Video: Who’s up for another non-concession nuclear concession from Iran?

posted at 2:01 pm on November 20, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

“There’s so much drama in these talks,” CNN’s Reza Sayah reports this morning, but he may be the only one who thinks that about the decade-plus efforts to get Iran to abide by the terms of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Sayah even notes what happened the last time everyone got excited about supposed progress in the last round of P5+1 talks with Tehran, which is … nothing at all. Yet here we are again, and while jaw-jaw is preferable to war-war, it’s also a great way for Iran to stall the West until it has its own nuclear weapons, too:

Yesterday, the buzz centered on a supposed concession from Iran that would have allowed the P5+1 to skip an explicit acknowledgment of Iran’s right to enrich uranium. That right does exist under the non-proliferation treaty as long as Iran complies with IAEA inspections of all its facilities, which Iran actively blocked after the 2003 exposure of its nuclear program. The concession didn’t include a surrender on actual enrichment, either, but just that the Western nations in the talks didn’t have to explicitly acknowledge those rights, which means … nothing at all.

It means even less today:

In a televised speech on Wednesday, Ayatollah Khamenei said Iran’s negotiators had been set clear limits before they travelled to Switzerland for two days of meetings with representatives of the P5+1 – the US, UK, France, China and Russia, plus Germany.

They failed to agree a deal at a previous round of talks earlier this month mainly because of what diplomats said was Iran’s insistence on formal recognition of its “right” to enrich uranium and France’s concerns about the heavy-water reactor being built at Arak.

“We do insist that we will not step back one iota from our rights,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.

But he added: “We do not intervene in the details of these talks. There are certain red lines and limits. These have to be observed. They are instructed to abide by those limits.”

France apparently had to intervene to prevent Barack Obama from surrendering on Arak. Think about the irony of that for a moment. Bloomberg’s Marc Champion explains why this may be the most critical issue still left to possibly change through talks:

Arak, an IR-40 research reactor, has received less attention because it isn’t yet working. Construction is due to finish in about a year, and then Iran has to produce and test the fuel to insert, and run the plant for a period before it creates the first spent fuel that could be reprocessed for use in a weapon. So the threat of Iran having in place a second route to producing fissile material for a bomb is several years away at the least.

For this reason a number of experts have said Arak can be ignored until the later comprehensive talks, and no doubt it’s why some of the P5+1 thought it was acceptable to skip it in the interim deal. This is surely wrong, because it isn’t possible to predict how long the interim deal will in fact be operative — a similar suspension-for-talks arrangement in 2003 was strung out for two years, before collapsing.

If Iran were to complete Arak before a final settlement is reached, which is very possible, this would be significant. Once the reactor is complete it can be fueled, at which point destroying it through airstrikes would be unthinkable, due to the radioactive fallout this would create.

You don’t have to favor airstrikes to think allowing continued construction at Arak is a bad idea. I think airstrikes are the worst option available to resolve this dispute. Still, with the military threat off the table, the U.S. would have to rely on economic sanctions alone to persuade the Iranian regime not to complete what it transparently has spent two decades and huge sums of money and diplomatic capital trying to achieve: the capacity to build nuclear weapons. The history of sanctions suggests that wouldn’t work, and a counterproductive Israeli military action would become more likely.

Arak is ultimately a manageable problem, as a recent paper from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace explains. This is a big, above-ground facility that would be easy to monitor. A final agreement would ensure that spent fuel from Arak was exported for reprocessing. If Arak’s construction stops now, these terms for its operation can be worked out in the final settlement.

It’s also another reason why Iran will have incentive to continue its stalling techniques honed over the last decade, offering non-concession concessions and then refusing to follow through on threadbare pretexts. The only real drama is waiting for Iran’s inevitable Lucy Van Pelt impression, and who gets to be Charlie Brown this time.


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Yet here we are again, and while jaw-jaw is preferable to war-war, it’s also a great way for Iran to stall the West until it has its own nuclear weapons, too:

What I really want to know is if the unelected and unconfirmed Valarie Jarrett really has been leading negotiations with Iran for over a year. And, of course, what color she was wearing when she did it.

Happy Nomad on November 20, 2013 at 2:09 PM

Why would Iran trust America when it comes cloaked in the cheap Patchouli stink of Sunni Islam plus its own kuffar filth?

BL@KBIRD on November 20, 2013 at 2:09 PM

Shouldn’t the Chuck Brown/Lucy football fu%$over kick pic be limited to ComradeCare threads?

