Democrats & Liberals Archives

Iran Deal Parameters Reached

Last Thursday, the US State Department released a set of parameters that will define the upcoming deal with Iran that will be finalized at the end of June.

On first inspection, these parameters appear to be much more favorable to US interests than even I had hoped. If the final Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) resembles these parameters it will be a huge win for Israel, the USA and anyone else interested in reducing the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the Middle East.

Firstly, the parameters make it impossible for Iran to utilize its existing nuclear infrastructure to construct nuclear weapons for the foreseeable future. The most notable facilities are the enrichment centers at Natanz and Fordow as well as the heavy water reactor at Arak.

The heavy water reactor at Arak is the most concerning Iranian nuclear facility because it is able to produce weapons-grade plutonium. A heavy water reactor in Yongbyon enabled North Korea to construct atomic weapons using plutonium, skirting efforts by the US and IAEA to prevent North Korea from obtaining atomic weapons. To best prevent Arak from becoming the next Yongbyon, Iran will agree to either destroy or export all of its plutonium as well as the entire facility at Arak. The heavy water reactor in Arak will be replaced by a reactor of a different design that will be unable to produce plutonium or any other fissile material needed for a nuclear weapon. Removing Arak from the equation severely hampers Iran's ability to obtain nuclear weapons. It also means that reactivation of the Arak facility would involve construction that would be much more difficult to hide from the IAEA's watchful eyes.

Along with the removal/dismantling of Arak, Iran has also agreed to shutter all enrichment activities at its Fordow facility. Ford's centrifuges will be either used for nonnuclear research purposes or removed entirely. This means that all of Iran's enrichment activities will occur in Natanz. Concentrating all of Iran's enrichment in one location makes it easier for the IAEA to monitor and also makes it easier for it to be destroyed if military intervention is needed. At the Natanz facility, Iran will only have 5000 inefficient 1st generation centrifuges to enrich uranium industrially. This means that the time needed to enrich enough uranium to produce a bomb will be on the order of a year, which is at least 3 times longer than it is today.

Ultimately, the purpose of this agreement will be to disable Iran's ability to use its preexisting nuclear infrastructure to construct a nuclear weapon. Obviously, nothing can prevent Iran from attempting to construct more clandestine facilities. However, that risk is not abrogated in the absence of a deal with Iran. Economic sanctions alone cannot halt Iran's nuclear research and development. North Korea was even more isolated yet still managed to test nuclear weapons in 2006 & 2009. In any case, anything that increases the number of IAEA inspectors running around Iran is a good thing.

This is a real good deal and it would be a shame if conservatives cause the US to shoot itself in the foot.

Posted by Warren Porter at April 5, 2015 2:28 PM
Comments
Comment #391031

Conservatives are owned by Israeli agents and have no choice but to comply with the far right government of Israel, so yes they will shoot America in the foot as they are hired guns.

Even before the parameters were announced they put their foots into their collective mouths at the behest of Israel so now they must either man up and say they screwed up by writing the letter earlier or they must continue down the same owned by Israel path and continue to shoot America in the foot for financial gain. My bet is with elections coming these clowns in Congress will go for the money.

Posted by: j2t2 at April 5, 2015 7:11 PM
Comment #391032

What has Israel ever done for the United States?

This is a country with @ 200 nuclear weapons, and it is the 9th largest arms EXPORTER in the world.

Netanyahu is acting in the interests of Israel and against the interests of the United States. Why are we giving a platform to a foreign leader who seeks to undermine our government? He is encouraging the opposition party to act against American interests, and conservative Repubicans are going along with it in the hopes it will help them obtain power. For shame. The people who pushed the disastrous invasion of Iraq, including Netanyahu and Neocons like Graham, are being allowed into our media to push for another war without being called out. For shame.

A freshman Senator from Arkansas has accepted $2.2 million from pro-Israeli interest groups, and now advocates for increases defense spending, opposition to negotiations with Iran, and actually authors a seditious letter directly to the leaders of Iran advising them not to trust the American government.

Every time we think conservative Republicans can not possibly sink any lower, guess what?

The GOP and Netanyahu want nothing less than war. This is clear. Let us all hope they can be stopped.

Posted by: phx8 at April 5, 2015 7:31 PM
Comment #391046
    US insisted that sanctions would be ‘suspended’ or ‘phased’ out over time while leaving in place the framework for punishing actions
    Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif says that’s not what he agreed to; Zarif is under the impression sanctions will be ‘terminated’ immediately
    A spokesperson for the State Department, Marie Harf, said she couldn’t speak to anything the country may have claimed in a fact sheet it released because she’s not fluent in Iran’s native language, Farsi
    She also put on blinders when confronted with claims made in English; said she was ‘not really concerned’ with how Iran would ‘sell’ the plan

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3024689/Cracks-emerge-nuclear-deal-Iran-timing-sanctions-relief.html#ixzz3WY6ofZo4

For 35 years Iran has resisted U.S. pressure, effectively insomuch as the Islamic Republic still exists and the same regime is still in charge, and some Iran “skeptics” push for the U.S. to continue along that path, of applying pressure that’s not working to change anything. More than half a century of pressure in the form of sanctions didn’t weaken the Communist regime in Cuba or even convince it to return property seized from Americans. U.S. pressure on Iraq throughout the 90s did little more than pave the way for a costly and bloody war from 2003-2011. The pressure of that war did nothing to stop, and in fact created the conditions for, groups like ISIS to take root and spread in the region. Fourteen years of pressure in Afghanistan has left the Taliban more powerful than at any point since the 2001 U.S. invasion. U.S. pressure hasn’t contributed to much positively since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

If—and it’s a big if—if the U.S., Iran, and the other countries participating in talks reach a deal over Iran’s nuclear program, and if that deal holds, and if Iran abides by it, and then if the U.S. and other countries abide by it, that deal will be thanks in part to a multilateral kind of U.S. “pressure.” It’s not clear the U.S. should be involved in the Iran talks at all—Corker’s legislation cites Iran’s threat to the “common defense and security” of the U.S. but that threat has never been defined in a clear and compelling way. The U.S. is involved in talks because the American government took it upon itself to take the lead in negotiations with Iran. It wasn’t necessary. The U.S. is not obligated to be the world’s policeman, not on matters of nuclear proliferation nor anything else. But the U.S. government has inserted itself into the debate about Iran’s nuclear program and carved out for itself a lead role. If the U.S. were to sink the deal now, years after negotiations began, that would do far more damage to its reputation on the international scene than anything opponents of a deal say the deal could do.

http://reason.com/blog/2015/04/06/its-getting-stupid-on-iran

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 6, 2015 1:01 PM
Comment #391078

This is a real good deal and it would be ashamed if conservatives cause the US to shoot itself in the foot.
Posted by Warren Porter at April 5, 2015 2:28 PM

Perhaps it is, and perhaps it is not. The determination will be made by the Senate after careful review of the agreement.

j2 arrogantly writes; “Conservatives are owned by Israeli agents and have no choice but to comply with the far right government of Israel, so yes they will shoot America in the foot as they are hired guns.”

