Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Why The Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal Stinks

As most concerned Americans know, President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry reached a tentative agreement with the Iranian government several months ago to theoretically halt the march of the Iranians to becoming a nuclear arms power. In the next few weeks, Congress will debate and then vote on whether to approve the deal. 

Rather than trying to sell the deal to the American people on its merits and upsides, and perhaps showing some leadership in the process, this administration has continued its long established ways of demeaning, ridiculing, and name calling those that have concerns or doubts about the deal. 

The President has called those that oppose the deal "crazies" even though the majority of Americans who have an opinion about the deal do not want it approved. Which is just the typical condescending attitude that this President has had against anyone who dares disagree with him. John Kerry has been out of sight and out of mind the past few weeks, obviously not trying to sell the deal to America either.

As a result, a number of thoughtful people have put forth, in very concise, easily understandable ways, why this is a bad deal. Why the President has not addressed these points  rather than just say they are wrong and to blindly trust him, is another example of the absence of leadership skills of this Presidency.

Judge and comment for yourself after reading the following rebuttals to the proposed deal. If you believe that these rebuttals are an accurate description of reality of the deal and worry of the major consequences such a putrid deal will do the the Middle East and our own security, I strongly suggest that you call your Congressional reps right away and deal them to reject the deal. 

If you think that the President can be trusted and that he is not shopping for a foreign policy legacy win, i.e. he will do anything to make it look like a winning deal just to enhance his legacy, then you can sit back and watch a new nuclear arms race unfold in the Middle East, watch Iran hype up its terrorism activities across the world, and watch Iran work on how to put its eventual nuclear weapons on the tip of an intercontinental missile. And the President calls us that oppose this deal the crazies.

The first set of logical objections to this deal come from the website of former Congressman Allen West:

1. Iran is the number one state sponsor of Islamic terrorism and has not evidenced any desire to curtail their activities. In fact, given the Ayatollah’s comments, sounds to me like they want to ratchet it up.

2. The JCPOA [the tentative deal] does not gradually relieve economic sanctions against Iran; it does so immediately to the tune of $115 billion in unfrozen assets released to the number one sponsor of Islamic terrorism.

3. In year five, the JCPOA allows the U.N. ban on conventional weapons for Iran to expire, which means the number one state sponsor of Islamic terrorism can legally buy and sell arms. Iran, however, has already entered into talks with Russia and China to purchase new aerial refueling tankers and fighter jets, and the Chinese are seeking an exchange of the fighter jets for oil. And incidentally, General Qassem Suleimani, who heads the Iranian Quds Force – a designated terrorist organization – violated an international travel ban by going to Russia to meet with their defense minister and Russian president Vladimir Putin.

4. In year eight, the JCPOA lifts the U.N. weapons ban on ballistic missiles for Iran, a country where the leadership chants “Death to Israel” and “Death to America.”

5. In year ten, Iran can return its centrifuges to full operational capability and enrich uranium. In the meantime, Iran has the authority to do its own inspections, and the original requirement of immediate, “no notification” inspections has been replaced with a 24-day advance notification process.

6. Finally, in year fifteen, the number one state sponsor of Islamic terrorism is allowed to build new nuclear reactors. We’re not stopping them; merely delaying.

The second source debunking the details of the deal come from Michaela Dodge writing for the Heritage Foundation. She specializes in missile defense, nuclear weapons modernization and arms control as policy analyst for defense and strategic policy in The Heritage Foundation’s Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies. Her recent writings include the following top line realities:

  • Recently, over 900 rabbis formally announced their opposition to the deal.
  • Almost 200 retired U.S. generals and admirals signed a joint letter urging Congress to reject the deal while the White House could only round up 30 former military leaders to support the deal.
  • Even though the majority of Americans and Israelis polled are in favor of a diplomatic answer to the Iranian problem, the majority of them do not want THIS deal to be the diplomatic answer.

She then goes on to rebut specific points of the deal, much like Mr. West did above, providing concrete examples of why this is a bad deal:

1) “This deal blocks every pathway Iran might take to obtain a nuclear weapon.” This statement is untrue. A piece of paper cannot stop a determined country from obtaining a nuclear weapon. The cash-strapped regime in North Korea is a great example. 

To make matters worse, the deal does not dismantle Iran’s uranium enrichment infrastructure, which was developed in defiance of Iran’s international obligations.

The deal effectively rewards years of Iran’s violations of its international obligations with billions of dollars to fund terrorism and lifts sanctions on advanced technologies and materials usable in Iran’s nuclear program, including Tehran’s ballistic missile program.

