Moses said to the people in his final charge "I put before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life...Be strong and resolute..for the Lord will not forsake you" Deut. 30 and 31. Former US National Debate Champion and Ordained Rabbi tackles issues of Public Policy, Israel, Islamic Terrorism, Antisemitism, Jewish Wisdom and the Chicago Bears
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
16 reasons Iran deal is a catstrophe
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday unsurprisingly hailed the nuclear agreement struck with US-led world powers, and derided the “failed” efforts of the “warmongering Zionists.” His delight, Iran’s delight, is readily understandable.
The agreement legitimizes Iran’s nuclear program, allows it to retain core nuclear facilities, permits it to continue research in areas that will dramatically speed its breakout to the bomb should it choose to flout the deal, but also enables it to wait out those restrictions and proceed to become a nuclear threshold state with full international legitimacy. Here’s how.
1. Was the Iranian regime required, as a condition for this deal, to disclose the previous military dimensions of its nuclear program — to come clean on its violations — in order both to ensure effective inspections of all relevant facilities and to shatter the Iranian-dispelled myth that it has never breached its non-proliferation obligations? No. (This failure, arguably the original sin of the Western negotiating approach, is expertly detailed here by Emily B. Landau.) Rather than exposing Iran’s violations, the new deal solemnly asserts that the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which Iran has failed to honor “remains the cornerstone” of ongoing efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. The deal provides for a mechanism “to address past and present issues of concern relating to its nuclear programme,” but Iran has managed to dodge such efforts for years, and the deal inspires little hope of change in that area, blithely anticipating “closing the issue” in the next few months.
President Hassan Rouhani making a statement following announcement of the Iran nuclear deal, Tuesday, July 14, 2015 in Tehran. (Press TV via AP video)
2. Has the Iranian regime been required to halt all uranium enrichment, including thousands of centrifuges spinning at its main Natanz enrichment facility? No. The deal specifically legitimizes enrichment under certain eroding limitations.
3. Has the Iranian regime been required to shut down and dismantle its Arak heavy water reactor and plutonium production plant? No. It will convert, not dismantle the facility, under a highly complex process. Even if it honors this clause, its commitment to “no additional heavy water reactors or accumulation of heavy water in Iran” will expire after 15 years.
4. Has the Iranian regime been required to shut down and dismantle the underground uranium enrichment facility it built secretly at Fordow? No. (Convert, not dismantle.)
5. Has the Iranian regime been required to halt its ongoing missile development? No.
A satellite image shown on Israel’s Channel 2 news, January 21, 2015, said to show a new long-range Iranian missile on a launch pad outside Tehran. (Channel 2 screenshot)
6. Has the Iranian regime been required to halt research and development of the faster centrifuges that will enable it to break out to the bomb far more rapidly than is currently the case? No. The deal specifically legitimizes ongoing R&D under certain eroding limitations. It specifically provides, for instance, that Iran will commence testing of the fast “IR-8 on single centrifuge machines and its intermediate cascades” as soon as the deal goes into effect, and will “commence testing of up to 30 IR-6 and IR-8 centrifuges after eight and a half years.”
7. Has the Iranian regime been required to submit to “anywhere, anytime” inspections of any and all facilities suspected of engaging in rogue nuclear-related activity? No. Instead, the deal describes at considerable length a very protracted process of advance warning and “consultation” to resolve concerns.
8. Has the international community established procedures setting out how it will respond to different classes of Iranian violations, to ensure that the international community can act with sufficient speed and efficiency to thwart a breakout to the bomb? No.
9. Has the Iranian regime been required to halt its arming, financing and training of the Hezbollah terrorist army in south Lebanon? No. (This kind of non-nuclear issue was not discussed at the negotiations.)
10. Has the Iranian regime been required to surrender for trial the members of its leadership placed on an Interpol watch list for their alleged involvement in the bombing, by a Hezbollah suicide bomber, of the AMIA Jewish community center offices in Buenos Aires in 1994 that resulted in the deaths of 85 people? No. (This kind of non-nuclear issue was not discussed at the negotiations.)
11. Has the Iranian regime undertaken to close its 80 estimated “cultural centers” in South America from which it allegedly fosters terrorist networks? No. (This kind of non-nuclear issue was not discussed at the negotiations.)
Iranian protesters burn an Israeli flag during a demonstration to mark al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day in Tehran on July 10, 2015. (AFP/ATTA KENARE)
12. Has the Iranian leadership agreed to stop inciting hatred among its people against Israel and the United States and to stop its relentless calls for the annihilation of Israel? No. (This kind of non-nuclear issue was not discussed at the negotiations.)