Pure unadulterated bullshit.

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 6, 2015 6:21 PM
Comment #391081
The determination will be made by the Senate after careful review of the agreement.

The Senate has the prerogative to provide its advice and consent to any treaty signed by the US. However, that does not make its judgements infallible. Recent comment by GOP senators of late have been particularly troubling. Republicans seem willing to toss Israel under the bus in order to fuel their own political grandstanding.

Regrettably, the GOP’s myopia has also clouded the mind of Bibi Netanyahu, who has declared opposition to any deal that doesn’t force Iran’s recognition of Israel’s right to exist. I completely agree that it is a huge embarrassment for Iran that will continue to serve as a major stumbling block to greater integration with the West. However, it is completely absurd to link this issue with sanctions which were implemented irrespective of Israeli-Iranian relations.

The sanctions that are serving as the stick here are the sanctions implemented by China & Russia, not the ones implemented by the US & Europe. China and Russia are not allies of Israel and will not continue to damage their own economies for Israel’s sake. China and Russia are interested in only one thing: keeping atomic weapons out of Iran’s hands. They aren’t interested in restraining Iranian influence in the Arab world or protecting Israel.

Now that Iran has shown genuine commitment towards measures to insure that its nuclear research is not militarized, the US has zero reasons to convince Russia and China to keep whacking Iran with the economic sanctions stick. In the absence of a deal, Russia and China will likely unilaterally lift their sanctions and we will be in a worse position. Iran will be able to use the Arak, Fordow and Natanz facilities to churn out ever increasing amounts of weapons grade uranium and plutonium. At that point, Iran will certainly be an existisitential threat to Israel in no time. Taking the deal is far better than all other options absent military intervention. Heck, even John Bolton and Joshua Muravchik agree.

Posted by: Warren Porter at April 6, 2015 7:07 PM
Comment #391082

I think Obama said it best in his interview today with Steve Inskeep:

“The notion that we would condition Iran not getting nuclear weapons in a verifiable deal on Iran recognizing Israel is really akin to saying that we won’t sign a deal unless the nature of the Iranian regime completely transforms,” Obama said. “And that is, I think, a fundamental misjudgment. I want to return to this point: We want Iran not to have nuclear weapons precisely because we can’t bank on the nature of the regime changing. That’s exactly why we don’t want to have nuclear weapons. If suddenly Iran transformed itself to Germany or Sweden or France then there would be a different set of conversations about their nuclear infrastructure.”

It is because Iran doesn’t recognize Israel that we don’t want them to have nuclear break out capacity. If Iran were to do the unthinkable and recognize Israel as well as resuming peaceful relations including the cessation of all proxy conflicts with Israel, then who are we to treat Iran any different than South Korea or Germany?

Posted by: Warren Porter at April 6, 2015 7:14 PM
Comment #391083

Warren: “The sanctions that are serving as the stick here are the sanctions implemented by China & Russia, not the ones implemented by the US & Europe.”

The sanctions are authorized by the UN Security Council. Apparently, China and Russian have not withdrawn their approval of these sanctions. Warren may guess all he wishes but that means nothing.

“Now that Iran has shown genuine commitment towards measures to insure that its nuclear research is not militarized,…”

Really, you know this for certain? You have access to documents no one else has?

The link to John Bolton certainly does not substantiate approving any deal I am aware of.

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 6, 2015 7:24 PM
Comment #391084

Warren, question, Do you trust Iran to abide by any agreement? Do you really, really think they are NOT attempting to get weapon grade uranium and using the enriched uranium they now have for peaceful purposes? With all the oil they have why would they need to build electrical generation reactors or do you think they are being ecologically sound?

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at April 6, 2015 7:36 PM
Comment #391085

I suggest that Warren inform himself of how and by what means the North Koreans achieved a nuclear bomb. Then, we can discuss the similarities between how they achieved it and why Iran probably will also under this agreement.

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 6, 2015 7:45 PM
Comment #391087

Warren wrote; “The Senate has the prerogative to provide its advice and consent to any treaty signed by the US. However, that does not make its judgements infallible.”

Infallible…Nope. I will take the advice of 100 Senators who are not necessarily concerned about their individual legacy over a single man, obama, who is.

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 6, 2015 7:58 PM
Comment #391088

Technical point: The United States does not have diplomatic relations with Iran, so this is not actually a treaty. It is an executive-to-executive agreement between the US, Germany, UK, France, China and Russia and Iran. The agreement itself does not have to go through Congress for approval; however, lifting the sanctions would require Congressional approval.

The failure of these negotiations will effectively end sanctions, since our allies will no longer continue enforcing them. What is the point for the allies to continue, when we achieved what we wanted through sanctions- an agreement with satisfactory terms for verification- and then the US walked away anyway! Our allies will make the determination that the United States cannot be trusted- not Obama, and not Congress, not Democrats, and not Republicans. It will do grave damage to our ability to function in the international arena.

The hand of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and other hardliners will be strengthened, and the relatively moderate government now in place will be undermined. The current Ayatollah is sick, and the new one will be chosen in a way that reflects the success- or failure- of this agreement.

Make no mistake. Shooting down this agreement will lead to war.

That is precisely what the Netanyahu and the right wing Israelis want. And they want the US to do the bombing for them. Their strategy is simple: split the US from its allies, and make this the US and Israel against the world.

Posted by: phx8 at April 6, 2015 8:05 PM
Comment #391089

“From pretending only Republicans oppose a deal to pretending the U.S.’ reputation is in jeopardy, the stupid on Iran is reaching new highs.”

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 6, 2015 8:53 PM
Comment #391091
China and Russian have not withdrawn their approval of these sanctions.

Not yet, but a cursory look reveals that China and Russia are very anxious to lift the sanctions. US & European sanctions are meaningless if the Chinese and Russians don’t play ball. Yes, the sanctions were authorized by the UNSC, but since when have China and Russia permitted the UN to get in the way of their national interests?