OhEssYouCowboys on November 20, 2013 at 2:10 PM

SwiftBoat Kerry: You. You can’t lie, so tell me Ayatollah, where are the nukes?
Ayatollah Khamenei:- Uh, hmm, well, uh, I don’t know where they’re not.
Kerry:- You’re telling me, you don’t know where the nukes are?
Khamenei:- It wouldn’t be inaccurate to assume that I couldn’t exactly not say that it is or isn’t almost partially incorrect.
Kerry:- So you do know where they are?
Khamenei:- On the contrary. I’m possibly more or less not definitely rejecting the idea that in no way with any amount of uncertainty that I undeniably do or do not know where they shouldn’t probably be, if that indeed wasn’t where they aren’t. Even if they aren’t at where I knew they were….

dentarthurdent on November 20, 2013 at 2:11 PM

France apparently had to intervene to prevent Barack Obama from surrendering on Arak.

bangs head on desk

Anything else I’d say would be twisted as racist.

rbj on November 20, 2013 at 2:13 PM

dentarthurdent on November 20, 2013 at 2:11 PM

Apologies to Dreamworks, Mr. Shrek, Mr. Pinocchio, and the Honorable Prince Charming….

dentarthurdent on November 20, 2013 at 2:13 PM

Shouldn’t the Chuck Brown/Lucy football fu%$over kick pic be limited to ComradeCare threads?

OhEssYouCowboys on November 20, 2013 at 2:10 PM

When it comes to Iran, Lucy should at least be wearing a burkah.

Happy Nomad on November 20, 2013 at 2:13 PM

Anything else I’d say would be twisted as racist.

rbj on November 20, 2013 at 2:13 PM

EVERYTHING you say can and will be twisted as racist….

dentarthurdent on November 20, 2013 at 2:15 PM

Apologies to Dreamworks, Mr. Shrek, Mr. Pinocchio, and the Honorable Prince Charming….

dentarthurdent on November 20, 2013 at 2:13 PM

Who knew you could get movie dialogue from Obama administration officials testifying under oath!

Happy Nomad on November 20, 2013 at 2:15 PM

When it comes to Iran, Lucy should at least be wearing a burkah.

Happy Nomad on November 20, 2013 at 2:13 PM

Now that would be a great thread pic.

OhEssYouCowboys on November 20, 2013 at 2:16 PM

Who knew you could get movie dialogue from Obama administration officials testifying under oath!

Happy Nomad on November 20, 2013 at 2:15 PM

I would have preferred to use those lines in a 0bumblescare thread, but we already know EVERYONE in this regime lies all the time. I don’t think there IS anyone who “can’t lie”.

dentarthurdent on November 20, 2013 at 2:18 PM

I would have preferred to use those lines in a 0bumblescare thread, but we already know EVERYONE in this regime lies all the time. I don’t think there IS anyone who “can’t lie”.

dentarthurdent on November 20, 2013 at 2:18 PM

Yeah, it’s gotten to the point of parody.

Benghazi- Rose Garden speech about a YouTube video and a spontaneous attack.

IRS- a few rogue agents in Ohio.

NSA- Nope, we’re not collecting domestic information.

Fast & Furious- We are not gun walking in Mexico

Etc.

Happy Nomad on November 20, 2013 at 2:23 PM

Let’s face it folks. The administration is not being honest with us. Iran has retaliated for the Stuxnet Virus attack.

Healthcare.gov is really Iran escalating the war through a Canadian shadow company. This and not incompetence is why our government is lying to us about what is going on with Obamacare enrollment.

Happy Nomad on November 20, 2013 at 2:32 PM

Let’s face it folks. The administration is not being honest with us. Iran has retaliated for the Stuxnet Virus attack.

Healthcare.gov is really Iran escalating the war through a Canadian shadow company. This and not incompetence is why our government is lying to us about what is going on with Obamacare enrollment.

Happy Nomad on November 20, 2013 at 2:32 PM

LOL.
Well, he11 – if we gotta blame someone else – might as well go all out.

dentarthurdent on November 20, 2013 at 2:37 PM

I like the “Welcome Home, 12th Imam!” banner Valerie Jarrett handmade for the occasion.

Christien on November 20, 2013 at 2:41 PM

Well, he11 – if we gotta blame someone else – might as well go all out.

dentarthurdent on November 20, 2013 at 2:37 PM

Yep and they already pulled the trigger on calling a coordinated terrorist attack the result of a YouTube video. It only gets wilder from there.

Happy Nomad on November 20, 2013 at 2:42 PM

The only real drama is waiting for Iran’s inevitable Lucy Van Pelt impression, and who gets to be Charlie Brown this time.


Feeling pretty SMUG, are we, Ed?

The only real drama which could POSSIBLY come out of a deal so bad the French felt they had to stop it is John Kerry ends up looking like a chump?

Are you going to be happy to eat those words if Israel and Saudi Arabia decide to launch a series of military strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities?

Will you still be so smug if this bit of theater ends up with Iran building and USING a nuclear weapon?

Have you NO shame?

PolAgnostic on November 20, 2013 at 2:49 PM

PolAgnostic on November 20, 2013 at 2:49 PM
You Sir! have never heard Ed sing.

flackcatcher on November 20, 2013 at 3:38 PM

In most states and in federal court there is a prohibition against allowing the sworn testimony of anyone with a perjury conviction, the idea being that a proven liar’s word is worth nothing.

Iran has lied and broken every deal it has made or begun to make since the mad mullahs took over. It is simply stupid to “negotiate” with them.

If we are committed to sanctions, they should be kept fully in force and continually tightened (as a bipartisan group in the Senate proposes) until they CAPITULATE. “Negotiation” with known liars is nothing but a waste of time.

