Hassan Rouhani has plenty of reasons to feel cheerful, as the US attempts to deal its way out of a four-decade standoff with Iran. Secretary of State John Kerry has loosened up billions of dollars to rescue the Iranian economy in exchange for nothing but talk, for one thing. Now, though, it appears that Kerry will cut a deal that not only allows Iran to keep all of its centrifuges, but also grants them de facto hegemony over the Middle East and Afghanistan to boot — and does so behind the backs of our European Union allies.
With time for negotiations running short, the U.S and Iran are discussing a compromise that would let Iran keep much of its uranium-enriching technology but reduce its potential to make nuclear weapons, two diplomats tell The Associated Press.
Such a compromise could break the decade-long deadlock on attempts to limit Iranian activities that could be used to make such arms: Tehran refuses to meet U.S.-led demands for deep cuts in the number of centrifuges it uses to enrich uranium, a process that can create material for anything from chemotherapy to the core of an atomic bomb.
So what’s the solution that Kerry’s offering? A pledge from Iran to, er, not spin the centrifuges really fast. No, that’s actually what this compromise is:
The possible compromise under consideration, according to the AP, would see most of the 10,000 centrifuges in operation left in place but reconfigured so that they would be less productive. One way of doing that would be to spin the centrifuges more slowly. Other measures would be agreed upon to reassure the west that Iran could not make a warhead quickly, such as reducing its stockpile of uranium hexafluoride gas – the form in which uranium can be enriched by centrifuge.
Both the Guardian and the AP note that any change in either centrifuge speed or stocking of uranium hexafluoride gas would be immediately reported by the IAEA to the rest of the world. That, however, ignores the fact that Iran kept its nuclear-weapons program hidden successfully from the IAEA for most of a decade. Pardon us for not exactly considering that a fail-safe.
It also assumes that such a violation would return us to the status quo ante. It wouldn’t, on two levels. First, such a violation would occur when Iran builds its bomb, so by the time word got out, the bomb would almost certainly exists. Second, the current coalition would be very unlikely to reform to oppose Iran’s nuclear-weapons ambitions. It’s fraying at the edges already, or was until oil prices collapsed, and pressures in Ukraine have all but severed Russia from any interest in assisting the West. Cutting a bad deal now would end the effective opposition to Iranian nukes, and Iran knows it.
According to EU officials, US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, have discussed increasing the number of centrifuges which Iran would be permitted to keep. In exchange, the Iranians would undertake an obligation to bring their influence to bear in order to ensure quiet in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria.
European diplomats are quoted by Israeli officials as saying that the US in recent weeks has made significant concessions in its talks with Iran, so much so that it is willing to permit Tehran to operate 6,500 centrifuges while lifting sanctions that have hurt its economy this past decade.
The Europeans have told the Israelis that these concessions were offered in exchange for Iranian promises to maintain regional stability. According to Army Radio, the EU is opposed to the proposed linkage between the nuclear issue and other geopolitical matters. In fact, the Europeans suspect that Washington is operating behind Brussels’ back and that Kerry has not bothered to keep them in the loop in his talks with Zarif.
In other words, the US is about to rubber-stamp Tehran’s domination in Syria, less than two years after Barack Obama wanted to bomb their ally Bashar al-Assad for fighting against the Sunni uprising there. While we’re trying to woo Sunni tribes away from ISIS in Iraq — and working with a coalition of Sunni Arab states to fight them, instead of going there ourselves — Kerry wants to hand off Iraq to Iranian domination. And suddenly we’re ceding our authority in Afghanistan to the mullahs in Tehran, to boot.
Jeff pulls out the Chamberlain umbrella to explain the inexplicable:
A nuclear Iran is not only a threat to Israel but thanks to a missile deal with Russia, a threat to Europe and the US mainland. Beyond the threat from Iran directly, as one of the largest supporter of terrorism in the world Iran may very well share a nuclear weapon with Hezbollah, ISIS, its on -again buddy Hamas, or one of the other terrorist groups it supports.
President Obama is willing to sacrifice our safety and the safety of much of the world to give him a legacy of being a peacemaker, but it is more likely that like Neville Chamberlain before him, this President’s legacy will be as an appeaser who created many more deaths than he tried to save.
This deal is a surrender, not just in Iran but throughout the entire region. The only thing missing is the little piece of paper and the declaration of peace in our time.