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On Point

Obama's Iran Understanding: The Verifiable Facts


by Austin Bay
April 7, 2015

President Barack Obama initially touted his "historic understanding" with Iran as a transformational diplomatic step toward Middle East peace. Two days or so later, the White House called the "understanding" a "preliminary deal. "

Words matter, or at least they should when the "understanding" allegedly affects a theocratic dictatorship's ability to obtain and use nuclear weapons.

Both words imply a degree of agreement between parties. Regrettably, the Iranian government quickly disputed the Obama administration's claims that Tehran had made significant concessions.

To say that this obvious Iranian disagreement with Obama bodes ill for the "historic understanding" is an understatement.

Comparison to the unfortunately historic 1938 Munich Agreement strikes me as wretchedly apt. However, within 36 hours of signing the document that gave Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland to Germany, Adolf Hitler didn't contradict Neville Chamberlain's claim that Munich guaranteed "peace for our time." But Hitler did contradict him. Less than a year later, Germany attacked Poland, igniting WW2.

Chamberlain trusted Hitler's word. Among human beings, deals, understandings and even wink-and-nod arrangements involve trust by the parties that they will fulfill their part of the bargain. During the Cold War, the U.S. and its allies demanded that they be able to verify Soviet Union compliance with an agreement or treaty. Ronald Reagan often quoted a Russian proverb, "doveryai, no proveryai," which I'm told translates as "trust, but verify." No doubt Reagan relished the irony of employing it in personal conversations with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

The Soviets at least agreed to comply with nuclear arms reductions goals and, using real, visible ink, signed documents with mutually accepted language. Moreover, Reagan showed the documents to the U.S. Senate, and that chamber got its constitutional yea or nay.

At the moment, it isn't certain that Iran has agreed to comply with anything other than conducting more talks later this year. Yet U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said, quote, "This is the best deal we could get."

Yes, he said that, even though this "best deal" quickly lifts the stiff economic sanctions imposed on Iran. Kerry's best deal looks like payoff.

To blunt criticism from Democrats as well as Republicans, Obama has claimed that "this deal is not based on trust; it's based on unprecedented verification."

Really? So, Mr. President, what is the coercive mechanism to enforce nuclear research and weapons development verification? The answer, so far: crickets. The "understanding" definitely fails to address Iranian missiles (nuclear weapon delivery systems).

Obama's "historic understanding" has the sad woof and warp of so many of his administration's domestic and international policy efforts: glowing, inspirational, dramatic rhetoric disguising episodic, hodge-podge, ill-considered, poorly planned and often hastily organized operations. "If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor" is a domestic example. When Obamacare arrived, many Americans learned they could not keep their preferred doctor. Obama said Americans would eventually love the health care law. A substantial majority despises the legislative monstrosity. Now a foreign policy example: Obama's promise to "reset" U.S.-Russia relations. For Vladimir Putin, Obama's reset was a setup. Putin's Russia is now a neo-Fascist expansionary nuclear power slowing carving and digesting Ukraine. Obama's "red line" threat to punish Syria's Assad regime if it used chemical weapons against civilians, and his failure to do so when the Syrians used nerve gas, is another example.

Obama has an enormous trust problem; the man does not keep his word. But his obedient, word-mongering national media corps consistently fails to call him on this grand malfeasance.

So what can be verified regarding Iran? Here is a verifiable fact: Iran already possesses long-range ballistic missiles.

Here is another verifiable fact: more talks, sometime, somewhere in the future, has been Tehran's modus operandi for two decades. Kerry's "best deal" is an ayatollah three-fer. It gives them money. It gives them more time to develop nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles. It also gives them diplomatic political cover to continue dithering, courtesy of Barack Obama and John Kerry.

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