The deal even opens a path for Iran to buy functioning parts of a nuclear weapon.

2) “It ensures that centrifuges are removed except for a handful.” Usually, a handful does not mean thousands, as is the case with the number of Iranian centrifuges the deal leaves untouched.

Additionally, the deal allows Iran to continue research and development of more advanced types of centrifuges, including letting Iran operate them by hundreds. None of the centrifuges will be destroyed. And they are only a part of the problem. Maintaining skilled people who know how to manage the centrifuges is just as serious.

Should Iran decide that the deal is no longer in its interest, it will be in an excellent position to restore its capabilities fast.

The United States will not be able to impose a sanctions regime that would be as rigorous as the existing regime, which is a result of years of labor and hundreds of trips of U.S. officials to foreign banks.

Once cash starts flowing, it will be immensely difficult to re-impose these sanctions. Sanctions relief is front-loaded, further reducing Iran’s incentive to not follow through with all its obligations.

3) “But this deal does not rely on trust. It relies on verification.” How will members of Congress know if Iran is cheating, let alone the American people, since the administration has failed to provide documents outlining details of verification? In fact, neither Secretary of State John Kerry nor Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz has read these documents.

Just last week, it became clear that Iran will be allowed to use its own inspectors to investigate sites suspected of conducting nuclear weapon work. This is akin to letting a fox guard a chicken coop. The verification regime is particularly weak when it comes to undeclared/covert activities and activities that do not involve radioactive material.

Iran can hold up inspectors for months and will be provided information about where covert activities are occurring, making it easier to cover them.

Iran has been lying, cheating, and covering up its nuclear activities for years. Americans and the International Atomic Energy Agency, responsible for deal’s verification, have been surprised more than once in the past regarding Iran’s illicit nuclear activities.

4) “We are not giving away anything in this deal in terms of our capacity to respond if they chose to cheat.” Obama will be putting future American presidents in a tough position.

This is because Iran will be able to spend billions of dollars on terrorist activities—and the United States and allies will be on the receiving end of these activities. Tehran will be able to obtain advanced weaponry from Russia and China, certainly complicating U.S. options should Iran decide to cheat.

A couple of points of emphasis to add unto the points made above:

  • North Korea became a dangerous nuclear power despite having virtually no economy and being one of the poorest nations in the world. Imagine how much easier it will be for Iran to become a nuclear power once we give it over $100 billion to spend as it pleases.
  • Effective economic sanctions will never be reimposed since China and Russia, two of the five members of the United Nations Security Council will not allow it since they will benefit economically from the deal and politically in their quest to grow their power and influence at the expense of the United States.
  • The Obama/Kerry negotiating team was so weak that they could not even negotiate the release of four American citizens being held in Iranian jails despite giving the Iranians over $100 billion in sanctions relief. This point alone establishes how poorly the U.S. negotiated for this deal.
  • News reports have stated that the Saudis are already in the market to purchase nuclear weapons, lord knows they have enough money to do so, likely buying their nuclear weapons technology from the Pakistanis, because of how threatened they feel about this deal.
  • Does anyone really think the the North Koreans and the Iranians care about and will respect an eight year ban on selling the Iranians missile technology? News reports are already circulating that the North Koreans and Iranians are already in negotiations for the selling and buying of long range missile technology.
  • Why would any good negotiator make a deal with an opponent while that opponent continues to threaten death to the the negotiator's interests? Despite the deal, Iranian citizens and high ranking government officials continually still go on record to vow "Death to America" and "Death To Israel?" And Obama wants to give them $100 billion to spend as they like? Insanity.
  • And finally, given this President's track record of lies and deceptions, who can believe anything he says? In fact, if not for a lucky happenstance, we would not know that there are at least two secret agreements that came out of the negotiations that Obama and Kerry had no intention of sharing with Congress or the American people event though the were legally required to so. 
I once worked for a boss who had the following great advice: never be so in love with a deal that you cannot walk away from it. This is advice that Obama and Kerry should have used but did not. In their blind haste to get a deal done, any deal done, to build any kind of legacy, they were weak, anemic negotiators vs. the Iranians, bad salesman of the deal to the world and America, and probably have lied about the untold downsides of the deal. Strike one, strike two, strike three.

This is a bad deal for America, a bad deal for the world, a bad deal for humanity. Call your Congress men and women and them to kill this deal and go for a real diplomatic solution, not a politician's solution. And stopp calling Americans crazies, it is so un-Presidential...and this case, plain wrong.

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