The Obama administration has capitulated on so many aspects of the Iran deal that the press has learned not to take its statements at face value. At the State Department on Monday, Marie Harf insisted that “there is absolutely no change in our position regarding phased sanctions relief as part of a comprehensive deal. We have always said they will only receive sanctions relief after it verifiably completes all of its nuclear-related steps.” Around and around she went with the reporters who suspected some wordsmithing was going on. Well what not on signing but 90 days after signing? “I don’t even know how to answer that question,” she insisted. “What we’re working towards is a comprehensive agreement; June 30 is the deadline. What we’ve said there are – is sanctions will be only suspended in a phased way, that in no way does this automatically relieve anything. They have to take steps first.” But here was the real giveaway: When asked if it would be months or years before sanctions were lifted, Harf replied that “[there are] very complicated technical nuclear steps that we expect will probably take several months, as we’ve said.”
In other words, Iran would not be required to adhere to the deal for any significant period of time. Given that it will retain its nuclear infrastructure and considering its past history of cheating, the “phased” qualifier is something of a mirage. Pretty soon, the Iranian economy will be up and running. In a matter of a few months.
What about inspections? U.S. Energy Secretary Earnest Moniz declared, ” We expect to have anywhere, anytime access.” Hmm. Expect? Not insist, but expect. He said inspections of military facilities would be part of that. The Iranians are insisting they will never give access. So one must consider how the administration will manage to cave on this one, as it does on every significant issue. Well, perhaps the “anywhere, anytime” access does not rule out 7 days advanced notice. Or maybe, the same sites won’t be checked more than a certain number of times in a given period. Whatever it is, however buried it is in the annexes and footnotes of a deal, the administration will shave “anywhere, anytime” down to something that affords Iran opportunities to cheat. That is because Iran has learned to say no and the administration has not.
The administration is desperate for a deal. Once it agreed to let Iran keep its facilities and thousands of centrifuges — and gave every indication it would not use force (What -you want war?!) — Iran could patiently wait to whittle down the administration’s must-haves to pale imitations of their original form. It is for this reason that the nub of the deal set out in the framework is unacceptable, and that Congress should insist the president start over. Moreover, by agreeing to phased negotiations that might end in a few months, the administration is now in the position of helping to finance Iran’s support for terror and aggression in the neighborhood. In other words, the president is prepared to give Iran virtually everything as a reward for being intransigent. The point was for us to stick to our guns, using the threat of more sanctions and military action, to get Iran to give up its program. It’s a measure of the administration’s desperation and incompetence that the exact opposite is occurring.