It’s domestic politics, ideology and rejection of reality all the way down.
As I attempted to demonstrate in January, the English language text of the P5+1 “deal” with Iran has a comforting preface expressing a general intention to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons. However, neither the preface nor the rest of the text even mentions Iran’s continuing efforts to improve her ballistic missile capabilities, nuclear warhead development or her “undisclosed” military sites such as Parchin, where work on those projects evidently continues.
No significant reductions in either Iran’s nuke development or ability to produce nukes can reasonably be expected. Nor are we likely to know when she gets them.
A new report from the Pentagon warns that the US would be totally clueless if Iran were to obtain a nuclear weapon. The report reveals that America’s intelligence services are unable to detect when a nation has become nuclear armed.
Bret Stephens, a foreign affairs columnist for the Wall Street Journal, spoke about the report he recently analyzed while appearing on Fox News. There he noted the report exposes Vice President Joe Biden’s assurances, made in presidential debates with candidate Paul Ryan in 2012, as a lie.
“[Biden] said ‘for sure’ we would have ample warning before the Iranians decide to take their nuclear industrial capabilities and sprint toward a bomb,” Stephens noted. “This report tells us we probably wouldn’t have a clue.”
Although we have received nothing worth having from the November 24th deal and are not likely to, Iran is already benefiting from reduced sanctions and increased respect from the “international community” — as respect for the United States drops.
Under the terms of the November 24th “deal,” the process can continue for five months after it officially begins on February 18th. There has already been talk of extensions.
WASHINGTON – Comprehensive negotiations between world powers and Iran over its nuclear program officially begin in Vienna on February 18, at which point diplomats will have just over five months to reach an accord to end the long-standing impasse once and for all.
That cutoff was agreed upon, and is self-imposed, by the parties directly involved in the talks. Yet given the stakes of failure, Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s chief diplomat, is already discussing an extension of that deadline.
“Everyone will say to you, and rightly so, this is extremely difficult,” Ashton told The Wall Street Journal at a strategic conference in Munich on Sunday. “We have no guarantees in this and we will take the time that is necessary to get this to be the right agreement.” [Emphasis added.]
Getting the “right agreement” would take far more than additional time.
Asked about Ashton’s comments on Monday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki reminded reporters that the Joint Plan of Action allowed for an additional six month extension of talks “upon mutual consent.”
“The comprehensive talks have not even begun yet,” Psaki said. “So we are not at a decision-making phase, we’re not predicting, we don’t know that they would be extended, and that’s certainly not the baseline we’re going on.”
“From our standpoint, that position hasn’t been determined yet, and that simply is a statement of what’s allowed for in the JPOA,” she added.
Speaking under condition of anonymity – given the sensitivity of the negotiations – US officials told The Jerusalem Post they, too, fear the talks will require more time than has been officially acknowledged. [Emphasis added.]
A further six month extension will permit the farce to continue well past the November U.S. elections, draining the Obama Administration’s foreign policy debacles of any juice they might otherwise provide for Republicans in the congressional elections.
Is that among President Obama’s goals? Probably, along with continued implementation of the ideology which is at least one of the bases for His policies. According to an article by Michael Ledeen at PJ Media titled Obama’s World: Embrace and Appeasement, not Realism,
I don’t think it’s hard to understand Obama’s foreign policy. Although there’s a lot we don’t know about him, his basic impulses are clear enough. He’s told us what they are (although, to be sure, he often misleads and obfuscates), and his actions are in keeping with his announced impulses. Furthermore, there’s nothing unique or surprising about them — you can hear them in our classrooms and our college dorms, and read them in the establishment press every day. He’s an establishment member in high standing.
He believes that most of the serious problems in the world are the result of past American actions. Call it imperialism. Call it meddling. Call it arrogance (as the Iranians do). Whatever you call it, it means that pre-Obama policies were bad. Ergo, it’s mostly Bush’s fault. (Shorthand for “before me, they didn’t understand. Anything.”) [Emphasis added]
It follows that the single most important action to ensure good policies is to rein in the United States. Get it out of the messes it has created. Weaken its abilities to meddle elsewhere. Ergo the retreats from Iraq and Afghanistan. Ergo the often spectacular dissing of past allies and the embarrassing embrace of previous and actual enemies. Diss Mubarak, embrace the Muslim Brotherhood. Ergo the incredible shrinking military budget, ergo the back-of-the-hand slap to many of our greatest warriors. [Emphasis added.]
It also follows that our foreign policy requires a new language, beginning with making amends for the bad policies of the past, and continuing with a dramatic realignment, aiming at creating a new alliance structure with countries we maltreated in the past. Ergo the global apology tour. Ergo the refusal to respond to insults from the likes of Hugo Chavez. Ergo the Russian “reset” stratagem. And ergo the Iran deal, pursued eagerly and relentlessly even before the 2008 election results were in, wrapped in terms of respect (the careful pronunciation of “The Islamic Republic of Iran,” for example). And ergo the rejection of “American exceptionalism,” putting the United States on the same moral and political platform as contemporary Greece. [Emphasis added.]
