In the last few days, an Obama administration desperate to turn Americans’ attention away from the ObamaCare disaster has been touting its “historic” deal with Iran. Toward that end they released a document Saturday entitled, “Fact Sheet: First Step Understandings Regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Nuclear Program,” outlining the details. Those “facts” have been rejected–by the Iranians themselves.
“What has been released by the website of the White House as a fact sheet is a one-sided interpretation of the agreed text in Geneva and some of the explanations and words in the sheet contradict the text of the Joint Plan of Action,” Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham explained Tuesday.
Iran released its own version of the agreement, with Afkham contending that it was based on language chosen with regard to the considerations of all parties to the talks. She further insisted that the reason negotiations took so long between Iran and the G5+1 “pertained to the accuracy which was needed for choosing the words for the text of the agreement,” and “that the Iranian delegation was much (sic) rigid and laid much emphasis on the need for this accuracy.”
The key sticking point? The White House fact sheet claims “Iran has committed to halt progress on its enrichment capacity” with bullet points laying out the details. On the other hand, the Iranian fact sheet indicates that their nation can “fully enjoy its right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes under the relevant articles of the NPT in conformity with its obligations therein.”
Both fact sheets do contain almost identical statements revealing one over-arching fact. The Iranian version: “This comprehensive solution would constitute an integrated whole where nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.” The American version: “With respect to this comprehensive resolution: nothing is agreed to with respect to a comprehensive solution until everything is agreed to.”
In other words, despite all the triumphal posturing by this administration and their media cheerleaders, no actual deal exists.
Thus, despite Secretary of State John Kerry’s assertion on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that the Iranian interpretation of the agreement was “not accurate,” and President Obama telling his supporters at a Beverly Hills fundraiser that easing economic sanctions on Iran is better than going to war, absolutely nothing has been finalized–including the start time of the six-month timetable during which a longer-term accord is supposed to be worked out.
The State Department acknowledged that reality Tuesday, when spokeswoman Jen Psaki admitted that the six-month interim program had yet to begin. Moreover, she had no idea when it would begin. “The next step here is a continuation of technical discussions at a working level so that we can essentially tee up the implementation of the agreement,” she told reporters.
Even more embarrassing, Psaki conceded there was no mechanism in place that would stop Iran from continuing its current pursuits. “In terms of what the Iranians are or aren’t doing, obviously our hope would be, given we are respecting the spirit of the agreement in pressing for sanctions not to be put in place and beginning the process of figuring out how to deliver on our end of the bargain, that the same would be coming from their end in the spirit of the agreement,” she said.
If Iranians are “respecting the spirit” of the agreement, they have a peculiar way of showing it. On Monday, Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, insisted the status quo would remain just that, including further construction on the Arak heavy-water reactor. Western powers fear Arak is a source of plutonium used as the core of a nuclear weapon. “Work at the Arak reactor will continue,” Salehi said. “Enrichment to 5 percent will continue. Research and development will continue. All our exploration and extraction activities will continue. There are no activities that won’t continue.”
Tuesday didn’t bring any better news. Abbas Araqchi, Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, doubled down, insisting that “Iran’s uranium enrichment right cannot be granted or limited by another countries,” (sic) and claiming that Kerry’s assertion to the contrary constituted a “misunderstanding.” Also, Iranian administration spokesman Mohammad-Baqer Nobakht was quoted as saying some $8 billion of Iran’s frozen assets were released by the United States.
Not to be outdone, Brigadier General Hossein Salami, the lieutenant commander of Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) revealed that Tehran had developed “indigenous” ballistic missile technology. “Many countries may have access to cruise missiles technology, but when it comes to ballistic missiles, I am confident that only the US and the Soviet Union could master this technology, and now we can announce that we own this technology as well,” he told Iran’s Fars News Agency. Brigadier General Ramezan Sharif, head of the IRGC Public Relations Department, also took an opportunity to bash the United States and Israel, insisting that America’s power has become “seriously shaky in the world, specially in the Middle-East,” and that Iran has brought the criminal regime of Israel to its knees.
Obama administration critics were plentiful. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the deal “an historic mistake.” Former UN ambassador John Bolton characterized it as “abject surrender by the United States,” one that grants the Iranian regime “time to continue all aspects of its nuclear-weapons program the agreement does not cover,” undeserved “legitimacy,” and the ability to break “the psychological momentum and effect of the international economic sanctions.” Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer labeled it the “worst deal since Munich,” further noting that allowing Iran to enrich uranium “undermines the entire idea of nonproliferation and it grants Iran a right it’s been lusting for for a decade. That’s why there was so much jubilation in Tehran over this.”
While Tehran was jubilant, there was bipartisan consternation in Congress. Democrat Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), characterized the deal as disproportional. “Iran simply freezes its nuclear capabilities while we reduce the sanctions,” he said. Lindsey Graham (R-NC) noted it let Iran completely off the hook. “The sanctions actually worked but this interim deal gives the Iranian’s $7 billion in cash and leaves in place one of the most sophisticated enrichment programs around,” he contended. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menedez (D-NJ) contended he was willing to give the administration some breathing room, but that additional sanctions will be available “should the talks falter or Iran fail to implement or breach the interim agreement,” he said.
Yet it was former Senator and Vice Presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman who cut to the chase. “Iran is an enemy, there is American blood on Iranian hands” he explained, further noting that the Iranians “have a terrible record of not keeping agreements and frankly of lying.”
President Obama remains undeterred. “We cannot close the door on diplomacy,” he said Monday. “We cannot commit ourselves to an endless cycle of conflict.”
We can however, commit ourselves to and endless cycle of meaningless diplomacy, unless one considers an entire decade of fruitless efforts that have yet to produce a single meaningful breakthrough, progress. In another stunning development, a White House official explained Wednesday that while the United States does not recognize Iran’s right to enrich uranium, President Obama believes the world’s foremost exporter of Islamic terrorism “should have access to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.” “However, the history of the Iranian nuclear program has raised serious and legitimate concerns in the international community as to whether Iran’s enrichment program–which it pursued in secret–is truly for peaceful purposes,” the official added.
As of now, nothing in this non-deal deal does anything to stop Iran from pursuing its quest for nuclear weaponry. Even more remarkably, sanctions, as in the only thing that was putting actual pressure on Iran short of military action have already been eased–beginning five months ago. Daily Beast columnist Eli Lake reveals that the Treasury Department “all but stopped the financial blacklisting of entities and people that help Iran evade international sanctions since the election of its president, Hassan Rouhani, in June.”
Thus, the president has once again bypassed Congress in pursuit of his “noble” agenda. It is an agenda based on little more than hubris, in that Obama believes he possesses a level of charm and intelligence that will win the Iranians over, in spite of a decade of evidence to the contrary–and in spite of the reality that absolutely nothing, other than a promise to make a deal leading to a deal ostensibly leading to peace in our time, has been achieved. “Trusting Iran to deliver on its promises is nearly as risky as trusting Obama to deliver on his,” writes the NY Post’s Michael Goodwin. Empty promises by both sides equals more time for Iran to pursue its nuclear agenda. If that’s not an outright victory for them, one is hard-pressed to imagine what is.
Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.