Laughing all the way to Tehran
European Union High Representative Federica Mogherini, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and US Secretary of State John Kerry pose for a group picture at the United Nations building in Vienna Photo: Joe Klammar/AFP
A majority of Americans believe that Iran can not be trusted to abide by a nuclear agreement. There is very good reason for this as Iran has a long history of breaking its international commitments, is the world’s foremost sponsor of terrorism, and has consistently lied about the scope and intent of its nuclear program.
In fact, in the final days of the negotiations that concluded on July 14th with the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iranian leaders gave every indication that they were as committed as ever to the destruction of Israel and of the United States—their negotiating partners. Thousands of Iranians gathered in Tehran that Friday for al-Quds Day chanting “Down with America” and “Death to Israel.” Protestors burned Israeli and American flags, as well as posters depicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and American President Barack Obama.
Regime leaders also joined in the festivities, including President Hasan Rouhani and former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei made a statement indicating that the struggle against the U.S. will continue even if a nuclear deal is signed. Ayatollah Ali Jannati told the Fars news agency: “We march not only against Israel….We also march against the arrogant powers,” code words for Europe and the U.S.
An Iranian tech company used the occasion to launch a game for use on smart phone devices called “Missile Strike,” which awards points to players for firing missiles at Israeli cities and military bases. Just a couple of days earlier Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) put out a statement that the destruction of Israel is the Islamic world’s top priority.
Yet, President Obama persisted to sign an agreement with Iran, admitting to the Atlantic’s reporter Jeffrey Goldberg, “Look, 20 years from now…. If Iran has a nuclear weapon, it’s my name on this.” President Obama trusted the Iranian regime enough to not only sign an agreement with them, but to place his reputation on the line for decades to come.
It is truly baffling to think Obama has that much faith in an agreement that is as weak as this one, and that is signed by a notoriously deceptive regime. When the negotiations began the goal was to persuade Iran’s rulers to dismantle their nuclear program. Iran’s skilled negotiators turned the tables and walked away with $100 billion in sanctions relief, the ability to hide much of their nuclear activities, permission to continue research and development on advanced centrifuges, no sites shut down, no centrifuges destroyed, and billions of Iran’s blocked revenues in foreign banks unfrozen. Iran is claiming it achieved all it wanted.
The Iranian negotiators, seen elated and gleeful in Venice, surely laughed all the way back to Tehran. Their success was acknowledged by Iranian President Rouhani when he said that “the deal is a legal, technical and political victory for Iran.”
Why would the world’s superpower with vastly greater economic and military power than Iran, in partnership with five other strong countries, make this type of one-sided agreement? The Obama administration not only made concession after concession, but proved themselves dishonest by attempting to mislead the American people with a Framework Agreement factsheet that was later proven inaccurate.
Forcing the agreement on the American people
President Obama is now insisting that he will veto any legislation that blocks the Iran deal. This means Congress will need a veto-proof majority vote, which looks impossible in the House and very difficult in the Senate.
Reports now indicate that the Administration has plans to force the JCPOA on the American people by going through the UN Security Council. The US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, has already circulated a draft resolution to the 15-member UN Security Council that if adopted would be legally binding on Congress and on the next president.
The draft resolution is said to contain provisions that go beyond the actual JCPOA signed with Iran. For example, it lifts an embargo on conventional weaponry in five years and eases restrictions on the development and import of ballistic missile technology in eight years. The UNSC vote may take place as early as Monday.
While the Obama Administration is touting the JCPOA as historic and momentous, it is actually disastrous. They claim it will prevent war, but the reality is it will inevitably lead to military, possibly nuclear, conflict.
Outcome one: an emboldened Iranian regime
Between the $100-150 billion income from sanctions relief, and the hundreds of billions of dollars of frozen Iranian assets that will be released, the Iranian regime will be strengthened, the ayatollah’s rule will be consolidated, and no opposition will be able to topple them. So, we can forget any hope of a change in Iranian leadership, and a more peaceful government before the JCPOA expires.
Outcome two: an expanded Iranian military
In this year’s budget, President Rouhani’s administration had already increased Iran’s defense budget by 32.5%. With the additional cash flow they will now be able to meet that budget and expand their military strength, exerting a much greater influence in the region.
Outcome three: increased funding of terrorist groups
After a four month halt in Iranian funding to Hamas and Islamic Jihad because of budgetary concerns, the money is once again flowing freely to these terrorist groups now that the successful negotiations have been concluded. Hamas has declared that Iranian assistance is the key to the destruction of Israel.
Outcome four: nuclear arms race in the Middle East
Sunni Arab leaders are complaining that they have been betrayed by this agreement with Iran. They fear growing Iranian Shi’ite influence throughout the Middle East and are committed to pursuing their own nuclear weapons, which will severely destabilize the region and increase the likelihood of nuclear conflict.
Outcome five: a nuclear Iran
Iran will produce nuclear weapons, either legally after the expiration of the agreement, or illegally in secret defiance of it. The second option is likely as the JCPOA does not include a strong mechanism of verification, such as “anytime,” “anywhere” short-notice inspections, to ensure that they are not in fact producing nuclear weapons.
Outcome six: nuclear terrorism
Imagine for one moment a world in which Iranian-sponsored terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas possess nuclear weapons. They could detonate a few dirty bombs in major cities and bring the world to its knees. Terror and absolute chaos would rule the day as never seen before.
The negotiations that were intended to dismantle a nuclear program the Iranians denied they had, have in fact legitimized their program and allowed for their acceptance as a nuclear power in ten years.
To believe that this is a good deal, you must trust Iran. The American people do not. Over the next 60 days Congress will be reviewing the JCPOA and it is critical that they hear from you to reject this bad deal. Sign the petition calling for a deal that fully dismantles Iran’s nuclear program.
Susan M. Michael is the US Director of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem www.icejusa.org