Category Archives: Rouhani

The Six Points of Kissinger and Schultz’s Refutation of the Iran Deal

It’s no surprise that Marie Harf at the State Department sought Wednesday to dismiss the analysis by Henry Kissinger and George Schultz of the Iran deal as little more than “big words and big thoughts.” When you hear administration officials launch ad hominem attacks, you know it is because they are deeply threatened.

That’s because Kissinger and Scultz’s Wall Street Journal piece is the most thorough and damning evisceration of President Obama’s Iran arms deal you can find. And it’s been lodged by two of the foreign policy establishment’s wisest and most experienced hands, neither known for their partisan fervor.

I thought I’d take you through their argument, which you may not be able to access on the Wall Street Journal website. Because it’s a major statement about what may be the most important issue of our time.

Below, I’ve placed my own headlines above quotes from the piece to clarify their main points. There are six.

1. The deal permits a nuclear Iran

Negotiations that began 12 years ago as an international effort to prevent an Iranian capability to develop a nuclear arsenal are ending with an agreement that concedes this very capability, albeit short of its full capacity in the first 10 years. 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. Limits on Iran’s research and development have not been publicly disclosed (or perhaps agreed). 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.

2. Iran triumphed in the negotiations

While Iran treated the mere fact of its willingness to negotiate as a concession, the West has felt compelled to break every deadlock with a new proposal. In the process, the Iranian program has reached a point officially described as being within two to three months of building a nuclear weapon.

Ambiguities apply to the one-year window for a presumed Iranian breakout. Emerging at a relatively late stage in the negotiation, this concept replaced the previous baseline—that Iran might be permitted a technical capacity compatible with a plausible civilian nuclear program. Iran permanently gives up none of its equipment, facilities or fissile product to achieve the proposed constraints. It only places them under temporary restriction and safeguard—amounting in many cases to a seal at the door of a depot or periodic visits by inspectors to declared sites.

3. The agreement is probably unenforceable

The physical magnitude of the effort is daunting. Is the International Atomic Energy Agency technically, and in terms of human resources, up to so complex and vast an assignment? In a large country with multiple facilities and ample experience in nuclear concealment, violations will be inherently difficult to detect. Devising theoretical models of inspection is one thing. Enforcing compliance, week after week, despite competing international crises and domestic distractions, is another. Any report of a violation is likely to prompt debate over its significance—or even calls for new talks with Tehran to explore the issue.

Compounding the difficulty is the unlikelihood that breakout will be a clear-cut event. More likely it will occur, if it does, via the gradual accumulation of ambiguous evasions. When inevitable disagreements arise over the scope and intrusiveness of inspections, on what criteria are we prepared to insist and up to what point? If evidence is imperfect, who bears the burden of proof? Undertaking the “snap-back” of sanctions is unlikely to be as clear or as automatic as the phrase implies. Iran is in a position to violate the agreement by executive decision. Restoring the most effective sanctions will require coordinated international action.

4. The deal result in nuclear proliferation

Some of the chief actors in the Middle East are likely to view the U.S. as willing to concede a nuclear military capability to the country they consider their principal threat. Several will insist on at least an equivalent capability. Saudi Arabia has signaled that it will enter the lists; others are likely to follow. In that sense, the implications of the negotiation are irreversible.

Among the original nuclear powers, geographic distances and the relatively large size of programs combined with moral revulsion to make surprise attack all but inconceivable. How will these doctrines translate into a region where sponsorship of nonstate proxies is common, the state structure is under assault, and death on behalf of jihad is a kind of fulfillment?

Are the guarantees extended against the use of nuclear weapons—or against any military attack, conventional or nuclear? Is it the domination by Iran that we oppose or the method for achieving it?

5. An expansionist Iran will be newly empowered 

For some, the greatest value in an agreement lies in the prospect of an end, or at least a moderation, of Iran’s 3½ decades of militant hostility to the West and established international institutions, and an opportunity to draw Iran into an effort to stabilize the Middle East.  There exists no current evidence that Iran and the U.S. are remotely near such an understanding. Even while combating common enemies, such as ISIS, Iran has declined to embrace common objectives. Iran’s representatives (including its Supreme Leader) continue to profess a revolutionary anti-Western concept of international order; domestically, some senior Iranians describe nuclear negotiations as a form of jihad by other means.

The final stages of the nuclear talks have coincided with Iran’s intensified efforts to expand and entrench its power in neighboring states. Iranian or Iranian client forces are now the pre-eminent military or political element in multiple Arab countries, operating beyond the control of national authorities. With the recent addition of Yemen as a battlefield, Tehran occupies positions along all of the Middle East’s strategic waterways and encircles archrival Saudi Arabia, an American ally.

