Thursday, September 03, 2015

No Wonder Iran Believes God is On Their Side

Supporters here of President Obama's nuclear deal with Iran really like to say that apparent opposition by Iranian "hardliners" to the deal proves that the deal is good for us. Iran's "moderates" have revealed a lot in their efforts to persuade their hardliners to go along with the deal.

As I've long said, the difference between "hardliners" and "moderates" in Iran is that the moderates are willing to pretend to be normal, Western-suit-wearing, English-speaking, rational actors. They are willing to pretend not to have nuclear weapons programs.

Hardliners, by contrast, are unwilling to even pretend to negotiate with the hated West. Allah is on their side, so why even throw us flimsy pretend deals that the West can portray as victories? Why soil themselves dealing with us at all?

Indeed, I've held out a final hope that the Iranian hardliners will save us from a bad deal:

I've long assumed the general outline of an Obama administration nuclear deal with Iran is quite clear. Iran will pretend not to have a nuclear weapons program; and we will pretend to believe them.

Yet I've held out hope that Iran itself would save us from such a bad deal because of their utter contempt for us and their refusal to even pretend to bow to us in their certainty that God is on their side and backs their nuclear efforts.

In this light, a briefly public transcript on the efforts by the moderate faction to convince the hardliner faction to go along with the nuclear deal is instructive:

The points made by [an Iranian deputy nuclear negotiator, Abbas] Araghchi strongly validate the considered judgment held by a majority in the U.S. Congress: that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action - the agreement reached between Iran and the P5+1 - is not in the national security interests of the United States and should not be approved. While U.S. President Barack Obama's plan to implement the JCPOA using his own executive authority appears to be succeeding, his plan may yet be undone. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei may decide that he should not stain his legacy of advancing the Islamic Revolution by endorsing a nuclear deal claimed by the leader of the so-called Great Satan as his signature foreign policy achievement.

Points covered include the achievement of having the West legitimize Iran's nuclear program, an achievement so great that even the Russian deputy foreign minister, Rybakov, was impressed:

I was telling my associates last night that these Iranians are truly geniuses. They came to get a green light for their enrichment program from the Security Council in exchange for what? In exchange for their sanctions to be lifted. Not only do they not give anything in exchange, but they receive something in exchange for what they receive! Their sanctions will be lifted and their enrichment will continue.

The Iranians didn't worry about the inspections because they already got along with the IAEA inspections; and since the Iranians didn't plan to use Natanz for anything questionable, didn't care if the inspectors "sleep there if they so wish."

Araghchi said the issue of possible military dimensions covered in the secret side deals will not result in a black or white report, but a "gray" one. Iran won't provide any new information and besides, Iran will hold off certain activities until after the report is written. So with no smoking gun, the Iranians are certain the West will pressure the IAEA to do what it takes to clear the decks for the deal to go into effect.

The Iranians aren't too worried about the 24-day access period:

Araghchi goes on to explain how Iran could handle the 24-day process triggered if the IAEA suspect activities in non-nuclear facilities: "The IAEA has to present us with evidence as to why it thinks there have been illegal activities occurring. After this step, we need to negotiate. Other countries do the same. After the negotiations, if we are convinced, we might allow them access. In cases where their evidence is not entirely unfounded, we can even use substitute methods; for example, we will say we cannot allow you into the main facility but we can allow you access to the area behind it. The other method is for us to videotape it ourselves and present it to them. But if the IAEA refuses our offers and insists on access, this subject has been left unsaid in the Additional Protocol." [emphasis added]

Indeed. I noted (in my quick and dirty review) that dispute resolution procedures seemed to offer a way to extend the 24-day period to inspect suspected nuclear sites. So if Iran refuses to go agree to any type of inspection provision during that 24-day period so hyped by deal proponents, doesn't that trigger the dispute resolution provision that I described?

If a party believes the other side isn't meeting their commitments, the party can refer the issue to the joint commission. There is no word on how long a dispute should last before such referral. I assume this could be months.

Once referred, the commission has 15 days to resolve the issue, unless by consensus the time is extended. No word on limits on that. I assume this could mean months, too.

After the commission has considered the issue and the issue is still not resolved, parties can refer the issue to the Ministers of Foreign Affairs. This can apparently be parallel to joint commission consideration rather than sequential. How likely is that?

The ministers have 15 days to resolve the issue, unless there is consensus extension. Again, months are possible to give them time to peacefully resolve a highly technical issue that is surely just a difference of opinion.

Then the issue can go to the Advisory Board, consisting of one member appointed by each side of the dispute and one "independent" member. No word on how that is decided. Please God, tell me Russia is not involved in that determination. That board has 15 days to issue a non-binding opinion.

If, after this 30-day (at least) period the issue is not resolved, the joint commission (which includes Iran, remember) has 5 days to consider the non-binding opinion.

If a party believes the issue is not resolved, the complaining party can deem this a "significant non-performance" and cease performing any or all duties under the act.

Also, "snapback" sanctions are nonsense, as many opponents of the deal have noted. No need to worry about this, Araghchi said.

The negotiator crowed over the provisions lifting the arms and ballistic missiles sanctions.

Interesting enough, he said he didn't want the Iranian parliament to approve the deal because it would turn voluntary Iranian actions into obligations.

Recall that I said there were a disturbing number of provisions that say Iran "intends" to do such and such. The Iranian "moderates" apparently value that kind of flexibility.

Do read the whole thing. And note this:

The grand irony of the circumstances engineered by Obama is that the American president has put Ayatollah Khamenei, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in the position of endorsing Obama's signature foreign policy achievement. By approving the nuclear deal, Khamenei would be seen by his fellow revolutionaries as embracing the Islamic Republic's implacable foe, while a majority of Obama's own legislature repudiates the JCPOA. One would think that such a decision would shake the very ideological foundation of the 1979 Islamic Revolution to which Khamenei and his radical followers are devoted. Hence, there may still be hope for the majority in the U.S. Congress who oppose the fatally flawed nuclear deal: Perhaps the Supreme Leader will decide that he cannot turn his back on the Islamic Revolution by implementing the JCPOA.

President Obama and his minions pretend this is a good deal. Khamenei may be unwilling to pretend he has bowed to the Great Satan that insists that this deal is a major victory over Iran.