Iran's Thugs Smile, We Lose
by JOHN C. WOHLSTETTER
November 24, 2013
John Kerry's interim disaster augurs catastrophe....
Sunday morning's interim nuclear deal that six Western powers made with Iran's rulers is a disaster in search of catastrophe--the latter in the form of the planned final deal six months hence.
On Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace began his report on the deal having been reached with "While many were sleeping"; it would have been more accurate for him to have said "While our negotiators were sleeping."
President Obama's first official statement about the deal included this:
While today's announcement is just a first step, it achieves a great deal. For the first time in nearly a decade, we have halted the progress of the Iranian nuclear program, and key parts of the program will be rolled back. Iran has committed to halting certain levels of enrichment and neutralizing part of its stockpiles. Iran cannot use its next-generation centrifuges, which are used for enriching uranium. Iran cannot install or start up new centrifuges, and its production of centrifuges will be limited. Iran will halt work at its plutonium reactor. And new inspections will provide extensive access to Iran's nuclear facilities and allow the international community to verify whether Iran is keeping its commitments.
The canary in the diplomatic coal mine, however, is this report, that the US had been secretly negotiating since March 2013 with Iran--(a) without telling its mortally-endangered ally, Israel until two months ago (seven months into the talks); and (b) negotiating (for one of the five meetings) with Rouhani's predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
These sanctions have had a substantial impact on the Iranian economy, and with the election of a new Iranian President earlier this year, an opening for diplomacy emerged. I spoke personally with President Rouhani of Iran earlier this fall. Secretary Kerry has met multiple times with Iran's Foreign Minister. And we have pursued intensive diplomacy -- bilaterally with the Iranians, and together with our P5-plus-1 partners -- the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, and China, as well as the European Union. (Emphasis added.)
Put simply, the president at minimum misled us when he cited Rouhani's "reformer" status (in reality, simply wrong, on all available evidence--Rouhani lied about Iran's nuclear program after it was outed in August 2002, when he headed the regime's 2003-2005 nuclear negotiations--as the reason we could negotiate. He had already secretly negotiated with Israel's openly genocidal adversary, without informing Israel. (Emphasis added.)
The White House fact sheet on the deal looks superficially plausible, except that there is no practical way to either verify compliance nor has the president left the military force option credibly on the table--hence Obama's assertion that diplomacy is the sole way to resolve the problems posed by Iran's nuclear program.
The president, near the end of his statement, made this contradictory and delusional remark:
Ultimately, only diplomacy can bring about a durable solution to the challenge posed by Iran's nuclear program. As President and Commander-in-Chief, I will do what is necessary to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. But I have a profound responsibility to try to resolve our differences peacefully, rather than rush towards conflict. Today, we have a real opportunity to achieve a comprehensive, peaceful settlement, and I believe we must test it. (Emphasis added.)
Only diplomacy? Decisive military action could destroy Iran's nuclear assets. Better by far still, positive regime regime, replacing Iran's genocidal Islamist regime with a moderate one--the very possibility Pres. Obama scorned during the June 2009 popular uprising against the rigged re-election of A-jad--could have ended Iran's military nuclear program.
Here is Iran's version of the full accord text, as published by Iran's Fars News Agency. Israeli PM Netanyahu's first statement on the deal predictably stood in sharp contrast to the president's:
What was achieved last night in Geneva is not a historic agreement, it is a historic mistake. Today the world has become a much more dangerous place because the most dangerous regime in the world has made a significant step in the direction of achieving the most dangerous weapon in the world. For the first time the leading nations in the world agreed to the enrichment of uranium in Iran by ignoring the decisions of the Security Council that they themselves led. Sanctions that took years to put into place and held within them the best possible opportunity for a solution by the way of peace were lifted for cosmetic Iranian compromises that can be canceled in weeks. This agreement and its significance there of threatens many countries and of course Israel among them. Israel is not obliged to the agreement. The regime in Iran is dedicated to destroying Israel and Israel has the right and obligation to defend itself with it's own forces against every threat. I want to make clear as the Prime minister of Israel, Israel will not let Iran develop a nuclear military capability.
The New York Times report on the deal notes that at most--if Ian honors the accord, which would be a first in its nuclear dealings with the West--it delays Iran's march to a bomb by one month. Iran's declared amount of seven tons of low-enriched uranium (commercial grade 3.5% enriched) would be allowed first to rise to eight tons, then is to fall back to seven tons by the six-month mark.
The Gray Lady's report includes this gem as to verification:
To guard against cheating, international monitors would be allowed to visit the Natanz enrichment facility and the underground nuclear enrichment plant at Fordo on a daily basis to check the film from cameras installed there.
But Iran did not agree to all of the intrusive inspection regime that the International Atomic Energy Agency had said was needed to ensure that the Iranian program is peaceful. (Emphasis added.)
Another Gray Lady piece encapsulates how successful Iran has been in advancing its nuclear program during the Obama years:
At the beginning of Mr. Obama's presidency, Iran had roughly 2,000 kilograms of low-enriched uranium, barely enough for a bomb. It now has about 9,000 kilograms, by the estimates of the International Atomic Energy Agency. A few thousand centrifuges were spinning in 2009; today there are 18,000, including new models that are far more efficient and can produce bomb-grade uranium faster. A new heavy water reactor outside the city of Arak promises a new pathway to a bomb, using plutonium, if it goes online next year as Iran says it will. (Emphasis added.)