Really, you know this for certain? You have access to documents no one else has?
Dismantling the facility in Arak and cessation of uranium enrichment in Fordow is a sign of genuine commitment towards a purely civilian nuclear program. This is along with the severe restrictions that also render the Nanatz facility nearly useless for constructing a bomb.
The link to John Bolton certainly does not substantiate approving any deal I am aware of.
I mistyped, sorry. My point is that John Bolton is also opposed to the GOP/Likud route of continuing the sanctions until the Iranian regime collapses. Bolton believes continuing the sanctions is a foolish endeavor and I agree with him.
Do you trust Iran to abide by any agreement?
No, which is why any agreement needs to insure that Iran will be crawling with IAEA inspectors for at least a decade.
Do you really, really think they are NOT attempting to get weapon grade uranium and using the enriched uranium they now have for peaceful purposes? With all the oil they have why would they need to build electrical generation reactors or do you think they are being ecologically sound?
I don’t believe the Iranian nuclear program is designed for economic or ecological benefit. Rather, it is a point of prestige for them. This is why the Shah of Iran began the nuclear program years before the revolution. Obtaining the bomb is part of the cachet, but so is the civilian aspect (including nuclear medicine, which can actually be justified by Iran’s isolation). Forcing Iran to remove ALL nuclear technology is simply an attempt to humiliate the nation and rub it in. We don’t need that, we just need protocols to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program is only used for civilian purposes.
I suggest that Warren inform himself of how and by what means the North Koreans achieved a nuclear bomb. Then, we can discuss the similarities between how they achieved it and why Iran probably will also under this agreement.
The North Koreans obtained plutonium from a heavy water reactor in Yongbyon. With the Arak reactor destroyed, Iran cannot follow the same path (apart from surreptitiously constructing another reactor elsewhere). However, the only guard we have against clandestine activities are the IAEA inspectors. Under the deal, IAEA inspectors will run rampant in the country, without a deal they will not. North Korea’s development of an atomic bomb occurred when IAEA inspections were severely hampered.

Last time I checked, North Korea was put under the severest of economic sanctions. Despite the PDRK’s poverty, they had no trouble building a bomb once the IAEA was kicked out in 2002.


What is the point for the allies to continue, when we achieved what we wanted through sanctions- an agreement with satisfactory terms for verification- and then the US walked away anyway! Our allies will make the determination that the United States cannot be trusted- not Obama, and not Congress, not Democrats, and not Republicans. It will do grave damage to our ability to function in the international arena.

Exactly the point that I have been hammering. Do I have a perfect crystal ball to tell me what the other members of the UNSC (and Germany) will do? No, but a little bit of common sense tells me they will act in the interest of their respective nations. Germany, France and Great Britain may stand firm with the US or they may concede, nobody knows. However, Russia and China have zero reasons to stand firm with the US if the US is responsible for a deal’s collapse. Only if Iran rejects the deal would it seem likely that Russia and China would remain firm.

Conservative Watchbloggers, tell me this: How would the continuation of sanctions against Iran benefit either Russia or China’s national interests if the proposed deal falls apart due to GOP intransigence in the US Senate? Especially when we consider that the deal already seems so favorable to US interests.

Make no mistake. Shooting down this agreement will lead to war.
Here, I disagree with you. I believe Netanyahu when he says he doesn’t want war. War with Iran would be political suicide for him. Shooting down this agreement will lead to something that is much worse than war. It will lead to an Iranian Nuclear Weapon. Posted by: Warren Porter at April 6, 2015 9:27 PM
Comment #391093

Shooting down this agreement “will lead to an Iranian Nuclear Weapon,” but that will precipitate a war. At the urging of Israel, the US will launch a conventional strike against the Iranians before they can complete one. (By the way, the current estimate is that the Iranians are three to five years away from developing a nuclear bomb). Israel cannot do launch the strike because they do not have the conventional weapons to destroy an underground facility, only nuclear ones. The US does possess the conventional weapons, and such an attack would quickly lead to full scale war.

That is what the Israelis want. That is why AIPAC and a handful of Israeli billionaires are pouring money into American politics. They bought themselves a Senator from Arkansas, of all places, to push for war. And there are plenty of others besides that yahoo. I’m not talking about just the 47 traitors, either. There are a few Democrats who would also be glad to do the bidding of AIPAC too.

Posted by: phx8 at April 6, 2015 9:54 PM
Comment #391094
Shooting down this agreement “will lead to an Iranian Nuclear Weapon,” but that will precipitate a war.

North Korea’s nuclear weapon did not lead to war. The same will be true for Iran.

Posted by: Warren Porter at April 6, 2015 11:16 PM
Comment #391095

I think that the leaders of Iran are smart enough to know that a deployment of a nuclear weapon would result in their country being turned to glass… We survived Russia having nuclear weapons for decades and the only country to actually use nuclear weapons was the US when no one else had them.

Are people really thinking that Iran would use a nuclear weapon that they develop offensively? What would that gain them?

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 6, 2015 11:26 PM
Comment #391097

It is true, when other countries such as North Korea and the USSR went nuclear, we worked our way through it. If it came to it, we could deal with a nuclear Iran too, though obviously no one wants to see nuclear proliferation.

The problem is that we have Israel pushing for a strike, and large amounts of money from AIPAC and Israeli billionaires and the defense industry paying off Senators and pounding the war drums. They will make claims about Iran producing a nuke even if the claims are not true. We have seen these claims since the 80’s. We have an opposition party that will do almost anything out of hatred for Obama, especially if they think it will increase their own power, or at any rate, weaken him.

Posted by: phx8 at April 6, 2015 11:45 PM
Comment #391110

Great, now the leftist conspiracy theories have Israel and all those who disagree with Obama, wanting to start a nuclear war.

Posted by: kctim at April 7, 2015 1:06 PM
Comment #391112

No, kctim, a conventional war, not a nuclear war. Just like they did with Iraq.

Posted by: phx8 at April 7, 2015 2:33 PM
Comment #391113

Phx8, apparently, this is the latest talking point as I’ve heard those on the left claiming both. Without this “deal,” Republicans and Israel will intentionally start a war with Iran and Iran will do EVERYTHING it needs to do to get nuclear weapons. A conventional war will lead to a nuclear war, just as Republicans and Israel want. I’m sure the “1%,” Bush Crime Family and evil corporations are also involved in some way or another.
Silly conspiracy theory.

Posted by: kctim at April 7, 2015 3:14 PM
Comment #391114

I am content to wait until the final agreement is announced and in writing for public review. The sense of the Senate will prevail.

As it stands now, everyone is just speculating.

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 7, 2015 3:46 PM
Comment #391125
I am content to wait until the final agreement is announced and in writing for public review.

That is fine. It is possible that the final deal does not resemble these framework parameters. If those differences are significantly detrimental to US interests’ it would be wise to scuttle the deal. However, I am confident that Kerry and Obama are wise enough not to present such a document to Congress. If Iran reneges on their current set of promises, Kerry & Obama will return empty handed.

The sense of the Senate will prevail.
With Lindsey Graham and others denouncing the framework parameters, I am very suspicious of the contention that sensibility will be the leading consideration when the Senate takes this up.
Without this “deal,” Republicans and Israel will intentionally start a war with Iran and Iran will do EVERYTHING it needs to do to get nuclear weapons.

Simple thought experiment: Pretend you are the Ayatollah of Iran. What would you do if this deal falls through and Western Sanctions remain in effect? What would you do in the likely event that China and Russia unilaterally lift their sanctions? What would you do in the rare circumstance Russia and China maintain the sanctions?

I think it is quite obvious that in all these scenarios, Iran’s best route for meeting its strategic interests is to expand its nuclear research 100% and develop weaponization capabilities right away. Phx8 contends that Israel would not tolerate this and would initiate a military intervention, I am skeptical and believe containment is a more likely outcome.

