Barack Obama, speaking at the Saban Forum of the Brookings Institute on Saturday, insisted that the deal he struck with Iran allowing Iran to keep its uranium enrichment while the West relaxed sanctions will “eliminate the incentive” for Iran to build nuclear weapons. Obama lambasted those, including Israeli prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who favor what he called an “all-or-nothing” approach in which Iran would dismantle its entire nuclear program before the West relaxed sanctions, saying:
You’ll hear arguments, including potentially from the prime minister, that said we can’t accept any enrichment on Iranian soil, period, full stop, end of conversation. One can envision an ideal world in which Iran said, ‘We’ll destroy every element and facility and you name it, it’s all gone.’ I can envision a world in which Congress passed every one of my bills that I put forward. There are a lot of things that I can envision that would be wonderful.”
Obama said there is no way to stop Iran from enriching uranium: “Theoretically, they will always have some capability because technology here is available to any good physics student at pretty much any university around the world. And they have already gone through the cycle to the point where the knowledge we are not going to be able to eliminate. But what we can do is eliminate the incentive for them to want to do this.”
He continued, “When I hear people criticize the Geneva deal say it’s got to be all or nothing, I would just remind them that if it’s nothing, if we did not even try for this next six months to do this, all the breakout capacity we are concerned about would accelerate in the next six months. They’d be that much closer to breakout capacity six months from now. And that’s why I think it’s important for us to test this proposition.”
Obama said that despite the fact that Netanyahu publicly denounced the deal, they share the same goals: “Bibi and I have very candid conversations and there are occasionally significant tactical disagreements. But there is a constancy in trying to reach the same goal, and in this case that goal is to make sure that Iran does not have a nuclear weapon.”
Then Obama loaded his argument, insisting that sanctions were ineffective in turning the Iranians from their nuclear ambitions and cunningly making the opposition to the deal look as if it only came from Israel and its American supporters, ignoring the Arab states who are nervous about Iran’s nuclear ambitions: “The idea that Iran, given everything that we know about their history, would just continue to get more and more nervous about more sanctions and military threats and ultimately just say, ‘We give in,’ I think does not reflect an honest understanding of the Iranian people and the Iranian regime. I think even the so-called moderates or reformers inside of Iran would not be able to simply say, ‘We will cave and do exactly what the U.S. and the Israelis say.'”
The reality is: Sanctions brought Iran to the table. The Saudis and others in the Arab world don’t want a nuclear Iran. The deal does nothing to inspect the dangerous nuclear work done in Parchin.
But for Barack Obama, vilifying the Israelis and tacitly encouraging Iran to go forward with its deadly ambitions are the reality he has chosen.