President Obama’s efforts to resolve the stalemate with Iran have yet to produce concrete results, so when Secretary of State Kerry emerged with a deal late on the night of 11/23/13, it was hailed as a major breakthrough. Looking through the details, however, the deal amounts to unilateral surrender by the west and America. Even our principle allies in the Middle East, Israel and Saudi Arabia have expressed concerns regarding the deal.
From the Iranian perspective, the deal was a huge win (from the Washington Post):
“Let anyone make his own reading, but this right is clearly stated in the text of the agreement that Iran can continue its enrichment, and I announce to our people that our enrichment activities will continue as before,” Rouhani said in a statement broadcast live on television in Iran on Sunday morning.
From the New York Times (empahsis mine):
The accord was a disappointment for Israel, which had urged the United States to pursue a stronger agreement that would lead to a complete end to Iran’s enrichment program. But Iran made it clear that continuing enrichment was a prerequisite for any agreement.
The United States did not accept Iran’s claim that it had a “right to enrich” under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. But American officials signaled last week that they were open to a compromise in which the two sides would essentially agree to disagree on how the proliferation treaty should be interpreted, while Tehran continued to enrich.
In return for the initial agreement, the United States agreed to provide $6 billion to $7 billion in sanctions relief. Of this, roughly $4.2 billion would be oil revenue that has been frozen in foreign banks.
This limited sanctions relief can be accomplished by executive order, allowing the Obama administration to make the deal without having to appeal to Congress, where there is strong criticism of any agreement that does not fully dismantle Iran’s nuclear program.
The fact that the accord would only pause the Iranian program was seized on by critics who said it would reward Iran for institutionalizing the status quo.
The conclusions that the New York Times is trying so desperately to avoid are absolutely correct. First, Israel objected to the deal on any grounds, but their objections were pushed aside in favor of allowing the Iranians to negotiate a deal that allowed them to continue enrichment.
Second, while President Obama has stressed in the past that he would not allow the Iranian nuclear program to proceed apace (certainly not allowing any enrichment of uranium which could only be utilized in weapons), the American negotiation team agreed in advance to allow compromise on this key point. What then was the point of the negotiation?
Third, the fact that Iran is being allowed to maintain any element of its nuclear program is alarming for America and her allies, for that reason alone Congress should have been not only consulted but been given the final word on the issue via regular treaty order. And not only because Republicans object, but becasue even a tenacious liberal like Chuck Schumer is finding this poison pill a tough one to swallow. From the New York Times:
“It was strong sanctions, not the goodness of the hearts of the Iranian leaders, that brought Iran to the table,” Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, said Sunday.
Mr. Schumer said he would support a push in the Senate to pass additional sanctions against Iran after Congress returns from the Thanksgiving break.
Fourth, and most importantly, because even the Times recognizes that the agreement only pauses the Iranian program. It doesn’t stop it. It doesn’t reverse it. It doesn’t put a permanent end to it. The threat is allowed to remain. A threat that everyone recognizes and accepts as potentially the most destabilizing threat to the region – even more so than terrorism.
While President Obama and Secretary Kerry hailed the deal as allowing inspections of the Iranian nuclear facilities, but this again is just a smokecreen and window dressing as the Wall Street Journal notes:
As for inspections, Mr. Obama hailed “extensive access” that will “allow the international community to verify whether Iran is keeping its commitments.” One problem is that Iran hasn’t ratified the additional protocol to its International Atomic Energy Agency agreement that would allow inspections on demand at such sites as Parchin, which remain off limits. Iran can also oust U.N. inspectors at any time, much as North Korea did.
But rather than read all those thoughtfully written articles on the details of the deal, it would be so much quicker to read the most succinct analysis of the deal (especially its motivating factor), which comes from Jon Gabriel via a tweet:
Liberals celebrate ending sanctions on a nation that lynches gays, stones women & wants to exterminate Jews, But they boycott Chick-fil-A.
— jon gabriel (@exjon) November 24, 2013
This is the challenge America and the world face. Diplomacy as farce.