There is no other way to describe the Iran deal announced yesterday—it stinks! Iran is not closing a single nuclear facility, not one centrifuge gets dismantled, some of Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium gets “converted” but all of it stays in the country. Their entire nuclear infrastructure is intact, Iran gets to continue it’s nuclear research, the ballistic missile program continues, the sanctions come off as Iran complies and while there are provisions for them to snap back, any such action needs to be approved through the U.N. Security Council and a possible Russian veto.
According to the White House Iran has agreed to reduce by approximately two-thirds its installed centrifuges. Iran will go from having about 19,000 installed today to 6,104 installed under the deal, with only 5,060 of these enriching uranium for 10 years. Not mentioned is the fact that those 5,060 centrifuges will not give Iran the capacity to run nuclear power plants, only enough to create fuel for bombs. The remaining 13,000 centrifuges do not get destroyed, they get put in a U.N.-controlled storage facility in Iran. It wouldn’t take long for Iran to get them out of the “closet” an put them back in their facilities.
Remember the Fordow nuclear facility built inside a deep bunker inside a mountain? That is typical of the how this Iran deal doesn’t stop Iran from doing anything. President Obama was saying as late as 2012: “We know they don’t need to have an underground, fortified facility like Fordo in order to have a peaceful program.” But, the Iranians simply refused. So, the Americans caved and said that they could keep it open as a research facility, but they had to remove all the centrifuges for storage. This week, it emerged that the Iranians would be allowed to keep centrifuges spinning inside the mountain. But, instead of spinning uranium, the centrifuges would be spinning germanium or similar non-nuclear elements. That’s what the Administration means when it say there will be no “enrichment” going on at Fordow.
But that’s not exactly the case. Centrifuges spin isotopes into lighter and heavier elements, thereby “enriching” the material. There will be enrichment going on inside the Fordow, but it won’t be uranium. Now here’s the rub, the process of enrichment is the same, no matter what is being enriched. Iran will still have a facility inside a mountain where it will be able to research and develop new generations of centrifuges. Zarif bragged that Iranian R&D on centrifuges will continue on IR-4s, IR-5s, IR-6s, and IR-8s, and that the pace of research will be tied to Iranian scientific progress. The development of advanced centrifuges would give the Iranians a leg up if they decide to break out, and it will put them instantly within a screw’s turn of a nuke when the deal expires.
Or, if the Iranians decide to kick out inspectors and dare the world to respond, the West will have zero way to intervene. The Iranians will have a head start on enrichment, and a place to do it beyond the reach of Western weapons. The administration’ says the breakout time will still be a year, so it could theoretically, based on the agreement, restore the sanctions. But restoring the U.N. sanctions is easier said than done because they need to be reimposed via the U.N. Security Council and has to get past Iran’s Russian protectors which will take very long time. So, in reality, there are zero options to stop a breakout.
According to the President, the removal of the sanctions will occur gradually once it is verified that Iran has complied with all elements of the agreement. But, the European statement on the deal and Mohammad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, claim sanctions will be removed as each element of Iran’s requirements is completed:
The EU will terminate the implementation of all nuclear-related economic and financial sanctions and the US will cease the application of all nuclear-related secondary economic and financial sanctions, simultaneously with the IAEA-verified implementation by Iran of its key nuclear commitments.
Zarif took to twitter to disagree with the American account.
Iran/5+1 Statement: “US will cease the application of ALL nuclear-related secondary economic and financial sanctions.” Is this gradual?
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) April 2, 2015
Iran/P5+1 Statement: “The EU will TERMINATE the implementation of ALL nuclear-related economic and financial sanctions”. How about this?
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) April 2, 2015
Obama made a point about the inspectors, “If Iran cheats we will know about it.” While the White House summary of the deal issued yesterday call for rigorous inspections, there is nothing saying the inspections will be unannounced, in other words the inspector will have to make an appointment giving Iran time to hide what they have to. Or just like Saddam Hussein did, there are many ways to avoid allowing an inspector to complete his inspection.
The framework agreement doesn’t have a direct reference to reining in Iran’s ballistic missile activities, despite international concerns that the Iranians in past years carried out work relating to developing a nuclear payload for a missile. In the U.S. fact sheet the ballistic missile program will be settled at a later date and the European version of the agreement doesn’t mention the missiles at all.
After yesterday’s announcement, President went to the Rose Garden to explain what a great deal he made. Mohammad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister got what seemed to be a parade to celebrate the fact that he defeated the United States in the negotiations. Time and a final deal will prove which one is correct, however as the deal stands today at beast the agreement delays an Iranian bomb for 10 years while Teheran continues to refine the technology it needs to make the leap and the rest of the Middle East rushes to make nuclear weapons to defend themselves (and that’s best case scenario).
The White House supplied fact sheet is embedded below