I don’t want to nitpick him since he’s admitting a painful truth against his party’s own interest here, but the deal does more than just preserve Iran’s program. It strengthens it. Until last month, the west’s position was that Iran couldn’t be allowed to become a nuclear threshold state. Our position now is that it can be allowed provided that Iran does Barack Obama a favor by waiting 10 years to install the advanced equipment that’ll shrink its “breakout” time down to nothing. We’ve endorsed Iran’s right to do that, leaving a future president boxed in when he/she is inevitably forced to confront Iran again about its nuclear ambitions. Obama strengthened Iran’s hand against his successor’s because it was politically convenient for him, personally, to do so. He solved the Iran problem for himself, not for America.

Actually, maybe he didn’t solve it for himself either.

The U.S. intelligence community has informed Congress of evidence that Iran was sanitizing its suspected nuclear military site at Parchin, in broad daylight, days after agreeing to a nuclear deal with world powers.

For senior lawmakers in both parties, the evidence calls into question Iran’s intention to fully account for the possible military dimensions of its current and past nuclear development. The International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran have a side agreement meant to resolve past suspicions about the Parchin site, and lawmakers’ concerns about it has already become a flashpoint because they do not have access to its text.

My, my. Covering up the evidence of bomb work already? Luckily the UN will have a chance to grill Iran’s nuclear scientists about that. Or will they?

Iran so far has refused to allow United Nations inspectors to interview key scientists and military officers to investigate allegations that Tehran maintained a covert nuclear-weapons program, the head of the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog said in an interview Wednesday…

The IAEA and its director-general, Yukiya Amano, have been trying for more than five years to debrief Mohsen Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi, an Iranian military officer the U.S., Israel and IAEA suspect oversaw weaponization work in Tehran until at least 2003…

But during an interview in Washington, Mr. Amano said Iran still hasn’t agreed to provide access to Mr. Fakhrizadeh or other top Iranian military officers and nuclear scientists to assist the IAEA in completing its probe.

I keep thinking there’s no way Iran will humiliate Obama by cheating on the deal or obstructing its enforcement before he leaves office, if only because compliance now will make it harder for a future Republican president to tear up the deal later. But maybe they can’t resist. Maybe, having seen how much Obama was willing to give them and how far he’s willing to go rhetorically to protect the deal, they’ve concluded he has no choice but to help them cover up their violations too. That’s the only explanation I can think of for why they’d start sanitizing Parchin now instead of months ago. Our schmuck president just gave a speech to the country defending the deal as the only alternative to war. What’s he going to say when inspectors find uranium at Parchin? “Deal’s off — war it is”? C’mon.

In fact, that’s the deeper point to what Menendez is on about here. The reason the deal preserved Iran’s nuke program instead of ending it is because ending the program wasn’t the goal. The goal was to make war between the U.S. and Iran politically impossible. Obama would never admit that but the reality of it ran throughout his speech yesterday. It’s what led him to make his lousy analogy between Republican opponents of the deal, who oppose an Iranian bomb, and Iran’s hardliners, who covet one. Go figure that if avoiding war is your top priority rather than stopping Iran’s program, people on both sides who don’t share that priority might seem to you to be making “common cause.” All of this could have been avoided if Obama had simply said from the beginning, “Nope, there’s no way I’ll use the military to try to stop Iran’s program,” but of course he couldn’t do that or else Republicans would have demolished him as telegraphing his weakness to an enemy power. So instead he opted for the elaborate kabuki of a nuclear deal, which accomplishes the same thing but lets him argue that he’s been “tough” on Iran in the process. The Iranians know better. That’s why they’re only cleaning up Parchin now.