Breathtaking in its comprehensive nature, it’s a variation of
“We have to do it so you can find out what it means.”
With an apparent impasse in the Geneva talks on Iran’s “peaceful” nuclear program, it now seems that history is (again) relevant.
Forty-one years ago, the U.S. and North Vietnam signed an agreement that allowed the American troops to end their combat mission in Southeast Asia. It was all too obvious that this was no peace deal. Any levelheaded person could have told you that. The communists and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger settled on murky language. Kissinger tried to tout the agreement as proof that the U.S. had not suffered a crushing defeat on the battlefield.
Two years later the Democratic Republic of Vietnam invaded South Vietnam and made a mockery out of the U.S. The enlightened nations of the world could share the same exact fate in the talks with Iran. Having reached an impasse, they are now focused on formulating a memorandum of understanding rather than an interim agreement. [Emphasis added.]
This provides a way out for the ego-driven diplomats. It would amount to a verbal agreement that would allow each negotiator to have a triumphant homecoming. Perhaps no one would be on the losing end of such a bargain. Alas, any signed document would be only as strong as a bridge made of paper. The threat on Iran’s nuclear program will have turned out to be a paper tiger. [Emphasis added.]
A signed document can be as vague, and therefore as subject to spin, as the signatories desire.
Let’s kick the Iranian problem down the road.
I need a victory to distract from My ObamaCare miseries.
With such a deal, there need be no acknowledgment of Iran’s “inherent” rights to continue to enrich Uranium, to continue to add more and better centrifuges or to continue to develop its Plutonium facility. There need be no affirmations that “if you like your policy of nuclear development you can keep it.” If only Israel (and maybe France) would sit down, shut up and let their betters deal with important matters, there need be no war. Thus spake an ObamaAdministration official.
A senior White House official criticized Israel’s stance on the Iran nuclear talks on Wednesday, claiming its hard-line position would lead to war.
Speaking in a phone conference with think tanks supportive of U.S. President Barack Obama’s approach to the nuclear issue, the official expressed frustration with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s opposition to an interim deal that would call for relief in select sanctions in exchange for the partial dismantling of Iran’s nuclear program. Jewish News Agency JTA was given access to the call, on condition that its participants remain anonymous.
According to the official, Israel’s demand that Iran completely halt uranium enrichment and dismantle its centrifuges is paving the way for war. Although he admitted that Israel’s position was logical, he said that if the Iranians were left with the choice between a complete surrender of the nuclear program and developing nuclear weapons, they would choose the bomb. The Israeli stance would “close the door on diplomacy” and “essentially lead to war,” the official said. [Emphasis added.]
What difference could the “logic” of Israel’s position possibly make now? Why none whatever, of course. Giving Iran an essentially free hand and reducing sanctions may present an existential threat to Israel, but the Jews are rabid dogs and far less than human (according to Iran’s Supreme Leader) so what difference does that make now?
Again, none whatever, of course. Besides, according to media reports, a recently released International Atomic Energy Agency report shows that Iran has already ceased doing bad stuff.
Last weekend, the International Atomic Energy Agency published one of its regular reports on the status of the Iranian nuclear program. This report was particularly important because it was coming out right before this week’s critical meetings in Geneva between Iran and the P5+1, where it would be decided whether sanctions against Iran would be reduced in exchange for concessions on the Iranian nuclear program. Many experts wanted to know if the Iranians slowed down their program in any way as a good will gesture prior to the Geneva meeting.
But the real story was not only what the IAEA said, but also the popular reaction to its report in much of the international press. The Los Angeles Times ran a headline “Iran’s nuclear program has slowed almost to a halt, IAEA says.” The Washington Post was more careful in its headline, but its report by Joby Warrick still led with a sweeping generalization that “Iran appears to have dramatically slowed work on its atomic energy program since the summer.” Even the normally conservative Wall Street Journal followed the rest of the journalistic pack with a headline that said: “U.N. says Iran has virtually frozen nuclear program in last few months.”
That’s not what the report shows, but that’s not important.
So what did the IAEA really think about what Iran was doing? Two days before its report was made public Yukio Amano, the director-general of the IAEA, gave an interview to the Reuters news agency, which served as a kind of curtain-raiser for his agency’s upcoming report. Looking at the previous three months coinciding with the period in which Hasan Rouhani came to power, Amano did not sound like the Western media. He simply stated: “I can say that enrichment activities are ongoing … no radical change is reported to me.” For the most part, the press ignored Amano, perhaps not wanting anything to break the momentum toward reaching an agreement in Geneva this week. [Emphasis added.]
