Dr. Robert Kaufman on the Iran Nuclear Deal | Huffington Post
Posted: | Robert Kaufman | Huffington Post
The announced agreed framework or a nuclear agreement with Iran has confirmed the worst fears of President Obama's critics. The administration has settled for a bad deal that will facilitate Iran eventually crossing the nuclear threshold even if the notoriously mendacious Iranian regime scrupulously abides by its provisions. By the terms of the 109 page agreement, Iran will retain its basic nuclear infrastructure. After 15 years of the agreement, all limits expire on Iran's rights to produce nuclear fuel. After eight years of the agreement, all limits expire on Iran's prerogative to conduct research on advanced centrifuges. Iran will retain more than 5,000 centrifuge and 300 kilotons of low-enriched Uranium. Even by the most favorable estimates, Iran's breakout time of 1 year will diminish steadily to zero over the 15-year duration of the agreement.
Throughout, the Obama administration has routinely capitulated to Iran on all the major issues, abandoning its initial insistence that Iran dismantle all of its enrichment facilities and terminate all activity relating to building nuclear weapons Iran will not only keep its entire nuclear infrastructure, but will receive hundreds of billion in sanctions relief for their hard pressed economy in exchange for these counterfeit restrictions on their nuclear program. The agreement imposes no limits whatsoever on the Iranian regime using this huge cash infusion to intensify its relentless campaign to menace Israel and Iran's Sunni Arab neighbors. On the contrary, the agreement will lift the arms embargo on missiles in eight years, on conventional weapons in five years, and on both types of weapons even sooner once the International Atomic Energy Agency deems Iran's program entirely peaceful and the regime fully in compliance with its provisions.
Even the stalwartly pro-Obama Tom Friedman writing in the New York Times concedes in his tepid defense of the agreement that "it is stunning ... how well the Iranians, sitting alone on their side of the table, have played a weak hand against the United States, Russia, China, France, Germany, and Britain on their side of the table. When the time comes, I'm hiring Ali Khamenei to sell my house... When you signal to the guy on the other side of the table that your're not willing to either blow him up or blow him off -- to get up and walk away -- you reduce yourself to just an equal and get the best bad deal non-violence can buy."
The nuclear deal with Iran also is unverifiable and unenforceable. Iran still refuses to conceded the IAEA unfettered access to any and all aspects of Iran's nuclear program -- essential in light of the high stakes of failing to detect violations and the Iranian regime's dismal record on transparency and compliance. It inspires no confidence, moreover, that Putin's Russia -- of all places -- will hold the enriched Uranium -- theoretically 98 percent of its stockpile -- that Iran must divest under the agreement.
Nor is this Iran deal enforceable even if the verification scheme operates in a timely and reliable way to expose Iranian non-compliance. Consider, for example, the gridlock inherent in the so-called "snapback" provisions, which re-imposes sanctions if an eight-nation panel agrees that Iran has violated the nuclear provisions. What is the likelihood that the panel members -- Britain, China, France, Russia, Germany, the United States, and the European Union -- will agree to that? The dictators in Beijing and a virulently anti-American grandiosely expansionist Putin have consistently acted as Iran's lawyers during the negotiations, advocating the immediate lifting of the embargo which will immensely profit the Russian Arms industry eager to sell the Iranian regime hundreds of billions of dollars in weapons and secure the voraciously energy-dependent Chinese access to Iranian oil. It beggars belief that either Putin or China's dictators will ever countenance snapping back the sanctions on Iran once this agreement improvidently lifts them.
Worst of all, the nuclear agreement with Iran represents the distilled essence of an Obama Doctrine that has assaulted the moral legitimacy of American power, shrunk the American military precipitously, emboldened America's enemies everywhere, and imperiled America's traditional democratic allies. The administraton's ill-advised, ill-fated obsession with appeasing a revolutionary, repressive, increasingly brazen Iranian regime has alarmed not only Israel, but traditional Sunni allies such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Ultimately, the nuclear agreement that Obama heralds as a geopolitical triumph akin to Nixon's opening to China will have the opposite result, triggering an unbridled nuclear arms race in the world's most violent and volatile geopolitical region. Count on the the Iranian regime -- like North Korea in the 1990s -- using agreement to wage war by other means, gulling the West into a false sense of security, while steadily proceeding to achieve a nuclear breakout capability.
The Obama administration's catastrophic blunder will have ominous repercussions not only in the Middle East, but in Europe and East Asia where an increasingly authoritarian and expansionist Russia and China have increasingly exploited President Obama's invidious combination of naivety and weakness.
The Republican Congress and prospective presidential candidates owe the American people candor and courage in staking out their principled opposition to the deal. Congress must use the hearings not only to throw light on the deficiencies of the details, but to educate the American people about the fundamental flaws inherent in Obama's world view that has multiplied the number and magnified the severity of America's perils globally. Likewise, any Republican Presidential candidate worthy of the nomination must articulate a compelling alternative to the Obama Doctrine's policy of defeat and retreat. That entails, at a minimum, embracing American exceptionalism, recognizing the indispensability of American power, and having the moral clarity to distinguish favorably democratic friends from repressive foes. Beware of what is to come otherwise if President Obama continues to have his way.