Posted by: Warren Porter at April 7, 2015 8:50 PM
Comment #391130

WP,
I think Israel would do everything it can to encourage the US to strike Iran before the Israelis did it themselves.

And here is more from the author of the 47 traitors letter, Senator Cotton, about bombing Iran. He does not want comparisons made with Iraq, because bombing Iran would only take four days or so:

“It would be something more along the lines of what President Clinton did in December 1998 during Operation Desert Fox. Several days air and naval bombing against Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction facilities for exactly the same kind of behavior.”

Sure. Of course. What could possibly go wrong with bombing Iran for just a few days? There is simply no chance- none- that there would be any negative consequences. They would just sit back and smile and quietly accept it, and that would be that.

Posted by: phx8 at April 8, 2015 11:35 AM
Comment #391131

Warren

If I were the Ayatollah of Iran, the first thing I would do is take advantage of the current hatred of Israel and current sympathy for Muslims, and get the deal that I want.
To do that, I would continue doing what I have always done: lie.
I would lie about my current capabilities, I would lie about my future intentions and I would lie about my willingness to cooperate.

Basically, I would lie in hopes of meeting my strategic interests to expand my nuclear research 100% and develop weaponization capabilities, in the quickest, easiest way possible.

And if that deal didn’t work out, I would lie and blame it on those not willing to give me everything I wanted. I continue seeking nukes, while also hoping that my continuing efforts do not lead to an attack.

If China and Russia unilaterally lifted their sanctions, I would use their lack of respect for the US, to help me further build up my arsenal.

In all three scenarios, I get my nukes.

Posted by: kctim at April 8, 2015 12:17 PM
Comment #391132
“It would be something more along the lines of what President Clinton did in December 1998 during Operation Desert Fox. Several days air and naval bombing against Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction facilities for exactly the same kind of behavior.”

The question there is ‘What effect did Operation Desert Fox’ have? It didn’t stop Saddam from attempting to acquire yellowcake, it didn’t stop Saddam from blocking access to UN monitors, it didn’t stop Saddam from violating the cease fire agreement from 7 years earlier, it didn’t end up lifting sanctions, it didn’t stop those sanctions from being violated by other countries for huge profits… It didn’t stop Iraqi children from dying due to those sanctions, the rape rooms, the financial support of terrorists organizations, etc…

It did make some people who like to see things blown up happy, as well as people who sell those weapons knowing they were about to make a sale on replacement of them… Other than that?

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 8, 2015 1:53 PM
Comment #391133

kctim,
That is why inspections and verification and so important for this agreement. The Iranians will not be able to pursue nuclear weapons. That is the whole point.

Also, your train of reasoning underestimates the desire of the Iranians to re-enter the international community and escape financial sanctions. The moderates want to see this, and they are at a crucial turning point, because the current Ayatollah is sick and will probably die soon.

In addition, there is the realpolitik aspect of this. While there are a lot of reasons for the US and Iran to continue distrusting one another, like it or not, there are also some basic geopolitical reasons for the US and Iran to align and work together. The issues of Israel and funding terrorism are on the back burner for Iran, and both Iran and the US are far more concerned with the immediate issue of fighting Sunni fundamentalists (including ISIS).

Posted by: phx8 at April 8, 2015 2:19 PM
Comment #391134

“That is why inspections and verification and so important for this agreement. The Iranians will not be able to pursue nuclear weapons.”

Those who do not, or will not remember the past are doomed to relive it to our great peril.

“In April 1991, as part of the permanent cease-fire agreement ending the Persian Gulf War, the UN Security Council ordered Iraq to eliminate under international supervision its biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons programs, as well as its ballistic missiles with ranges greater than 150 kilometers. The Security Council declared that the comprehensive economic sanctions imposed in 1990 on Iraq after its invasion of Kuwait would remain in place until Baghdad had fully complied with its weapons requirements.

Baghdad agreed to these conditions but for eight years deceived, obstructed, and threatened international inspectors sent to dismantle and verify the destruction of its banned programs. This systematic Iraqi effort to conceal and obscure the true extent of its weapons of mass destruction programs began almost immediately, when Baghdad lied about the status of its programs in its initial declarations and obstructed an inspection team. Iraq continued to harass, hinder, and frustrate inspectors until late 1998, when the inspectors withdrew from Iraq just hours before the United States and the United Kingdom launched three days of military strikes against Iraq for its noncooperation.”

http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2002_10/iraqspecialoct02

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 8, 2015 2:51 PM
Comment #391135

Phx8

The inspections and verification will be totally dependent on what Iran is willing to let be inspected and verified. We have played this game before.

You may very well be right that my reasoning underestimates their desire to get back on the international stage, but I don’t think it does. In fact, I would be willing to wager that, with or without this deal, Iran has nukes sooner rather than later.

There is no practical aspect to this at all. They are our stated enemy. They are the stated enemy of one of our closest allies, and they fund terrorism. The only practical thing would be them using us to deal with the fundamentalist thorn in their side.

Posted by: kc_tim at April 8, 2015 3:07 PM
Comment #391136

Just one little problem, Royal Flush. There were no WMD weapons programs in Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War. We know that now. It has been extensively documented, both in the final CIA report and elsewhere. Your linked article is from 2002. As Rick Perry would say:

Whoops.

Posted by: phx8 at April 8, 2015 3:13 PM
Comment #391137

Silly Twit. Spinning will not change the facts. The UN has a dismal record of inspections preventing anything.

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 8, 2015 3:23 PM
Comment #391138

This will be a good thing if all of the parameters of the framework are met and adhered to. There is not enough meat to the agreement yet but we can hope for the best outcome. Compliance and inspection are important but equally important is for the citizens of the participating nations to understand the agreement and the implications. There is no way to obtain that except with the passage of time and events and a thorough understanding of any advantages or disadvantages that the agreement brings. I can remember one of the few Presidents I can admire in retrospect(Dwight Eisenhower) speaking about the dangers that were beginning to formulate in Southeast Asia (Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia) but warning that the real powder keg was the Middle East. Can’t remember where that reference came from but I am certain he spoke about this and the dangers of the MIC. That danger is now a big part of all of our lives (MIC & Middle East).

Posted by: Speak4all at April 8, 2015 4:02 PM
Comment #391139

kctim,

Very cynical, but you have articulated your feelings very well. However, you have erroneously made the acquisition of nuclear weapons the ultimate goal for the Iranian regime. What Iran wants is regional hegemony in the Middle East. Nuclear weapons are just a means to that end. Only if Iran can be convinced that they may obtain what they want without nuclear weapons can we have a hope of convincing them of to abandon their programs. Absent that, our choices are invasion/occupation or containment, neither of which are my cup of tea.

