The Real Purpose of the Nuclear Deal: Support Iran and Stick It to Israel
The purpose of the Iran nuclear deal isn't to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons technology – it's to assist Iran and prevent an Israeli military attack. The deal promises to help Iran modernize and protect its nuclear program while making it harder for Israel to disrupt the program through military means or sabotage.
This isn't a "bad deal," as many keep saying -- it's a dramatic shift in U.S. policy in favor of totalitarian Iran at the expense of democratic Israel. Leftists love authoritarian regimes that are virulently anti-American.
Far from restraining Iran, the deal cooked up by Barack Obama, John Kerry, and the U.S. negotiating team may be everything the ayatollah could have wished for. By the White House's own admission, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action merely extends Iran's "breakout time" to a bomb from the current 2-3 months to at least 12 months. However, that's assuming that Iran does not cheat.
The deal creates real obstacles to an Israeli military strike. After months of arduous negotiations, any Israeli military strike against Iran now would be seen as an act in defiance of the so-called P5+1 nations: China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Germany. Israel would be condemned as a rogue state while Iran would be praised for cooperating. At a minimum, the P5+1 nations would respond to an attack by helping Iran rebuild and by considering retaliatory sanctions against Israel.
Clearly, the Iran nuclear deal's architects trust Iran. The deal calls for the P5+1 to help Iran modernize its nuclear facilities, improve its processes and procedures, and train its personnel. For example, Annex I specifies the creation of a working group to help Iran redesign and rebuild the Arak reactor and "subsidiary laboratories." This will no doubt require P5+1 scientists and technicians to make frequent visits and even work onsite for extended periods, another element of the deal that will deter Israel from attacking. In fact, the deal practically transforms Iran's rogue nuclear program into a joint development project.
The Iran nuclear deal also calls for helping Iran enhance its nuclear research and development capabilities and defend its nuclear program against security threats such as sabotage. This includes helping to train what could be the next generation of Iranian nuclear experts.
Section 10.2 of Annex III could not be more explicit:
Co-operation through training and workshops to strengthen Iran's ability to protect against, and respond to nuclear security threats, including sabotage, as well as to enable effective and sustainable nuclear security and physical protection systems.
Clearly, the Iran nuclear deal's architects do not trust Israel.
Why they support Iran
To understand how a U.S. administration could engineer a nuclear deal that rewards Iran and punishes Israel, it helps to understand the mindset of arms control experts. Most identify themselves as progressives. They tend to believe that all wars are avoidable: you just need really smart leaders who are sympathetic to the other side's grievances, are willing to consider any compromise, and believe that the right words on paper can turn any foreign adversary into an ally.
Likewise, many arms control experts believe that Iran – the very same country that supports terrorism, denies the Holocaust, intervenes in other nations through armed proxies, and leads crowds in chants of "Death to America!" and "Death to Israel!" – can be enticed by the right deal to rejoin the community nations.
Meanwhile, the deal's supporters ignore the fact that the Iranian regime has imprisoned three U.S. citizens and a Washington Post journalist with dual American-Iranian citizenship on trumped up charges. Iran knows that it has only to accuse prisoners of espionage to win the sympathy of leftists in the U.S. and Europe. That charge resonates with people who promote the myth that the U.S. overthrew Iran's popular government in the early 1950s.
Many progressives believe that Iran's hostility to the U.S. is totally justified. They cite the alleged CIA-engineered coup that overthrew Iran's democratically elected leader, Mohammad Mosaddegh, in 1953. However, they have their facts wrong, as explained here by Iranian journalist Amir Taheri. Iran was a constitutional monarchy at the time, and Mosaddegh was appointed Prime Minister in 1951 by the Shah, who came to power ten years earlier. Among other things, Mosaddegh dissolved one chamber of the Iranian parliament, shut down the other, and halted an election. He was dismissed from office by the Shah – not overthrown in a coup.
Contempt for anyone who opposes the deal
Supporters of the Iran nuclear deal have little if any sympathy for Israel. Some arms control experts politely argue that Israel's refusal to sign the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) makes it harder to stop Iran from acquiring nukes. Others join with Israel's enemies in demanding that Israel be forced to submit to anytime-anywhere nuclear inspections.
Supporters of the deal are quick to dismiss reports that Iran is being allowed to conduct self-inspections. And yet Max Fisher's article in Vox World, "The AP's controversial and badly flawed Iran inspections story, explained," does nothing to disprove the accusation. In fact, Fisher's real gripe seems to be that the AP disclosed something that he and other supporters of the deal would rather hush up:
… this is all over a mild and widely anticipated compromise on a single set of inspections to a single, long-dormant site. The AP, deliberately or not, has distorted that into something that sounds much worse, but actually isn't. The whole incident is a fascinating, if disturbing, example of how misleading reporting on technical issues can play into the politics of foreign policy.
If you trudge through the entire article, you will find that the deal does in fact allow Iran to conduct self-inspections, but Fisher insists that it's nothing to worry about, because it's only one site (that we know of), no one has actually seen the final secret agreement, and both the IAEA and three people whom Fisher reverently refers to as "arms control experts" say it's OK. Fisher admits that the details might seem alarming to a layperson, but he reminds readers that "[n]o country likes foreign inspectors sniffing around a sensitive military complex."
It's hard not to notice that while many of the deal's supporters are reluctant to criticize either Iran or Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, they exhibit no such restraint toward opponents of the deal. For example, "arms control expert" Jeffrey Lewis begins his article, "Chuck Schumer's Disingenuous Iran Deal Argument" in Foreign Policy, with a series of childish ad hominem attacks. First, he dismisses the U.S. Constitution's requirement that all foreign treaties be approved by the Senate with a gratuitous shot at Dick Cheney:
At the risk of out-Dicking former Vice President Cheney himself on the subject of executive authority, Congress is a "branch of government" in precisely the same way that college basketball fans are a "sixth man." We don't let fans call plays, other than as some kind of preseason stunt. I am not particularly interested in congressional views about the Iran deal.
He then unloads on Schumer for opposing the Iran deal:
Schumer is one of the most powerful members of the Senate, which is not quite the same thing as saying he's dignified. Back in the 1990s, when he was a congressman, his House colleagues had a phrase for waking up to find he'd upstaged them in the media: to be "Schumed."
Next he quotes Jon Corzine on Schumer just to add a touch of vulgarity:
Sharing a media market with Chuck Schumer is like sharing a banana with a monkey. Take a little bite of it, and he will throw his own feces at you.
When Lewis finally gets around to discussing the Iran deal, he takes Schumer to task for saying, "[T]he 24-day delay before we can inspect is troubling." Lewis explains that there isn't a mandatory 24-day delay before inspections start, but Iran has the option of delaying an inspection up to 24 days. Lewis suggests we should be grateful that the deal's framers had the wisdom to place limits on Iranian stalling. "This arrangement is much, much stronger than the normal safeguards agreement."
President Obama is also reluctant to criticize Iran – but is happy to level false charges against the deal's opponents. When Iranians took to the streets to protest fraudulent elections in 2009, President Obama resisted pressure for several days to criticize Iran's government. When he finally did criticize Iran, he quickly reassured the Iranian regime that he had no intention of meddling in their affairs. And yet he has the audacity to accuse others of making common cause with Iran's "hardliners."
The Obama administration has been eager from the start to make friends with the dictators in Iran and Cuba. And the administration couldn't care less about where that leaves millions of Israelis.
Ira Brodsky is a writer and technology consultant based in the Midwest.