In fairness, the jubilation here probably has less to do with Iran getting the better of the U.S. in negotiations (how many people in either country could explain the deal as of last night?) than the thought of the west lifting its economic boot off of Iran’s throat if all the terms are implemented. Iranian “hardliners” aren’t celebrating. Or at least, not publicly.
“We should say in a word that we gave a saddled horse and received a torn bridle,” the semiofficial news agency Fars quoted Hossein Shariatmadari, a vocal hard-liner who is editor in chief of the state newspaper Kayhan, as saying on Friday.
After finding out that Iran would only be allowed to have about 5,000 centrifuges, according to a fact sheet released by the State Department, Alireza Mataji, a 26-year-old student who has been allowed to organize events critical of the negotiations, posted on Twitter: “We will have just enough centrifuges left to make carrot juice.”…
“No matter how we try to sugarcoat it,” Mr. Laylaz added, “this means we no longer will have an industrial-scale enrichment program. This is the price we have to pay for earlier mistakes.”
Actually, that last guy quoted has a point. Five thousand centrifuges aren’t nearly enough to sustain a nuclear energy program. Curiously, though, they are enough to sustain a nuclear weapons program. The fact that Iran settled on that number is quite the coincidence.
Now that the deal is done, both sides have to spin it for the skeptics in their midst. Watch the second clip below to see how the mullahs are handling that. They have three core talking points. Sanctions are on their way out (fine print: if Iran holds up its end of the bargain), the U.S. has acknowledged Iran’s right to enrich uranium (fine print: at very low levels of purity, far short of what’s needed to make a weapon), and no nuclear site currently operated by Iran will be shut down (fine print: two-thirds of their current centrifuges will be taken offline and no fissile material will be allowed at the Fordo facility). Here’s Rouhani on Twitter after the deal waxing rhapsodic about the glorious mysteries of life. Birds gotta fly, fish gotta swim, centrifuges gotta spin, my friends:
Centrifuges have to spin and peoples lives, economy have to move forward. Today we have gotten closer to that objective. #RouhaniLive
— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) April 3, 2015
As for the White House, you know what their spin is already: Either this deal takes effect or it’s war, war, war. If Obama really believes that then he and Kerry have been lying to the public for months. Until recently they insisted that no deal is better than a bad deal; now they’re insisting that “no deal” equals “war.” Hmmmm. If Obama doesn’t really believe that then he’s been caught again engaging in one of his worst habits, the straw man designed to make his position the only “reasonable” one in the debate. You can oppose the deal and oppose war with Iran by endorsing new sanctions instead, in hopes that they’ll force Tehran to go further in tearing down their nuclear equipment than they agreed to go in Switzerland. Whatever the answer is, I’ll leave you with a good question asked by David Harsanyi. If O’s going to take the position that Congress has a binary choice between adopting the deal and preparing for war, does that binary choice also apply to Iran? If Iran walks away from the final negotiations over the next three months or gets caught cheating after a final deal has been struck, is Obama then bound by his own rhetoric here to seek war as the only alternative to deal? I’m thinking he’d say no; new sanctions will be the remedy if Iran breaks the deal, not a bombing run. If new sanctions are an option available to him, why can’t they also be available to Congress?