But Amano was right. Indeed, if the IAEA report is examined its becomes immediately evident why Amano was so careful in his assessment and did not join the cheering gallery with the Western press. According to its summary of the main developments of the last three months, the rates of production of low-enriched uranium, that is uranium enriched up to the 5 per cent level, remained “similar to that indicated in the previous report” which the IAEA published in August. Looking at the rates of production of uranium enriched up to the 20 per cent level, the IAEA concluded that it remained “similar to those indicated in the previous report.” [Emphasis added.]
. . . .
Moreover, most newspaper reports covering the Iranian nuclear program have missed a key point made in the IAEA’s latest report. It states that “preparatory installation work” has been completed for another 12 IR-2m cascades at Natanz. Since 2011, Iran has been installing these centrifuges in what experts call “cascades” of 164 centrifuges. That means that Iran is laying the groundwork for nearly another 2,000 advanced centrifuges, on top of the thousand centrifuges they have added during 2013. [Emphasis added.]
Not only has Iran been enriching more uranium, it has also been quietly working on the next big expansion of its Natanz facility. On top of this the numbers of the older IR-1 centrifuges have also grown in recent years. In August 2011, the Iranians had installed roughly 8,000 centrifuges in total; but by November 2013 the IAEA was reporting that Iran had a total of more than 18,000 centrifuges in both of its enrichment facilities. [Emphasis added.]
These latest developments change the whole calculus of any future agreement in Geneva. International commentators on the Iran nuclear negotiations have been tirelessly repeating that any future agreement must deal with Iran’s stockpile of 20 percent uranium while conceding to Iran that it can continue to enrich to 3.5 percent. The distinction was based on the assumption that if Iran wanted to make the last sprint to weapons-grade uranium, in what experts call “nuclear breakout,” it would use its stock of 20 per cent enriched uranium. [Emphasis added.]
But a sharp quantitative increase in the number of Iranian centrifuges, or alternatively the introduction of qualitatively superior fast centrifuges, totally changes this scenario. Gary Samore, who served on the U.S. National Security Council during President Barack Obama’s first term, has in fact recently warned that all Iran has to do is massively increase its number of its older IR-1 centrifuges and it can pose a new threat to the West: “Ending production of 20-percent-enriched uranium is not sufficient to prevent breakout because Iran can produce nuclear weapons using low-enriched uranium and a large number of centrifuge machines.” The installation of fast centrifuges, like the IR-2m, makes this even more of a challenge for the West. [Emphasis added.]
Pish tish. The only difference any matter of foreign policy, security against Iranian nuclear weapons and the rest makes is whether it helps or hurts President Obama’s standing in domestic U.S. politics, where he has recently been taking a whipping.
Many Arab columnists (and nations?) agree with Israel and are afraid about what the ObamaAdministration may concede to Iran. So what do they know? Don’t they understand domestic politics in the United States of Obama? Certainly not as well as the Smartest Man in the World. Besides, with Iran’s new “moderate” President Rouhani all will be well.
“The Iranian negotiator wants to tell the Westerners: ‘look, we wear Western suits, smile at the cameras, shave our beards, and speak fluent English. We have also appointed a woman as foreign ministry spokeswoman, just as you do. Therefor, there is no more justification to treat us harshly and deprive us of our frozen assets in your banks or boycott our oil exports which serve to counter the pitiful economic situation we suffer from,” writes Kharfoush. [Emphasis added.]
The Iranian motivation for acting hypocritically is clear, concludes Kharfoush, but where is the America interest in playing along with it?
How little they understand! It’s
turtles President Obama’s standing in domestic politics all the way down. What could possibly go wrong?
Perhaps nothing, but it may at least be time to practice for the
Christmas Holliday season.
UPDATES — Not really updates, but things I didn’t notice because I was too busy getting an old and sick standby computer to finish and post the article.
This from Michael Ledeen a PJ Media — It’s all Bush’s fault NOT.
This from David Goldman, also at PJ Media, on America’s abdication of power.
The most important thing that has changed since 2009 is that American carriers no longer are invulnerable; China can sink them within 200 miles of its coast by saturating their defenses with shore-to-ship missiles. The other thing that has changed is that China has become a player in the Middle East. The present equation has too many unknowns: what is the discussion between Russia and China, between Saudi Arabia and Israel, between France and all the parties? With the US in a tailspin Middle East diplomacy looks like speed dating. We Americans will find out what is happening when someone else decides to tell us — maybe never. The contempt with which the United States is viewed in Asia is remarkable. No-one even asks about the political news from Washington. The world has moved on. [Emphasis added.]
But what difference does any of that make now?