Through the looking glass with Barack Obama into the Iran nuclear deal

Iran bunny

The magic Iranian Easter Bunny (via Twitter)

Shortly before Purim I wrote a post about “Venahafoch hu” –  how “everything was turned about” in matters to do with Israel and the Palestinians. Well, Pesach is now over and yet it seems that the Purim spirit is still with us in everything to do with the nuclear deal between Iran and Barack Obama. (Note: I use Obama’s name deliberately rather than “Iran and the P5+1” because this deal has Obama’s name (literally) written all over it with seemingly very little input from the other 5 partners.)

How else other than utter surrealism, if not willful blindness, could explain the following headlines? (All the links in the Twitter embeds are clickable and will take you to the original articles).

Yes, the Saudis and Israel are the world’s new “best friends”, or at least politically-convenient allies. Who would have thought we would live to see the day? And keep in mind that it was the Americans, or rather Barack Obama himself, who drove the two into each others’ arms. Maybe that was his devious plan all along?

Note to politicians: When Haaretz contradicts you, you know you are on the wrong side:

They should take advice from Prof. Alon Ben Meir, a world expert in the Middle East.

It’s surely past time to take the Iranians at their word (click on the picture below to enlarge and see the quotes in their entirety):

And this is confirmed by former Presidential candidate, Senator John McCain:

The Israeli government is not relenting on its persistent questioning of the “deal” with Iran:

This is summarized in these convenient tabs:

Possibly the most surreal moment of this whole surreal farce (apologies for the overuse of this word. I just cannot think of a better description) was Obama actually confirming Binyamin Netanyahu’s assertion that the Iranian’s will have zero time to nuclear breakout, and then the State Department frantically trying to walk back Obama’s words:

From the linked article:

As reported yesterday, President Obama admitted that Netanyahu was correct when he said that the sunset clause in the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran “paves the way” for Iran to get nuclear weapons.

Obama admitted that in years 13 and 14 under his deal, the breakout time, which has since dropped to its current 2-3 months, and which the deal hopes to expand to 1 year, then drops to zero.

“What is a more relevant fear would be that in Year 13, 14, 15, they have advanced centrifuges that enrich uranium fairly rapidly, and at that point, the breakout times would have shrunk almost down to zero.”

The State Department faced a crisis when Obama accidentally told the truth, and to correct it, Spokeswoman Marie Harf said the President’s words got “a little mixed up”, and he was referring to a “hypothetical” case of what would happen without a deal.

Kemberly Kaye at Legal Insurrection blasted the “dippy” Marie Harf (although she was probably acting under orders) and quoted two former Secretaries of State, Henry Kissinger and George Shultz in the Wall Street Journal:

Brutally critical of the administration’s much touted Iran deal, the op-ed focused on the White House’s dismissive attitude towards the danger Iran poses. Kissinger and Shultz were less than impressed by the administration’s insistence on the necessity of a deal with a country whose priorities aren’t remotely in the same galaxy as those of the United States, noting:

Cooperation is not an exercise in good feeling; it presupposes congruent definitions of stability. There exists no current evidence that Iran and the U.S. are remotely near such an understanding. Even while combating common enemies, such as ISIS, Iran has declined to embrace common objectives. Iran’s representatives (including its Supreme Leader) continue to profess a revolutionary anti-Western concept of international order; domestically, some senior Iranians describe nuclear negotiations as a form of jihad by other means.

In sum, the op-ed eloquently observes the Iran deal is a complete and total cluster.

As pointed out above several times, the White House is suffering from a severe case of cognitive dissonance on Iran. Amy Miller at Legal Insurrection lists the ways:

Yesterday, Senator John McCain talked with radio host Hugh Hewitt about the non-deal—and the White House is not happy about it.

During the interview, McCain laid it all bare when he said that, with regards to the framework, “John Kerry is delusional.”

The White House comms shop, of course, can always be counted upon to barrel headfirst through a brick wall when faced with criticism. No exception here:

This Alice in Wonderland view is cleverly illustrated thus:

We can add to this whole mish-mash the rather important but somehow unnoticed little fact that the Iran deal is not in fact a deal at all, as the Diplomad explains:

In all these mushrooming detonations of praise and self-congratulation one simple, little, itsy-bitsy fact has been overlooked. I hate to be the party pooper, but, well, there is no deal.

