The American Israeli Public Affairs Committee is out with its analysis of the Iran deal. It is measured, but ominous:
Tough sanctions legislation passed by Congress and vigorous diplomacy pursued by the administration have brought Iran to negotiations. However, the initial agreement raises many concerns—including implicit acceptance of Iranian enrichment. Congress has provided the leverage to spur Iran to seek talks; now it must press the administration to negotiate a verifiable agreement that will prevent Iran from ever building nuclear weapons. Congress must also legislate additional sanctions, so that Iran will face immediate consequences should it renege on its commitments or refuse to negotiate an acceptable final agreement.
If fully implemented, Iran’s nuclear program will be limited in some respects, but the bad news dwarfs whatever gains might be realized (even assuming perfect compliance):
The deal dismantles none of Iran’s existing program, allowing 9,000 centrifuges to continue operating and an additional 10,000 centrifuges to remain in place. After six months, if no agreement is reached, Iran will remain in a position to double the pace of its enrichment.
Iran will retain all of its nuclear material and will be able to continue the research and development aspects of its program. Thus, Iran will retain 5-7 bombs worth of low-enriched uranium.
The agreement imposes no restrictions on Iran’s nuclear weaponization efforts, beyond Iran’s commitment in the deal not to seek nuclear weapons. Iran thus far has denied inspectors access to key facilities, such as Parchin, where the IAEA suspects nuclear weapons-related experiments have been conducted.
The deal and the reaction from Democrats and Republicans reveals a fault line a mile wide. The president is telegraphing a final deal that does not comply with U.N. resolutions and U.S. policies; Congress still expects Obama to keep his word that Iran won’t be allowed to keep enriching. If the president no longer thinks that is realistic then he must accept responsibility for a policy that allowed Iran to reach this point. AIPAC is blunt in its assessment that “the interim agreement stipulates that the final agreement will allow Iran to continue mutually agreed upon enrichment activities. American officials deny that they recognized any Iranian ‘right’ to enrich, but appear to have conceded as a practical matter that Iran will be allowed some enrichment capacity. Allowing Iran to maintain a domestic enrichment capability and its existing nuclear infrastructure raises serious concerns that Iran will be able to resume nuclear-weapons related activities at will.”
AIPAC recommends that Congress continue to ratchet up sanctions and to enforce existing ones. What is remarkable is that there is solid bipartisan opposition to the deal and widespread skepticism that the president is even committed to removing Iran’s nuclear weapons apparatus. If there is this much hullabaloo on an interim agreement, one could expect a political firestorm if the president sets off down this path.
What is noteworthy on Iran, as it has been on Obamacare, is that the president’s repeated admonitions are ultimately meaningless. His words waft through the political world, disappear and then slip down the memory hole. This is no secret. Members of both parties, our allies and our adversaries know he has no red lines (other than avoiding conflict) and will contort words, misread history and engage in startling denial to try and conceal what more and more Americans (a 53 percent majority) now understand: He cannot be trusted.