The very thin fiction of Obama’s “historic” agreement with Iran is unraveling with amazing speed. It’s notable that the Iranians never felt any urge to play along with Obama, not even for a few hours. They were loudly announcing his spin on the deal was false before the sun set on the day the agreement was announced.
And now the Iranians are actively violating the terms of the agreement, which hasn’t even been formally written down or signed yet, according to the Times of Israel:
Iran will begin using its latest generation IR-8 centrifuges as soon as its nuclear deal with the world powers goes into effect, Iran’s foreign minister and nuclear chief told members of parliament on Tuesday, according to Iran’s semi-official FARS news agency.
If accurate, the report makes a mockery of the world powers’ much-hailed framework agreement with Iran, since such a move clearly breaches the US-published terms of the deal, and would dramatically accelerate Iran’s potential progress to the bomb.
Iran has said that its IR-8 centrifuges enrich uranium 20 times faster than the IR-1 centrifuges it currently uses.
According to the FARS report, “Iran’s foreign minister and nuclear chief both told a closed-door session of the parliament on Tuesday that the country would inject UF6 gas into the latest generation of its centrifuge machines as soon as a final nuclear deal goes into effect by Tehran and the six world powers.”
The Iranian officials reportedly told their Parliament such high-powered centrifuges were permitted under the Lausanne framework, no matter what Obama’s stupid talking points say. They didn’t use exactly those words, mind you, but it was pretty close in spirit.
Even if the Iranian media report is inaccurate – or if the ministers did make such comments to Parliament, but they don’t actually rev up the turbo centrifuges as soon as the deal is signed – a clear signal of defiance is being sent here. The Iranians are taking pains every step of the way to portray Obama as defeated. They’re not making even the smallest rhetorical gestures to act like the reasonable partners-in-peace Obama and his train-wreck foreign policy team are desperate to portray them as.
Team Obama still seems confused about what it actually agreed to, while the Iranians are full of terrible certainty. Until last week, we were routinely assured that Iran was years away from a nuclear bomb, and only alarmists like Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said otherwise. Then, suddenly, Obama was talking about the current “breakout” time for Iranian nukes being only 30-90 days, as he claimed his deal would increase it to a year.
A year isn’t really much of a buffer given how slowly the U.N. non-proliferation machine works. Brett Baier at Fox News quotes respected arms-control official Dr. Olli Heinonen saying that given the number of centrifuges Iran is allowed to retain – they’re actually keeping everything they had before Obama took office – a one-year breakout time “might be difficult” to maintain. “And then we have to add all the uncertainties, the unknowns to this image: Are there some unknown nuclear materials? Are there some unknown centrifuges?” Dr. Heinonen added.
Given the way the Iranians are conducting themselves, that’s a rhetorical question, or maybe even a Zen riddle: If a mad mullah revs up a high-speed centrifuge in a mountain fortress, and no IAEA inspectors are there to hear it, does it make any sound?
Incidentally, Baier recalls that Obama used to scoff at the notion that Iran would need its supervillain lair in the Fordow bunker for any sort of peaceful civilian energy program – but now he’s officially signing on to that pretense and allowing them to keep those centrifuges spinning. “The abandonment of those positions shows how far the U.S. dialed back its negotiation posture over the course of the talks,” writes Baier. That certainly seems to be Iran’s take on the outcome.
If Obama signs away the sanctions that he once opposed, but now credits for bringing Iran to the bargaining table, and if Iran’s ears are full of Obama rhetoric about how a military engagement with them would be the worst thing that could possibly happen to the United States, why shouldn’t they roll the dice and dash for a bomb, betting they can change the “facts on the ground” before anything effective could be done to stop them?
Or they could just wait for a decade or so, as Obama made the astounding admission on Tuesday that under his deal, within 13 years Iran’s breakout time “would have shrunk almost down to zero.” He attempted to credit the deal for reducing the amount of uranium Iran could enrich, apparently believing that instant bombs aren’t so bad if the mullahs can only make a few dozen of them. (That’s assuming they have the same impression of how much uranium they’re allowed to enrich as Obama does, which is highly unlikely.)
The State Department promptly had a cow and sent spokeswoman Marie Harf out to declare that Obama was “a little mixed up” and “muddled” about what the deal means, and the zero-breakout scenario was supposed to be what would happen 13 years out without the Lausanne agreement. (Obama very clearly did not say what the State Department now claims he meant.)
What a clown act! The Iranians must be laughing themselves sick. Everyone in range of their missiles needs to stop laughing and get a grip on what Barack Obama is doing to them, in his mad quest to have a peace-in-our-time “legacy” and build up Iran as a world power we can ostensibly do business with. Team Obama doesn’t worry about the details of the agreement, or Iran’s evident view of them; they only care about Sunday-show talking points. Those don’t make a very effective nuclear shield.
The apex of talking-point political absurdity would be if Obama’s actually counting on Iran to scotch the deal by acting like belligerent jerks. That way, he’d get a weekend or two of round-table applause for “making history,” but then he wouldn’t actually have to go through with anything – he’d be able to say Iran messed up the framework, despite his best diplomatic efforts. That seems unlikely as a deliberate strategy from the get-go, because Obama really does seem committed to the fantasy of Iran as a responsible world power that can bring “stability” to the Middle East, and he’d look more than a little foolish for misjudging Iran so completely during negotiations.
But once the process passed a certain point, perhaps the White House started thinking that Iran could be counted on to blow things up (metaphorically) before Obama had to sign papers that would allow them to blow things up literally.
The President’s ego would never allow him to admit this entire process was a mistake from the beginning, but he can make his peace with a grand finale that lets him sadly shake his head and pronounce himself deeply disappointed by his erstwhile partners-in-peace. The clock will have mostly run out on his presidency, so he can hand the whole mess off to his successor, and begin writing memoirs about how he really, really tried to prevent what happens next.
Update, 2:00 PM EST: The latest from Iran’s FARS news agency, by way of a translation at Commentary, is that Iran won’t permit inspections at any of its military facilities. “There is no such agreement. Basically, inspection of military facilities is a red line and no inspection of any kind from such facilities would be accepted,” said Iranian defense minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan.
This is the end stage of the Lausanne farce, in which Iran’s only objective is to see how much they can humiliate Obama before he finally backs away from the deal. They’re probably banking on his pathological refusal to admit error keeping him at the pillory for quite a while.