The emerging agreement with Iran that President Obama sees as his legacy will give Iran three paths to a bomb: it can break out, wait out, or sneak out of the agreement. Iran will pocket its huge signing bonus; take reversible steps toward “compliance”; then either break out (perhaps after a dispute about implementation, or while the U.S. is involved in some other crisis), or wait out (after which, President Obama concedes, Iran will face no further barrier to a bomb), or sneak out (using secret sites and undetectable methods). In an important new paper entitled “Deterring an Iranian Nuclear Breakout,” Michael Eisenstadt, director of the Military and Security Studies Program at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, writes that “the most likely scenario” is “an Iranian breakout using undeclared facilities” (emphasis in original). Congress should read the paper carefully before it signs onto ObamaPeace in our time.
Eisenstadt cites the November 2014 testimony of former CIA and NSA director Gen. Michael Hayden before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, in which he said that “[a]bsent an invasive inspection regime, with freedom to visit all sites on short notice, American intelligence cannot provide adequate warning of Iranian nuclear developments.” Eisenstadt notes that Iran’s fact sheet on the “framework” says its implementation of the IAEA Additional Protocol will be “voluntary” and “temporary,” and he describes the U.S. “fact sheet” as “too good to be true”:
Iran has already stated that enriched uranium will not be sent out of the country, that IAEA inspectors will not have access to military facilities, and that all sanctions should be lifted immediately upon conclusion of the agreement. The stockpiling of enriched uranium – even in dilute form – would vitiate much of the purpose the accord. Denial of access to military facilities could create no-go zones in which Iran could engage in undeclared activities and build clandestine facilities. And the immediate lifting of sanctions would instantly reduce the international community’s leverage over Iran …
And not only that: an “even greater monitoring challenge” will be presented by the transfer of nuclear fissile material or a weapon from North Korea, which will “likely remain a critical weakness of any monitoring effort in Iran.”
Knowing what we know now, the total American withdrawal from Iraq, the abysmal failure to enforce the presidentially-declared “red line” in Syria, the absence of any response against any group for the murder of the U.S. ambassador to Libya, the failure to stand by allies such as Egypt, Israel and Saudi Arabia, all sent a signal to Iran that is about to culminate in a negotiated disaster, precisely the separate peace that Benjamin Netanyahu warned against in his speech to Congress. All that stands against it is a Congressional vote that requires a two-thirds bipartisan majority to succeed. But members of Congress who read the Eisenstadt report are unlikely to vote for ObamaPeace — unless they want to join a legacy of shame.