The joke seems to be on the United States.
The fiasco that has become the negotiations between the P5 +1 Consortium, (led by the United States) and the Islamic Republic of Iran have played themselves out for 18 months, but show no success in slowing down Iran’s drive to achieve status as a nuclear power. Instead, the protracted talks have given Iran invaluable time to build its infrastructure for the construction of a nuclear weapon which any astute observer will recognize as the regime’s ultimate goal.
And so we reach another threshold in which Secretary of State John Kerry calls for an extension of time for a final agreement with Iran on the consummation of its nuclear ambitions.
He claims that the Iranians have somehow earned this extension, having not violated the interim agreement and that the sanctions regime, imposed 18 months ago, remains intact.
But he seems to have overlooked the following facts:
- Yukio Amano, the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency complained only last week that ” Iran had not provided any information that would enable the Agency to clarify suspected work on weaponization”
- A November 17th report from the non-partisan Institute for Science and International Security (with the unfortunate acronym of ISIS) discloses that the Iranians are stonewalling the IAEA on the military purposes of their uranium enrichment.
- Iran continues to construct ballistic missiles in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions
- A Foundation for the Defense of Democracies Report finds that the weakened sanctions have not resulted in allowing the Iranians to reap an extra $700 in oil revenues but an extra $22 billion and that the regime is covertly evading the oil exports sanctions.
- A Washington Post report indicates that Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei has no intention of allowing his regimeto be browbeaten into submission, commenting that” On the nuclear issue, the United States and European colonialist countries gathered and applied their entire efforts to bring the Islamic Republic to its knees but they could not and they will not,”
The entire negotiation process has been carried out as an attempt to avoid military conflict between the United States, its allies and Iran. But Iran has cleverly manipulated the process through obfuscation and denials, pushing the United States to allow it not only an increase in the number of centrifuges it might operate but increasing the amount of low enriched uranium it will be allowed to produce.
Do the Iranians want a deal? Yes, very badly because it will lift a paralyzing sanctions regime from their economy and prevent a new uprising from an increasingly discontented populace. But they are also aware how easy it is to push around a weak U.S. administration and its allies, who are apparently more desperate for a deal than their adversaries and who are so very keen to put the whole matter behind them. A deal, at this stage, will be almost certainly to the Iranians’ advantage and will be set up so that its breach will be subtle and invisible.
But there is another factor at play. It is well recognized that Iran has seen its own interests in the Middle East threatened by the rise of the Sunni Islamic State and finances proxies in Syria and Iraq to confront it. The United States has similar interests of course and therefore a rapproachement has been sought. On November 6th it was revealed in the Wall Street Journal that Barack Obama in mid- October had sent a secret letter to Iranian Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei requesting Iranian cooperation in the battle against Islamic State. And although Administration officials will furiously deny it, there is no question that the two policies – containing Iran’s nuclear drive while fighting Islamic State – have come into direct conflict.
An added ingredient is the fast unraveling relationship between this Administration and the State of Israel. The prime reason for the United States’ efforts to deter Iran’s nuclear ambitions was once its commitment to the security of Israel. No longer. Israel’s security has become an issue relegated to the back burner and the Administration is proceeding in its talks and negotiations with the Iranians as if the mullahs had never threatened to wipe the Jewish state off the map.
The Israelis may have given a sigh of relief this week that there is no agreement (since no agreement is better than a bad agreement), but that will not stop them from making a significant noise about the treachery of the Iranians or the likelihood that they will eventually take some kind of action of their own to either neuter or eliminate Iran’s nuclear potential once the negotiations collapse.
But if there is an Israeli strike and the Middle East erupts in even greater turmoil as a result, this Administration will need to shoulder the blame for its craven and cowardly policies in confronting a rogue regime whose word should never have been trusted in the first place.