The Islamic Republic of Iran has laid a foundation to impose its will on the U.S. and continue its illicit nuclear-weapons program. The elements of a negotiated agreement outlined today in Geneva show the Obama administration engaging in concessionary bargaining with a rogue regime.
Abbas Araqchi, Iran’s deputy foreign minister, declared the U.S. and its partners “accepted the framework of Iran’s proposal,” the components of which entail sanctions relief in exchange for Iran’s suspension of some elements of its nuclear program.
There is no sign that Iran is willing to permanently stop its uranium enrichment, close its Arak and Fordo nuclear facilities, and ship its already 3.5 percent–enriched uranium outside of the country.
Moreover, there is no definitive method of verification to ensure that Iran’s clerical regime — a notoriously deceptive group — will comply with an agreement (Remember the North Korean debacle.)
In choosing to grant Iran concessions, the U.S. ignores that it has crucial economic leverage to dismantle Iran’s nuclear program. Bloomberg recently reported that “Iran’s economy will contract 1.5 percent this year after shrinking 1.9 percent in 2012,” while Trevor Houser, an economics expert, says, “Right now, Iran needs to sell its oil far more than the rest of the world needs to buy it.”
Their economy is in dire straits. The country’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, is desperate for a deal to alleviate economic hardship and prevent social unrest. The last time that happened, millions of Iranians protested the totalitarian system of the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in 2009, appealing to the U.S. president, “Obama: Are you with us or against us?”
Obama ignored their appeal and remained on the sidelines.
The U.S desire to rapidly end the Iranian nuclear crisis seems to be animated from a belief that the U.S. has offended Iran’s anti-American regime and wants to ask, “What can we do to repair things?” A nuclear deal for Iran means the withering away of our opposition to the regime due to fatigue.
From the beginning of Iran’s nuclear talks with the U.S. and Europe, the country has managed to win delays and move their weapons program closer to the point of breakout. A deal that does not fully remove Iran’s capability, including its 18,000 centrifuges, to produce a nuclear weapon will endanger U.S security.
— Benjamin Weinthal is a Berlin-based fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Follow Benjamin on Twitter @BenWeinthal.