How many times can I write about the P5+1 negotiations with Iran and demonstrate how Obama has caved even further? How outrageous and terrifying and jaw-droppingly perverse it all is?
The new deadline for completion is tomorrow, July 7th. And so I must return to this subject once again. I will not belabor details of how the US administration has backed off in the face of Iranian intransigence, or has misrepresented the situation. Unless you are deeply into those negotiating details, you are likely to find your mind spinning when confronted with yet more of them.
Here, I prefer to provide an overview, beginning with commentator Charles Krauthammer, who calls this upcoming deal “The worst agreement in U.S. diplomatic history”.
Krauthammer says we don’t even need to focus on those details in order to understand the depth of the problem (emphasis added):
“The devil is not in the details. It’s in the entire conception of the Iran deal, animated by President Obama’s fantastical belief that he, uniquely, could achieve detente with a fanatical Islamist regime whose foundational purpose is to cleanse the Middle East of the poisonous corruption of American power and influence.
“In pursuit of his desire to make the Islamic Republic into an accepted, normalized ‘successful regional power,’ Obama decided to take over the nuclear negotiations. At the time, Tehran was reeling — the rial plunging, inflation skyrocketing, the economy contracting — under a regime of international sanctions painstakingly constructed over a decade.
“Then, instead of welcoming Congress’ attempt to tighten sanctions to increase the pressure on the mullahs, Obama began the negotiations by loosening sanctions, injecting billions into the Iranian economy (which began growing again in 2014) and conceding in advance an Iranian right to enrich uranium.
“It’s been downhill ever since. Desperate for a legacy deal, Obama has played the supplicant, abandoning every red line his administration had declared essential to any acceptable deal.
“Inspections. They were to be anywhere, anytime, unimpeded. Now? Total cave..Nuclear inspectors will have to negotiate and receive Iranian approval for inspections. Which allows them denial and/or crucial delay for concealing any clandestine activities.
“To give a flavor of the degree of our capitulation, the administration played Iran’s lawyer on this one, explaining that, after all, ‘the United States of America wouldn’t allow anybody to get into every military site, so that’s not appropriate’…the absurdity of morally equating America with the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism…
“Coming clean on past nuclear activity. The current interim agreement that governed the past 19 months of negotiation required Iran to do exactly that. Tehran has offered nothing. The administration had insisted that this accounting was essential because how can you verify future illegal advances in Iran’s nuclear program if you have no baseline?
“After continually demanding access to their scientists, plans and weaponization facilities, Secretary of State John Kerry two weeks ago airily dismissed the need, saying he is focused on the future, ‘not fixated’ on the past. And that we have ‘absolute knowledge’ of the Iranian program anyway — a whopper that his staffers had to spend days walking back.
“Not to worry, we are told. The accounting will be done after the final deal is signed. Which is ridiculous. If the Iranians haven’t budged on disclosing previous work under the current sanctions regime, by what logic will they comply after sanctions are lifted?
“Sanctions relief. These were to be gradual and staged as the International Atomic Energy Agency certified Iranian compliance over time. Now we’re going to be releasing up to $150 billion as an upfront signing bonus. That’s 25 times the annual budget of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Enough to fuel a generation of intensified Iranian aggression from Yemen to Lebanon to Bahrain.
“Yet three months ago, Obama expressed nonchalance about immediate sanctions relief. It’s not the issue, he said. The real issue is ‘snap-back’ sanctions to be reimposed if Iran is found in violation.
“Good grief. Iran won’t be found in violation. The inspection regime is laughable and the bureaucratic procedures endless. Moreover, does anyone imagine that Russia and China will reimpose sanctions? Or that the myriad European businesses preparing to join the Iranian gold rush the day the deal is signed will simply turn around and go home?
“Nonnuclear-related sanctions. The administration insisted that the nuclear talks would not affect separate sanctions imposed because of Iranian aggression and terrorism. That was then. The administration is now leaking that everything will be lifted.
“Taken together, the catalog of capitulations is breathtaking….
“What’s left? A surrender document of the kind offered by defeated nations suing for peace. Consider: The strongest military and economic power on earth, backed by the five other major powers, armed with what had been a crushing sanctions regime, is about to sign the worst international agreement in U.S. diplomatic history.
“How did it come to this? With every concession, Obama and Kerry made clear they were desperate for a deal.
“And they will get it. Obama will get his ‘legacy.’ Kerry will get his Nobel. And Iran will get the bomb.”
Credit: Real Clear Politics
Kerry has been making noises about how “We are close, but will not ‘shave margins’ to clinch an Iran deal.”
Do not believe him. This is the one thing that we know will not happen. After all of the concessions, all the work of pseudo-negotiations, Kerry is not about to throw up his hands and say, We tried, but we couldn’t reach an agreement and we declare negotiations failed.
Not only does the Obama administration want an agreement at all cost, they want it now: According to the Corker-Cardin bill (the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015), if an agreement is sent to Congress by July 9, the House and Senate have 30 days to review it. If it is submitted later, there is a period of 60 days provided for review.
So, it is possible that the parties will announce a full agreement that can be implemented immediately. But, in light of the present situation, this is not likely to actually happen.
It is also possible that negotiations might be extended yet again, all the way through the summer. It seems that if negotiations continue throughout the summer, the review time permitted to Congress reverts to 30 days again. Seems a bit confusing, but this may have something to do with the fact that there is a Congressional recess involved in this timing.
What may be the most likely scenario is that “there will be a non-agreement agreement. The parties will announce they’ve resolved all outstanding issues but they still have to fill in some details.” This is how Omri Ceren of The Israel Project (TIP) sees it.
And then, my friends, once the “outstanding issues” are resolved, the matter will be referred to Congress.
Which means a great deal rests with each of you in the US.
Please, see and share this short and very powerful video. At its end, a mechanism is provided for you to contact your elected members of Congress:
“Indifference is never an option,” says Eli Wiesel, in this video.
I’ll pick up with other highly important issues next posting. Here I close with links to some matters directly relevant to the Krauthammer article:
“Oil-rich Iran is poised to benefit from an explosion of business from the west after a nuclear deal is signed and France has already taken its place on the starting line to get a piece of the pie…
“Since the start of tortuous nuclear negotiations with Iran, France has been seen as taking the toughest stand. Now as a deal nears, Paris must be ready to dash in and grab a slice of the long untapped market.
“’The first repercussions of any deal will be the opening of the Iranian market. That’s what all the Western countries are waiting for,’ a top western diplomat said recently. (Emphasis added)
“’They are jostling as if they’re at the start of a marathon, and are keeping a close eye on one another.’”
This solidly puts the lie to any claim by Obama that “snap-back” sanctions would work.
“Ram Ben Barak, director general of the Strategic Affairs Ministry and a leading candidate to be the next head of Israel’s Mossad spy agency, told the Makor Rishon newspaper that ‘the deal which is about to be signed will allow Iran to decide by itself when it will be nuclear [armed], and that is the most problematic.’
“He said the lifting of sanctions would give Tehran ‘an ocean of money,’ allowing it to buy influence across the Middle East and ‘advance to a position where no one will be able to threaten it and it will acquire control wherever it pleases.’” (All emphasis added)
Indifference is never an option.
Today is the sixth of July, which means I have passed the Fourth of July. Once upon a time, I noted this day in my postings, and marked it with a graphic of fireworks. The US is the land of my birth, and I still have a strong connection to her. But mostly these days I worry about America.
It does not seem to me to be a time for fireworks (although I am sure many did enjoy the celebrations). Instead, it seems to me a time for prayer: that America might grow strong again and reach her former grandeur, based on her traditional values.