June 30, 2015 is the deadline for the P5+1 powers (U.S., Britain, China, France, Russia, and Germany) to reach a nuclear deal with Iran, and scores of Western corporations are wasting little time in lining up to do business in the land ruled by the Ayatollahs. Deutsche Welle confirmed on May 19, 2015 that “[a]s the Iran embargo looks likely to be lifted after negotiations between Western countries and Teheran on Iran’s nuclear program seems set to achieve a settlement, German firms, in particular are eager to breathe new life into their traditional business ties with the country.”
American firms too are gearing up for future business. Al Monitor (April 28, 2015) reported that the
founder and chairman of Campus Televideo, which provides video and data services to U.S. colleges, and a former candidate for the U.S. Senate and governor of Connecticut, Lamont joined 21 other Americans in early April for a journey organized by the Young Presidents Organization and the World Presidents Organization – groups that connect CEO’s from around the world. The trip combined stops at tourist sites in Shiraz, Esfahan, Qom, and Tehran with pep talks from Iranian officials and business consultants. The Americans’ takeaway: Iranians are anticipating that nuclear-related sanctions will be lifted soon and foreign companies should get ready now to invest and trade with Iran again.
Western powers are scrambling to conclude this deal with Iran regardless of the fact that concessions made thus far have been largely by the P5+1 powers and not by Iran. Sanctions have been eased (sanctions relief amounting to $7 billion), allowing for the Iranian economy to show signs of revival despite no clear cut gains for the P5+1 powers. In Iran meanwhile, centrifuges continue to spin unimpeded. This deal is clearly one-sided, favoring Iran.
Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, in seeking to prevail upon the Obama administration and the other five world powers to rethink the impending deal, used the occasion of the May 17, 2015 Jerusalem Day ceremony to appeal to reason. He stated,
Islamic fanaticism threatens Jerusalem, the Middle East and the entire world. We oppose the nuclear deal with Iran, and believe it is possible to achieve a better one. Extremists cannot be allowed to achieve their aims, not in Iran, not in Yemen and not in Jerusalem.
There are many good reasons to take Netanyahu’s words to heart. The New York Times reported on May 20, 2015, that “Iran’s supreme leader ruled out allowing international inspectors to interview Iran’s nuclear scientists as part of any potential deal on its nuclear program, and reiterated that the country would not allow the inspection of military sites.” Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei denounced what he considered as “escalating demands” being made by the U.S. and the other five powers. It is unfortunate for those who have entrusted their security in the hands of these world powers that Ali Khamenei should have the last word on this or any deal concerning Iran.
Secretary of State John Kerry, along with President Barack Obama, promised intrusive inspection of Iranian nuclear facilities, however it is now apparent that inspections “anytime” or “anywhere” are unlikely given Khamenei’s refusal. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has attempted to have Iran answer twelve questions regarding the military dimensions of their nuclear program – to no avail.
The U.S. Congress has the authority, guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, to review this nuclear deal before permitting the lifting the sanctions that have been imposed on Iran by Congress. The Iran Nuclear Review Act passed overwhelmingly in both chambers of Congress, and awaits President Obama’s signature.
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) wrote an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal (May 17, 2015) in which he argued that the
President must either negotiate an agreement that will permanently prevent an untrustworthy Iranian regime from acquiring nuclear weapons — or walk away. If he instead commits to a plan that will lead to a nuclear Iran, Congress must stop it.
Senator Graham proposed eight principles to achieve an enforceable deal:
1. Iran must not be allowed enrichment capability greater than the practical needs to supply one commercial reactor.
2. The closing of secret sites, and coming clean on issues raised by the IAEA. Iran must account for the full inventory of centrifuges, production facilities for components, the total number of component, assembly workshops and storage depots for centrifuges.
3. Anytime, anywhere inspections of all Iranian military and non-military facilities, and no veto power to the Ayatollahs.
4. Sanctions relief and access to funds currently in escrow must be phased in and conditioned on IAEA certification that Iran is in full compliance.
5. There must be an explicit process for the “snapback” re-imposition of sanctions if Iran violates the deal.
6. Iran must not be allowed to conduct research and development on advanced centrifuges.
7. Removal of all enriched uranium from Iran.
8. Certification by the president that before any restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program are lifted, Iran has changed its aggressive behavior in the region, and is no longer designated as a state sponsor of terrorism.
Given the revealed content of the nuclear framework agreement with Iran, one can only conclude that it would leave Iran stronger, since the agreement does not hamper Iran in any way, including its development of long range ballistic missiles capable of reaching Europe, the U.S. ,and of course, Israel. The lifting of the sanctions, even if done gradually, will improve Iran’s economy and make the Islamic Republic wealthier and more capable of asserting itself in the region and beyond. The current agreement would provide Iran with a clear path towards a nuclear bomb (and no restrictions after a 10-year period). If left unchecked, this state leader of global terrorism could very easily provide an unnamed terror group with a dirty bomb to be exploded in New York. Equally worrisome is the fact that the framework agreement, if left to stand could spark a nuclear arms race in the Middle East and beyond. In Saudi Arabia, there are widespread public calls to match Iran’s nuclear quest. Turkey and Egypt could also feel compelled to follow suit.
The international community must remember that what originally brought Iran to the negotiating table was economic pressure through ever increasing painful sanction coupled with a credible military option. A better deal with Iran would be to balance the lifting of sanctions with Iran’s adherence to Senator Grahams proposed principles. Added to these principles should be an end to the development of long-range ballistic missiles with nuclear warhead delivery systems that could threaten the U.S. Finally, the P5+1 should link the lifting of sanctions to Iran’s ending its sponsorship of global terror, its open aggression against its neighbors, and ending its threats to destroy Israel. A deal to just have a deal would leave Iran as a major threat to global security. The current one-sided framework is not a good deal and will only empower a radical Iranian messianic cult awaiting the arrival of the 12th imam or Mahdi.
Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.