National Security & Defense

Obama’s Iran Nuclear Deal: Trust, but Don’t Verify

(Photo Illustration: NRO)

As with Obamacare, Congress will have to pass the ObamaNuke deal to find out what’s in it. Literally.

When many in Congress apparently failed to read the 2,409-page Obamacare legislation, it was mainly their fault. Although Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi jammed the final bill through the Senate and House with little time for their colleagues to absorb it, scores of lawmakers otherwise failed to consume that heaping helping of mind-numbing, nausea-inducing prose — nearly twice the length of War and Peace. Yes, every member of Congress should have devoured it. But what unappetizing reading.

The ObamaNuke deal with Iran is something entirely different.

Congress cannot read key details of the agreement. They are secret, and America’s duly elected representatives are forbidden to see the entirety of what Obama is pressuring them to approve.

Case in point: the recently exposed provision that allows Iran to self-inspect its Parchin military site, south of Tehran, long feared to be a nuclear-research facility.

This is as absurd as having allowed the Nazis to self-inspect the Peenemünde Army Research Center in the late 1930s.

Nein, meine Herren. There never has been any anti-British rocket activity at Heeresversuchsanstalt Peenemünde,” officials in Berlin would have assured the League of Nations. “In fact, our inspectors confirm that our National Socialist researchers there are developing consumer appliances to improve the lives of the hardworking deutsche Volk.”

As George Jahn of the Associated Press observes, “The document on Parchin . . . will let the Iranians themselves look for signs of the very activity they deny — past work on nuclear weapons.”

The details of this side deal offer a stunning contrast to Ronald Reagan’s guiding principle on controlling Soviet weapons. Obama’s approach is, in essence, “Trust, but don’t verify.”

Dated July 11, the clandestine deal states: “Iran will provide to the Agency photos of the locations,” mutually agreed upon by Iran and the IAEA. Iran also will provide the IAEA with videos of those sites, along with only “7 environmental samples taken from points inside one building already identified by the Agency and agreed by Iran, and 2 points outside of the Parchin complex which would be agreed between Iran and the Agency.”

In addition, “activities will be carried out using Iran’s authenticated equipment, consistent with technical specifications provided by the Agency.”

Congress cannot read key details of the agreement. They are secret, and America’s duly elected representatives are forbidden to see the entirety of what Obama is pressuring them to approve.

Rather than allow IAEA inspectors to walk around Parchin, see what they want to see, and gather as many samples from as many spots as they deem appropriate, the farcical procedures above would precede a “public visit of the Director General, as a dignitary guest of the Government of Iran, accompanied by his deputy for safeguards.”

Last but not least, “Iran and the Agency will organize a one-day technical roundtable on issues relevant to Parchin.”

Iranian self-inspection, a ceremonial photo-op, and a panel discussion are light years from “anytime, anywhere” scrutiny of the ayatollahs’ atomic laboratory.

The Obama administration has refused to share this information with Congress, claiming that the IAEA prevents it. However, Olli Heinonen, a former IAEA deputy director general for safeguards, told Business Insider, “According to the IAEA rules and practices, such documents could be made available to the members of the IAEA Board.” The United States is on the IAEA board and could get these secret documents that way, or perhaps ask Great Britain, France, or Canada to make that request. Instead, Obama’s game could be summarized as “Don’t ask. Don’t tell.”

This ancillary measure, the Associated Press revealed, is titled “Separate Agreement II.” Presumably, there is a Separate Agreement I. If so, what’s in it? How about a Separate Agreement III?

As a monument to Obama’s reckless disregard for the law and his desperation to squeeze this legacy project through Congress, the concealment of this side deal violates the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (42 U.S. Code §2160e). Obama cannot denounce this statute as an ugly relic from the George Bush years, worthy of contempt and disregard. No such luck. This law passed 98 to 1 in the Senate, and 415 to 0 in the House. It was signed on May 22 by none other than Obama himself.

The law says that all documents that compose ObamaNuke must be transmitted to Congress, including any “entered into or made between Iran and any other parties . . . including annexes, appendices, codicils, side agreements.” This would include the IAEA and the covered-up text.

What other secret deals are attached to ObamaNuke, basically in invisible ink? What do they compel America to do? What do they liberate Iran to perpetrate?

House members and senators should know every page of the documents on which they are voting. To expect anyone to agree to any deal (e.g., a used-car sales contract) without reading it — and, indeed, when prohibited from doing so — is a terminal departure from common sense.

As the Wall Street Journal opined on Thursday, “Congress should insist on seeing every such side deal or else pass a resolution of disapproval on the principle that it can’t possibly approve a deal whose complete terms it hasn’t even been allowed to inspect.”

Senator Bill Nelson (D., Fla.) said he would vote for ObamaNuke “unless there is an unexpected change in the conditions and facts before the vote is called in September.” This comically ridiculous Iranian self-inspection certainly is such an unexpected change. So is the fact that this fiasco was concealed from Congress in a naked breach of federal law.

On this basis alone, Senator Nelson should evolve his Yes vote to a No. So should many other senators and representatives who have backed this pact while Separate Agreement II was hidden from them.

In light of Obama’s institutional assault on this separate and co-equal branch of the federal government, Democratic support for ObamaNuke deserves to crumble.

Every lawmaker should demand that Obama stop trying to bamboozle Congress. He must live by the law that he signed and show legislators every page of the agreement whose adoption he craves.

Buying a pig in a poke is one thing. Enacting an atomic-bomb agreement, partially sight unseen, is far deeper folly.

Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor, a contributor to National Review Online, and a senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research.


The Latest