In his State of the Union address on Jan. 20, President Barack Obama claimed: “Our diplomacy is at work with respect to Iran, where, for the first time in a decade, we’ve halted the progress of its nuclear program and reduced its stockpile of nuclear material. Between now and this spring, we have a chance to negotiate a comprehensive agreement that prevents a nuclear-armed Iran; secures America and our allies — including Israel; while avoiding yet another Middle East conflict.”
None of that is true. The chances of an agreement have dropped sharply, and even the most optimistic analysts do not expect a deal that “prevents a nuclear-armed Iran,” but only one that puts nuclear “breakout” out of reach for a while. Most important of all, we have not “halted the progress” of Iran’s nuclear program. Earlier this month, the Tehran regime announced that it was building two new reactors, and is thought to be behind a suspected facility planned in Syria as well.
In a lengthy essay in Commentary magazine, the invaluable Omri Ceren summarizes the history of President Obama’s appeasement of the Iranians, from the first failed “sucker’s deal,” as the French (!) called it, through the new veto threats against congressional sanctions.
The scale of the Obama administration’s incompetence is simply daunting. Far from rallying international unity against Iran, Obama has destroyed it by giving away global demands decades in the making.
Suddenly the reason for Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress–without consultation with the White House–becomes clear, in a way that Boehner has yet to explain it himself.
It is not the pro-Israel nature of Congress that drove the Bibi invitation. It is the fact that Obama has lied to everyone–Congress, the public, even his own national security officials–about what is in the Iran deal.
For example, Obama came to office promising to uphold previous international understandings that Iran would not be allowed to enrich uranium at all. He also told everyone the deal would cover ballistic missiles. Yet the interim agreement provides for enrichment and does not even cover missiles.
There are at least five ways in which Iran has explicitly violated the interim agreement–a “bad deal” that has been extended twice but has failed to produce anything but more time for Iran.
1. Trying to buy equipment for plutonium reactor at Arak, breaking commitment to suspend work. The Obama administration actually complained about the purchases to the UN Security Council, even as it told the world that Iran had “lived up to its end of the bargain.” Iran’s defense–adopted to some extent by the State Department, which is desperate to save the talks–is that the agreement did not apply to work offsite, or to onsite work unrelated to the reactor.
2. Feeding uranium hexafluoride gas into a plant where it had agreed to suspend nuclear enrichment. The Institute for Science and International Security noted that Iran had begun enrichment at the Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant at Natanz. It notified the Obama administration, which complained to the Iranians, which then claimed to have stopped the enrichment activity. Whether that is true or not, this is another case of the Obama administration knowing Iran cheated.
3. Withholding camera footage of nuclear facilities, defying the International Atomic Energy Agency. A leading International Atomic Energy Agency official recently said the agency was “not in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran” (original emphasis). The interim deal was to provide surveillance footage of Iranian nuclear facilities–but Iran has only provided what it wants to reveal.
4. Testing new IR-8 centrifuges, advancing its enrichment program and making cheating much easier. A violation of the spirit, if not also the letter, of the agreement, the development of a new centrifuge that can work sixteen times faster than its first-generation centrifuges would make cheating far easier and verification far more difficult. The new device essentially nullifies the verification process agreed to in the interim deal (and which Obama promises to expand).
5. Exporting more energy than allowed under the interim agreement, blunting residual sanctions. The deal capped Iran’s exports of crude oil to 1 million barrels per day. But early on, Iran was already breaking that agreement, according to the International Energy Agency–nearly doubling the allowed amount. That means the effect of remaining sanctions has been seriously undermined, meaning Iran has broken the interim deal and reduced its need for another.
These five are simply the known ways in which Iran is cheating. In each case, the Obama administration–alarmingly–has defended the Iranians or covered up their violations, all for the sake of preserving a deal that looks increasingly like the “historic mistake” Netanyahu declared it to be at the outset.
Obama has also accused his critics of wanting war, and of being paid off by their donors. Yet he is the one who is breaking faith with the voters, with our allies, and with his oath.
Senior Editor-at-Large Joel B. Pollak edits Breitbart California and is the author of the new ebook, Wacko Birds: The Fall (and Rise) of the Tea Party, available for Amazon Kindle.
Follow Joel on Twitter: @joelpollak