— A president desperate to change the subject and a secretary of state desperate
to make a name for himself have struck an “interim” nuclear agreement with Iran.
France called it a “sucker’s deal.” France was being
only reason Iran has come to the table after a decade of contemptuous
stonewalling is that economic sanctions have cut so deeply — Iran’s currency has
collapsed, inflation is rampant — that the regime fears a threat to its very
else could move it to negotiate. Regime survival is the only thing the mullahs
value above nuclear weapons. And yet precisely at the point of maximum leverage,
President Obama is offering relief in a deal that is absurdly asymmetric: The
West will weaken sanctions in exchange for cosmetic changes that do absolutely
nothing to weaken Iran’s nuclear infrastructure.
worry, we are assured. This is only an interim six-month agreement to “build
confidence” until we reach a final one. But this makes no sense. If at this
point of maximum economic pressure we can’t get Iran to accept a final deal that
shuts down its nuclear program, how in God’s name do we expect to get such a
deal when we have radically reduced that pressure?
bizarre negotiating tactic. And the content of the deal is even worse. It’s a
rescue package for the mullahs.
for what? You’d offer such relief in return for Iran giving up its pursuit of
nuclear weapons. Isn’t that what the entire exercise is about?
widens permissible trade in oil, gold and auto parts. It releases frozen Iranian
assets, increasing Iran’s foreign-exchange reserves by 25 percent while doubling
its fully accessible foreign-exchange reserves. Such a massive infusion of cash
would be a godsend for its staggering economy, lowering inflation, reducing
shortages and halting the country’s growing demoralization. The deal is already
changing economic expectations. Foreign oil and other interests are reportedly
preparing to reopen negotiations for a resumption of trade in anticipation of
the full lifting of sanctions.
a single centrifuge is dismantled. Not a single facility that manufactures
centrifuges is touched. In Syria, the first thing the weapons inspectors did was
to destroy the machines that make the chemical weapons. Then they went after the
stockpiles. It has to be that way. Otherwise, the whole operation is an exercise
in futility. Take away just the chemical agents, and the weapons-making
facilities can replace them at will.
yet this deal does nothing of the sort. Nothing. It leaves Iran’s nuclear
infrastructure intact. Iran keeps every one of its 19,000 centrifuges – yes,
19,000 – including 3,000 second-generation machines that produce enriched
uranium at five times the rate.
Sanctions relief that leaves Iran’s nuclear infrastructure untouched, including
— and this is where the French gagged —– the plutonium facility at Arak, a
defiant alternate path to a nuclear weapon.
that’s exactly what we’re doing with Iran. It deactivates its 20 percent
enriched uranium, which besides being chemically reversible, is quickly
replaceable because Iran retains its 3.5 percent uranium, which can be enriched
to 20 percent in less than a month.
agreement, which Iran could interpret as granting the “right” to enrich uranium,
constitutes the West legitimizing Iran’s status as a threshold nuclear
point is blindingly simple. Unless you dismantle the centrifuges and prevent the
manufacture of new ones, Iran will be perpetually just a few months away from
the relaxation begins, how do you reverse it? How do you reapply sanctions?
There is no appetite for this among our allies. And adding back old sanctions
will be denounced as a provocation that would drive Iran to a nuclear breakout –
exactly as Obama is denouncing congressional moves to increase sanctions as a
deal-breaking provocation that might lead Iran to break off talks.
worry, we are assured. The sanctions relief is reversible. Nonsense. It was
extraordinarily difficult to cobble together the current sanctions. It took
years of overcoming Russian, Chinese and Indian recalcitrance, together with
foot-dragging from Europeans making a pretty penny from Iran.
that they have it, we have removed their one incentive to conclude the only
agreement that is worth anything – a verifiable giving up of their nuclear
mullahs are eager for this interim agreement with its immediate yield of
political and economic relief.