Adjoran on November 20, 2013 at 3:39 PM

Will France stay firm?

If asking that question doesn’t tell you just how bad it is…..

There Goes the Neighborhood on November 20, 2013 at 4:21 PM

Will France stay firm?
If asking that question doesn’t tell you just how bad it is…..

There Goes the Neighborhood on November 20, 2013 at 4:21 PM

Firm? Like the Maginot Line?

dentarthurdent on November 20, 2013 at 4:32 PM

Warmongers

Nuclear power plant is not equal to a nuclear bomb. If Iran is prevented from having its own nuke plants then the US and France should shut all their nuke plants down.

antifederalist on November 20, 2013 at 4:41 PM

Iran to stall the West until it has its own nuclear weapons

…another…LEGACY…for JugEars!

KOOLAID2 on November 20, 2013 at 4:54 PM

Warmongers

Nuclear power plant is not equal to a nuclear bomb. If Iran is prevented from having its own nuke plants then the US and France should shut all their nuke plants down.

antifederalist on November 20, 2013 at 4:41 PM


Just to play the Devil’s Advocate for the flip side of this position …

Ok, Neville Chamberlain

Iran has engaged in direct acts of war against American troops in Iraq (i.e. IED deployment/technology/on-th-ground-personnel, QUDS, etc)

Iran is actively working for the overthrow of the majority of Middle Eastern governments – up to provision of weaponry & intelligence.

Iran seeks to establish a Mahdinate over the entire Muslim world which would then attack all non-Muslim countries.

Iran’s ayatollahs and government are THE greatest threat to world peace since Hitler and the Third Reich.

Why are we appeasing Iran in ANY degree or granting ANY concessions?

Oh, yeah … because Obama desperately needs something to appease his base.

PolAgnostic on November 20, 2013 at 5:05 PM

Warmongers

Nuclear power plant is not equal to a nuclear bomb. If Iran is prevented from having its own nuke plants then the US and France should shut all their nuke plants down.

antifederalist on November 20, 2013 at 4:41 PM

A couple points:
1) We had nuclear bombs long before we developed nuclear power plants, and the only time we ever used a nuke weapon was the 2 in WW2. So we, and France, and others, have proven we can resist the urge to use them to wipe other countries off the map.

2) Indications are that Iran is actually trying to develop nuclear weapons under the disguise of nuclear power.

I have no problem with any country wanting nuclear power – I think we should have a lot more of it worldwide. But if that’s all they really wanted, they could have paid companies from the US, France, Russia, or any of several other countries to just come in and install and run a plant or two. But that’s not what they’ve been doing.

dentarthurdent on November 20, 2013 at 5:21 PM

Iran has engaged in direct acts of war against American troops in Iraq (i.e. IED deployment/technology/on-th-ground-personnel, QUDS, etc)

Funny the same could have been said of the Russians in Vietnam. And the Russians could have said the same thing about the US with its support of the mujahedeen in Afghanistan. I don’t recall either county using proxy wars as the justification for a full scale invasion or an aerial attack.

Iran is actively working for the overthrow of the majority of Middle Eastern governments – up to provision of weaponry & intelligence.

Got a source for this? By the way, Iran hasn’t invaded another country since 1798.

Iran seeks to establish a Mahdinate over the entire Muslim world which would then attack all non-Muslim countries.

Once again, do you have a source for this?

Iran’s ayatollahs and government are THE greatest threat to world peace since Hitler and the Third Reich.

Nazi Germany was a 1st world industrial power. By contrast, Iran is a poor 3rd world country. Even though it has some of the largest reserves of crude oil, that doesn’t have the capacity to even refine enough gasoline for itself.

All that you are doing is engaging in threat inflation.

Your word for today is perspective. Pick up a dictionary and find out what it means.

antifederalist on November 20, 2013 at 11:31 PM

2) Indications are that Iran is actually trying to develop nuclear weapons under the disguise of nuclear power.

dentarthurdent on November 20, 2013 at 5:21 PM

Do you have a source for those indications? According to the latest National Intelligence Estimate, Iran hasn’t made the decision to pursue a nuclear weapon. Here is what the NEI says:

◾ We continue to assess Iran is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons in part by developing various nuclear capabilities that better position it to produce such weapons, should it choose to do so. We do not know, however, if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons.

◾Iran has the scientific, technical, and industrial capacity to eventually produce nuclear weapons, making the central issue its political will to do so. These [technical] advancements contribute to our judgment that Iran is technically capable of producing enough highly enriched uranium for a weapon, if it so chooses.

◾We judge Iran’s nuclear decision making is guided by a cost-benefit approach, which offers the international community opportunities to influence Tehran.

Basically, they have the know how but they haven’t made a decision to pursue a weapon. The so called martyr state is too busy performing cost benefit analyses to determine if it is in their best interest to acquire a nuke.

People have been crying wolf concerning a nuclear Iran for two decades. When will you begin to question those who are leading you down the path to war?

antifederalist on November 20, 2013 at 11:37 PM