Ben Rhodes in April: This Iran deal will have "anytime, anywhere" inspections. Ben Rhodes last night: We never sought that.

Via the Free Beacon, I think it was Steve Hayes of the Weekly Standard who first called him out on this. Watch below and you’ll find Rhodes, one of Obama’s right-hand men on natsec, shrugging off Erin Burnett’s concern about the lack of “anytime, anywhere” inspections in the new Iran deal. We never sought those, he says. Oh?


Here’s what he told Jake Tapper in April, per the Standard:

Jake Tapper: So the Israelis have put out this list of things that they think should be in the final deal with Iran, including allowing inspectors to go anywhere, anytime. That seems perfectly reasonable, no?

Rhodes: Well, Jake, first of all, under this deal, you will have anywhere, anytime, 24/7 access as it relates to the nuclear facilities that Iran has.

As you’ll see, here’s what he told Burnett:

Erin Burnett: How can you know if Iran is cheating if they have any time to prepare for an inspection?

Rhodes: Well first of all, it is 24/7 continuous monitoring of their nuclear facilities. So we can see what they’re doing in the facilities where they enrich their uranium – again, where they operate centrifuges, where they have a reactor, they will no longer be able to develop weapons grade plutonium. We never sought in this negotiation the capacity for so-called anytime, anywhere, where you can basically go anywhere in the country, look at whatever you wanted to do, that had nothing to do with the nuclear program….


I don’t think this is a contradiction so much as it as an admission of how big the flaws in the deal are. His point in April, as I understand him, was that they’d have constant monitoring of all known nuclear sites. It’s “anytime, anywhere” access, so long as by “anywhere” you mean the facilities we already know about. What they wouldn’t have is “anytime, anywhere” access to suspected nuclear sites. If the U.S. spots unusual excavation happening on a mountain somewhere in Iran, UN inspectors don’t get to show up the next day and ask what’s up. Under the agreement, there’s a process for that — one that could take up to 24 days or potentially longer to resolve, which will give Iran time to hide whatever incriminating evidence might be at the scene. The U.S. did, undoubtedly, seek that form of “anytime, anywhere” access too and Iran undoubtedly refused because they fully intend to cheat on this deal in due time. So Rhodes was stuck either admitting to Burnett that the White House caved or playing it off as if they’d never sought comprehensive access to begin with. The obvious, unasked follow-up: Why didn’t you seek it?

This is, in other words, less a case of Rhodes moving the goalposts than setting modest goals to begin with, knowing that that was the most Iran would agree to. If you want to see goalposts move, dive into Michael Rubin’s column today detailing how Obama and Kerry retreated from every one of their red lines:


In 2013, Kerry told Congress the “whole point of the [sanctions] regime” was to force Iran to “dismantle its nuclear program.” But the deal to which Kerry agreed lets Iran keep everything in place.

This includes Fordo, the once-covert nuclear site Iran built under a mountain.

“They don’t need to have an underground, fortified facility like Fordo in order to have a peaceful nuclear program,” Obama said in 2013. Congress will likely ask what changed, since this deal allows Iran to keep Fordo.

It gets worse. In 1991, the International Atomic Energy Agency required South Africa to come clean on the past 20 years of its nuclear work in order to certify that it had ceased its nuclear-weapons program.

Anything short of that, and the IAEA said it could not certify that all material was accounted for. And yet, Kerry caved on this, effectively crafting a deal the IAEA can’t certify.

That last bit, for my money, was the single most shameless capitulation of the negotiations. David Rutz of the Free Beacon captured it on video last week. Skip to 1:50 of the clip here and watch Kerry insist flatly in April that there won’t be a deal if Iran doesn’t come clean about the extent of its prior bomb work and then insist, just as flatly, two months later that it’s immaterial whether Iran comes clean because we already know all of their secrets. There’s no lie this stooge was unwilling to tell to make his dream of a big foreign policy “achievement” come true. All he needs now is for Iran not to utterly humiliate him by cheating before he and Obama have left office. Better that they do that when there’s a Republican in the White House so that Kerry can blame the GOP’s “antagonism” towards Tehran for making the poor mullahs feel defensive and confrontational.


Exit question: Do we get “anytime, anywhere” access to Iran’s base at Parchin, the site of much of its bomb work in the past? Oddly enough, the agreement apparently doesn’t say.

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