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear weapon state--will do anything but that. To the contrary, the deal Iran extracted from the US & its negotiation partners won't prevent Iran's march to nuclear weapon status.
N.B. CONTRARY TO WHAT THE PRESIDENT SAID, THIS IS IN FACT A DEAL. AT THIS STAGE THERE IS NO WAY WHATSOEVER THAT THE US WILL BACK OUT. THE IRANIANS KNOW THIS. THEY WILL WIN WITH EASE THE MOST CONCESSIONS IN THE IMPLEMENTATION TALKS THAT FOLLOW. WHICH IS WHY THEIR CHIEF NEGOTIATOR WAS SMILING YESTERDAY. HE KNOWS WHICH SIDE WON.
The president outlined the deal in glowing terms (FS references in parentheses draw directly from the DoS Fact Sheet; JW references in brackets are my insertions):
1. PRES: Iran will not develop weapons-grade plutonium. The core of the Arak reactor will be dismantled and sent away; a new core, (FS: weapons-grade plutonium-proof in its operation), will be put in its place.
2. PRES: Iran will no longer have a path to a uranium bomb. Most of Iran's enriched uranium will be surrendered, and Iran will not stockpile material to build a weapon.
(FS: Iran will surrender 6,104 of 19,000--[JW: known; others may exist]--centrifuges; the 6,104 retained will be the older model IR-1s, of which 5,060 would be dedicated to uranium enrichment at the Natanz site. Iran will surrender 9,700 kg of its 10,000 kg. of [JW: known] stockpile pf enriched uranium. Iran will limit for 15 years the enrichment level of its remaining 300 kg of uranium to 3.67% = commercial grade.)
3. PRES: Even if Iran violates the deal it will be at least a year away from a bomb.
(FS: Iran's breakout time will be extended for 2 - 3 mos. to at least one year, for at least 10 years.)
[JW: Detecting possible breakout, even if instantaneous--which it rarely is--would trigger a three-stage review process. THUS: (a) US intel would spend months confirming a preliminary finding of breakout; (b) then the US would negotiate for months with its partners, including Russia & China, who both wield UN Security Council vetoes, with the US position being watered down; (c) then the group would negotiate with the Iranians for months, with Iran denying, then delaying, obfuscating and, finally, making at most cosmetic concessions. The end result would be near-total acceptance of Iran's position.]
4. PRES: International inspectors will have "unprecedented access" to Iran's program, and violations will be discovered and remedied. (FS: Various added measures will be implemented, with IAEA supervision, and Iran entering into an agreement on PMDs--"Possible Military Dimensions [JW: = nuclear military potential].
[JW: There will be no "snap" inspections to investigate "suspicious" activity; these are ESSENTIAL if verification is to be credible.]
5. For Iran there are 10-year (Natanz = 70m deep facility outed in 2002), 15-year (al Fordow = 200m deep facility outed in 2009) & 20-year (continual facilities surveillance) and 25-year (continual mining surveillance) transparency sunset periods.
[JW: Sunset provisions retroactively legitimate Iran's illegal program and their associated serial deceptions.]
6. Phased sanctions as Iran complies, to be reimposed if Iran violates the deal. (FS: Sanctions remain in placed until IAEA verifies full Iranian compliance with accord; UN & EU sanctions can be reimposed--"snap back into place"--if Iran subsequently violates the accord.)
[JW: Once removed, none of America's partners will ever reimpose sanctions. The US sanctions, if reimposed, would be rendered ineffective. Iran's newly turbocharged economy would easily withstand any solo US sanctions regime.]
7. The deal is "robust and verifiable" deal that will prevent Iran from joining the nuclear club.
[JW: The deal is neither "robust" nor "verifiable."]
Elliott Abrams paints a chilling portrait of Iran's chief negotiator, Mohammed Javad Zarif:
Zarif has many fans, and one of them appears to be Secretary of State Kerry. But we must recall that Kerry was also a fan of Bashar al-Assad, who in those days was taking essentially the same line as Zarif with Americans: I want change, I want reform, help me modernize. Zarif no doubt is saying (to Kerry, and the Europeans as well) that this nuclear deal will help him and other reformers change Iran, open the country up, and begin the transformation of the Islamic Republic into a normal country.
The problem is that there is no evidence Zarif is a reformer, rather than an immensely skilled defender of the regime, so it is remarkable that Western diplomats are moved by him as an individual. This is predictable, and happens with regimes good and bad. I remember when the Reagan administration sent a pretty hardline guy to represent us at the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva, and he began to argue against the tough positions Washington wanted to take. Why? He had become friendly with and very respectful of the British aristocrat who was the UK ambassador, Lord Somebody-or-Other, and didn't want to disappoint the guy. I recall our man saying on the phone that if we persisted in our Reaganite position, "Lord X will be so upset." That's a normal human reaction, but it is striking that personal influence can overcome policy and facts when the other diplomat represents not the UK but some awful tyranny.
WSJ pundit Dan Henninger details how the failed North Korean talks during the Obama & Bush 43 administrations eerily parallels the serial failures during the Iran talks. Peggy Noonan makes a strong case for increased sanctions as the better way to go.
Israeli PM Bibi Netanyahu sees the deal as a threat to Israel's survival. Confirming this, the commander of Iran's "Basij" Revolutionary Guards--a group akin to the Nazi storm troopers--called Israel's destruction "non-negotiable." Charles Krauthammer warned that sanctions, once suspended, will never be reimposed by anyone save perhaps the US (assuming a president--hardly Hillary--resolute enough to do so).
Thus the West has now formally conceded in principle to Iran much of what at the start of talks was considered unacceptable in any accord:
- (1) maintenance of a vast nuclear infrastructure;
- (2) continued work on strategic ballistic-missile and nuclear-weapon design;
- (3) limited inspection rights at best, with Iran allowed to keep its nuclear secrets for several years, before disclosing them in full;
- (4) “sunset” clauses allowing Iran, after varying periods ranging from 10 to 25 years—to keep its ill-gotten, illegal gains; and finally,
- (5) a novel legal right to enrich uranium—never before given any country not grandfathered in the Nonproliferation Treaty—and hence certain to undermine what is left of the treaty’s modest effectiveness in limiting nuclear proliferation.
Once again, edge to Iran.
Bottom Line. The president's claim that the deal meets all necessary US goals strains credulity well past the breaking point. Especially weak is his claim of full, reliable verification on an accord that the Iranians will cheat on, and slow-roll what likely will be weak Western attempts to persuade Iran to comply. Iran has, in return for suspending enrichment for a time at designated known facilities, kept itself on track to achieving its nuclear ambitions.
Letter from the Capitol, LFTC, Foreign Policy, National Security, Homeland Security, WMD, Nuclear Proliferation, Conservative Politics