According to the wisest members of the left, including President Obama, the new deal with Iran will stifle Iran’s nuclear program. President Obama pledged, in his Saturday night address to the nation, that “we have halted the progress of the Iranian nuclear program,” and added that “key parts of the program will be rolled back.” On Monday, Obama told a crowd in San Francisco, “We cannot rule out peaceful solutions to the world’s problems. We cannot commit ourselves to an endless cycle of conflict.”
The deal is, according to The New York Times, a no-brainer: “no one can seriously argue that it doesn’t make the world safer.”
The problem is this: the deal that the Obama administration and its allies in the press are presenting to the world is a mythical one. Here, then, are the major deal points, and the flaws in them:
“The goal for these negotiations is to reach a mutually-agreed long-term comprehensive solution that would ensure Iranˈs nuclear program will be exclusively peaceful.”
Myth: The agreement is a step forward in that it bars Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
Fact: The agreement explicitly allows Iran to develop nuclear capabilities in violation of United Nations resolutions, giving Iran the leeway to lie about its use of fissile material.
“From the existing uranium enriched to 20%, retain half as working stock of 20% oxide for fabrication of fuel for the TRR. Dilute the remaining 20% UF6 to no more than 5%. No reconversion line.”
Myth: This rolls back the existing Iranian nuclear weapons program to a significant degree.
Fact: The difference between 20% enrichment and 5% enrichment is relatively minute. There is no verification mechanism to ensure that the watered-down stuff is not reconverted.
“Iran announces that it will not enrich uranium over 5% for the duration of the 6 months. Iran announces that it will not make any further advances of its activities at the Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant (1), Fordow (2), or the Arak reactor (3), designated by the IAEA as IR-40.”
Myth: This significantly hampers Iran’s nuclear development capabilities.
Fact: Not only does the agreement’s verification provide only weak checks on facilities the west knows about, it completely ignores the Parchin facility near Tehran.
“Provision of specified information to the IAEA, including information on Iranˈs plans for nuclear facilities, a description of each building on each nuclear site, a description of the scale of operations for each location engaged in specified nuclear activities, information on uranium mines and mills, and information on source material. This information would be provided within three months of the adoption of these measures.”
Myth: This gives the west brand new information about Iranian nuclear facilities.
Fact: This gives the Iranians three months to fabricate information about their nuclear facilities.
“Daily IAEA inspector access when inspectors are not present for the purpose of Design Information Verification, Interim Inventory Verification, Physical Inventory Verification, and unannounced inspections, for the purpose of access to offline surveillance records, at Fordow and Natanz.”
Myth: This is serious surveillance.
Fact: This is deeply unserious surveillance. Inspectors may not show up unnaounced to check out design information, physical inventory, or interim inventory. Unannounced inspections are only allowed under the agreement “for the purpose of access to offline surveillance records” at two of the nuclear reactors, but not at Arak or Parchin at all. The most important type of nuclear verification is monitored by the Iranian government, including “managed access” to centrifuge assembly, uranium mines and mills, and centrifuge rotor production workshops and storage facilities. In other words, all the important information gets filtered by the Iranian government.
The rest of the agreement constitutes goodies the west will give to Iran, including “No new nuclear-related UN Security Council sanctions,” “No new EU nuclear-related sanctions,” and suspension of US and EU sanctions on “gold and precious metals,” as well as Iranian petrochemical exports.
There are multiple other problems with the Iran deal text, including the fact that Iran is allowed to continue centrifuge production, supposedly to “replace damaged machines” – but, as mentioned, inspection of centrifuges is monitored by the Iranian government under “managed access.” So Iran’s centrifuge production can continue wholesale under the guise of replacing damaged materials no one can inspect.
It is no wonder the Iranian government is so thrilled with this deal. They gave up virtually nothing, and gained six months during which Israel is completely isolated internationally – a period during which they can speed along their path toward a nuclear weapon. And anyone who thinks President Obama is humble enough to declare this deal a failure in six months, no matter how much of a failure it is, has never seen this egotistical Commander-in-Chief in action.
