Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Dr. Strangedeal: Or How Obama Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Iran's Bomb.

There are very few experts, or even people with common sense who in hearing about the deal the U.S. agreed to, didn't all agree that the U.S. gave up a lot and got little in return.
And the rationale being used by both Obama, Kerry and others is so irrational  its easy to conclude from that alone, that there are reasons why Iran is celebrating and no one on the U.S. side is.
Probably the most crucial and bizarre aspect of the deal is inspections. If it can't be absolutely verified that Iran is complying then the entire deal is worthless, though many have pointed out that its ten year delay for Iran to develop a nuclear weapon is also worthless regardless of inspections now.
Supporters of the deal including Obama tout that IAEA inspectors will have 24/7 access to any site they want any time anywhere. So they claim. What Obama doesn't say is that 24/7 access applies unless Iran objects. A little caveat Obama doesn't mention. 
Far from the "anytime anywhere" ability to inspect suspicious sites that the U.S. and most in congress say is crucial to the deal, a cumbersome process has been devised that can give Iran up to 24 days of stalling before it has to comply with an inspection by claiming there is no legitimate interest in inspecting the site. If they refuse access they have 14 days to review an IAEA request submitted in writing as to why they want access, then if they refuse try to  convince the IAEA inspectors that the activities at the suspected site are legitimate. If they can't convince the IAEA there is another 10  day period where the UN Security Council reviews the dispute. If 5 members vote that Iran must give access then Iran must allow the inspections (after 24 days) or face new sanctions.
Ollie Heinomen a former IAEA top nuclear safeguards inspector says the agreement  is inadequate. In Foreign Policy magazine, Heinomen says he is "disturbed" that  the deal provides for multiple weeks of negotiation between Iran and IAEA inspectors  to gain access to" sensitive" or" undeclared" sites. It allows Iran to declare "off limits" any site it decides is military or national security related and has no nuclear connection.
The deal  only gives unfettered inspectors access to "key" nuclear sites some already declared.  But doesn't say who decides what else might be "key".  If Iran decides a particular site is not "key"  they can refuse inspections and the 24 day delaying process goes into effect.
Heinonen says that from an investigative point of view there is nothing good in the agreement. Quoting from Foreign Policy magazine he says, " before Iran grants you access it can take measures to change the environment in the place you are looking and destroy evidence".
And Iran has done just that in the past and were caught.  When Heinonen was an inspector in 2003 he said Iran tried to cover up convert nuclear activity at the Kalaye Electric company plant, covert activity they had secretly been engaged in since the 1990's. When IAEA demanded access, Iran delayed and refurbished the entire facility before allowing inspectors in.
That doesn't sound like "any time any where" to any body. Which is why in his victory lap Obama didn't mention military sites which the IAEA always said were critical and the Iranian military kept stating publicly would never happen. 
Aaron David Miller, a middle east expert has already said on CNN that Iran has gone one better on Obama. And the more the deal is looked at the more bizarre it becomes.
The Iranians insisted and recieved as part of the deal, a provision that will also allow Iran  in 8 years to have ICBMs capable of reaching the United States.  Which as Obama and everyone knows is essential to a healthy economy.

 The deal will also end the arms embargo on Iran in five years. It was only a week ago that outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Dempsy told congress that under no circumstances should Iran be allowed to build or buy ICBMs and under no circumstances should the arms embargo be lifted. Oops.
As for the sanctions, according to the deal they are to be "phased in". But what does "phased in" actually mean? Who's idea of "phasing in" will prevail? No one is saying specifically other than the IAEA has to certify that Iran is complying with the agreement. But what if Iran believes they are complying in a matter of weeks? What if they say, " see that back hoe over there? We are converting and complying", and claims it wants the sanctions lifted before the conversions are completed? What then? And given that when the framework of the deal was announced in April Iran saw it differently than the U.S. It could throw the whole deal into chaos.

 The deal could become a shambles in a matter of weeks of being implemented assuming it gets through congress and there is no override of Obama's veto  (which at the moment is no sure thing) since "phased in"  based on compliance can mean anything depending on one's point of view. If Congress insists on clarification of that issue alone it could scuttle the deal. 
Basically the deal that Obama is touting is an Iran nuclear deal  that went from preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon to compromising  by delaying it for ten years.

