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
Israeli ambassador: The four major problems with the Iran deal
Israeli ambassador: The four major problems with the Iran deal
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addresses the nation in a televised speech after a nuclear agreement was announced in Vienna. (Ebrahim Noroozi/Associated Press)
By Ron DermerJuly 14 at 3:35 PM
Ron Dermer is Israel’s ambassador to the United States.
Israel has long been concerned that the “P5+1” powers would negotiate a bad deal with Iran. But the deal announced today in Vienna is breathtaking in its concessions to an Iranian regime that is the foremost sponsor of terror in the world, is on a march of conquest in the Middle East, is responsible for the murder and maiming of thousands of U.S. soldiers, and vows and works to annihilate the one and only Jewish state.
There are four major problems with this deal. First, it leaves Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure. This is not the hoped for “dismantle for dismantle” deal, in which the sanctions regime would be dismantled in exchange for the dismantling of Iran’s nuclear-weapons making capability. Rather, this deal leaves Iran’s nuclear capabilities essentially intact (the conversion of the Arak heavy-water facility being the notable exception). In fact, this deal allows Iran to improve those capabilities by conducting research and development on advanced centrifuges and building intercontinental ballistic missiles, whose sole purpose is to carry nuclear warheads.
To keep Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions in check over the next decade, the P5+1 countries — the five U.N. Security Council members plus Germany — are relying on intelligence and inspectors. Here, the historical record does not bode well. The United States and Israel have two of the finest intelligence agencies in the world. But it was years before either knew that Iran had secret facilities at Natanz and Fordow .
As for inspections, Iran has been deceiving the International Atomic Energy Agency for years and has consistently refused to come clean about the possible military dimensions of its nuclear program — a commitment that Iran has once again been permitted to dodge before signing this agreement.
Given this history of deception, it is particularly disturbing that the promised “anytime, anywhere” inspections regime has degenerated into what has been aptly described as “sometime, somewhere” inspections.
The second problem with this deal is that the restrictions being placed on Iran’s nuclear program are only temporary, with the most important restrictions expiring in 10 years.
There is no linkage whatsoever between the removal of these restrictions and Iran’s behavior. In 10 years, Iran could be even more aggressive toward its neighbors, sponsor even more terrorism around the globe and work even harder to destroy Israel, and the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program would still be automatically removed.
A much more dangerous Iran would then legally be allowed to build a massive uranium enrichment program that would place it just weeks away from having the fissile material for an entire nuclear arsenal. As President Obama himself has admitted, the breakout time would then be “almost down to zero.”
That is why this deal does not block Iran’s path to a nuclear bomb. It paves it. By agreeing to temporary restrictions on its nuclear program today, Iran has cleared its path to many nuclear bombs tomorrow. Iran won’t have to sneak into or break into the nuclear club. Under this deal, it could simply decide to walk in.
That leads to the third problem with the deal. Because states throughout our region know that the deal paves Iran’s path to the bomb, a number of them will race to get nuclear weapons of their own. The most dangerous region on earth would get infinitely more dangerous. Nuclear terrorism and nuclear war would become far more likely. In fact, if someone wanted to eviscerate the global nuclear nonproliferation regime, this deal is definitely a great place to start.
Finally, the deal transfers to the Iranian regime’s coffers $150 billion that is now frozen in foreign bank accounts. Iran has a $300 billion to $400 billion economy. A $150 billion cash bonanza for the regime is the equivalent of $8 trillion flowing into the U.S. treasury.
Those funds are unlikely to be spent on new cancer research centers in Tehran or on funding a GI bill for returning members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Instead, tens of billions are likely to flow to the Shiite militias in Iraq, the Assad regime in Syria, the Houthis in Yemen, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Palestinian terror groups in Gaza and other Iranian terror proxies in the region."
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.