Marie Harf dismisses Kissinger, Schultz’s Iran deal criticism as merely ‘big words’

It was referenced in an earlier post, but a Wall Street Journal op-ed authored by former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Shultz is an absolute must-read dissection of the tentative nuclear framework with Iran and its implications.

The piece is extraordinarily comprehensive, and its conclusions are disheartening for those who truly hope to see Iranian influence in the region curbed and its ability to develop a nuclear weapon impeded.

“The gradual expiration of the framework agreement, beginning in a decade, will enable Iran to become a significant nuclear, industrial and military power after that time—in the scope and sophistication of its nuclear program and its latent capacity to weaponize at a time of its choosing,” the two statesmen wrote. “Therefore Iran will be in a position to bolster its advanced nuclear technology during the period of the agreement and rapidly deploy more advanced centrifuges—of at least five times the capacity of the current model—after the agreement expires or is broken.”

Even before this was published, Iran confirmed that it would be deploying top-of-the-line centrifuges in acknowledgment of what it believes is the framework deal’s acknowledgment of its right to enrich uranium.

Asked about this sharp criticism of the prospective Iran deal from two seasoned diplomats, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf dismissed it offhandedly as “big words and big thoughts” (hat tip to the Washington Free Beacon):

“I wouldn’t say that it’s damning,” Harf said of Kissinger and Shultz’s damning verdict on the Iran deal. “And I didn’t hear a lot of alternatives. I heard a lot of big words and big thoughts in that piece, and those are certainly – there’s a place for that – but I didn’t hear a lot of alternatives of what they would do differently.”

The notion that no one has submitted any alternatives to the administration’s terrible Iran deal is a convenient but baseless straw man that it trots out whenever confronted with an incontrovertibly accurate critique of the deal. It is, of course, not true. It doesn’t take a genius to identify in those “big words” deployed by these two former statesmen to identify alternative proposals.

“Absent the linkage between nuclear and political restraint, America’s traditional allies will conclude that the U.S. has traded temporary nuclear cooperation for acquiescence to Iranian hegemony,” Kissinger and Shultz write. Some possessed with even modest rationalization skills would have to assume that these two would have preferred coupling rewards for Iranian compliance with concessions regarding Iran’s support for terrorism, its extreme position vis-à-vis Israel’s right to exist, and it’s backing for regional proxies like the Yemeni Houthis, Hezbollah, and the Shiite militias in Iraq.

Others would have liked to have seen a reversal of Iran’s enrichment capabilities rather than a freeze on them. The idea that the fortified, underground nuclear site at Fordow, a site that Iran refused to disclose and was only uncovered as a result of the West’s clandestine activities, would remain intact as a nuclear university insults the West’s intelligence; precisely the kind of intelligence characterized by the use of “big words.”

In the twilight of this administration, it’s unlikely they will be able to find better spokespeople to sell this awful accord. But it’s clear they could use a few.