Krauthammer: Iran Deal a 'Catastrophe,' Netanyahu 'Has to Act'

Krauthammer: Iran Deal a 'Catastrophe,' Netanyahu 'Has to Act'

On Hugh Hewitt’s Monday radio show, Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer offered a very grim view of the Iran nuclear deal brokered by the Obama administration.

Partial transcript as follows, courtesy of the Hugh Hewitt Show:

HEWITT: I found myself over the weekend with three good friends, all of whom are pretty committed Evangelicals, all of whom know Israel very, very well. One of them is about to go there. And I told them about your essay, which was written some time ago about Israel’s precariousness, and how the seven million had decided to go there rather than disburse, and about the fact that the headline in the New York Times, I didn’t know it yesterday when I was talking about the book, but today is Iran says it suspends enrichment under deal with powers. And we’re turning a corner here, and I think it’s a very dark corner. And that’s where I want to start. What do you think of the moment we find ourselves in vis-à-vis Iran?

KRAUTHAMMER: I think the deal is a catastrophe. I think it is the worst deal since Munich, and I think it might even be more cynical than Munich, because I think those signing it, to give them credit, I think they actually know that it is the keys to the kingdom for the Iranians. I mean, the foreign minister already said that this is a victory, that the West has surrendered to the will of Iran. And they have spelled out exactly in what ways it’s a complete victory. They do not have to suspend enrichment. They’re given the right to enrich, which of course the fundamental idea of non-proliferation is you do not enrich uranium. There are five Security Council resolutions demanding an end and a reversal of their enrichment. Well, this gives them until eternity the right to enrich. The only thing it does is it prevents the enrichment to 20%, but that’s meaningless. They’re continuing to enrich to 3-5%, and from there, to 20%, and from there to weapons grade is a matter of weeks. So they’re doing that. They’re producing new centrifuges. There is no restriction whatsoever in the end on their working on the weaponization of a bomb. There isn’t even inspection of the Parchin facility, which is where they’re working on nuclear triggers. And lastly, what they’ve boasted about is well, the 20% enriched uranium has to be, in fact, John Kerry said it has to be destroyed. That’s simply not true. 20% enriched uranium is turned into uranium oxide. Here’s the bad news. That is a reversible chemical process. The foreign minister boasted that everything they do that pushes the pause button can be reversed in a single day.

HEWITT: In the Erdbrink, and Cowell piece in the New York Times today, and advisor to the foreign minister, whose name is Mohammad Sadr, says through these talks in Geneva, we are heading in a direction which not only the sanctions are being lifted, but also Iran’s political isolation is coming to an end. And it goes on to details. He counts the ways, you know, Australian Airlines is resuming flights, people are trading again, they’re selling oil. So if you’re in Israel today, A) you’ve got to be feeling despair at utter betrayal by your American allies, but B) are you preparing to do what you have to do if you’re Netanyahu not to be the guy for whom hindsight is perfect, but unfortunately, fruitless?

KRAUTHAMMER: Well, they’re in a very difficult position, because this deal was designed as much by John Kerry and Barack Obama to prevent Israel from defending itself by attacking these facilities as it was supposedly to prevent Iran from going nuclear. It ratifies Iran as a threshold nuclear power, meaning Iran will perpetually be three or four, five weeks away from becoming nuclear. And that is from now until the end of time, meaning that they become nuclear overnight. The Israelis know the only thing they can possibly do is to attack these facilities. But how can they do it during this supposed six month window beginning today when these negotiations to abolish the Iranian nuclear program, the permanent abolition of them, are supposedly underway, and that everyone knows negotiations that are not going to succeed. And as you say at the same time, the end of the sanctions is within sight. Obama pretends they can be reversed. As you indicated, there are now floods of European businesses in Tehran thinking about working on undoing sanctions, creating new deals. And they can see already improvement in their economy. It’s already been reported. Inflation is down, the rial is a lot stronger. And the whole mood in the country has changed. This is a giveaway, a major giveaway, and the Israelis have only one recourse – to attack. If they do, they’ll be blamed by the world A) for scuttling negotiations, and B) perhaps for starting a new war. And they have nobody supporting them, except, of course, the Gulf Arabs. That’s the irony. Saudi Arabia is going to light the way. I’m sure they will invite the Israelis to fly over their territory to attack the Iranian facilities. But the question is does Israel have the required weaponry to penetrate that airspace in Iran, and then to penetrate deep underground where all these facilities are built? The United States does, but it’s questionable whether Israel does.

HEWITT: I can’t imagine any other leader in the position that Netanyahu is in. He must believe that the Supreme Leader means Israel’s destruction. He said it often enough. He must believe the Iranian National Guard means that. He’s hamstrung by his so-called ally, President Obama, and Europe is rushing him with Europeans that will make the operation more difficult. What choice does he have, though, other than to act or be the guy who didn’t?

KRAUTHAMMER: I think he has to act. If they do not act, it will be for one reason only. They do not have the physical military capacity to do what they have to do. That is the only possible reason. Remember, when they went after the Iraqi nuclear reactor, it was a single site. It was essentially undefended. And it was not deeply underground. The Iranian facilities are disbursed. Some of them may not even be known. We know the one near Qum in Fordo, that’s the name of the location, is deep inside of a mountain. Only the United States has the necessary munitions to go and to drill deep inside before they explode. And the question is have we shared those weapons with Israel under this administration? I don’t know. I don’t think anyone knows. But that’s, it seems to me there’s only one possible reason why Netanyahu, given his history, given his pedigree, would not order the attack, and that is because they can’t do it.

HEWITT: One minute to the break, Charles. If he does act with everything at his disposal, will it be a moral action on his part?

KRAUTHAMMER: Of course it will be. It will save the world. In Iraq, remember, we voted in the Security Council to denounce Israel when it attacked the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981. Jeane Kirkpatrick of all people cast the vote attacking Israel. Of course, she later said it was a mistake. The Reagan administration itself admitted it made a, it was a mistake. Israel acted on behalf of the world. Imagine if Iraq had invaded Kuwait in possession of nuclear weapons. That would have been it. It would never have been reversed. And Iraq under Saddam Hussein would have been in control of the world’s oil resources. That was Israel that stopped that.