This is why the preservation of Iran’s nuclear program is so important. It’s a point of pride for the nation that they do not need to import the isotopes needed for nuclear medicine. It is a point of pride for them to generate power with a fission reactor. Let Iran enjoy the fruits of their hard-earned work by preserving their civilian nuclear infrastructure while simultaneously monitoring and inspecting them to death in order to ward off any weaponization programs.

Basically, I would lie in hopes of meeting my strategic interests to expand my nuclear research 100% and develop weaponization capabilities, in the quickest, easiest way possible.

Any scenario that puts IAEA inspectors on the ground at Natanz, Fordow and Arak would not be the “quickest, easiest way possible” to an Iranian atomic bomb.

Posted by: Warren Porter at April 8, 2015 4:04 PM
Comment #391140

RF,
Spinning? How so? You used a link from 2002 that was proven to be factually false by subsequent events.

“Those who do not, or will not remember the past are doomed to relive it to our great peril.”

Indeed. You might want to ponder that in light of your latest discredited link.

“The UN has a dismal record of inspections preventing anything.”

The only major case I know of UN weapons inspections was with Iraq, and the presence of the inspectors did, in fact, deter Iraq from developing a nuclear weapons program, or building chemical & biological weapons. The UN weapons inspectors did exactly what they were supposed to do.

When the UN inspectors were in Iraq from November 2002 to March 2003 they found nothing. And the reason they found nothing is that there was nothing to find.

We were fed a lot of information by the Bush administration as well as Israeli intelligence- remember those SCUD missiles in the western desert that turned out not to exist? That came from Israel. And here is Netanyahu on Iraq in 2002, testifying before Congress:

“There is no question whatsoever that Saddam is seeking, is working, is advancing towards to the development of nuclear weapons…”

Netanyahu again in 2002:

“If you take out Saddam, Saddam’s regime, I guarantee you that it will have enormous positive reverberations on the region.”

Whoops!

And as you wrote, Royal Flush:

“Those who do not, or will not remember the past are doomed to relive it to our great peril.”

Posted by: phx8 at April 8, 2015 4:06 PM
Comment #391142

“You used a link from 2002 that was proven to be factually false by subsequent events.”

Good Grief, the article was about the inability of the UN inspectors to adequately do their job through various and nefarious avoidance techniques. It clearly outlines the dangers of relying upon UN inspection for anything as important as monitoring the development or possession of WMD’s. Read the article without your crazy blinders.

Warren, the political, economic, or military predominance or control by Iran over the Middle East is fraught with dangers. You suggest that Iran wants a nuclear weapon to achieve this goal. No doubt that is true and certainly will be met in kind by other powers in that area. To suggest we support Iranian hegemony in the Middle East is total madness. Is that not exactly what Europe gave Hitler?

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 8, 2015 4:42 PM
Comment #391143

Warren

Absolute regional dominance is not possible as long as the US has the presence we have in the middle east. Iran will never abandon it’s quest for nukes.
Our only real choices are to do everything possible to prevent them from obtaining them and hope their people say enough, or to just let them have them. I do not believe they are a country that we should just let have them.

I do not care about their pride or their work.

“Any scenario that puts IAEA inspectors on the ground at Natanz, Fordow and Arak would not be the “quickest, easiest way possible” to an Iranian atomic bomb”

Depends on what those inspectors are allowed to investigate and what precautions the Iranians have taken.

Iran has done nothing to deserve our trust, sympathy or cooperation.

Posted by: kctim at April 8, 2015 4:53 PM
Comment #391144

phx8, your attempt to rewrite history is an interesting one…

Thankfully enough people still remember the real history to not buy it. ‘discredited’? Nothing that Royal quoted was ‘discredited’, in fact it still remains fact.

Please give me the exact part of his quoted two paragraphs that are untrue?

Saddam spent a decade blocking the inspections he agreed to. Whether he had them and moved them to Syria or had destroyed them outside of the view of inspectors is irrelevant, he had violated the terms of his agreement. Further, even Hans Blix wasn’t sure that Saddam did or didn’t have any WMD (only that they hadn’t found them yet) but admitted that Iraq had violated 1441 by having missiles that were outside of the agreed upon range.

So you say that we never found Saddam’s WMD because there wasn’t any? That’s interesting because of what WikiLeaks revealed…

http://www.wired.com/2010/10/wikileaks-show-wmd-hunt-continued-in-iraq-with-surprising-results/

But WikiLeaks’ newly-released Iraq war documents reveal that for years afterward, U.S. troops continued to find chemical weapons labs, encounter insurgent specialists in toxins and uncover weapons of mass destruction.

Nearly three years later, American troops were still finding WMD in the region. An armored Buffalo vehicle unearthed a cache of artillery shells “that was covered by sacks and leaves under an Iraqi Community Watch checkpoint. “The 155mm rounds are filled with an unknown liquid, and several of which are leaking a black tar-like substance.” Initial tests were inconclusive. But later, “the rounds tested positive for mustard.”

But even late in the war, WMDs were still being unearthed. In the summer of 2008, according to one WikiLeaked report, American troops found at least 10 rounds that tested positive for chemical agents. “These rounds were most likely left over from the [Saddam]-era regime.”

We also know that Iraq had a large cache of uranium and thanks to Joe Wilson’s testimony knew that Saddam had ATTEMPTED to purchase yellowcake.

And if WMD had been the ONLY reason that we went to war with Iraq, MAYBE there would have been some debate, but since it wasn’t and since the other 2 reasons are agreed upon as being factual, I find the left’s views on the war as being somewhat naive…

http://www.examiner.com/article/whatever-happened-to-saddam-s-wmd

There were several reasons presented to the American public to justify the war. There was the Iraqi regime’s support for terrorism, its violations of human rights against Iraqi citizens, and, last but not least, Saddam Hussein’s efforts to amass an arsenal of Weapons of Mass Destruction which, it was argued, might one day be turned over to terrorist groups.

Since the antebellum political discussions much has happened. Saddam’s terror ties are confirmed and were thoroughly documented in a 2008 report, Saddam and Terrorism: Emerging Insights from Captured Iraqi Documents. Likewise, Saddam’s record of torture and mass murder is now a matter of historical record. These facts have been overshadowed by the failure of Coalition forces to find the expected stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, as well as indications of Saddam’s nuclear weapons program. This, in turn, has led to charges that the Bush Administration lied about the WMD in order to sell the war to Congress and public.

It is important to note that Saddam’s WMD programs were established as fact long before President Bush was elected.

After the fall of Saddam, the Iraq Survey Group scoured the country for traces of the nuclear program, as well as Saddam’s chemical and biological stockpiles. The Duelfer Report, released in 2004, concluded that after the Persian Gulf War Saddam’s goal was to have the sanctions on Iraq lifted. To that end, he hid or destroyed much of his WMD capability. With the introduction of the Oil for Food program in 1996, was used to enrich the regime and undermine the UN sanctions. Saddam’s stated intent was to revive the WMD programs after he evaded the sanctions.