Charles Krauthammer made his usual appearance on the Special Report All-Star Panel last night to discuss the deal concerning Iran’s nuclear program. He pulled no punches in his criticism of the agreement.
“It’s really hard to watch the President and the Secretary of State and not think how they cannot be embarrassed by this deal,” he said.
Krauthammer went on to say that the U.N. Security Council, on no less than six occasions, has passed resolutions stating that Iran stop all enrichment otherwise there would be no change in the sanctions. That means that China and Russia, both countries on the Security Council, agreed to stick with sanctions against the regime.
But now, he said, the U.S. has basically capitulated on the issue of sanctions and granted Iran permission to continue with enrichment.
“What do we get in return?” Krauthammer asked. “I just heard the Secretary of State say we’re going to get a destruction of the 20% uranium. That is simply untrue. What’s going to happen is the 20% enriched uranium is going to be turned into an oxide so it’s inoperable. That process is completely chemically reversible which means Iran holds on to its 20% uranium and can turn it into active stuff any time it wants. This is a shame from beginning to end. It’s the worst deal since Munich.”
Have a look at the video below.
Hidden in its reports about the P5+1 deal with Iran was AP’s revelation that it learned about secret talks between the United States and Iran back in March but didn’t report them until eight months later, when the deal was signed on Saturday evening:
The AP was tipped to the first U.S.-Iranian meeting in March shortly after it occurred, but the White House and State Department disputed elements of the account and the AP could not confirm the meeting. The AP learned of further indications of secret diplomacy in the fall and pressed the White House and other officials further. As the Geneva talks between the P5+1 and Iran appeared to be reaching their conclusion, senior administration officials confirmed to the AP the details of the extensive outreach. They spoke only on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss by name the secret talks.
Words are important, especially in journalism. Notice the article says “the White House and State Department disputed elements of the account.” It does not say they disputed the story itself. The AP also states it “learned of further indications of secret diplomacy in the fall.” Nowhere in the report does it say the administration asked them to keep things secret.
This begs the question, why didn’t the Associated Press publish the story in the spring without the disputed details? If the reporters weren’t comfortable with the information they had, why then did they keep the news to themselves when they discovered new information about the talks in the fall?
In the context of its history of liberal bias, the behavior of the AP in sitting on this story also raises the question: If the President whose administration was having secret talks with Iran were a Republican, would they have sat on the story?
Iranian missile technicians secretly visited North Korea as part of joint development of a new rocket booster for long-range missiles or space launchers at the same time nuclear talks took place in Geneva, according to U.S. officials.
Several groups of technicians from the Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group (SHIG), a unit in charge of building Iran’s liquid-fueled missiles, traveled to Pyongyang during the past several months, including as recently as late October, to work on the new, 80-ton rocket booster being developed by the North Koreans, according to officials familiar with intelligence reports.
The booster is believed by U.S. intelligence agencies to be intended for a new long-range missile or space launch vehicle that could be used to carry nuclear warheads, and could be exported to Iran in the future.
Recent U.S. intelligence assessments have said that both North Korea and Iran are expected to have missiles capable of hitting the United States with a nuclear warhead in the next two years.
The Iranian cooperation reveals that the nuclear framework agreement concluded Sunday in Geneva has not slowed Tehran’s drive for missiles that can deliver a nuclear warhead to intercontinental range.
One official described the new booster as a thruster for a “super ICBM” or a heavy-lift space launcher.
“It is completely new from what they have done so far,” the official said.
The official said the missile cooperation was disseminated in multiple intelligence reports over the past several months. The official suggested the reports were suppressed within the government by the Obama administration to avoid upsetting the talks in Geneva.
“Why does the administration want so much to negotiate a nuclear agreement with Iran if they know full well that that country is building nuclear delivery vehicles?” the official asked.
State Department and White House National Security Council spokeswomen had no immediate comment. A Defense Intelligence Agency spokeswoman declined to comment.