13. Has the Iranian regime agreed to halt executions, currently running at an average of some three a day, the highest rate for 20 years? No. (This kind of non-nuclear issue was not discussed at the negotiations.)
14. Does the nuclear deal shatter the painstakingly constructed sanctions regime that forced Iran to the negotiating table? Yes.
15. Will the deal usher in a new era of global commercial interaction with Iran, reviving the Iranian economy and releasing financial resources that Iran will use to bolster its military forces and terrorist networks? Yes.
16. Does the nuclear deal further cement Iran’s repressive and ideologically rapacious regime in power? Yes.
No wonder Iran and its allies are celebrating. Nobody else should be.
Ishaan Tharoor of the Washington Post provides an “analysis” of the Iran nuclear deal. After raving at length about the “historic deal,” Tharoor turns to the case against it. He writes:
Critics of the deal, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Republican hawks in Washington, warn that, contrary to the Obama administration’s talking points, it gives Iran a ticket to becoming a nuclear superpower. These claims are somewhat undermined by the many tough provisions within the deal.
To be fair, I was just as conclusory yesterday when I wrote that “given the obvious flaws in the Obama administration’s nuclear deal, Iran will obtain nuclear weapons (barring outside military intervention) at roughly the time of its choosing with or without the deal.” It’s time now to explain why this is so.
Fred Fleitz, a senior vice president for policy and programs for the Center for Security Policy, offers the following explanation at NRO:
Under the deal, Iran will keep its entire nuclear infrastructure. . . .Iran is currently enriching uranium with about 9,000 centrifuges. About 6,000 will be kept operational; about 5,000 will continue to enrich. Another 10,000 — many non-operational — will be put in storage or unplugged. However, no centrifuges will be destroyed or removed from the country.
Iran also will continue to develop advanced uranium centrifuges while the agreement is in effect. However, unlike the interim agreement, which set the stage for the nuclear talks and barred Iran from testing advanced centrifuges with uranium (a provision Iran violated in mid 2014), the new agreement requires only that R&D of advanced centrifuges be tested “in a manner that does not accumulate enriched uranium.” This means Iran will be allowed to do more-intensive testing of advanced centrifuges than was permitted during the nuclear talks.
But isn’t Iran supposed to dilute its stockpile of enriched uranium under the agreement? Yes, but according to Fleitz, this process “could be reversed in a few months — possibly much faster if Iran uses advanced centrifuges.” Moreover:
Iran will receive natural uranium for any enriched uranium it “sells.” This will help preserve Iran’s enrichment capability and also solve a problem it has concerning access to natural uranium. (Iran has little natural uranium and its uranium mines are running out.)
As for plutonium:
Iran has agreed to replace the core of its Arak heavy-water reactor, which is under construction, so it will produce less plutonium, and to send the spent fuel rods of this reactor out of the country. However, it will be permitted to operate the Arak reactor, a significant reversal of pre-2013 U.S. policy that work on this reactor be halted permanently because it is a serious nuclear-proliferation threat.
Even if adhered to, then, Obama’s deal is unlikely meaningfully to shorten the time in which Iran can develop nuclear weapons. To make matters worse, the deal’s verification provisions undermine our ability to verify Iranian compliance:
Effectively verifying this agreement will be impossible, since the “24/7” inspections promised by President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry in their speeches today apply only to Iran’s declared nuclear program and supply chain. The IAEA can “press” for inspections of military sites and other suspect nuclear sites, but the agreement does not provide for any penalty if Iran refuses to grant IAEA inspectors access.
To make matters even worse, Obama largely caved on Iran’s eleventh-hour demand to lift embargoes on conventional arms and ballistic missiles:
The conventional-arms embargo will stay in place for five years, and the ballistic-missile embargo will be in place for eight years but will be lifted sooner if the IAEA definitively clears Iran of any current work on nuclear weapons. The IAEA is very unlikely to find evidence of current nuclear-weapons work, as it won’t be allowed to inspect non-declared nuclear sites where this activity is taking place.
This means these embargoes could be lifted much sooner.
During the 2012 presidential campaign, Obama stated: “[T]he deal we’ll accept is — they end their nuclear program. It’s very straightforward.”
It’s very straightforward that Obama has agreed to a deal under which Iran doesn’t even purport to end its nuclear program. Obama lied to the American people.
This is more than a bad deal. President Obama has betrayed the American people by agreeing to the kind of agreement with an enemy of the United States that he said he would not agree to. It is vital that Congress hold the president to his original promises by rejecting this agreement on a strong bipartisan basis and send a signal to the world that if a Republican is elected president in 2016, this deal will be declared null and void on his or her first day in office.