Nevertheless, the belief that Saddam possessed no WMD or banned weapons by the time of the 2003 invasion is not true. For example, prior to the invasion UN inspectors found that Iraq’s al-Samoud 2 and al-Fatah ballistic missiles had ranges that exceeded the UN’s 150 kilometer limit. Both missiles also exceeded the size limit of 600 mm in diameter imposed by the UN on Iraq. Iraq also illegally imported banned missile engines and fuel.

In 2004, insurgents used several artillery shells containing the nerve agent sarin as IEDs to attack US troops. The shells were likely from small stockpiles that were not destroyed by Coalition aircraft or Saddam’s soldiers attempting to deceive UN inspectors. The stockpiles were probably raided by insurgents before they were discovered by Coalition forces in the aftermath of the regime’s fall.

And you quote

“There is no question whatsoever that Saddam is seeking, is working, is advancing towards to the development of nuclear weapons…”

as to suggest somehow that this wasn’t the case…

Of course, the fact that 550 tons of yellowcake uranium was captured by forces after the start of the war (the UN inspectors knew about them, but they hadn’t been disposed of or destroyed as agreed upon 12 years earlier) seems to slip by those ‘there were no wmd in Iraq’ discussions.

The truth is rarely as simple as you want to make it out to be to fulfil your hatred for a man or a party, phx8… And it makes what other things you say have less impact when you can’t even admit that it isn’t…

“If you take out Saddam, Saddam’s regime, I guarantee you that it will have enormous positive reverberations on the region.”

And a few years later we had Arab Spring… Democracies trying to gain hold all over the region. But… I guess you’ll argue that it wasn’t that but the election of Obama a few months after the initial protests started flaring up that was the cause?

Of course, Obama’s actions certainly didn’t help sustain that effort, but I’m sure he was stymied by the Republicans in some way there as well, right?

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 8, 2015 5:13 PM
Comment #391145

Iran has done nothing to deserve our trust, sympathy or cooperation.
Posted by: kctim at April 8, 2015 4:53 PM

Amen to that Tim.

As anyone who has ever fought with an opponent knows, when the guy is down you finish the job so he is unable to get back up.

This administration has succumbed to blackmail. We were told by Iran to lift the sanctions or face the consequences. obama will try on his own to lift the sanctions in return for empty, totally unreliable promises regarding UN inspections.

A smart president would never have sat at a table with these Iranian thugs without pre-conditions.

1st. Submit to vigorous and unimpeded UN inspections as the Security Council already demands and then we’ll talk.

2nd. Dismantle all centrifuges that have not been already approved by the Security Council and then we’ll talk.

3rd. Stop fostering violence in the area and then we’ll talk.

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 8, 2015 5:17 PM
Comment #391146

Rhinehold,
Here is something fun. I have been certified for chemical warfare. True story. It was part of my training. I even have a little card I carry in my wallet.

Another fun fact. Chemical weapons have a shelf life. They go bad. The weapons found after the 2003 invasion of Iraq were produced prior to 1991, placed in bunkers, and then forgotten. It is not a very precise term, but basically, they rotted. They contain some nasty stuff, but they were not viable chemical weapons. And those were what were found after the invasion of Iraq. There were a lot of leftovers from the days before the Gulf War in 1991, and they were completely and totally irrelevant to any kind of ongoing nuclear, chemical weapons, or biological warfare programs.

And what we are seeing today is the same people who pushed the invasion of Iraq and the same people who insisted Iraq was pursuing nuclear weapons are now the same people trying to tank the negotiations with Iran, and pushing for the US to bomb them.

As Royal Flush said:

“Those who do not, or will not remember the past are doomed to relive it to our great peril.”

Posted by: phx8 at April 8, 2015 5:25 PM
Comment #391147

“I have been certified for chemical warfare.” Who cares?

The UN Security Council could not enforce its demands upon Iran for over 12 years. What imbecile believes any agreement with Iran can or will be enforced?

I can sum up the Iranian position in a single sentence.

Sanctions worked and are killing us, end them in return for our empty promises.

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 8, 2015 5:44 PM
Comment #391149

“I can sum up the Iranian position in a single sentence”. Who cares?

Posted by: Speak4all at April 8, 2015 5:53 PM
Comment #391150

I can usually count on Speaks to admire my writing by repeating it.

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 8, 2015 5:56 PM
Comment #391151

Conservative columnist Thomas Sowell summed it up nicely…

“By abandoning virtually all its demands for serious restrictions on Iran’s nuclear bomb program, the Obama administration has apparently achieved the semblance of a preliminary introduction to the beginning of a tentative framework for a possible hope of an eventual agreement with Iran.”

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 8, 2015 7:32 PM
Comment #391152

Thomas Sowell! Nice!

Here is Thomas Sowell in 2003, comparing Saddam Hussein to Hitler, and the people who did not want to invade Iraq to appeasers like Chamberlain:

http://townhall.com/columnists/thomassowell/2003/01/30/disarming_a_country/page/full

Yeah. That happened.

Here is an article on the logical contortions Sowell went through in order to justify the invasion of Iraq:

http://warandroses.blogspot.com/2007/09/tales-from-memory-hole-ii-sowell.html

It gets better. In another article, “Point of No Return,” Sowell compares Iran with Nazi Germany again, and goes on about a nuclear Iran providing weapons to terrorists, and so on. What a piece of work this guy is! That was in 2006. Nine years ago.

They say even a broken clock is right twice a day. With Sowell, maybe not.

But what I don’t get is how people like that keep their job. One would think their employers or followers would hold them to account, or simply turn away in disgust. I mean, what is the point of employing or following someone like Sowell if he gets things so wrong? It’s in print, for crying out loud.

Posted by: phx8 at April 8, 2015 8:03 PM
Comment #391155
Another fun fact. Chemical weapons have a shelf life. They go bad. The weapons found after the 2003 invasion of Iraq were produced prior to 1991, placed in bunkers, and then forgotten. It is not a very precise term, but basically, they rotted. They contain some nasty stuff, but they were not viable chemical weapons. And those were what were found after the invasion of Iraq. There were a lot of leftovers from the days before the Gulf War in 1991, and they were completely and totally irrelevant to any kind of ongoing nuclear, chemical weapons, or biological warfare programs.

Yes, they have a shelf life where they lose their FULL potency. But let me ask you, phx8, what was the benefit of hiding away this ‘old’ WMD from inspectors for 12 years? See, the inspectors were trying to get a full accounting of their weapons and, surprise, we find that they were hiding WMD in Iraq from the inspectors after all…

Hundreds of mortar shells, chemical rounds, etc.

Even the most ‘Iraq wasn’t actively pursuing WMD’ admit that it was obvious that as soon as the sanctions were lifted that he would be right back at it again. That is why he kept all of his scientists around for that reason… It is also why, if you remember, Clinton bombed the al Shifa pharmaceutical plant (the one operated by al Qaeda with Iraqi help).

