I agree with the headline for the editorial, “The ‘Iran Deal’ – A work of devilish compromises” (almost all made by the P5+1), but cannot agree with the assertion it “is nothing more than a fleshing out of the framework agreement of three months ago.”
While certain portions do simply flesh out the framework agreement, there are certain important areas where that is highly debatable and other important areas where that’s simply wrong.
It’s debatable when it comes to inspections and the phasing in of sanctions relief, where the language of the framework agreement was ambiguous, but the Obama administration led everyone to believe the inspections would be “anywhere/anytime” and the sanctions relief would be slow and measured. It is outright wrong when it comes to the assertion that sanctions would automatically snap back into place when Iran violates the agreement.
While inspections will apparently be intrusive and “anywhere/anytime” at declared nuclear facilities, those aren’t the sites where Iran is most likely to cheat. It’s most likely to cheat by surreptitiously building new, secret facilities. If the IAEA suspects activity in undeclared locations, all Iran has to do is resist inspections and it can easily delay inspections for 24 days. (Some experts have analyzed the JCPOA and believe Iran could actually delay inspections indefinitely.)
While the administration claims the IAEA would still be able to verify violations, experts including Olli Heinonen, a former deputy director of the IAEA, have testified that Iran would be able to successfully hide the evidence and “there will likely be plans to be executed promptly to avoid getting caught.”
The IAEA also would be obligated to provide Iran the intelligence which led it to suspect cheating, compromising its intelligence sources and making it unlikely the IAEA would even request access unless it strongly believed the cheating was extremely serious.
To make matters worse, Iran is given the option of backing out of the entire agreement if the IAEA inspects any sites over its objections.
When it comes to phasing in the sanctions relief, one may technically argue it would be phased in because all the sanctions wouldn’t be removed at a single stroke, but absent blatant Iranian violations all sanctions are expected to be gone within six months to a year, including a signing bonus estimated at $150 billion. This is certainly not the gradual relief we were led to believe.
With that signing bonus and sanctions relief, we will lose all our leverage to compel Iran to adhere to the deal, even if there was a “snap back” of sanctions.
In the latter area, there’s no debate: there is no “snap back” of sanctions. At best, there is a possibility of a slow re-imposition of some sanctions. If one of the parties finds Iran has violated the agreement, there is a bureaucratic “Dispute Resolution Mechanism” that must be followed which lasts 60 days and would require the support of Germany, the United Kingdom, France and the European Union (EU) to overcome the almost certain objections of Iran, Russia and China. Under the provisions of the rules controlling the EU, obtaining the support of the EU would require the unanimous approval of all 28 members of the EU, many of which would be very reluctant to give up their trade with Iran.
Even if there were approval, any existing contracts Iran has negotiated would be grandfathered in. We can be sure Iran will negotiate so many contracts that the re-imposition of sanctions would be meaningless.
And it gets worse: the re-imposition of sanctions gives Iran another basis for backing out of the agreement, and Iran has clearly stated it would do just that!
One may argue that even this devilishly bad agreement is better than no agreement, even though Secretary of State John Kerry himself has insisted that no agreement was better than a bad agreement, but this agreement certainly is not a “fleshing out” of the so-called framework agreement as it was sold to us by the Obama administration.
Under this agreement, within a short time Iran will have bounced back from the sanctions, be stronger than ever, have extra billions upon billions to wreak havoc around the world, have a far more robust nuclear infrastructure and have a far shorter breakout time than it does now when the mad mullahs decide it’s time to make their mad dash to create their nuclear arsenal.
Alan Stein, Ph.D.
Founder, PRIMER-Massachusetts and Primer-Israel
President Emeritus, PRIMER-Connecticut
Promoting Responsibility In Middle East Reporting
The Iran Deal is, in fact, the product of one-sided concessions by the P5+1. It is most unfortunate that Western leaders have failed to recognize that, instead of bringing peace, the one-sided concessions that Israel has been pressured to make have only convinced the Palestinians that they do not have to compromise on any of their own positions.
The American negotiators showed weakness from the very beginning, not insisting that Iran halt its support of terrorist activity, not demanding the release of Americans being held by Iran, and staying at the table while the Iranian government organized “Death to America” rallies. Then, we agreed to every Iranian demand, moving from “anywhere, anytime” inspections to inspection only where and when Iran will permit them. We also agreed to free up frozen assets essentially immediately and promised to protect Iran from attacks on its facilities.
The unfortunate result of these “negotiations” is that Iran has been emboldened to cheat and continue threatening our allies, including Israel and the Sunni Muslim nations, as well as attempting to obtain missiles which could reach our own shores.
Toby F. Block