Earlier this month, the Washington Free Beacon reported on comments in Iranian media that the United States was desperate to get a deal done on the country’s nuclear ambitions. ” “Americans are begging us for a deal on the negotiation table,” are the exact words used by Mohammad Reza Naghdi of Iran’s Basij, a paramilitary group under the authority of the country’s Revolutionary Guard. Iran’s English language propaganda news service has followed this up by quoting* former American diplomat and adviser to the Senate Republicans James George Jatras who is saying basically the exact same thing.
Over the last couple of days, we have seen that Naghdi’s remarks were not merely rhetorical bluster. It was reported yesterday that the United States and Iran were close to a deal. That would only place strict restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program for the next 10 years. Per the Associated Press:
Edging toward a historic compromise, the U.S. and Iran reported progress Monday on a deal that would clamp down on Tehran’s nuclear activities for at least 10 years but then slowly ease restrictions on programs that could be used to make atomic arms.
The U.S. initially sought restrictions lasting up to 20 years; Iran has pushed for less than a decade. The prospective deal appears to be somewhere in the middle.
One variation being discussed would place at least a 10-year regime of strict controls on Iran’s uranium enrichment. If Iran complied, the restrictions would be gradually lifted over the final five years.
Even assuming we can actually accurately monitor Iran’s nuclear enrichment over the first ten years of this deal, this sort of deal does nothing to stop Iran from developing nuclear weaponry after the first “phase”. As the article notes, Iran’s 16,000 centrifuges are already probably enough to produce enough enriched uranium for one bomb. The article also tries to assure us that possible variations of the plan would have Iran only able to stockpile 700 pounds of low-enriched uranium–it takes about a ton of it to make a nuclear weapon, have the country either ship out most of its enriched uranium, or force them to convert it to a form that is difficult to use in weapons. However, does anyone really think the United States would tightly press the Iranians on the issue? Does anyone really think it will be tightly enforced if enacted? How would we punish them for breaches of the agreement? The article tells us nothing about that. Regardless of all of this, Iran is still getting its hands on uranium to enrich, and that’s the real problem. They will find a way to circumvent this deal in one shady way or another. It’s how dictatorial regimes operate.
On a related subject, I don’t expect anyone in Geneva to serious bring up the fact that Iran is smuggling in $1 billion to help secretly ease sanctions already. That, if nothing else in the currently talks, ought to say plenty about how much we can trust the Iranian regime to uphold its end of any nuclear bargain.
I really cannot help but be reminded of the horrible climate deal between us and China. If you will recall, under the terms of that deal, Beijing gets the minor inconvenience of following through on its already stated pkans for cutting carbon emissions while the United States will have to roughly double the rate by which it is currently cutting carbon emissions.* In other words, China gets what it wants in exchange for greater sacrifices by America.
So, if this deal holds up, Iran is going to be getting nuclear weapons, and it will be because of Obama’s desire to get a deal, any deal, done, without regard for the greater consequences. The fact that this is a surrender of American diplomatic interests is a bonus, too, of course.
*=That link is to the Weekly Standard analyzing the interview did you really think I’d directly link to a service like Press TV?