“Clinton’s Secretary of Defense William Cohen testified to the 9/11 Commission in 2004, characterizing Al Shifa as a “WMD-related facility”, which played a “chemical weapons role” such as to pose a risk that it, with the help of the Iraqi chemical weapons program connections he also testified to, might help Al Qaeda get chemical weapons technology.”

So that is why sanctions were never lifted, because everyone knew that as soon as they were, they would start right back up again. So… what good did the sanctions do other than kill millions of poor Iraqis?

Maybe Clinton was lying to us all too?

Maybe Saddam was a sweet old grandfatherly gentlemen that has been accused of all of these horrible things? Maybe he didn’t gas his own people, maybe he didn’t fund international terrorist groups, maybe he didn’t hide known terrorists away from capture, including one of the people responsible for the first WTC bombing, maybe he wasn’t torturing and raping and murdering all of those people…

What if everyone is wrong and you are right?

If so, then what good were the sanctions? They couldn’t, after 12 years, say for sure that all of Saddam’s WMD was accounted for and destroyed and we see now that they hadn’t accounted for and destroyed all of their weapons. Even if they were useless, the Iraqi government purposefully blocked access to the inspectors even the great Hans Blix, who said that he wouldn’t have been surprised that we would find chemical weapons in Iraq after the invasion…

You can keep pinning your hopes on the sanctions working in Iran even though they failed miserably in Iraq… But most of us have learned our lessons long ago.

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 8, 2015 9:40 PM
Comment #391156

BTW, phx8, maybe (since you’re a chemical weapons expert) you can explain why the finding of “5,000 chemical warheads, shells or aviation bombs” across Iraq led to the devastating damages to US soldiers who suffered from being exposed to it and were not properly prepared to deal with it, since everyone was told that there was none? And then denied treatment for it? I mean, you say that these old weapons had ‘rotted away’ and weren’t a danger to anyone, right?

Isn’t that a bit of an issue that you seem to be dismissing out of hand?

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/10/14/world/middleeast/us-casualties-of-iraq-chemical-weapons.html

From 2004 to 2011, American and American-trained Iraqi troops repeatedly encountered, and on at least six occasions were wounded by, chemical weapons remaining from years earlier in Saddam Hussein’s rule. In all, American troops secretly reported finding roughly 5,000 chemical warheads, shells or aviation bombs, according to interviews with dozens of participants, Iraqi and American officials, and heavily redacted intelligence documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

The New York Times found 17 American service members and seven Iraqi police officers who were exposed to nerve or mustard agents after 2003. American officials said that the actual tally of exposed troops was slightly higher, but that the government’s official count was classified.

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 8, 2015 10:02 PM
Comment #391157

Rhinehold,
There were a large number of chemical weapons in Iraq that were decommissioned after the Gulf War. Most were properly destroyed. Some were lost and forgotten, perhaps as many as 5,000. But make no mistake, even a corroded chemical weapon that no longer releases nerve gas or mustard gas still contains toxic chemicals, and when people stumbled upon these after the US invasion in 2003, it would undoubtedly have caused health problems.

Seriously, Rhinehold. There were no nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons programs after the Gulf War.

Posted by: phx8 at April 9, 2015 12:07 AM
Comment #391158
Seriously, Rhinehold. There were no nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons programs after the Gulf War.

Where did I say there were?

Now, here’s the problem that you want to gloss over and deflect from.

You say that ‘most were properly destroyed’, NO, they weren’t. Otherwise we wouldn’t have had a 12 year sanction/inspection situation going on. There were inventoried weapons that were not destroyed and were instead hidden away from the inspection teams to properly destroy. Did Saddam’s government destroy some of them on their own with being properly inspected? It seems most likely now, but that wasn’t what they were supposed to do. They were supposed to verify their destruction in front of UN inspectors and they weren’t because Saddam wanted people thinking he still had those weapons. When someone goes out of their way to convince you of something, why is it so strange to think that it is a possibility? And now we find that indeed THOUSANDS of chemical warheads were hidden away from inspections that weren’t destroyed. That we know of, who knows how many more are still hidden or were taken from secretly known caches that we didn’t get to ourselves. All in direct violation of the 1991 cease fire agreement.

This is why we were there in the first place, phx8. Simply blowing that off is asinine…

It is also a colossal failure for the inspection/sanction model that we now want to use for Iran. Are we prepared for another decade or more of similar failure that will eventually result in having to go in and force verification with military force? All the while allowing Iranian children to be starved to death as a result of those oppressive sanctions? Why on earth do people think that this ‘solution’ is going to work when it never really has before?

And when blaming Bush, the left likes to conveniently forget that if it weren’t for his efforts we wouldn’t have even had the inspection teams back in before the invasion… That is where Clinton failed in his administration allowing his term to end without getting any movement on that front. Bush was trying to clean up that mess left for him where we had no team on the ground for four years… It’s not surprising that we got intelligence wrong at that point. And remember, when Bush was running for office, 70% of the US population wanted us to invade Iraq immediately… Before 9/11…

Finally, I get sick and tired of this nonsense that Bush ‘lied’ about WMD… If he really ‘knew’ that there were no WMD programs going on, he could have easily manufactured something to put there for inspectors to find and prevent looking the fool. It is obvious to unbiased Bush haters that he was just as flabbergasted as many people were that we had been snookered, on purpose, by Saddam…

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 9, 2015 3:09 AM
Comment #391160

“Thomas Sowell! Nice!”

Yes indeed. Thanks for the link to the Sowell column from 2003. Here’s an excerpt you perhaps missed that is very cogent today.

“Diplomatic agreements and arms limitations treaties proliferated throughout the whole period between the two World Wars.

None of this had any practical effect, except to lull the Western democracies into inaction while Germany and Japan rapidly built up their military forces.”

Just as our borders must be closed before dealing with the illegals already here, Iran must allow total and unrestricted inspections before sanctions are lifted.

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 9, 2015 12:35 PM
Comment #391166

Warren


“North Korea’s nuclear weapon did not lead to war. The same will be true for Iran.”

North Korea is isolated and has China to the north who has a large stake in the world economy. IE North Korea is the annoying little petulant child trying to pretend they are important. Iran on the other hand is a dominant force in the middle east and with nuclear weapons would be grave threat to all the surrounding countries, especially Israel. They currently have great influence in the region through their funding of terrorist organizations like Hezbollah, and others. They are currently interfering in Yemen. To compare the two shows a clear lack of perspective.

Posted by: dbs at April 11, 2015 10:30 AM
Comment #391176

RF,

the political, economic, or military predominance or control by Iran over the Middle East is fraught with dangers. You suggest that Iran wants a nuclear weapon to achieve this goal. No doubt that is true and certainly will be met in kind by other powers in that area.

Absolutely true, but everything in foreign policy is fraught with danger.

To suggest we support Iranian hegemony in the Middle East is total madness.
I never indicated that we should support Iranian hegemony in the ME. However, I will say that it is not worth the effort or time for us to prioritize our opposition to Iran’s goals.
Is that not exactly what Europe gave Hitler?
It is also exactly what Roosevelt gave Stalin at Yalta. Sometimes these gambles work and sometimes they don’t.

kctim,

Iran has done nothing to deserve our trust, sympathy or cooperation.

