Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Random Thoughts about the Iran Nuclear Deal

The face of evil - Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif
The deal was flawed. That is now the emerging consensus about the Iran Nuclear Deal made a couple of years ago between Iran - and America and our allies. It lifted the severe sanctions that crippled Iran’s economy in exchange for delaying their pursuit of nuclear weapons. The President will probably announce later today that he will either leave the deal or renegotiate it.

The deal was opposed by Israel at the time. Opposition in this country broke down along left/right political lines. Democrats supported it. Republicans opposed it.  (The same left/right dichotomy was true in Israel.)

Those that supported it said that – although it was not perfect, it was the best deal they could get. Iran stopped all activities involved in seeking nuclear weapons and allowed a tough but limited random inspections regime to insure that they were keeping their part of the deal.

What it did not do is prevent them from pursuing it in the future. It did the opposite. All it did was delay the inevitable development of a nuclear weapon.

It also did not deal with Iran’s pursuit of missile development designed to carry nuclear weapons  that could be used against Israel – an enemy they have sworn to wipe off the map; and even against the US by developing long range missiles. That is ongoing.

They were also free to keep spreading terrorism. Something they are guilty of. They are the biggest sponsor of terrorism in the world. This deal does not address that at all.

When Netanyahu was invited to address congress by Speaker of the House, John Boehner to explain why that deal was so bad, Republicans praised his speech and wholeheartedly agreed with him. Democrats thought he was the worst thing to hit America since John Dillinger. Some of them even boycotted Netanyahu  – calling it a Chutzpah to come here and lobby against the  policy of a sitting President.

Those who worked on the deal actually acknowledged it was flawed but argued that it was the best deal they could get and invited anyone that had a better idea to put it forward.  

It is interesting to note that during  the entire time of concern about Iran’s nuclear program, they claimed that they were only pursuing it for peaceful purposes; and that they would never seek nuclear weapons since it was against their religious beliefs.

This was recently disproved. That claim turned out to be a big lie by virtue of a daring raid into Iran by Israeli intelligence forces. They spirited away tons of documents showing that Iran once had a robust nuclear weapons program.  The fact that Iran had meticulously organized and stored those documents in a hidden archives shows that they intended to one day restart a nuclear weapons program.

They want a bomb and they are going to get one. Eventually. Unless they are stopped.

Back to the deal itself. President Trump has said that he will announce today whether the US will scarp the deal as he promised he would during the campaign. He has been advised and lobbied against that by our allies whose leaders came here in person to do.  

Those leaders were egged on by former Secretary of State, John Kerry. Sad that a private citizen lobbied  foreign governments against current US policy.  Sounds a bit like treason to me. But what do I know. In any case, I digress.

It is however interesting to note that even though they opposed leaving the deal, both France and England conceded that the deal should be renegotiated. That is a long way off from their original position that the deal must be honored as is. - because that is the one they all agreed to.

Obama’s Secretary of Energy,  Ernest Moniz was one of the key players that worked hard on that deal. He recently reiterated his support for the deal saying  that Israel’s discovery made it more imperative than ever to maintain the deal because of its vigorous and random inspections regime.

The problem with those inspections is that Iran is given notice when  it is to be inspected. That gives them time to find ways to cover it up. Just as they did those nuclear bomb plans. Also, if I understand correctly  military bases are off limits to those inspectors. I don’t understand how anyone can claim with absolute certainty that Iran is honoring the deal – even with a ‘vigorous inspections regime’.

That hasn’t stopped all the purveyors of doom and gloom from predicting the worst if the US unilaterally pulls out of the deal. Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, has promised severe consequences if we did that. Kind of the way North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un did. That was actually disputed by Iranian president Hassan Rouhani who said that if the rest of Eurpoe continues to honor the deal, he would stay in it.

I actually agree with Zarif. There will be severe consequences. For Iran -  if those crippling sanctions are fully reinstated and increased. Which I hope happens. That’s what brought them to the table in the first place. And it will bring them to the table again. Despite their promises to restart their nuclear program.

Netanyahu was right when he urged the US not to sign any nuclear deal. His suggestion was instead to increase the sanctions. That would have eventually gotten the world a better deal, in my view

What to do now.

Those sanctions should be reinstated and increased. Threats to re-start their nuclear weapon program not withstanding. You can’t eat nuclear weapons. Their economy was in shambles before those sanctions were lifted. My understanding is that things are not that much better even now 2 years after they were lifted.

Iran  may end up with a bomb, but they might just have a revolution before they get a chance to use it. The Iranian people are fed up with their government. Past attempts to overturn it prove that. Those attempts were brutally crushed by the regime. But if their country is hit hard enough by reinstating and increasing those sanctions,  a popular uprising and coup might succeed this time.

What worked with North Korea, will work here.  A President that is unpredictable; has the ability to wipe Iran off the map with the push of a button at a moment’s notice; promises to use force if lines are crossed and has proven that he will; and as Commander in Chief, has the full power of the US military and our full arsenal of weapons at his disposal...  might just sober up those saber rattlers in Iran - the same way it sobered up Kim Jong-Un.

I think it’s time we showed some muscle. Because this time we have a President that doesn’t bluff.

Just my 2 cents.

The President has announced US withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Iran.