Friday, August 21, 2015

Let's Clarify This Issue

We find that we've gone along with Iran self-inspecting and reporting back to the IAEA in one of those "not secret but we still can't see them" side deals that are incorporated into our nuclear deal with Iran. The Obama administration has confidence in this arrangement. But let's be clear what "this arrangement" is.

Says the Obama administration:

The White House on Wednesday insisted it had confidence in the International Atomic Energy Agency, after it emerged that the watchdog may allow Iran to self-inspect some suspected nuclear sites.

I hate to be picky, but the White House is actually expressing confidence in Iran, since Iran is going to be the party looking into the suspect Parchin site for the IAEA.

I have enough problems subcontracting inspections work to the IAEA, given past problems they've had regarding Iran. The situation we agreed to is far worse than that:

In other words, the country that lied for years about its nuclear weapons program will now be trusted to come clean about those lies. And trusted to such a degree that it can limit its self-inspections so they don’t raise “military concerns” in Iran.

Keep in mind that the side deal already excludes a role for the U.S., and that the IAEA lacks any way to enforce its side deal since it has no way of imposing penalties for violations. Iran has also already ruled out any role for American or Canadian nationals on the inspection teams.

I wasn't being cynical when I predicted the outline of a deal with Iran: Iran will pretend not to have a nuclear weapons program; and we will pretend to believe them.

No, I was just prescient. I just never imagined what lengths we'd go to maintain our ability to pretend.

The more we learn about this deal, the harder it is to imagine Iran not going nuclear under its terms--let alone waiting for them to expire.

UPDATE: The Iranians are being kind of insulting. We go out of our way to carve out loopholes with secret side deals, and yet the Iranians insist that they can simply pick and choose what they want to abide my even in the published deal:

Iran has said it will not follow parts of the nuclear deal that restricts its military capabilities, a stance reaffirmed by President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday.

"We will buy, sell and develop any weapons we need and we will not ask for permission or abide by any resolution for that," he said in a speech at the unveiling ceremony broadcast live on state television. ...

"Some wrongly think Iran has suspended its ballistic missile programs in the last two years and has made a deal on its missile program ... We will have a new ballistic missile test in the near future that will be a thorn in the eyes of our enemies," the commander of the aerospace division of the IRGC, Brigadier General Amirali Hajizadeh, said on Friday.

Iran is nice enough to tell us ahead of time that the deal won't stop them from doing what they want. But nobody in our administration is listening. And it is likely that not enough members of Congress will listen.