 Everyone looking at the deal says the winner is Iran who will get hundreds of billions in revenue from sanctions relief and the end to an arms embargo, both of which guarantees that Iran will  send weapons  and money to Hezbollah and Hamas while at the same time giving them ample opportunity to cheat or the very least set up a program that will allow them to hit the ground running and  launch into enrichment for a bomb as soon as the ten years are up at which time they will already have the hundreds of billions in sanctions relief in their pockets. 
Other notable points: U.S. allies like Israel and Saudi Arabia have condemned the deal and traditional U.S, adversaries, Iran, Putin and China have praised it. At the announcement Kerry looked worn, the Iranians jubilant.
And when you hear anyone, journalist or politician or government official or Obama himself,  defend the deal by  asking "what was the alternative?"  it's practically an admission that the deal was negotiated on the defensive and from a position of weakness.  Because the alternative to strangling Iran's economy with sanctions which is what was done for the last ten years, was to continue to strangle  Iran's economy with sanctions if they didn't agree to a tougher more effective deal.  The sanctions is what the Iranians wanted to end. The U.S. didn't need an alternative. Iran did.  Yet that simple truth was ignored or not understood by Obama and Kerry and reveals the unnecessary  position of weakness and compromise  from which Obama and Kerry negotiated. We didn't need "an alternative." Iran did. And as everyone remembers, throughout the entire length of the negotiations, it was,  in every case, Obama and Kerry who were afraid Iran would walk away from the negotiations. With the U.S. holding all the cards and some smart and tough negotiators  it should have been the opposite. 
The deal in its own way is  nuclear Obamacare. It is almost impossible to look at any Obama initiative and policy, without comparing it to Obamacare, Obama's first and biggest policy failure and how it came about, which was  an egregious sell out and compromise of both principle and policy by caving in to the health insurance industry by dropping health care reforms's  most important provision the public option, ( as stipulated by Nancy Pelosi herself)  which in the end has failed to help 96% of the people healthcare reform was supposed to help. 
The analogy is valid. Except the consequences of the nuclear deal are greater.
Many feel this deal is an unncessary capitulation to Iran in much the same way Obama capitulated unnecessarily to the health insurance companies on Obamacare and weakens the U.S. and its allies, and in the end will help no one but the Iranians.
Kerry  in defending the deal said, " sanctioning Iran until it capitulates is not acheivable 0utside a world of fantasy". With that kind of inherent defeatism and weakness in both Kerry and Obama, which was apparent from the beginning, they seem to ignore the fact that it was the sanctions that brought Iran to the table in the first place,  and it was Iran that was looking for an alternative. The only real fantasy world is the one that Kerry and Obama negotiated from.  Which is why Iran is celebrating.  
Adam Schiff, a Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee when asked if there would really be unfettered inspections of any site in Iran said, " it depends on the interpretation of the deal". Interpretation? Do people get to interpet what a 65mph speed limit is if they get a ticket? Who is living in a fantasy world?  Schiff also said he wants to talk to people to discuss what's "between the lines of the deal".   Not what's in the deal but what's between the lines.  What's between the lines is empty space.
Last but not least, along with the Iranian celebration,  Putin and China both think the deal is just great. And as a result, Russia announced immediate plans for arms sales to Iran in the form of the S-300 air defense system.

The U.S. countered when Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, buttressing  Obama's argument of how much safer the world is going to be as a result of the Iran deal, announced today that the U.S. is increasing it's military cooperation  with Israel including selling Israel new F-22 fighters. 
Can anyone say, " Gentlemen you can't fight in here, this is the War Room"?


Lady Boomer NYC said...

I just really don't get why Obama / Kerry had such a, pardon my French, hard-on for this deal - for exactly the reasons you state and which played out with the response of our allies and our enemies. And right about 2003. Such short memories. So we could barely get anything in this deal because of lack of will? We'll never get anywhere, so let's capitulate? This is all very dangerous for Israel. I'm a liberal but knew Obama was insincere about supporting Israel from his 2007 AIPAC speech. Lip service and shallow at best.

Anonymous said...


>Because the alternative to strangling Iran's economy with sanctions which is what was done for the last ten years, was to continue strangling Iran's economy with sanctions if they didn't agree to a tougher deal.

