Thursday, November 28, 2013

The 10 top items which make Iran nuke agreement the worst blunder in our lifetime by Scott Johnson of Powerline

The 10 top items which make Iran nuke agreement the worst blunder in our lifetime
by Scott Johnson of Powerline
1. The agreement is framed as an interim agreement, but it is renewable by mutual consent. There will be no going back until Iran chooses to go back. Live with it.
2. The agreement does not freeze or cap Iran’s nuclear program. Iran is to continue enrichment activities up to the 5 percent level. Its enrichment facilities remain unimpaired. Implications and/or statements to the contrary by the administration are false. The media’s failure to get this right is malpractice.
3. The agreement implicitly accepts Iran’s right to enrich uranium. Binding UN resolutions to the contrary notwithstanding, they will continue to enrich uranium under the agreement. The agreement also envisions a final agreement that “[i]nvolve[s] a mutually defined enrichment programme…for a period to be agreed upon.” The Iranians are right to celebrate the agreement; the Obama administration has to spin it.
4. The agreement extends Iran’s time to breakout by a month or two (anywhere from one month to “multiple months,” as a senior administration official explained to me). Technical expert David Albright — who expresses qualified support for the agreement — calculates the extension to “at least 1.9 to 2.2 months, up from at least 1 month to 1.6 months.” That is all.
5. The Iranian regime never disclosed its uranium enrichment facilities or heavy water reactor. Each was revealed by outsiders. The agreement addresses Iran’s known nuclear facilities with at least one exception. It makes no mention of Parchin, the military facility where Iran is believed by the IAEA to have conducted weaponization research and sought to conceal the evidence. As David Albright and Robert Avagyan wrote earlier this year: “The Parchin site remains of interest to the IAEA due to evidence of pre-2004 activities related to the development of nuclear weapons. Iran is alleged by the IAEA, the United States, and at least three European governments to have had a well-structured nuclear weapons program aimed at building a warhead small enough to fit on the Shahab 3 ballistic missile.” The agreement does not even warrant that Iran has no other dual-use or enrichment or nuclear facilities. Why?
6. The agreement is premised on the understanding that Iran’s nuclear program may have peaceful purposes: “The goal for these negotiations is to reach a long-term comprehensive solution that would ensure Iran’s nuclear programme will be exclusively peaceful.” This is a farcical pretense. It is inconceivable, for example, that Iran’s Arak heavy-water reactor has any other purpose than the provision of an alternate path to a nuclear weapon. To the extent that this is in fact an interim agreement, Iran gives up next to nothing on Arak (“for 6 months [Iran] will not commission the reactor or transfer fuel or heavy water to the reactor site and will not test additional fuel for the reactor or install remaining components”). To make concessions that are not concessions at all and in return secure the relaxation of the sanctions regime — this is “Iran’s tactic in a nutshell.”
7. Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium is sufficient after further enrichment for approximately six nuclear weapons. The agreement does nothing with respect to the existing stockpile of enriched uranium other than provide for uranium enriched to 20 percent to be downgraded to 5 percent, from which it can be enriched further.
8. The relaxation of sanctions under the agreement is advertised as limited and reversible. The administration emphasizes the reversibility of the sanctions relief. The administration has opposed sanctions crafted by Congress every step of the way. As observers outside the administration have noted, as a practical reversal is of sanctions relief is highly unlikely. The relaxation is far more likely the preface to the unraveling of the sanctions regime regardless of the formalities.
9. Hard questions about the limited concessions made by Iran under the agreement elicit the response that “Iran wouldn’t agree” to more — and this was at a time when the sanctions carried their maximum bite. It also makes me wonder where the United States drew the line. Apparently not at a recognition of Iran’s right to uranium enrichment, which was expressly incorporated until France objected. Now it is only implicit.
10. The limited nature of the agreement combined with the relaxation of sanctions facilitates Iran’s development of nuclear weapons. Indeed, statements to the contrary notwithstanding, the Obama administration accepts Iran’s development of nuclear weapons.

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