Caving to Iran
Instead, the interim deal acknowledged Iran’s right to enrich uranium. It ignored Iran’s ballistic missile program (the most obvious delivery mechanism for a bomb), despite a U.N. Security Council resolution (1929) as well as several pieces of congressional legislation requiring Iran to cease such -activities. It allowed Iran to continue building its heavy-water plutonium facility at Arak. The deal sought to limit Iran to research and development work on advanced centrifuges, but Tehran exploited that allowance and reportedly built up to 5,000 advanced centrifuges in the last year.
The issue is not just that Iran has repeatedly cheated, but that the administration keeps helping. When it became clear Iran was selling more than the million barrels of oil per month that sanctions relief permitted, White House spokesmen counseled patience: Maybe next month, they said, Iran would sell less and get under the cap. And when it didn’t, all the administration could do was shrug.
It’s not clear when (or whether) the Obama White House will conclude a final agreement with Iran over its nuclear program. The extended deadline for the interim deal known as the Joint Plan of Action is set to expire November 24. And the president very much wants a deal that would cement his foreign policy legacy. On the other hand, there are still gaps on key issues, like how many centrifuges Iran gets to keep.
But here’s the heart of the matter: The White House has caved on so much already that whether or not a final agreement is reached at the end of the month, American interests have already been damaged by the administration’s pliant dealings with a state sponsor of terror. Its record on Iran—not only during nuclear negotiations, but also in its larger regional policy—is nothing but a chronicle of concessions to the Islamic Republic.
It’s instructive to recall that very early in his presidency Obama promised that the military option was still on the table, if all else failed to stop the Iranians from building a bomb. The concern, as White House officials warned back then, was that strikes—American or Israeli—on Iranian nuclear facilities might cause Tehran to retaliate against American -targets in the region, especially U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Never mind that the Iranian regime was already responsible for thousands of American deaths, and tens of thousands of wounded, in those two theaters. What’s telling is that the White House saw the U.S. military not as the guardian of American interests, the best friend of American allies, and the dread enemy of American adversaries, but as potential hostages.
In other words, Obama was keen to forfeit his advantages from the outset of his dealings with Iran. In due course, he would trade away American leverage and get nothing in return. Read the rest of this entry »