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Why the State Department Won’t Discuss ‘Parameters’ for Iran

Another day, another attempt to have the State Department – one week before the deadline for a deal – state the U.S. position regarding Iran’s obligation to enable the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to determine the possible military dimensions (PMDs) of Iran’s nuclear program. At yesterday’s press conference, the State Department spokesperson was asked to clarify his comments from Friday, which he had made in response to requests that he clarify his comments from Wednesday, and once again he declined to answer a basic question about the deal:

QUESTION: … In your responses to us on Friday, you alluded to the possibility that the final deal could contain – your word now – “parameters” for IAEA access. And I just want to nail this down with you so that there is clarity. Could it be the case that any final deal that we would negotiate and ink would itself contain parameters for access that would be subject to further negotiation after the finalization of the final deal?

MR KIRBY: I am not going to talk about what the final deal will or will not look like. Again, negotiators are hard at work right now, and I think we need to give them the space to do that work. What I – what is true, however, is that at Lausanne in April, it was agreed that Iran would provide the parameters to allow the necessary access by IAEA inspectors. That was agreed in April, and that agreement is still in effect. That does not constitute the final deal, though, James, and that’s what they’re working out right now. And that’s really as far as I can go with it today.

Actually, the April 2, 2015 “Parameters for a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” does not contain the word “parameters” in the bullet point regarding the IAEA’s longstanding concerns about Iran’s PMDs. The bullet point provides as follows: “Iran will implement an agreed set of measures to address the IAEA’s concerns regarding the Possible Military Dimensions (PMD) of its program” (emphasis added).

In four successive press conferences, reporters have asked whether the deal is going to contain the “measures,” or just “parameters”; whether requiring Iran to “address” the IAEA concerns means Iran must resolve them, or just make some response to the IAEA (since Iran has been stiffing the IAEA’s questions for years); whether the IAEA’s concerns regarding PMDs need to be fully resolved before sanctions are eased or removed or suspended; etc. In the four days, no less than seven reporters have been asking the questions, and none of the questions has been answered.

Perhaps reporters will try a fifth time, but there is a reason the State Department spokesperson will not answer these questions. Whatever the administration is able to negotiate with Iran, the administration is going to call a “good deal.” If it were to state now that the deal must contain specific measures enabling the IAEA to fully resolve its concerns about the PMDs before sanctions are eased, removed, or suspended, the administration will have provided Congress a standard by which to judge whether the deal is a good one. But it has become obvious that the administration believes that any deal is better than no deal, so that any deal is – by definition – good, even if it only has “parameters” that “address” PMD concerns but do not resolve them, and even if sanctions relief is not dependent on such a resolution.

After four days of questions that could easily be answered if the administration were concerned about having its demands met, rather than having a deal done, it is clear that the almost comic refusal of the State Department spokesperson to answer direct questions, posed multiple times by multiple reporters day after day, is a reflection of the colossal collapse on PMDs, which itself is simply the latest in the cascade of concessions by an administration desperate for a deal. There will be more.



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3 Responses to “Why the State Department Won’t Discuss ‘Parameters’ for Iran”

  1. STEVEN BRAITMAN says:

    Even more worrisome than the concessions is the set of fraudulent claims that will, with certainty, be made by BHO in pitching whatever deal is “agreed to” (whatever that could mean in the context of Iran).
    The breakout time is an example of a fraud already “baked into the cake”.
    The breakout time is based on Iran sticking to the agreed to lower level of centrifuges. Originally it was to be required that Iran dismantle all of the other centrifuges above that number. Now BHO has conceded that Iran only need take those extra centrifuges off-line. So, if at any time Iran decides it wants to end the agreement, it will have access almost immediately to the additional centrifuges.
    The breakout time that BHO claims is based on the lower number of centrifuges. However, it must be the case that if the additional centrifuges are available to Iran, which they will be, when Iran decides to end the agreement (or cheat), the total centrifuges available to them ensures a breakout time of the current two to three months.
    This is just one fraud. Who can know how many others there are?

  2. STEPHANE S LUBICZ M D says:

    Is the law of the land Deception? Is the strategy: Procrastination?

  3. BARRY MEISLIN says:

    The Obama administration is merely doing what it does best: lying.

    I’ll repeat (sigh) that there is no need for a deal to be reached. And that there is no intention for a deal to be made. It is all—like everything else in this administration—optics and deception.

    Pure theatrics.

    No, there is no need for a deal. The only thing this administration needs is to show that it’s doing its absolute darnedest to advance the cause of peace—while the usual suspects (guess who!) are doing their darnedest to subvert the cause of world peace (and the Obama administration itself).

    (And that last point will be hammered home for what it’s worth.)

    The so-called “negotiations” will stretch on and on. Longer and longer. More and more. On and on.

    And on….

    Until the desired goal is reached.

    And the Obama administration will be patting itself on the back, insisting it did everything it could, pointing to its supreme efforts; while, most importantly, lambasting all those who it can—and will—blame for preventing peace from breaking out all over.

    Pure—malevolent—theater.




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