Secretary of State John Kerry must be quite the negotiator. The Foreign Policy Initiative has compiled not U.S. opening positions but rather President Obama and Kerry’s red lines, almost all of which Obama and Kerry collapsed upon.
For example, in December 2013, Kerry spoke about the need for Iran to dismantle its nuclear program, a position in line with six UN Security Council Resolutions, and yet Obama and Kerry ultimately blessed Iran maintaining more P1 centrifuges than Pakistan maintained when that state built its nuclear arsenal.
Then, there was the underground nuclear facility at Fordow. Speaking at the Brookings Institution, Obama said, “We know that they don’t need to have an underground, fortified facility like Fordow in order to have a peaceful nuclear program.” He was right, but conceded Iran’s ability to maintain its hardened facility anyway.
When it comes to Iran’s uranium enrichment, Obama and Kerry conceded Iran’s “right to enrich” right out of the gate, the negotiating equivalent of meeting the used car salesman’s first price, and then limiting negotiations to whether or not there would be leather seats. Don’t worry, the deal proponents said. Iran would take its surplus enriched uranium stockpiles and dilute them or convert them into oxide.
Well, it seems now that Iran had other plans. According to Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, Iran may sell its enriched uranium “to a foreign country” in exchange for additional natural uranium.
So, a plan that Obama and team swore would make the Middle East and the world safer and successfully contain proliferation may now actually increase the provision of enriched uranium to countries that may harbor ambitions to proliferate themselves. Araghchi did not mention to which countries Iran might sell enriched uranium, nor has the United States asked. Now, many potential producers of natural uranium the United States need not worry about: It is doubtful, for example, Japan, Australia, or Bulgaria. But, there are other countries — Algeria and Argentina — for example, that could present real problems should they seek to jump-start their nuclear programs. Argentina’s relationship with Iran, in particular, bears closer scrutiny, especially after the assassination of Alberto Nisman, a prosecutor who was pursuing illegal Argentine-Iranian dealings.
Much can be said about the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the so-called Iran deal. That it made the world safer is not a claim that can be substantiated, however, as Iranian declarations and revelations coming seemingly every single week now demonstrate.