Those are his core principles. It’s a highly ideological policy matrix, beginning with his conviction that WE are the root cause of most bad things. It’s not subtle, doesn’t require mastery of nuance or even history, as his error-ridden Cairo speech demonstrated to anyone who cared to actually read it (my favorite is the claim that Muslims invented printing, when the Chinese did that, and Portuguese Jews brought it to the Middle East). Indeed, he and his minions are so uninterested in the facts of the world that they regularly invent the world, as Secretary of State Kerry did when he falsely announced that “last year, not one Israeli was killed by a Palestinian from the West Bank.” Actually there were several. [Emphasis added.]
The Iranian “deal” is a scam and a farce for at least the following additional reasons:
Wendy Sherman, the lead U.S. negotiator with Iran, has stated that “we’ve not shut down” Iran’s nuke program.
The U.S.’s top nuclear negotiator admitted on Tuesday that Iran could continue developing ballistic missiles under the recently inked nuclear accord meant to scale back Tehran’s nuclear program. [Emphasis added.]
Under pressure from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC), U.S. negotiator Wendy Sherman conceded that the U.S. failed to “shut down” Iran’s ongoing development of ballistic missiles, which have long range capabilities and are the preferred weapon for delivering a nuclear payload. [Emphasis added.]
“It is true that in these first six months we’ve not shut down all of their production of any ballistic missile that could have anything to do with delivery of a nuclear weapon,” Sherman told lawmakers during a hearing on the nuclear deal. “But that is indeed something that has to be addressed as part of a comprehensive agreement.” [Emphasis added.]
This comprehensive agreement will not be agreed upon for at least six months, Sherman admitted, giving Tehran a lengthy window in which to perfect its weapons systems.
However, Iran’s deputy foreign minister/head negotiator disagrees with Sherman and denies that Missiles will even be discussed:
TEHRAN: Iran’s ballistic missile program will not be discussed in nuclear negotiations with world powers, the deputy foreign minister said in statements published Monday.
The remarks by Abbas Araqchi, who is also Iran’s lead negotiator in talks with world powers, came a week before negotiations were to resume on a comprehensive accord over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.
“Iran’s defence-related issues are not up for negotiations,” Araqchi said, according to media reports.
“We will not discuss any issue other than the nuclear dossier in the negotiations,” he added. [Emphasis added.]
US lead negotiator in the talks, Wendy Sherman, last week told a Senate hearing that Iran’s ballistic missile program would be addressed in the comprehensive deal.
Ms. Sherman can, of course, say whatever she (or her boss) desires for domestic consumption, where at least minimal impact seems likely. Her words will, however, change neither the views of Iran nor what happens, beyond further acquiescence in Iran’s demands.
Parchin and other military facilities and developments
Iran announced on Sunday it has not granted the U.N. atomic watchdog access to the Parchin military site, where the agency suspects experiments relating to nuclear weapons development may have occurred.
Iran cited that the visit would not fall under seven steps the Islamic Repubilc and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had agreed on.
“Visiting Parchin is not included in the seven steps,” Behrouz Kamalvandi, the spokesman for Iran’s atomic energy organization, told the ISNA news agency, referring to elements of an agreement reached Sunday.
The Islamic Republic agreed on seven “practical steps” with the IAEA in talks seeking further safeguards to enhance transparency on Tehran’s nuclear drive, an Iranian nuclear official said.
The steps are meant to be implemented by May 15, Iran’s envoy to the Vienna-based body, Reza Najafi, told the ISNA news agency.
Iran elaborated upon her position when she denied U.S. State Department claims that further protocols would be considered.
The U.S. State Department’s spokesman Alan Eyre’s statements on Iran`s obligation to ratify and implement additional protocol on its nuclear program is completely baseless, press service of Iranian embassy in Azerbaijan told Trend news agency on Feb. 9. [Emphasis added.]
On Feb. 3, Eyre told Trend that the Geneva agreement reads that: Islamic Republic should ratify and implement additional protocol on the nuclear program within the authorities of the Iranian president and the parliament as well.
It should be noted that Iran and the P5+1 reached a nuclear agreement on Nov. 24, 2013. Iran has agreed to curb some of its nuclear activities for six months in return for sanctions relief. Iran and the P5+1 group agreed to implement the agreement starting January 20, 2014.
Meanwhile, Iranian bellicosity toward the U.S. and Israel increases
In November, Iranian state television broadcast a short video animation of an Iranian response to an hypothetical Israeli attack on Iran. On February 7th, Iranian state television broadcast a longer and more “interesting” video:
Iranian state TV on Friday ran a documentary featuring a computerized video of Iran’s drones and missiles bombing Tel Aviv, Haifa, Ben Gurion Airport and the Dimona nuclear reactor in a hypothetical retaliation for an Israeli or American strike on the Islamic Republic.
Iranian drones and missiles are also shown carrying out simulated strikes on the American aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, downing American aircraft and striking American military targets in the Persian Gulf. [Emphasis added.]
The clip was broadcast amid a clear escalation of anti-American rhetoric and even action by Iran: On Saturday, an Iranian admiral announced that Iran had despatched warships to the North Atlantic, while Iran’s spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei denounced the Americans as liars who, while professing to be friends of Iran, would bring down his regime if they could. He also said it was “amusing” that the US thought Iran would reduce its “defensive capabilities.” [Emphasis added.]
