In the comics it happened every time, Charlie Brown would be running to kick the football and just as his leg started to swing Lucy pulls the ball away. We all knew it was going to happen, even Charlie Brown knew it was going to happen. But before each time Lucy convinces Charlie that this time it’s going to be different.
Obama is a lot like that, he desperately want’s to kick the football, or in his case reach a nuclear agreement with Iran, each time he thinks he gets close, the Iranian’s pull the ball away. But unlike Charlie Brown, Obama forgets that he ever wanted to kick the football.
On Sunday Iran’s parliament voted oppose the inspections of government
military sites as part of a pending, multi-nation agreement to curb the
country’ nuclear program — potentially complicating a final deal ahead
of a June 30 deadline.
This comes on the heals of John Kerry’s announcement last week walking away from the requirement that
the rogue nation come clean about all the elements of their nuclear
program prior to the agreement.
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Prior to Kerry’s announcement he had always said that as a condition of sanctions relief, Iran would have to answer the IAEA’s outstanding questions about efforts to test and develop a nuclear weapon.
The reason that demand is important is the international community
cannot confirm that Iran has halted its pursuit of nuclear weapons
unless Tehran comes clean on all past and continuing nuclear
Iran agreed in November 2013 to resolve with the IAEA a list of possible
military-related nuclear activities in 12 areas. As of June 2015, Iran
has only resolved questions in one of these areas and has claimed the
other areas are based on forgeries and fabrications.
A real deal with Iran requires answers to those questions to establish a
baseline for verification. The United States can not agree to a
nuclear deal with Iran unless the baseline issue is resolved
satisfactorily. But now it appears they will.
As James Jeffrey, former senior American diplomat wrote on Friday;
Despite its constant moving of the Iran goalposts, those sympathetic to the administration might say, “So what, we know what they were up to, let’s focus on an agreement that will ensure they won’t be back in the labs tooling up new warheads.” Unfortunately, the issue is not that simple. Weaponization research is easily concealed, so Washington cannot conclude that it knows everything about such efforts without a full accounting from Iran — barring such disclosure, America’s ability to catch future weaponization research will be limited. Furthermore, by essentially telling the international community that “the past is past,” Washington and the P5+1 would undercut the arms-control regime that the IAEA is tasked with maintaining globally — not to mention the fact that when it comes to weapons of mass destruction, asking the world to rely solely on U.S. intelligence has not had a happy history.
Yuval Steinitz, a senior Israeli minister and Israel’s point man for the Iran talks points out that “If the world allows you [Iran] to lie about the past, this guarantees you will lie about the future,”
More practically, Steinitz added, knowing exactly what weapons research Iran conducted is crucial to identifying which locations and scientists to monitor most closely in the future.
That information could also shape the world’s understanding of a crucial question: Iran’s “breakout time,” or the amount of time it would take Tehran to dash to a bomb if it chose to do so, said Olli Heinonen, a former IAEA deputy director now with the Kennedy School of Government’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard. “You need to know how far they got,” Heinonen said.
Senator Chris Coons, (D-DE) disagrees, he believes requiring an Iranian confession would be a blow to the regime’s credibility.
“Frankly, it allows us to make the case to the world that Iran’s repeated assertion … that this has always been a peaceful, civilian nuclear program, is just not true,” he said. “The Iranians will resist any confirmation that they were engaged in an illicit nuclear weapons program to the very end.”
But Henry Kissinger says that giving in on that issue goes to the idea whether or not Iran wants to join the “community of nations:”
This stubborn insistence goes back to Henry Kissinger’s adage about Iran deciding “whether it is a country or a cause.” A country would have to own up to its violations of solemn international agreements, but a “cause” can champion a victim’s role and put the onus on the other side by simply not admitting or doing anything to end its illegal activities. There is a term for this that folks all over the region understand, and which Iran greatly values: “winning.”
The bottom line is that the United States, indeed the P5+1 thought this issue was important for all the reasons above and more. Yet when Iran pushed back, pulled away the football, it seems that our Charlie Brown-like president is forgetting that he ever wanted to kick that particular football, and trying getting ready to run and miss once again.