Elder statesmen Henry Kissinger and George Shultz, both former U.S. secretaries of state, have slammed the Obama administration's framework nuclear agreement with Iran.
While Iran treated the mere fact of its willingness to negotiate as a concession, the West has felt compelled to break every deadlock with a new proposal. In the process, the Iranian program has reached a point officially described as being within two to three months of building a nuclear weapon. Under the proposed agreement, for 10 years Iran will never be further than one year from a nuclear weapon and, after a decade, will be significantly closer.
In a large country with multiple facilities and ample experience in nuclear concealment, violations will be inherently difficult to detect. Devising theoretical models of inspection is one thing. Enforcing compliance, week after week, despite competing international crises and domestic distractions, is another.
From David HoroWitz of the Freedom Center
"You weren’t surprised when Barack Obama gave the green light to Iran to go ahead and develop the Bomb. We’ve been on this story from the beginning and I’m sorry to say that we’ve always had a sinking feeling about how it would turn out: with a capitulation to the sick nuclear ambitions of Iran’s mullahs that would take its place beside the appeasement of Hitler at Munich in the annals of diplomatic disasters. The Islamic revolutionaries are now free to use this “accord” to proceed with their plans to wipe out Israel just as the Nazis used Munich to proceed with their plans to wipe out Europe’s Jews. This “negotiation” not only appeases the mullahs; it enables them. "
He is a founder and current president of the think tank the David Horowitz Freedom Center, editor of FrontPage Magazine, and director of Discover the Networks,
"In fact, it looks like the very outcome you promised you’d avoid: A deal that lifts the economic pressure on an evil regime, and clears its route to the bomb. A bad deal. Far, far worse than no deal at all." David HoroVitz
Dr. Ephraim Kam
Deal makes Iran stronger than ever
The understandings reached between the world powers and Iran are not the last word. The important document will be the final agreement, which is expected to be drawn up by the end of June. It looks like it will encounter difficulties, and on both sides there are important players who object to the deal. But in light of the understandings reached thus far, and both sides' attempts to render them into the final document, it's hard to assume that they will stop before it's signed.
A comparison between each side's opening position and the principles of the understanding underscores the importance of what Iran has achieved. At the start, the Americans presented a series of demands: a stop to uranium enrichment; the closure of the enrichment facilities at Natanz and Fordo as well as the plutonium reactor at Arak; the removal of uranium enriched at 3.5% from Iran; a stop to enriching uranium to 20% and the destruction of the stockpile enriched to that level; disclosure of Iran's military plans to develop nuclear weapons; and a demand that the talks also include Iran's ballistic missile program. The memorandum of understanding shows that the Iranians got their way on most of the issues. Enrichment will continue; no facility will be closed, although significant changes will be made to two of them; the stocks of enriched uranium will not be removed from Iran; and the country's missile program wasn't discussed. Nevertheless, Iran agreed early on to stop enriching uranium to 20% and to cut back the number of centrifuges in operation, although it was not required to stop its research and development of centrifuges.
The importance of the results of the talks is that Iran will be recognized as a country on the brink of nuclear capability. Although its nuclear program is slated to be halted for about a decade, and in some points will even regress, both the cessation and the regression are reversible should Iran decide to move ahead. It will therefore preserve its ability to produce a nuclear weapon in short order, if and when it decides to do so, in violation of the deal. Moreover, the Americans hesitated about how long it would take Iran to develop nuclear weapons through amassing enriched uranium that could be turned into fissile material to make a nuclear bomb. The assessment was that today, Iran is two months away from that breakthrough. They intend to stretch that period to a year, assuming that a year would suffice to identify the breakthrough and take steps to stop it. But in practice, it is doubtful that a year would be enough in light of the time it would take for the intelligence community to identify the development, attempt to persuade Iran to refrain from making it, and take action to stop it.
Additional difficulties: Iran demanded that the deal be limited to a few years, after which the limitations on its nuclear program would be removed and it would be allowed to do what it wants. The Americans agreed to the idea of removing the limitations, but demanded that they would expire after being in place for at least a decade. Their demand was agreed to. Iran in turn demanded that the economic sanctions currently in place be lifted as soon as the agreement is signed, but the Western governments wanted to remove them in stages, after Iran proves that it is living up to its end of the deal. It's unclear what was agreed upon.