The film, entitled “The Nightmare of Vultures,” opens with Supreme Leader Khamenei addressing military academy graduates in 2011, warning: “Anybody who thinks of attacking the Islamic Republic of Iran should be prepared to receive strong slaps and iron fists from the Armed Forces.”
“And America, its regional puppets and its guard dog – the Zionist regime – should know that the response of the Iranian nation to any kind of aggression, attacks or even threats will be a response that will make them collapse from within,” the film shows him saying. [Emphasis added.]
Set to dramatic music, the video shows Iranian drones and missiles carrying out strikes against Tel Aviv’s Kikar Hamedina square, the Azrieli Towers skyscrapers, and the IDF’s Kirya central command complex, as well as Ben Gurion International Airport, Haifa’s Technion, several army and air force bases, and the nuclear reactor in Dimona.
The strike on the Israel’s central command building is shown taking place while former prime minister Ehud Olmert and former defense minister Amir Peretz — who served in that capacity during the 2006 Second Lebanon War — are inside convening a meeting.
Regardless of whether Iran is now or soon will be capable of such attacks, the videos display a less than sincere Iranian interest in peaceful resolution of western problems with her current nuke development and her later use of the results. Iran’s evident attitude is in dramatic contrast to the U.S., P5+1 et al desire for peaceful resolution at any cost. What would the Iranian reaction be if either a U.S. or Israeli television network were to broadcast a comparable video animation of her response to a hypothetical attack by Iran? Iran probably would not be amused.
Iran’s assertions of military prowess are not limited to video animations. She claims to have the “biggest army in the region,” with long range missiles and drones.
To mark 35 years since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, the regime held a special display of the nation’s domestic military industry advances in the last decade, bragging that it has the “biggest army in the region.”
The pinnacle of Iranian warfare was presented in the Shihab 1, 2 and 3 missiles, which feature a range of up to 2,000 kilometers(1,243 miles), enabling them to strike Israel. The missiles are fired from subterranean launchers, making them difficult to detect by satellite.
According to the Iranian army, the Shihab missiles can be fired rapidly in response to an attack.
In addition, the army boasted its Khalij Fars rocket, a supersonic ballistic missile developed for strikes on naval targets. The current version of the rocket has a 300 kilometer (186 mile) range, and is being developed to upgrade that range. The rocket features a 650 kilogram (1,433 pound) warhead.
Iran has developed several drones, the most advanced being the Fotros whose 2,000 kilometer radius allows it to strike Israel. The drone can stay airborne for 30 hours, and aside from intelligence gathering is armed to attack.
The army took the opportunity to showcase its domestically produced Saeqeh fighter jet as well, which is modeled after the F-18, along with the Qaher 313 stealth plane and combat helicopters based on the Cobra.
Iran hasn’t neglected its navy either; the Islamic regime showed off its battleships which include a 94 meter (308 feet) long ship weighing 1,500 tons, submarines including miniature submarines, as well as speedy patrol ships.
Additionally, an advanced radar was displayed called Dhu al-Fiqar, after the name of the sword given by Mohammed, the founder of Islam, to his son-in-law Ali, who is considered the inheritor of Islam by the Shia Muslims who rule Iran. The radar is built to locate low-flying rockets and tanks.
The flexing of military muscle follows threats by Iran on Saturday to the US, warning that it could strike American warships in the Persian Gulf. The same day, the country sent a naval fleet towards American maritime borders, a move the US downplayed.
said Monday it has “successfully tested” two missiles on the eve of the 35th anniversary of its Islamic revolution, the official IRNA news agency reported.
Iran’s ballistic missile programme has long been a source of concern for Western nations because it is capable of striking its arch-foe Israel.
“The new generation of ballistic missile with a fragmentation warhead, and a Bina laser-guided surface-to-surface and air-to-surface missile, have been successfully tested,” Defence Minister Hossein Dehgan said.
He said the new ballistic missile could “evade anti-missile systems” and was capable of “great destruction.” [Emphasis added.]
The other missile can be fired from a plane or a boat to strike military targets with “great precision,” he added. [Emphasis added.]
Peace-loving, humanitarian underdog Iran! Sanctions, lacking any rational basis and perversely imposed by the West out of sheer hatred for her suffering people, have reduced her to a state of abject poverty. The sanctions caused her beloved people to starve and to forego needed medical treatment with home-made radioactive isotopes.
They will just have to hang tough until the contemplated further lifting of sanctions. Perhaps Iran may then be able to do a little better for her beloved people and even build a purely defensive — but suitably modest — military. Right
The United States of Obama has blessed us with many problems, domestic and foreign. The Iranian scam is one of the latter and likely the most dangerous. Like all of the others, it probably will be impossible to deal with it effectively until after President Obama is relaxing comfortably in His new presidential library, glorying in the wonders He hath wrought for world peace and hoping for his next Nobel Peace Prize. If we are still around then, perhaps the United States may be able to undo some of His most dangerous blunders and revert to a path toward at least a semblance of sanity.