What you (and the other critics) fail to recognize is that strangling Iran's economy was never going to keep from them getting a bomb. This deal may fail, but the bottom line remains: if Iran is determined to get nuclear weapons, it will, and short of invading Iran, nothing will stop them. If they aren't so determined, this deal will likely work as well any other. It is, imo, the one real accomplishment-and act of political courage-of Obama's entire career. And I note, Hillary apparently agrees.

Anonymous said...

tdraicer: Only adding that neither the sanctions or the agreement are just American, and Russia and China had already made it clear they were unwilling to continue the sanctions as before without what THEY judged as a good faith effort by the US to reach a deal. So continuing the sanctions as before was simply not a realistic option. That may be unfortunate, but the US doesn't run the world, even when the world might be better off if it did.

Marc Rubin said...

"So continuing the sanctions as before was simply not a realistic option."

The sanctions that matter most were and are the U.S. sanctions. First, all of Iran's assets hat were in the U.S. at the time the sanctions were imposed are frozen. Second neither Russia nor China is remotely the economic power the U.S. and its our sanctions that Iran wants lifted the most. Why do you think it was the U.S. who were the lead negotiators? Because we lead and the sanctions Iran needs lifted are the U.S. sanctions. It was not only a realistic option it was the best option in forcing Iran to accept OUR terms not the other way around because we could have easily, and still might if the Congress gets its way, increase them.

Marc Rubin said...

"What you (and the other critics) fail to recognize is that strangling Iran's economy was never going to keep from them getting a bomb. "

This statement alone shows how farcical the U.S. negotiating position was. You forget that Iran claimed it has NEVER tried to develop a bomb and had no intention of doing so. So we agreed to lift an arms embargo, will allow them to get ICBMs and lift the sanctions to stop them from doing something they claim they never did in the first place? And if as everyone knows they are lying we could have used that as a negotiating tool, forcing them to prove their claims and we'd lift the sanctions or force them to admit they were lying and use THAT as part of the negotiations to hold Iran accountable take a tougher deal on OUR terms not theirs. Remember they wanted the deal and needed the deal and we didnt.

The other thing you dont seem to be aware of is that the reason Iran wanted the talks over the last couple of years in the first place is because its only been since 2012 that the sanctions have really started devastating Iran's economy. We had them on the ropes and let them off. And it wouldnt matter what the other countries did, it's the U.S. sanctions hurting Iran the most. The deal was not just bad it was stupid and no one can argue Iran didnt take the U.S. to the cleaners. Unless congress kills the deal which may happen.

Grung_e_Gene said...

So, other than Invasion what was going to stop Iran?

And why do people have such a sudden hard-on for Iran, nowadays? It's 35 years since the Iranians kicked out the Shah, the Western Lapdog and brutal dictator. Is it because we've been unable to fuck with Iran and exploit them as Europe did so much of the world circa 18-19th centuries.

And why oh why is the fact that Iran was massively empowered by the Iraq War while also seeing the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq as a pincer movement by the West never a factor?

It's as though this Iran deal is out of the blue, with ZERO history going before and zero realization of the actual global facts at play.

If only Barack had used his magic leadership pony unicorn powers to extract a better deal! I'm sure that' what President Scott Walker would done!

Marc Rubin said...

"And why do people have such a sudden hard-on for Iran, nowadays? It's 35 years since the Iranians kicked out the Shah."

Welcome back! Obviously you've been in a coma for the last 30 years. So let me fill you in and hopefully it wont be a shock to your system. Iran is the largest sponsor of terrorism in the world proving money and weapons to Hezbolla, Hamas,and Yemen. They have threatened to wipe Israel off the face of the earth and have promised "Death to America". They claimed they were never trying to get a nuclear weapon and were caught lying repeatedly trying to build a nuclear weapon. Any of this sound familiar?

As for Obama given that he couldnt stand up to the health insurance lobby and sold out healthcare reform. caved in to Wall Street, Assad, Putin, and said Isis was the junior varsity,no one expected Obama to stand up to Iran. Obama couldnt negotiate a deal with a an eskimo for a handwarmer. Maybe youd like to explain why Obama gave in to Iran on allowing them to have ICBMs which are only used to deliver a nuclear war head when his own Chairman of the Joint Chiefs said it should never happen? Good idea? When it was Iran on the ropes being strangled by sanctions? What do you think ICBM's are used for? Flower pots? To go with Barracks imagined leadership powers?