6. The administration erred in de-linking the nuclear deal from other issues

Unless political restraint is linked to nuclear restraint, an agreement freeing Iran from sanctions risks empowering Iran’s hegemonic efforts.

Some have argued that these concerns are secondary, since the nuclear deal is a way station toward the eventual domestic transformation of Iran. But what gives us the confidence that we will prove more astute at predicting Iran’s domestic course than Vietnam’s, Afghanistan’s, Iraq’s, Syria’s, Egypt’s or Libya’s?

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. They will increasingly look to create their own nuclear balances and, if necessary, call in other powers to sustain their integrity.

Nuclear arms must not be permitted to turn into conventional weapons. The passions of the region allied with weapons of mass destruction may impel deepening American involvement. If the world is to be spared even worse turmoil, the U.S. must develop a strategic doctrine for the region. Stability requires an active American role.

*******

This is typical Obama. As Kissinger and Schultz point out, we have no strategy. No broad thinking has gone into this agreement. We just put a bandaid on the situation for ten years while strengthening our adversary, Iran, and destabilizing the region.

And we and our children will pay dearly for it.

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Iran Operating Top Secret ‘Parallel Nuclear Program’

BY:
An Iranian dissident group known for exposing key aspects of Iran’s secret nuclear work claims it now has evidence of “an active and secret parallel nuclear program” operated by Tehran.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), also known as the MEK, said in a report released Tuesday it has found concrete evidence of an “underground top-secret site currently used by the Iranian regime for research and development with advanced centrifuges for uranium enrichment,” according to a copy of the findings.

The NCRI, an Iranian opposition group, is known for making big reveals about clandestine nuclear work in Tehran, though its findings have been disputed in the past.

In its latest report, which comes as nuclear negotiations between Iran and the West hit a critical juncture, the NCRI presents evidence of a clandestine nuclear site in Tehran that has continued to perform advanced nuclear research in the enrichment of uranium, the key component in a bomb.

The NCRI claims to have found over a decade-long investigation that the secret military site has been covered up by Tehran under the guise of an Intelligence Ministry center, according to the report.

While the information could not be independently verified, the NCRI claims to have vetted and corroborated the information with multiple sources over many years.

“Despite the Iranian regime’s claims that all of its enrichment activities are transparent and under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it has in fact been engaged in research and development with advanced centrifuges at a secret nuclear site called Lavizan-3, in a military base in northeast Tehran suburbs,” the report concludes.

The site has operated in secret since at least 2008. Iranian regime scientists have used it to conduct critical research into uranium using highly advanced centrifuges that more quickly enrich the substance to levels necessary for a nuclear weapon, according to the findings.

The Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) is said to be “directly responsible” for guarding the underground site and preventing it from being detected by Western inspectors.

Part of the key concern among critics of the Obama administration’s diplomacy with Iran is that the regime has a history of obfuscating its nuclear program. Many of the research sites have not been fully acknowledged by Tehran, leading some to suspect that even under a nuclear deal, Iran could continue to pursue its controversial work in secret.

The NCRI claims the site is located in the suburbs of Tehran, deep underground and only accessible by an elevator leading to an underground tunnel.

“The underground facilities are dual-layered to prevent radiation and sound leaks,” according to the report.

The NCRI said the site provides firm proof that while negotiators are working to hammer a deal, Tehran’s nuclear work continues unabated.

“Research and development with advanced centrifuges in highly secret sites are only intended to advance the nuclear weapons project,” the report states. “While the regime deceived the world into believing that it had halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003, it had been in fact heavily involved in excavating tunnels and preparing this nuclear site from 2004 to 2008.”

The dissident organization is urging the United States to make any further talks contingent on Iran admitting to the site and permitting the entry of inspectors.

“If the United States is serious about preventing the Iranian regime from obtaining nuclear weapons, it must make the continuation of the talks predicated on the IAEA’s immediate inspection of the Lavizan-3 site,” it states.

The NCRI’s report was released at a critical time in the Obama administration’s diplomacy with Iran.

Reports emerged earlier this week that the United States is considering allowing Iran to retain the majority of its nuclear infrastructure under a final deal.

The deal is shaping up to be a two-phased agreement, according to the Associated Press. This means Tehran would be subject to restrictions on its work for around a decade before they are lifted.

The NCRI maintains that the Iranian regime cannot be trusted to negotiate in good faith.

“The notion that the mullahs will abandon their nuclear weapons program [through] nuclear talks is a misguided narrative, which is the byproduct of the mullahs’ duplicity and western economic and political expediency,” it states in the report.