So comparing the Geneva “deal” with Iran to the Munich Agreement is unfair to the Munich Agreement. Chamberlain wasn’t lying when he announced he had a deal; Obama and Kerry are lying when they announce that they have a deal.

I repeat, there is no deal.

I have been in lots of negotiations, and can spot fake talking points real fast. The giveaway, of course, is that the detailed “parameters”  were announced by the US; where are the signatures on the deal? I want to see where the Iranians signed.

The Iranian take on the “parameters” is quite different from the line peddled by Obama and Kerry. While Obama seeks to give the impression that these “parameters” have been agreed, the Iranian position is that, basically, these “parameters” establish the topics that will be discussed over the following weeks and months, except, of course, for one. The Iranians claim that sanctions must be lifted immediately or there is no further “progress.” In addition, of course, the Iranians get to keep their nuclear program. A minor detail.

David Gerstman also concurs with the Diplomad that the deal, such as it is, is going to kill the Non-Proliferation Treaty:

The idea that the protocols (remember there’s no deal yet) agreed to last week somehow would strengthen the NPT is utterly false.

The point of the ongoing nuclear negotiations from Iran’s standpoint is to remove its violations from the books and end the sanctions it incurred for those violations. Iran’s goal in the negotiations is to enshrine its “right to enrich” uranium. (No such right exists. Nuclear research for peaceful purposes is a right, an important qualification that cannot be attached to Iran’s nuclear research, according to the NPT.)

Now let’s assume the most optimistic outcome: that Iran addresses all key concerns. (Iran was supposed to explain possible military dimensions – PMD – of its nuclear work according to the Joint Plant of Action (JPOA) of November 2013, and still has not done so.) Iran would still have over 5000 centrifuges enriching uranium at Natanz. Iran would have centrifuges operating (though not enriching uranium) in an underground reinforced facility at Fordow and would have a heavy water reactor operating at Arak. (In December 2013, Obama himself acknowledged that Iran did not need the latter two facilities “to have a peaceful nuclear program.”)

So by defying the IAEA and the Security Council Iran will be awarded 5000 centrifuges enriching uranium that it didn’t have before. The sanctions triggered by those violations will be wiped away. (By the way, 5000 centrifuges is enough for a bomb, but not for civilian nuclear program.)

Ironically, the president overseeing the destruction of the NPT was once a proponent of nuclear disarmament.

One more hallucinatory piece of cognitive dissonance for today (though I could go on for ages. This Iran deal is a giver):

Seriously, if this weren’t so deadly serious we would be laughing hysterically.

And just to complete today’s upside-down news, we are now officially into “Jewish summer time” since we wish each other “a good summer” at the end of Pesach. But someone forgot to inform the weather. We have been suffering from a wintry storm with huge amounts of rain, hail, thunder and lightning. My little side road has been flooded and my car can barely get out without the water going above the wheels. My daughter in Gush Etzion has reported a temperature of 1°C!!  Any lower and it will snow. This is Spring. In Israel. Where its’ supposed to be in the mid-20s at the very least. To cap it all, last Wednesday it was almost 40°C.

Welcome to the crazy Middle East.

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17 Responses to Through the looking glass with Barack Obama into the Iran nuclear deal

  1. Reality says:

    Re your comment that the Saudis &Israel are new best friends,perhaps this is what is meant in the prophesy about the end of days,when the lion will lie with the lamb? Including the crazy weather we are having.It’s all mentioned there!
    We live in interesting(scary ) times!

  2. Pete says:

    There was a famous book on negotiating strategies written by the American Donald Trump. BUT REALLY – the people who should be writing books on negotiating tactics are the Iranians. They make Donald Trump look like a kid in a candy store. Iran has systematically blindfolded the whole world – while they assembled their own nuclear technology. Now apparently they are only 2-3 months from a bomb … if they choose to give the GO AHEAD.

    I ask the following rhetorical question. Why would any country come SO FAR with its research, its engineering, and its political goals – only to renounce everything at the last minute. What did the former President of Iran say … “Our nuclear program is like a train with no brakes”. Or words to that effect.

    Is it logical for Iran to give up now?
    Has America embraced a different alignment of power in the Middle East?

    Is ANYONE to be trusted … in this new environment?

    Pete, USA

    • anneinpt says:

      You certainly described Iran to a T, Pete. The Iranians are the world masters at bargaining. Just think of a Persian bazaar and the haggling over a Persian carpet with an innocent ignorant American tourist. Now magnify that a million fold, where the sales object is the nuclear bomb and the goofy American is Barack Obama – and here’s the mess we are in right now.

