On June 1, the New York Times, the paper that most closely identifies with Barack Obama’s foreign policies, reported that the Islamic Republic of Iran had increased its stockpiles of nuclear fuel by 20% over the last 18 months, contravening the administration’s claim that such illicit activity had been frozen. The paper cited a report issued by the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which compiled the disturbing data.
When challenged by reporters about the increase, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf – the woman who once comically noted that we needed to combat ISIS with job opportunities – issued a contorted and convoluted explanation that gives new meaning to the term “master of spin.” She termed as “patently absurd” the notion that the Iranians had violated any agreements and stated that under the Joint Plan of Action (JPA) Iranian stockpiles of enriched uranium were allowed to “fluctuate.”
That position places her at odds with earlier White House proclamations noting that any increase in Iranian nuclear fuel stockpiles goes against previous understandings. Of course, the conflicting positions and inexactitude characterize the opaque nature of the Obama administration and in particular, its shady dealings with the Islamic Republic.
This most recent violation of the JPA is the latest in a series of Iranian breaches that the Obama White House views as an inconvenient truth, which it prefers to disregard rather than confront. In his zeal to sign a deal at all costs, Obama has developed an acute case of tunnel vision that precludes him from entertaining any possibility of failure due to overt and covert Iranian transgressions.
This year, Iranian agents attempted to purchase compressors that could be utilized for use in Iranian centrifuge cascades. The compressors also had non-nuclear applications but the Iranians used forged documents in the transaction in an elaborate scheme to conceal the product’s destination and end user. Why would the Iranians go to such lengths to conceal every aspect of the transaction? Clearly the Islamic Republic was up to no good.
In November 2014, the IAEA issued a report analyzed by the Institute for Science and International Security that highlighted further Iranian transgressions and breaches of the JPA. The report noted that the Iranians were feeding UF6 gas into the newer IR-5 centrifuges, a prohibited action that was clearly in violation of interim agreements. The report also criticized the Iranians for being evasive and non-transparent on the military aspects of their nuclear program.
That same month another report was issued indicating that the Iranians were cheating by purchasing illegal equipment required for their heavy-water plutonium reactor at Arak. The plant at Arak can be used to make weapons-grade plutonium and provides the Iranians with yet another path toward developing nuclear bombs.
With all these breaches, one would think that the Obama administration would demur and adopt a more realistic approach to its dealings with the Iranians, one that would hold the mullahs accountable for their actions and exact a price for their transgressions. In fact, the opposite has occurred. Administration officials, like Marie Harf, have performed double backspins in their pathetic attempts to provide ludicrous explanations for Iran’s derelict conduct.
But it gets worse. In a recent interview with Israel’s channel 2, Obama stated that there was no military option to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, echoing similar sentiments expressed in past interviews. Even if that assessment was accurate –which it most certainly is not – why would the president lay his cards bare on the table? By doing so and foreclosing the military option, Obama removes a valuable trump card that only serves to embolden the mullahs of the Islamic Republic.
Imagine if during the Berlin airlift of 1948-49 Truman had openly declared that the U.S. would take no military action if the Soviets decided to shoot down Allied planes or if during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy stated that Soviet ships wishing to challenge the quarantine could proceed unmolested. While it was never a certainty that the U.S. in both scenarios would have been willing to risk global conflagration, the mere plausibility of that prospect prevented the Soviets from upping the ante. In more recent times, Khadafy voluntarily dismantled his nation’s nuclear program for fear that he too would suffer the same fate as Saddam Hussein even though invading Libya was never entertained as a serious consideration. These examples provide convincing proof that a credible military option should always go hand-in-hand with proactive diplomacy even if that option is undesirable or appears remote. By inexplicably removing that option, Obama severely undermined his own negotiating position.
While the Iranians are charting their path of death and destruction, Obama is putting the finishing touches on a deal that allows the Iranians to retain substantial quantities of enriched uranium, much more than necessary for civilian applications such as medical usage or power generation. They also get to keep their centrifuges spinning, get to retain their heavy water plutonium facility at Arak and are allowed to continue ballistic missile research and development – missiles that could one day be launched against the United States or its allies. There may even be a provision that allows Iran to maintain veto rights over nuclear and military site inspections.
Iran today can accurately be characterized as a rogue terror state involved in regional and global mayhem. But if a deal is finalized, the multi-billion dollar cash infusion resulting from sanctions relief will instantly propel this pariah entity into a terror state on steroids, making its current deleterious regional and global actions look like child’s play by comparison.