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The agreement on the Iranian nuclear program announced today has led to great anger in Israel. There is wall-to-wall consensus among politicians and the Israeli public that the agreement between Iran and six world powers is a very bad deal that endangers not only Israel but the entire region.
Israeli radio stations broadcasted live the addresses of Iranian President Rouhani and President Obama as well as the press conferences of Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, who called the deal an historic mistake.
“The celebrations in Tehran and Iranian declarations of victory contrast starkly with the gloom hanging today over almost all Israelis,” wrote former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren in an article for Time Magazine today.
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Netanyahu said during the press conference:
This deal repeats the mistakes made with North Korea. There, too, we were assured that inspections and verifications would prevent a rogue regime from developing nuclear weapons. And we all know how that ended. The bottom line of this very bad deal is exactly what Iran’s President Rouhani said today: the international community is removing the sanctions, and Iran is keeping its nuclear program.
The deal will give an unreformed, unrepentant and far richer terrorist regime the capacity to produce many nuclear bombs – in fact, an entire nuclear arsenal, with the means to deliver it.
What a stunning historic mistake.
“Israel is not bound by this deal with Iran, because Iran continues to seek our destruction,” the Israeli Prime Minister warned. “We will always defend ourselves.”
“I say to all the leaders in Israel,” he continued, “it is time to put petty politics aside and unite behind this most fateful issue to the future and security of the State of Israel.”
Other prominent Israeli ministers similarly slammed the deal as an “historic capitulation.”
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A closer look at some key elements of the deal reveals why the Israelis (and the Arab countries too) say this is a very bad deal.
Today Reuters reported that the U.S. negotiation team has again given in on a key demand. For an inspection regime to be effective, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) needs unlimited access (including surprise visits) to all sites where Iran is suspected of conducting activities related to its nuclear program, including the military sites. But the draft tells us that the deal calls for U.N. inspectors to have access to all suspect sites, including the military, based on consultations between the powers and Tehran. So now the “anytime, anywhere” inspection regime is dependent on consultations with the Iranians who have always said inspections of military sites are off limits.
The anytime, anywhere inspection regime became even more crucial after the U.S. negotiators gave in on the original demand that the Iranians take physical actions that would prevent them from going nuclear if they wanted to: dismantling centrifuges, shuttering facilities, etc. The Iranians said no to those demands, and the Americans backed off. The fallback position relied 100% on verification: yes the Iranians would be physically able to cheat, the argument went, but the cheating would be detected because of an anytime, anywhere inspection regime.
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Here’s an example of another major concession to the Iranians that will, in fact, mean that the nuclear program will be placed under international sponsorship for research and development: since the work will be overseen by a great power, it will be off-limits to the kind of sabotage that has kept the Iranian nuclear program in check until now.
A few weeks ago, The Associated Press leaked parts of an annex confirming that a major power would be working with the Iranians to develop next-generation centrifuge technology at the Fordo underground military enrichment bunker. Technically the work won’t be on nuclear material, but AP noted that “isotope production uses the same technology as enrichment and can be quickly re-engineered to enriching uranium.” The administration had once promised Congress that Iran would be forced to dismantle its centrifuge program. The Iranians refused, so the administration conceded that they would be allowed to keep their existing centrifuges.
The result is that, since the work will now be overseen by a great power, it will be off-limits to the kind of sabotage that has kept the Iranian nuclear program in check until now.
The Israel Project’s (TIP) CEO, Josh Block, wrote in an e-mail to Western Journalism that President Obama promised Congress and the American people that he would secure a good deal or walk away:
He couldn’t bring home a good deal and he couldn’t bring himself to walk away. Instead, he walked away from every key position demanding the shuttering or dismantlement of Iran’s military nuclear infrastructure — including their fortified enrichment bunker, buried under a mountain, on a military base, where Iran will be permitted to continue enriching and developing its ability to spin faster and more advanced centrifuges.
To believe this is a good deal, you have to trust Iran. The American people, and their lawmakers, rightly, do not.
Over the next 60 days, Congress will review this accord, acknowledge that the President has, unfortunately, not lived up to the promises that he made, and instead delivered a deal that will make America, our children, and the world less safe.
The American people deserve better. Our negotiators can do better. Congress must insist on it, and reject this bad deal.
Now that the negotiations in Vienna have ended, Congress has 60 days to review the deal. But in reality, it has far less time for a thorough examination and to hold hearings.
Congress will recess in August until September 8. It will take three days to call up a bill and vote on it. The chance there will be a quick vote is almost non-existent because the draft agreement is more than 150 pages long and lawmakers will want to figure out what is in the thing. The first time the Senate will be able to vote on the deal is September 11, so Congress has only a few weeks for its review and the vote on the deal.
European and American negotiators were still celebrating the fact that they had offered Iran a golden opportunity to return to the family of nations without having to dismantle a single nuclear facility when Fars News in Iran demonstrated that, for Tehran, the world has remained the same.
The mouthpiece of the regime of the Islamic Republic had this to say about the agreement:
With the American spin machine on overdrive, the hostility between Iran and the United States is here to stay. Whatever happens in Vienna, Tehran will inevitably expand its role as a vital hub/node of Eurasia integration – from the New Silk Road to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Tehran will continue to safeguard its technical and scientific achievements, particularly its sovereign nuclear program. At the same time, Tehran will continue to support its allies and work for peace and security throughout the region.
Whatever happens in Vienna, the road ahead will still be that of resistance against the neocon nut jobs, their acronym fest of spy agencies, and their regional cohorts and machinations. As maintained by Ayatollah Khamenei, the struggle against the arrogant powers and their divide and rule techniques has only just begun.
Omri Ceren contributed to this report from Vienna.