Iran scam Part III
Kerry says that although he has neither read nor even seen the”classified” side deals between Iran and the IAEA about the “possible military dimensions” of Iran’s nuclear program, he has been fully briefed, knows “exactly” what they say and will brief Congress in closed session.
Parts I and II of this series deal with the bases for and absurdities of the January 14th U.S. approval of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. From a national security perspective, the published “deal” was absurd even without recently discovered but secret and “classified” side deals about the military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program. With them, the “deal” has gone from merely absurd to insane.
The “deal” and U.S. law
The nuke deal provides that the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will
negotiate separately with Iran about the inspection of a facility long-suspected of being used to research long-range ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.
The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, signed by Obama on May 22, 2015,
amends the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 to direct the President, within five days after reaching an agreement with Iran regarding Iran’s nuclear program, to transmit to Congress:
the text of the agreement and all related materials and annexes; . . . [Emphasis added.]
It does not exclude any related materials, “classified” or not such as “side deals,” from those required to be provided to the Congress. However, they have been “classified” and cloaked in secrecy to achieve that end.
The side deals
We do not know precisely what the side deals say; only the signatories, Iran and the IAEA, know. However, according to an article titled Iran Bombshell: It Will Inspect Itself,
This week brought the stunning news that Senator Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) and Representative Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.) had discovered, during a meeting with IAEA officials, the existence of secret side deal between the IAEA and Tehran— a side deal that will not, like the main nuclear agreement, be shared with Congress. So critics of the agreement were understandably eager to hear an explanation from Secretary of State John Kerry when he and other senior administration officials testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday. [Emphasis added.]
The hearing produced a new bombshell: In its investigation of Iran’s past nuclear-weapons-related work, the IAEA will rely on Iran to collect samples at its Parchin military base and other locations. [Emphasis added.]
. . . .
In his questioning of administration witnesses, Risch said:
Parchin stays in place. Now, does that sound like it’s for peaceful purposes? Let me tell you the worst thing about Parchin. What you guys agreed to was [that] we can’t even take samples there. The IAEA can’t take samples there. [Iranians are] going to be able to test by themselves! Even the NFL wouldn’t go along with this. How in the world can you have a nation like Iran doing their own testing? [Emphasis added.]
. . . Are we going to trust Iran to do this? This is a good deal? This is what we were told we were going to get when we were told, “Don’t worry, we’re going to be watching over their shoulder and we’re going to put in place verification[s] that are absolutely bullet proof”? We’re going to trust Iran to do their own testing? This is absolutely ludicrous.
The issue became even more interesting when Senator Robert Menendez (D., N.J.), who learned about the side deal from Risch’s question, had the following exchange with Kerry:
Menendez: “Is it true that the Iranians are going to be able to take the samples, as Senator Risch said? Because chain of custody means nothing if at the very beginning what you’re given is chosen and derived by the perpetrator.”
Kerry: “As you know, senator, that is a classified component of this that is supposed to be discussed in a classified session. We’re perfectly prepared to fully brief you in a classified session with respect to what will happen. Secretary Moniz has had his team red-team that effort and he has made some additional add-ons to where we are. But it’s part of a confidential agreement between the IAEA and Iran as to how they do it. The IAEA has said they are satisfied that they will be able to do this in a way that does not compromise their needs and that adequately gives them answers that they need. We’ve been briefed on it, and I’d be happy to brief you.” [Emphasis added.]
Menendez: “My time is up. If that is true, it would be the equivalent of the fox guarding the chicken coop.”
Here’s a video of Sen. Menendez questioning Kerry. The interesting part begins at about 10:00 into the video.
Kerry acknowledged that he had neither read nor even seen the side deals but that he and his scientific expert, Secretary Moniz — who leads the effort to uncover the
non-existence extent of any “possible military dimensions” (PMD) of Iran’s nuke activities — have been fully briefed and know “exactly” what the side deals say. They promised to tell members of Congress in closed session.