The White House, State Department, and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) received copies of the report several hours before it was made public to reporters.

The State Department did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

Thanks Obama: Pay Day for the Mullahs

Hassan-RouhaniIran is receiving $550 million of its frozen oil revenues under the interim nuclear deal the Obama administration has pushed forward with Iran. The United States “helped facilitate the transfer” of the funds to Iran through unnamed foreign banks according to Reuters, citing a U.S. Treasury spokeswoman.  Iran’s official IRNA news agency has reported that the $550 million already has been transferred to Iran’s Central Bank account in Switzerland. This transfer is just the first installment of the $4.2 billion of blocked Iranian oil revenues held abroad that the U.S. has committed to help unfreeze.

“The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them,” Vladimir Lenin once famously said. The Obama administration is going one step further. It is involved in handing the mullahs money with no strings attached, which they will undoubtedly use for a further military build-up with which to threaten the United States and its allies.

Consider the following chilling words from a top Iran military official, Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami, as quoted by the Daily Caller on February 1st.  He made these remarks during a televised interview:

America, with its strategic ignorance, does not have a full understanding of the power of the Islamic Republic.  We have recognized America’s military strategy, and have arranged our abilities, and have identified centers in America [for attack] that will create a shock. We will conduct such a blow in which they [America] will be destroyed from within.

Another top Iranian military official said last month: “Know that a direct conflict with America is the strongest dream of the faithful and revolutionary men around the world.”

Consider that nothing in the interim agreement stops Iran from continuing its research and development of a nuclear triggering device.  The money flowing to Iran, as the Obama administration opens the spigot wider and wider, will help pay for it.

Consider too that nothing in the interim agreement stops Iran from continuing to develop or acquire long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles which can reach the United States and Europe, as well as Israel. Indeed, the latest annual “Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community” states that Iran “wants to improve its nuclear and missile capabilities” on which it has already “made technical progress.”

This same intelligence assessment warned of the continued danger that North Korea will remain an exporter of ballistic missiles and nuclear technology to Iran. Nothing in the interim nuclear agreement would hamper Iran’s ability to use the money we are letting loose to purchase nuclear materials or weapons from its buddies in Pyongyang. Instead of oil-for-food, as the fault-ridden program in Iraq was known, the Obama administration is enabling an unfrozen-oil-revenues-for-weapons program.

Among the non-nuclear-related weapons that a senior Iranian Air Force commander just announced Iran is planning to build are semi-heavy and training jets. The announcement was made on February 3rd – the very day the first installment of Iran’s frozen oil revenues was released.  The plan to build the jets was sent to senior officials to receive their approval, and “once approved, the Defense Industries will start building them,” the senior Air Force commander, Islamic Republic Air Force Chief Liaison Officer General Aziz Nasirzadeh, said. “We have taken very good measures in producing aircraft ammunition, long-range ammunition and smart missiles,” he added. Now Iran will have more money in its hands to continue to do so.

Iran will also be able to obtain insurance, previously subject to sanctions, for the tankers carrying its crude oil to its remaining major customers in China, India, Japan, Korea, Turkey and Taiwan. This will mean “Iran’s crude oil exports will not decline and our customers will be able to purchase oil from Iran without any anxiety and they will not have to look for alternatives to Iran crude oil,” Ali Majedi, a deputy minister for international affairs and trading explained.  And with the lifting of sanctions on Iran’s petrochemical industry as part of the interim agreement, Iran will be able to increase its hard currency revenues from that source as well. Again, Iran will get its hands on more money to pay for further militarization and to fund its mischief in the Middle East and beyond, thanks to the current lifting of sanctions under the interim agreement.

The Intelligence Assessment referenced above describes just some of the mischief that Iran and its proxy Hezbollah are pursuing, in addition to Iran’s continued work on developing a nuclear arms capacity:

Outside of the Syrian theater, Iran and Lebanese Hizballah [Hezbollah] continue to directly threaten the interests of US allies. Hizballah has increased its global terrorist activity in recent years to a level that we have not seen since the 1990s…Iran will continue to act assertively abroad in ways that run counter to US interests and worsen regional conflicts. Iranian officials almost certainly believe that their support has been instrumental in sustaining Assad’s regime in Syria and will probably continue support during 2014 to bolster the regime. In the broader Middle East, Iran will continue to provide arms and other aid to Palestinian groups, Huthi rebels in Yemen, and Shia militants in Bahrain to expand Iranian influence and to counter perceived foreign threats.

In short, the Obama administration and its fellow negotiators of the interim agreement with Iran have sent Iran the first installment of money, with more to come, that Iran will turn around and cheerfully use against us.

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