Mutually Assured Obfuscation
The Wall Street Journal's Bret Stephens rips President Obama's pre-emptive criticism of the 'inevitable critics
' of his deal with Iran.
Yes, it’s worse. Much worse.
Yes, because what the president calls “this verifiable deal”
fails the first test of verification—mutual agreement and
clarity as to what, exactly, is in it.
Take sanctions. Iran insists all
sanctions—economic as well as nuclear—will be “immediately
revoked” and that “the P5+1 member countries are committed to
restraining from imposing new nuclear-related sanctions.” But
the Obama administration claims Iran will only get relief “if
it verifiably abides by its commitments.” The administration
adds that “the architecture of U.S. nuclear-related sanctions
on Iran will be retained for much of the duration of the
So who is lying? Or are we dealing with a case of Mutually
Yes, too, because the deal fails the second test of
verification: It can’t be verified.
Here again there are significant discrepancies between the
U.S. and the Iranian versions of the deal. The administration
claims “Iran has agreed to implement the Additional Protocol,”
a reference to an addendum to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty that permits intrusive inspections. But Tehran merely
promises to implement the protocol “on a voluntary and
temporary basis,” pending eventual ratification by its
We’ve seen this movie before. Iran agreed to implement the
Additional Protocol in 2003, only to renounce it in early
2006, after stonewalling weapons inspectors.
But even the Protocol is inadequate, since it doesn’t permit
no-notice, “anytime, anywhere” inspections. “A verifiable
agreement would require unfettered access to all key
facilities, personnel, documentation, and other information
being sought,” notes Olli Heinonen, a former top nuclear
inspector for the International Atomic Energy Agency. The
Protocol, he adds, “does not fully oblige this.”
Yes, as well, because Mr. Obama’s caveat, “if fully
implemented,” is catnip to the rulers of Iran. What happens if
Iran complies with every aspect of the accord, save one—for
instance, if it starts fielding more advanced centrifuges?
“The Iranian regime cheats incrementally, not egregiously,
even though the sum total of its incremental cheating is
egregious,” says Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense
of Democracies. Does anyone think Mr. Obama will walk away
from his deal at the first instance of Iranian noncompliance?
This is a president who failed to inform Congress of Russia’s
suspected violations of a 1987 nuclear arms-control treaty so
he could get his own treaty ratified by the Senate in 2010.
Yes, furthermore, because a deal that is “backed by the
world’s major powers,” as Mr. Obama says, is also beholden to
So let me rephrase the president’s question: Is targeted
military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities—with all the
unforeseen consequences that might entail—a better option than
a grimly foreseeable future of a nuclear Iran, threatening its
neighbors, and a proliferated Middle East, threatening the
I know my answer. What’s yours?
Targeted military action against Iran's nuclear facilities is most definitely a better option than a nuclear Iran.
Labels: Barack Hussein Obama, Iranian lies, Iranian nuclear threat, lies