Finally, it's unclear how oversight of Iran's nuclear program will be increased after Iran has thus far wriggled out of supplying information about the military aspects of the program -- to the point where the International Atomic Energy Agency head said he could not confirm that Iran did not have a military nuclear program. Iran has come out of the deal in a new position. The sanctions against it will be removed and governments and private companies will rush to do business with it. Its regional status will be bolstered when its involvement in neighboring countries -- Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and the Gaza Strip -- is already unprecedented. Iran becoming a state on the verge of nuclear capability could prompt other countries to follow suit. And the American administration is hoping that it will be able to cooperate with it to stabilize the region, but it's doubtful that that's what Iran has in mind. Its foremost regional goal is still to weaken the U.S. in the Middle East.
Will Iran take advantage of the loopholes in the deal to develop nuclear weapons? Its ultimate interest in acquiring nuclear weapons has not diminished, and we can assume that its attempts to do so will continue despite the agreement. The likely possibility is that Iran will not rush to reach a nuclear bomb in the next few years so as not to destroy what it gained in the deal and be punished severely. But when the restrictions are lifted about a decade from now, Iran could attempt to achieve nuclear weapons capability -- possibly at a new, secret facility -- hoping to present the world with a fait accompli.
It appears Iran is telegraphing its intended breaches of the agreement in advance.
Published: April 8th, 2015
Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif and nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi told a closed-door Iranian parliament session on Tuesday morning that as soon as the nuclear deal is in effect Iran will begin using the advanced IR-8 centrifuges, according to the Iranian FARS agency.
Iran would start by injecting UF6 gas into those latest generation centrifuges.
The US claims the P5+1 nuclear agreement with Iran requires that those centrifuges be put in storage and not used.
Iran also plans to release its own “fact sheet” detailing the Iranian narrative of the Lausanne negotiations.
Yesterday, President Obama said that the Iranians would have zero breakout time 13 years after the deal was signed. That statement assumed they don’t breach the agreement earlier, as they’ve just made clear they will.
Posted: 04 Apr 2015 10:49 AM PDT
Bill Kristol has posted a special Weekly Standard editorial on the framework agreement with Iran. We’ll have more to say, but Bill presents with an action item:
Experts: Iran Will be '3 Weeks from a Nuclear Weapon'
Experts tell science magazine deal will let Iran get advanced centrifuges, meaning it will be a short sprint from a nuclear bomb.Responding to the Iran nuclear deal sealed Thursday, one expert has revealed that the nuclear centrifuge research allowed by the deal likely will allow the Islamic regime to reach a point where it can make a dash for the nuclear bomb within three weeks.The Arms Control Association think tank in Washington DC has called for inspectors to also be allowed to weigh Iran's uranium from the mine all the way to enrichment, so as to strictly make sure none is whisked away for covert development.
Joe Cirincione, head of the American anti-nuclear proliferation group The Ploughshares Fund, told New Scientist that Iran currently has 8,000 kilograms of uranium enriched to the point where they can be used as nuclear fuel.
The centrifuges Iran has declared would be able to further enrich that quantity into a nuclear bomb within two to three months at present, he says.
But with the deal, during which Iran will be allowed to continue enriching at a reduced rate and conduct research that could let it improve its centrifuge technology, that breakout time will drop considerably.
According to Cirincione, with more advanced centrifuges achieved through the deal, Iran will be able to march to the bomb in a mere three weeks.
Aside from the danger of Iran getting enough nuclear material to build a bomb, the Islamic regime will also need to develop a warhead capable of containing the cataclysmic weapon.
Christopher Bidwell of the Federation of American Scientists told New Scientist that concerns about Iran's suspected warhead research are not even addressed in the framework deal, although he says the law requires that topic to be addressed in order for the US to lift sanctions.
"Sneak out" - worse than breakout
Iran has long operated its clandestine nuclear program, with many warning that it will deceive world powers and continue developing nuclear arms power covertly.
James Acton, of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace located in Washington DC, gave further credence to those fears, saying that beyond nuclear breakout there is a greater threat of Iranian nuclear "sneak out."
A number of countries have tried to gain nuclear power since the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, he said, but instead of using breakout by which uranium is diverted from declared facilities, many have used "clandestine enrichment plants." One example of covert success has been North Korea.
Acton noted that both of Iran's enrichment plants started in exactly that manner.
In order for Iran to be blocked from secretly going nuclear, Bidwell said International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors must also be allowed in to undeclared nuclear facilities.
That would require Iran signing the 1997 Additional Protocol of the IAEA, allowing inspectors to visit any site at short notice, monitor non-nuclear materials used in the enrichment process, and perform environmental sampling for leaked radionuclides, he said.
But back in 2006 Iran stated clearly it will not sign the protocol.
What's more, Acton says the current situation may require further steps not included in the protocol, such as interviewing nuclear scientists, and monitoring all new centrifuge components.