Kerry and Moniz, like others in the Obama administration, are committed to the “deal” and to having the Congress accept rather than reject it. Kerry would be very “embarrassed” if the “deal” were killed. So would Obama. It is reasonable to expect that any briefings they provide will be conducted with those goals firmly in mind — just as it is reasonable to expect that Iranian inspections of, and collection of samples from, Parchin and other military sites will be conducted with the goal of negating the existence of any “possible military dimensions.”
Are there additional side deals that have yet to be discovered and reported? At this point, probably only Iran and the IAEA know.
It’s “Déjà vu all over again”
In a “blast from the past,” the UN agency charged with ensuring that all of Syria’s chemical weapons were disposed of properly did not do so:
International inspectors failed to stop Syria from stockpiling chemical weapons, in spite of an international agreement in 2013, according to a new report by the Wall Street Journal on Friday. International inspectors were skeptical of Syria’s claims to have disposed of its stockpiles, but were afraid that reporting violations would destroy the overall deal: “Members of the inspection team didn’t push for answers, worried that it would compromise their primary objective of getting the regime to surrender the 1,300 tons of chemicals it admitted to having.” [Emphasis added.]
. . . .
The Syrian guards assigned to inspections convoys also drove slowly, failed to destroy chemical weapons when asked to do so, and appeared to be intermingled with Iranian soldiers who were guarding Syrian chemical weapons sites. As a result, Syria remains unaccountable.
The IAEA faces comparable difficulties in evaluating Iran’s “possible military dimensions” and, if reports about the side deals are even partially accurate, will continue to bow to Iranian interests in denying the existence of those dimensions.
The “possible military dimensions” of Iran’s nuclear program are why a “deal” was deemed necessary. Aside from its military dimensions, there would have been few objections to a peaceful Iranian nuclear program devoted to electrical generation, medical research and the like. Iran’s conduct over the years and continuing through the present has belied its claims about the exclusively peaceful nature of its actions.
The Obama administration seeks to keep the members of Congress — and the “little people” who elect them — ignorant of gaping holes in the P5+1 “deal,” particularly those relevant to Iran’s militarization of nukes, the most important of all gaping holes thus far discovered. It is now obfuscating, and will continue to obfuscate, the IAEA – Iran side deals.
As a signatory to the side deals with the IAEA, Iran has the texts. The Iranian parliament will approve or reject the “deal,” apparently after the sixty day period granted to the U.S. Congress to review it. The Iranian parliament will be subject to pressures and obfuscations by the Khamenei regime, their nature depending on whether it wants the deal to be approved or rejected. Between shouts of “death to America” and “death to Israel,” Khamenei has given mixed signals about his desires. The Iranian parliament, unlike the U.S. Congress, will likely see the texts of the side deals if, as is also likely, they drastically limit IAEA investigations of Iran’s nuke militarization activities and hence enhance the “deal’s” appeal.
By whom have the texts of the side deals been “classified?” The Obama administration? Treating the texts as “classified” is very likely a ploy to avoid Congressional and public scrutiny. Kerry and Moniz claim to know “exactly” what the unread side deals say, and contend that they will tell members of Congress, in closed session, what they know. They will do so with the goal of making the “deal” appear to be as good for Obama as they can. They may very well persuade many if not most Democrats to approve the “deal.”
If the Obama administration even approached being as transparent as Obama has often claimed, He would waive all relevant classifications and allow the briefings to be in open, rather than closed, session, with the full texts of all side deals before the members of the Congress and available to the public at large. He won’t. He could (but won’t) be threatened with impeachment for blocking legislative action by the Congress. Even if Obama were threatened, He would know it to be an empty gesture; the Senate would reject any bill of impeachment adopted by House.
At least until Obama has left office (hopefully, in January of 2017), we are stuck. Like Obama’s America, Israel, perhaps in conjunction with Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations, has the ability to destroy Iran’s nuclear weaponization facilities which threaten them. Whether they, unlike Obama’s America, have the will to do it is a different matter.
According to a Washington Examiner article posted this evening,
House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell insisted in a letter to President Obama that the administration hand over any side agreements between Iran and the IAEA as well, saying that’s what’s required by a law passed earlier this year giving Congress a chance to review the deal.