The fatal flaw in the Iran
February 26, 2015
A sunset clause?
The news from the nuclear
talks with Iran was already troubling. Iran was being granted the ďright to
enrich.Ē It would be allowed to retain and spin thousands of centrifuges. It
could continue construction of the Arak
plutonium reactor. Yet so thoroughly was Iran stonewalling International
Atomic Energy Agency inspectors that just last
Thursday the IAEA reported its concern "about the possible existence in Iran
of undisclosed... nuclear payload for a missile."
Bad enough. Then it got worse:
leaked Monday of the elements of a ďsunset clause.Ē President Obama had
accepted the Iranian demand that any restrictions on its program be
time-limited. After which, the mullahs can crank up their nuclear program at
will and produce as much enriched uranium as they want.
Sanctions lifted. Restrictions
gone. Nuclear development legitimized. Iran would reenter the international
community, as Obama suggested in
an interview in December, as ďa very successful regional power.Ē A few
years ó probably around 10 ó of good behavior and Iran would be home free.
The agreement thus would
provide a predictable path to an Iranian bomb. Indeed, a flourishing path, with
trade resumed, oil pumping and foreign investment pouring into a restored
intercontinental ballistic missile program is subject to no restrictions at all.
Itís not even part of these negotiations.
Why is Iran building them? You
donít build ICBMs in order to deliver sticks of dynamite. Their only purpose
is to carry nuclear warheads. Nor does Iran need an ICBM to hit Riyadh or Tel
Aviv. Intercontinental missiles are for reaching, well, other continents. North
America, for example.
Such an agreement also means
the end of nonproliferation. When a rogue state defies the world, continues
illegal enrichment and then gets the world to bless an eventual unrestricted
industrial-level enrichment program, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is
dead. And regional hyperproliferation becomes inevitable as Egypt, Turkey, Saudi
Arabia and others seek shelter in going nuclear themselves.
Wasnít Obamaís great
international cause a nuclear-free world? Within months of his swearing-in, he
went to Prague to so declare. He then
led a 50-party Nuclear Security Summit, one of whose proclaimed achievements
was having Canada give up some enriched uranium.
Having disarmed the Canadian
threat, Obama turned to Iran. The deal now on offer to the ayatollah would
confer legitimacy on the nuclearization of the most rogue of rogue regimes:
radically anti-American, deeply jihadist, purveyor
of terrorism from Argentina to
Bulgaria, puppeteer of a Syrian regime that specializes in dropping
barrel bombs on civilians. In fact, the Iranian regime just this week, at
the apex of these nuclear talks, staged
a spectacular attack on a replica U.S. carrier near the Strait of Hormuz.
Well, say the administration
apologists, whatís your alternative? Do you want war?
Itís Obamaís usual, subtle
false-choice maneuver: Itís either appeasement or war.
Itís not. True, there are no
good choices, but Obamaís prospective deal is the worst possible. Not only
does Iran get a clear path to the bomb but it gets sanctions lifted, all
pressure removed and international legitimacy.
There is a third choice. If
you are not stopping Iranís program, donít give away the store. Keep the
pressure, keep the sanctions. Indeed, increase them. After all, previous
sanctions brought Iran to its knees and to the negotiating table in the first
place. And that was before the collapse of oil prices, which would now vastly
magnify the economic effect of heightened sanctions.
is proposing precisely that. Combined with cheap oil, it could so
destabilize the Iranian economy as to threaten
the clerical regime. Thatís the opening. Then offer to renew negotiations
for sanctions relief but from a very different starting point ó no enrichment.
Or, if you like, with a few token centrifuges for face-saving purposes.
And no sunset.
Thatís the carrot. As for
the stick, make it quietly known that the United States will not stand in the
way of any threatened nation that takes things into its own hands. We leave the
regional threat to the regional powers, say, Israeli bombers overflying Saudi
Consider where we began: six
U.N. Security Council resolutions demanding an end to Iranian enrichment.
Consider what we are now offering: an interim arrangement ending with a sunset
clause that allows the mullahs a robust, industrial-strength, internationally
sanctioned nuclear program.
Such a deal makes the Cuba
normalization look good and the Ukrainian cease-fires positively brilliant. We
are on the cusp of an epic capitulation. History will not be kind.