The Obama administration is almost gone, and its nuclear agreement with Iran may soon come to an ugly end in the early weeks of 2017.
The Iranian echo chamber created by Ben Rhodes and the mainstream media will then fix blame for failure of the flawed deal on the newly elected president. In the process, they will continue to ignore the awful history of the deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
With their goal of protecting the JCPOA as part of President Obama’s legacy, mainstream media have already downplayed past and recent violations and provocations by Iran. As late as October 2016, there were multiple cruise missile attacks against U.S. Navy warships in the Red Sea by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. To date, the Obama administration has made no demand that Iran cease arming those rebels. The U.S. Navy retaliation against the Houthis that ultimately occurred was tepid and in no way impeded them from further attacks.
As a retired Navy flag officer who was solicited, briefed, and persuaded by our national security leadership to support the nuclear deal with Iran, I am now appalled by the Obama administration’s incompetent implementation. Not only have we failed to demand compliance with the terms of that deal, not only have our warships been attacked by Iranian missiles fired by Iran’s proxy forces, we are constantly harassed by Iranian boats in the Strait of Hormuz to the point of forcing a U.S. Navy destroyer to fire warning shots.
The theme of the nuclear deal, as it was briefed to me, was that there would be routine and rigorous verification, validation, inspection, and “snapback” protocols at the ready to ensure Iran’s compliance if they infringed or breached the deal — including the use of military force. I have lost all confidence in those assurances. What has become evident is that the snapback protocols have no teeth and, for the most part, must be coordinated with the UN Security council through UN Resolution 2112 before implementation.
Meanwhile, Tehran’s mullahs display a total lack of respect for the intent of the nuclear deal or for compliance with its terms. Iran continues its “Death to America” rhetoric, its aggressive behavior, and its egregious provocations in Yemen, the Middle East and elsewhere. There has never been a hint from Washington that there will be any substantial punitive consequences for Iran’s many violations of the deal.
In fact, even after receiving as much as $10 billion dollars in secret transfers by the Obama administration of gold and currency, Iran has the audacity to claim the United States is in breach of the agreement and should give them even more money! Through it all, Iran brazenly continues it nuclear program and ICBM development in unchallenged defiance of UN sanctions.
Additionally, Iran has announced it will build nuclear-powered ships, including submarines that will require enriching uranium to between 5% and 90%. Unsaid in that announcement is that Uranium enriched to 90% is at the threshold of the level needed for nuclear weapons, and that enriching beyond 4% is already in breach of the nuclear agreement. President Obama’s State Department’s initial response was to ignore the announcement, and then to deny that such a program would be in breach of the JCPOA nuclear deal.
The passionate viewpoint I now have about how JCPOA is being executed is based on the blatant lies I was told by our current administration as they seduced support from Flag and General Officers. The sound bites presented at the time were compelling, but are revealed today for what they are by the subsequent facts and events: Iran never signed the JCPOA agreement without objection by the U.S. or any other signatory; we relinquished control of the “snapback” protocols to the United Nations under Resolution 2112; we’ve had our Navy attacked by Iranian missiles on the high seas; we’ve released vast sums of frozen money and have secretly paid Iran $700 million every month after Iran’s agreement to the deal. And still Iran accuses the United States of reneging on the banking terms of the JCPOA?
When the nuclear deal with Iran ultimately collapses, and it will, the mainstream media and former members of the Obama administration will blame president-elect Trump for its failure.
As an original supporter of JCPOA, I unconditionally withdraw my sponsorship and look forward to the new administration’s immediate enforcement of that dangerously flawed and abysmally executed agreement.
Edward “Sonny” Masso is a retired Rear Admiral and a career Surface Warfare Officer. He is now a Senior Fellow for Cyber Security at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, and President of his consulting firm, Flagship Connection in Arlington, Virginia.