      Netanyahu has been yelling about this for years but no one listened to him. In fact everyone laughed at him and his antics. No one is laughing now.

      I think we were all shocked – the whole world – at the astonishing news that Iran is only 2-3 months away from breakout. We were all given to believe that they were at least a year or 2 away from breakout. So the situation is much more dire than any of us ever dreamed in our worst nightmares.

      And you make an excellent point about Iran not giving up now at this late stage, if that were ever their intention.

      Yes, I would say that America under Obama has indeed aligned in a different direction in the Middle East.

  3. Pingback: Through the looking glass with Barack Obama into the Iran nuclear deal |

  4. Pete says:

    “So the situation is much more dire than any of us ever dreamed in our worst nightmares.”

    Anne.
    In these uncertain times .. I will add you to my DAILY PRAYERS.
    I think that your blog has done a magnificent job of reminding all of us – that the people of Israel are just trying to live “normal lives” in an environment that is incredibly unstable.

    Pete, USA

  5. cba says:

    “this whole surreal farce (apologies for the overuse of this word. I just cannot think of a better description)”

    I saw a tweet (sorry I didn’t save it) that said something like:
    Q. What language was the Iran deal written in?
    A. Farce-y

  6. DavidinPT says:

    The latest news that Russia is ending its self-imposed embargo on selling S-300 anti aircraft missiles to Iran must surely mean that the timescale for any Israeli (or even an American?) attack on Iran’s military nuclear installation has suddenly been compressed into a matter of a few weeks. Ho hum, time to clean out the air-raid shelter again……..

  7. Pete says:

    It’s a STRATEGIC move by Putin to CAUSE a war. He wants a war in the ME, because it will bog down America in a new conflict, it will cause the USA extreme financial stress, and it will boost the price of oil back into triple digits. All of this HELPS Russia and is a major problem for America. Israel is now caught in the middle of this power play.

    Pete, USA

  8. Aridog says:

    To an old US veteran, and particularly if a South Vietnamese soldier veteran, some whom I still stay in touch with to this day, citing Henry Kissinger is not a strong point. The original RVN vets consider Kissinger a betrayer. Kissinger’s agreement with the North Vietnamese is v-e-r-y similar to what Obama & Kerry are trying to do with the Iranians…e.g., leave them with 90% of the capacity to make devastating war. Kissinger’s agreement permitted the North Vietnamese to keep regular PAVN troops in South Vietnam…all over the place. What did he expect? He got it…the North conquered the South within 3 years…e.g., his “agreement” didn’t prevent anything…and I agree with my old friends, I think Kissinger knew what he did…sacrificed others. It did allow our POW’s, and our Soldiers & Marines to come home and that was good…and that is about all the “good” that came out of it. It was a death sentence for Southerners in 6 figures, and another 6 figures of northern farmers, similar to how the Soviets dealt with the Ukrainian Kulaks. In Kissinger’s defense I can only acknowledge that the politics of the day demanded he act as he did. It is debatable whether he had a choice.

    That said, I don’t believe any politics of today demands we turn aggressive Persians loose again fully armed….for our safety and more importantly, Israel’s safety. Even in the worst case, we have no Leonidas at Thermopylae to slow them down…unless we consider sacrificing Israel the equivalent. That circumstance is totally untenable to me. Ever. Never again.

    • anneinpt says:

      I agree with your devastating critique of Kissinger, though I’m not in a position to argue whether he was forced into that decision in Vietnam, or chose to do so. History is still judging him and I wonder if we’ll ever know the full truth.

      Israel has a score to settle with Kissinger too, since it was he who delayed the vital arms shipment to Israel in 1973 at the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War and said “let them bleed a little” before giving the OK to the airlift. Apparently only when Golda Meir gave the order to open the silos of our nuclear missiles because she thought – along with all of Israel – that we were on the verge of destruction – did Kissinger allowed the arms airlift.

      But that was why I thought his article was so interesting that I quoted him. If HE, of all people, can see the danger of the Iran deal and is warning about it, then surely someone like Obama should be listening to him. Obama is more likely to heed a Kissinger than a Schultz or a Republican.

      And maybe Kissinger’s article shows that he learned his Vietnam lesson…

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