For opponents of the six powers’ nuclear deal with Iran, the past week has supplied a nonstop stream of news confirming their worst fears. Not only has Tehran issued numerous pronouncements gutting what was already a weak deal, but Washington, far from protesting this behavior, has tamely acquiesced in every one of the Iranian revisions. Moreover, the sanctions regime is already starting to crumble.
And, adding insult to injury, Washington is so gung-ho for a grand reconciliation with Iran that it’s reportedly even holding indirect talks with Iran’s fully-owned terrorist subsidiary, Hezbollah. Following are some of the past week’s more appalling developments:
- Iran publicly declared that the White House was lying about the terms of the deal and released its own, contradictory interpretation.
- Iran said it intends to continue construction of its Arak heavy-water reactor, though halting progress at Arak had been trumpeted as one of the deal’s key achievements. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki meekly responded that continued construction is fine, as long as Tehran doesn’t engage in activities like nuclear fuel production or reactor work. Since these activities are impossible in any case until construction is completed, that means the ballyhooed “freeze” of Arak is actually nonexistent.
- For good measure, Psaki added that the deal hasn’t actually taken effect yet, so Iran won’t be in violation no matter what it does. In fact, it turns out the “deal” wasn’t actually a deal at all: It was merely a broad outline, and now negotiations must begin on the details. So when will it take effect? Maybe in January. Or maybe not. In other words, the expiration date of this “six-month” deal has now been postponed by at least two months, and maybe more, confirming opponents’ fears that the temporary agreement won’t be so temporary after all.
- Iran said it would increase production of low-enriched uranium, though the deal ostensibly caps enrichment capacity at current levels.
- The International Atomic Energy Agency announced that it has neither the money nor the staff to carry out the beefed-up monitoring of Iran’s nuclear facilities called for in the agreement, thereby gutting another of the deal’s key achievements. How soon can it acquire the necessary capabilities? Agency director Yukiya Amano declined to speculate, merely saying it would take “some time.” Left unsaid was that this depends, inter alia, on when and whether member states cough up the requisite extra cash.
- Companies and countries are lining up to secure new deals with Iran now that sanctions are being eased. Haaretz published a list of some of the deals under consideration, some of which were presumably discussed during the Economic Cooperation Organization’s well-attended meeting in Tehran last week. And Turkey, one of Iran’s major trading partners, publicly announced its goal of boosting trade back up to pre-sanctions levels.
In short, the deal isn’t a deal; its six-month duration is already being extended; its key provisions are already being gutted; Washington is turning a blind eye to Iranian violations; and the sanctions regime is collapsing–all just in the first week.
But the Obama administration is getting its reconciliation with Iran, and Israel is being prevented from bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities. And those achievements are evidently far more important to the administration than the pesky little matter of keeping Tehran from getting nukes.