The same article offers this on possible hidden facilities and possible rollback of elements not covered by the deal:
True rollback would mean dismantling many of those centrifuges, shipping much of the fuel out of the country or converting it into a state that could not be easily adapted to bomb use, and allowing inspections of many underground sites where the C.I.A., Europe and Israel believe hidden enrichment facilities may exist. There is no evidence of those facilities now, but, as a former senior Obama administration official said recently, speaking anonymously to discuss intelligence, "there has never been a time in the past 15 years or so when Iran didn't have a hidden facility in construction."
There is also the problem of forcing Iran to reveal what kind of progress it has made toward designing a weapon. For years, its leaders have refused to answer questions about documents, slipped out of the country by a renegade scientist nearly eight years ago, that strongly suggest work on a nuclear warhead. Inspectors have never been able to interview Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the academic believed to be in charge of a series of weapons development projects. (Emphasis added.)
SecState John Kerry says that "Israel is in fact safer than it was yesterday"; but Iran's foreign minister warns that Iran will not accept any tighter sanctions, and further asserts that the deal preserves Iran's "right to enrich" uranium.
Iran's asserted "right to enrich" is fictive, but it serves the regime's purpose to assert it, as it transforms a legal prohibition against Iran enriching uranium to an arcane diplomatic legal dispute that is hence inconclusive. Put simply, the Nonproliferation Treaty confers no explicit right to enrich uranium; given the NPT's objectives, an implied right to do same is not reasonably inferred from the text. Permanent United Nations sanctions (oil & economic) were imposed in 2006, to last until Iran's suspends its uranium enrichment program. Instead, in the interim accord Iran won a limited "right to enrich" and obtained a lightening of UN sanctions.
One Iranian general--the day before the deal was struck--warned that Iran would make war against the US:
According to Fars News Agency, the regime's outlet run by the Revolutionary Guards, Gen. Massoud Jazayeri, deputy chief of staff of Iran's armed forces, said "America's interests and all of Israel are within the range of the Islamic Republic and there is not the slightest doubt among Iran's armed forces to confront the American government and the Zionists (Israel)."
Jazayeri said Israel is pulling the strings of Washington and "the American government is one of the most hated and evil governments in the world."
The general mocked President Obama's position that the military option remains on the table over Iran's nuclear development. "If America had the ability and the will for war, it would allow no doubt in attacking Syria. America will soon find out that Iran's power cannot be ignored."
Most chilling, too, was the March 2013 report that Iran has built a massive new underground site for its enrichment program (8,000 centrifuges--which would add to the 18,000 already known to exist), long-range missiles, etc. the "Quds" (Arabic for Jerusalem) enrichment facility is buried 375 feet down, more than 50 percent deeper than al-Fordo (Iran's previous deepest facility) and five times deeper than Natanz (Iran's main enrichment facility). The report indicates also that Iran has converted some uranium into metal, a crucial step for a bomb not used in nuclear reactors; and that Iran is working on specialized components used to detonate nuclear bombs. Also, Iran is working on neutron technology to create an EMP weapon--used to knock out electric power grids via a high-altitude detonation that emits serial pulses of destructive electromagnetic energy.
Surprised? Then try this on for size: an Iranian state-TV video (4:39) simulating a counter-strike on Israel. Or this: Iran accused Israel of killing JFK because JFK tried to halt Israel's nuclear bomb program.
Finally, a read of Winston Churchill's Nov. 5, 1938 address to the House of Commons is instructive, especially these choice paragraphs:
The Chancellor of the Exchequer [Sir John Simon] said it was the first time Herr Hitler had been made to retract - I think that was the word - in any degree. We really must not waste time after all this long Debate upon the difference between the positions reached at Berchtesgaden, at Godesberg and at Munich. They can be very simply epitomised, if the House will permit me to vary the metaphor. £1 was demanded at the pistol's point. When it was given, £2 were demanded at the pistol's point. Finally, the dictator consented to take £1 17s. 6d. and the rest in promises of goodwill for the future.
Those are the features which I stand here to expose and which marked an improvident stewardship for which Great Britain and France have dearly to pay. We have been reduced in those five years from a position of security so overwhelming and so unchallengeable that we never cared to think about it. We have been reduced from a position where the very word "war" was considered one which could be used only by persons qualifying for a lunatic asylum. We have been reduced from a position of safety and power - power to do good, power to be generous to a beaten foe, power to make terms with Germany, power to give her proper redress for her grievances, power to stop her arming if we chose, power to take any step in strength or mercy or justice which we thought right - reduced in five years from a position safe and unchallenged to where we stand now....
And do not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year unless by a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigour, we arise again and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.
Munich bought Europe s one-year respite from a shooting war. How long the Iran respite lasts is anyone's guess, but the interim accord does little concrete that might--if implemented--improve our security, and much to impair same. War--nuclear war--could very well come later.
Bottom Line. Appeasement of a hostile power with revolutionary aspiration will work no better in the 21st century than it did in the 20th.
And that is why Iran's Islamist rulers are smiling today.
Mr. Wohlstetter is the author of "Sleepwalking With the Bomb" (Discovery Institute Press, 2012). Follow John on twitter at @JohnWohlstetter