90 Miles From Tyranny : The Six Points of Kissinger and Schultz’s Refutation of the Iran Deal

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Six Points of Kissinger and Schultz’s Refutation of the Iran Deal

Keith Koffler - It’s no surprise that Marie Harf at the State Department
sought Wednesday to dismiss the analysis by Henry Kissinger and George Schultz of the Iran deal as little more than “big words and big thoughts.” When you hear administration officials launch ad hominem attacks, you know it is because they are deeply threatened.

That’s because Kissinger and Scultz’s Wall Street Journal piece is the most thorough and damning evisceration of President Obama’s Iran arms deal you can find. And it’s been lodged by two of the foreign policy establishment’s wisest and most experienced hands, neither known for their partisan fervor.

I thought I’d take you through their argument, which you may not be able to access on the Wall Street Journal website. Because it’s a major statement about what may be the most important issue of our time.

Below, I’ve placed my own headlines above quotes from the piece to clarify their main points. There are six.

1. The deal permits a nuclear Iran

Negotiations that began 12 years ago as an international effort to prevent an Iranian capability to develop a nuclear arsenal are ending with an agreement that concedes this very capability, albeit short of its full capacity in the first 10 years. The gradual expiration of the framework agreement, beginning in a decade, will enable Iran to become a significant nuclear, industrial and military power after that time—in the scope and sophistication of its nuclear program and its latent capacity to weaponize at a time of its choosing. Limits on Iran’s research and development have not been publicly disclosed (or perhaps agreed). Therefore Iran will be in a position to bolster its advanced nuclear technology during the period of the agreement and rapidly deploy more advanced centrifuges—of at least five times the capacity of the current model—after the agreement expires or is broken.

2. Iran triumphed in the negotiations

While Iran treated the mere fact of its willingness to negotiate as a concession, the West has felt compelled to break every deadlock with a new proposal. In the process, the Iranian program has reached a point officially described as being within two to three months of building a nuclear weapon.

Ambiguities apply to the one-year window for a presumed Iranian breakout. Emerging at a relatively late stage in the negotiation, this concept replaced the previous baseline—that Iran might be permitted a technical capacity compatible with a plausible civilian nuclear program. Iran permanently gives up none of its equipment, facilities or fissile product to achieve the proposed constraints. It only places them under temporary restriction and safeguard—amounting in many cases to a seal at the door of a depot or periodic visits by inspectors to declared sites.

3. The agreement is probably unenforceable

The physical magnitude of the effort is daunting. Is the International Atomic Energy Agency technically, and in terms of human resources, up to so complex and vast an assignment? In a large country with multiple facilities and ample experience in nuclear concealment, violations will be inherently difficult to detect. Devising theoretical models of inspection is one thing. Enforcing compliance, week after week, despite competing international crises and domestic distractions, is another. Any report of a violation is likely to prompt debate over its significance—or even calls for new talks with Tehran to explore the issue.

Compounding the difficulty is the unlikelihood that breakout will be a clear-cut event. More likely it will occur, if it does, via the gradual accumulation of ambiguous evasions. When inevitable disagreements arise over the scope and intrusiveness of inspections, on what criteria are we prepared to insist and up to what point? If evidence is imperfect, who bears the burden of proof? Undertaking the “snap-back” of sanctions is unlikely to be as clear or as automatic as the phrase implies. Iran is in a position to violate the agreement by executive decision. Restoring the most effective sanctions will require coordinated international action.

4. The deal result in nuclear proliferation

Some of the chief actors in the Middle East are likely to...Read The Rest HERE

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