Additional intelligence reports based on satellite imagery reveal that North Korea is developing a larger missile or space launcher than its previously known rockets. The indications include a launch tower at one facility that is substantially taller than other known towers spotted at North Korean launch sites.
The blog 38 North, part of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, disclosed last month that satellite photos showed a expansion at a North Korean launch site for a larger rocket.
Both North Korea and Iran are believed to be hiding their long-range missile programs, part of space-launcher development, as a way to avoid international sanctions.
Meanwhile, the State Department’s special envoy for North Korean nuclear affairs Glyn Davies said in Tokyo on Monday that Pyongyang could be hit with additional sanctions if the regime fails to show a willingness to give up its arms program.
“If we do not see signs of North Korean sincerity, if they do not act, demonstrate that they understand they must fulfill their obligations, give up their nuclear weapons, then there’s more pressure that will be brought to bear on them,” Davies told reporters, Kyodo reported.
The reports of a new North Korean rocket booster coincide with the emergence of a key official within the North Korean regime last September. The official, Pak To Chun, surfaced in public after a mysterious four-month absence from the public eye. Pak is a member of the powerful National Defense Commission and a key official in charge of North Korea’s long-range missile and space launcher programs.
North Korea and Iran announced plans to develop closer relations, including defense, science and technology ties, in September 2012 when Kim Yong Nam, a senior North Korean official, visited Tehran. Kim met with Iran’s supreme leader Sayed Ali Khameni. Both sides said at the time that they would cooperate against the United States.
The Iranian company SHIG, part of the Aerospace Industries Organization of Iran, has developed all of Iran’s liquid-fueled missiles, including the Shahab series that is based on North Korea’s Nodong medium-range missiles. The company was sanctioned by the United Nations for its role in illicit missile transfers in 2006. The U.S. government has also sanctioned it for illicit missile exports.
SHIG experts were known to have visited North Korea previously in 2009 to take part in a missile test launch that year of a Taepodong-2 (TD-2) missile.
A report published in July by the National Air and Space Intelligence Center stated North Korea is continuing to build TD-2 long-range missiles and space launchers.
“Continued efforts to develop the TD-2 and the newly unveiled [mobile] ICBM show the determination of North Korea to achieve long-range ballistic missile and space launch capabilities,” the report said.
The report also said Iran has carried out several launches of a two-stage Safir space launch vehicle and in 2010 unveiled a new larger launcher called the Simorgh.
“Iran will likely continue to pursue longer range ballistic missiles and more capable [space-launch vehicle], which could lead to the development of an ICBM system,” the report said, noting that “Iran could develop and test an ICBM capable of reaching the United States by 2015.”
Disclosure of the Iran-North Korean missile cooperation could upset China’s efforts to restart the stalled six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear program.
The United States and South Korea are opposing a resumption of the nuclear talks until North Korea demonstrates that it is willing to dismantle its nuclear facilities.
A State Department cable from 2009 made public by Wikileaks stated that North Korea’s Amroggang Development Bank worked with the Korea Mining Development Corporation (KOMID) in the past in selling missiles and technology to SHIG.
Another cable on Iran’s Ballistic Missile program from 2009 states that “Iran has the largest and most active missile program in the Middle East.”
“Iran has accelerated its work toward developing a domestic space program,” the report said.
The Safir space launcher “has demonstrated several capabilities necessary for longer-range ballistic missiles: staging, clustered engines in the second stage (although these were small), and gimbaled engines for control of the second stage, a more advanced technique than the jet vanes used in the first stage,” the report said.
“Iran currently appears focused on increasing the capability and range of its ballistic missiles,” the report said. “Although Iran is unlikely to deploy the Safir SLV as a ballistic missile, the Safir, and the development and test of the two-stage Sajjil [medium-range ballistic missile], has provided Iran with much of the technology and experience necessary to develop and produce longer-range ballistic missiles, including ICBMs.”
“Tehran could attempt to develop and test much of this technology under the guise of an SLV program.”