Ari Lieberman: OBAMA FOLDS ON IRAN NUKE NEGOTIATIONS

Just two days before the June 30th cutoff for an agreement with Iran on its nuclear program was set to expire, American and European officials announced that the deadline would be extended yet again, marking the third time that the United States capitulated to the Iranians. Sensing American vacillation, weakness and desperation, the Iranians have once more managed to arm-twist and outmaneuver the Obama administration.

The extension comes on the heels of an embarrassing June 24 bipartisan letter signed by a group of nineteen prominent diplomats, legislators, policymakers, and experts cautioning the Obama administration that the emerging deal with the Islamic Republic “may fall short of meeting the administration’s own standard of a ‘good’ agreement.” It also noted the need for Obama to address Iran’s deleterious regional machinations and its desire to establish a Shiite hegemony, something the Obama administration has inexplicably chosen to ignore. The letter represents a scathing indictment of Obama’s handling of the Iranian talks and this is especially true when one considers that five of the signatories were former Obama administration officials or otherwise had ties to the Obama White House.

Those who signed the letter have good reason to be concerned. Obama has quite clearly signaled to the mullahs that he has foreclosed the military option and is desperate for a deal, any deal. This absurd display of feebleness has severely undermined the US negotiating position.

In a sign of yet further Western capitulation, Israel’s Channel 1 reported that the P5+1 will no longer insist on inspections of nuclear installations as part of a deal on Iran’s nuclear weapons program making a mockery of the entire agreement. Without such safeguards, the agreement is worth about as much as unilateral Iranian assurances of good behavior, which amounts to zero. Moreover, the administration has substantially back-peddled on its insistence of having the Iranians come clean on their past military-related atomic activities. Such an accounting is crucial to providing better insight on the military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program and gauging how close the Iranians are to designing and developing a nuclear bomb. That in turn, could assist in calculating the so-called breakout period, the time needed for Iran to assemble a bomb once acquiring a sufficient quantity of weapons-grade material.

The leader of the nation with likely most to lose from a bad deal with the mullahs also addressed the recent troubling developments concerning the seemingly never-ending Iran nuclear talks. Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu noted that "…what we are seeing are Iran's increasing demands, and the major powers' concessions which are also increasing, in keeping with the Iranian pressure. This agreement is going from a bad agreement to a worse agreement, and is becoming worse by the day. In effect, it is paving Iran's way to being not only a major power with one or two nuclear bombs, but with an unlimited arsenal within a decade with the possibility of achieving several atomic bombs beforehand, by violating the monitoring which, in any case, is full of holes. Above all, in addition to this, the agreement also gives Iran many billions of dollars, apparently hundreds of billions of dollars, within a short time, which will allow it to finance its increasing aggression…”



Netanyahu’s assessment is accurate and if anything, understates Obama’s utter capitulation in the face of Iranian demands and transgressions. The Iranians are not budging on the issue of unfettered inspections and are demanding an immediate end to sanctions at the conclusion of the talks, which would result in an immediate cash infusion of billions that would almost certainly be spent on creating yet more regional mischief and headaches for the United States.

Despite their well-known history of deceit, fabrication and obfuscation, the mullahs have succeeded in forcing the Obama administration to acknowledge their “right to enrich uranium,” succeeded in forcing the P5+1 to allow them to maintain their nuclear infrastructure, including their heavy water reactor at Arak, and succeeded in excluding from the talks all other ancillary matters including ballistic missile research and development and continued Iranian regional destabilization efforts.

Moreover, Instead of holding the Iranians accountable for their egregious breaches of the Joint Plan of Action, the Obama administration has adopted a policy of sweeping these blatant inconvenient truths under the rug. Since the signing of the JPOA, the Iranians violated it on no less than four occasions. The transgressions include a 20% increase in nuclear fuel stockpiles, an attempt to purchase compressors for nuclear applications with fraudulent paperwork, feeding UF-6 gas into the highly advanced IR-5 centrifuges and purchasing nuclear components for their plutonium facility at Arak.

On each of these occasions, the Obama administration went to almost laughable lengths to downgrade the seriousness of the breaches prompting the Atlantic’s David Frum to sardonically note on Twitter that “the really awful thing about speaking for this State Dept is all the spin one must do on behalf of the govt of Iran.” That sentiment echoes previous comments made by Democratic Senator Robert Menendez who accurately noted that the administration’s positions on Iran sound “like talking points that come straight out of Tehran.” What is also worthy of note is that these anti-administration comments are coming not from Obama’s traditional right-wing detractors but rather from his base supporters who are slowly coming to grips with the fact that the administration appears to be advocating for the mullahs of the Islamic Republic rather than what is best for American interests.