Agreed. But it also means that our goals need to be focused on nonproliferation of nuclear weapons and protecting our allies’ interests. The humiliation of Iran should not be a goal of these negotiations. If Iran emerges from this deal with a great deal of power and influence, but without nuclear weapons programs, we should not be upset.

There are certain facts in this equation that we will never be able to change. Iran has the 2nd largest population and 2nd largest economy in the Middle East. Alongside Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, it will always be a key power broker in the region.

RF,

As anyone who has ever fought with an opponent knows, when the guy is down you finish the job so he is unable to get back up

Is Iran down? This is not Potsdam where we could credibly threaten the Japanese with “prompt and utter destruction”. In the absence of a deal, Iran will be fine. Economic sanctions will make things uncomfortable, but Iran does not fear autarky. And the reality is that we have no evidence to think that Russia and China will continue their sanctions in the future. China’s commitment to the current sanctions is quite weak and is bound to weaken further if US Seate blows up a deal that holds so much promise. I don’t think Russia thinks differently.

A smart president would never have sat at a table with these Iranian thugs without pre-conditions.

Iran has already submitted to plenty of preconditions. For instance, enrichment of U-235 above 5% has been suspended for 15 months.

1st. Submit to vigorous and unimpeded UN inspections as the Security Council already demands and then we’ll talk.

2nd. Dismantle all centrifuges that have not been already approved by the Security Council and then we’ll talk.

3rd. Stop fostering violence in the area and then we’ll talk.


After points 1, 2 and 3 are met, what is there to talk about?

Rhinehold,

Finally, I get sick and tired of this nonsense that Bush ‘lied’ about WMD… If he really ‘knew’ that there were no WMD programs going on, he could have easily manufactured something to put there for inspectors to find and prevent looking the fool. It is obvious to unbiased Bush haters that he was just as flabbergasted as many people were that we had been snookered, on purpose, by Saddam…

Just because the Bush administration was infected with the cancer of self-deception does not exonerate them. Digging up fossilized weapons built and subsequently forgotten about before 1991 does not exonerate them either. The truth is that the Bus Administration declared that Iraq posed an existential threat with a confidence that was not supported by military intelligence. I’m not saying military intelligence did not indicate that there was a significant chance that Iraq posed such a threat. I’m just saying that the Bush administration had a moral obligation to explain the nuance of the situation to the American people and failed to do so. We were told with absolute confidence that Iraq posed an existential threat to the US and it is clear today that sentiment was borne from deception. Self-deception may have played a role within the Bush administration, but it is still deception nonetheless.

RF,

“None of this had any practical effect, except to lull the Western democracies into inaction while Germany and Japan rapidly built up their military forces.”

Very naive of Sowell to declare that those treaties had no effect. Absent those treaties, one could easily imagine Germany’s invasion of its neighbors commencing in 1934 rather than 1939.

Iran must allow total and unrestricted inspections before sanctions are lifted.
Glad to see that you agree with President Obama.

dbs,

North Korea is isolated and has China to the north who has a large stake in the world economy. IE North Korea is the annoying little petulant child trying to pretend they are important. Iran on the other hand is a dominant force in the middle east and with nuclear weapons would be grave threat to all the surrounding countries, especially Israel. They currently have great influence in the region through their funding of terrorist organizations like Hezbollah, and others. They are currently interfering in Yemen. To compare the two shows a clear lack of perspective.

If Iran surprised the world and tested an atomic bomb tomorrow, I do not believe the US or Israel would invade. My earlier statement did not intend to comment on what Iran would do once it had the bomb. Nonetheless, I do not believe Iran would ever do anything foolish, even if it did acquire such a weapon. Just like with the USSR, MAD would still be in operation as both Israel and the US have second-strike capacity.

Posted by: Warren Porter at April 12, 2015 3:07 PM
Comment #391179

“It is also exactly what Roosevelt gave Stalin at Yalta. Sometimes these gambles work and sometimes they don’t.”

Certainly not similar to Yalta. Russia was an ally and we were in a World War.

“The humiliation of Iran should not be a goal of these negotiations.”

From where in the world did you get that idea? The Iranians have the power to rid themselves of sanctions at any time. I wouldn’t call the demands of the UN Security Council an exercise in humiliation.

“Is Iran down?”

Absolutely. It is naive to think they came to the bargaining table from a position of strength. The Iranian goal is to have the sanctions lifted because they are crippling their economy.

“After points 1, 2 and 3 are met, what is there to talk about?”

Glad you don’t disagree with my points. The next step is to find ways to return Iran to the community of nations pursuing peaceful development of nuclear energy and to help them rebuild their economy in peaceful ways.

“Just because the Bush administration was infected with the cancer of self-deception does not exonerate them.”

That “high horse” is too tall for you Warren. I can name dozens of prominent democrats and liberals who agreed with the administration at the time as well as the majority of public opinion.

“Absent those treaties, one could easily imagine Germany’s invasion of its neighbors commencing in 1934 rather than 1939.”

Keep on imagining Warren. You simply must study the rise of the Third Reich to understand the period.

“I do not believe Iran would ever do anything foolish, even if it did acquire such a weapon.”

Good Lord Warren! Are you ready to stake the possibility of WWIII on nothing but your beliefs?

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 12, 2015 4:21 PM
Comment #391181
Certainly not similar to Yalta. Russia was an ally and we were in a World War.

The circumstances at Yalta were much more nuanced than that. Foreshadowing the cold war, tensions between the USSR and the West were already apparent at Yalta.

From where in the world did you get that idea? The Iranians have the power to rid themselves of sanctions at any time. I wouldn’t call the demands of the UN Security Council an exercise in humiliation.

Conservative commentators have placed outrageous demands on these negotiations. Demands that would undermine the entire Iranian regime. For instance Bibi Netanyahu has made Iran’s recognition of Israel one of his preconditions for accepting an agreement. Others have declared that Iran must rid itself of all enriched Uranium, even supplies with

Absolutely. It is naive to think they came to the bargaining table from a position of strength. The Iranian goal is to have the sanctions lifted because they are crippling their economy.
The sanctions have certainly made things uncomfortable for Iran, but they do not constitute an existential threat. Only under the threat of annihilation would Iran be “down” and forced to capitulate to American demands. Also, I remind you that it is only the participation of China and Russia that gives the sanctions any teeth. It is this fact that empowers China and Russia to call the shots in a manner that the US cannot.
Glad you don’t disagree with my points. The next step is to find ways to return Iran to the community of nations pursuing peaceful development of nuclear energy and to help them rebuild their economy in peaceful ways.
Iranian acquiescence to UNSC resolution 1929 would result in the immediate cessation of sanctions. Your 3 points go beyond resolution 1929 to limit Iran in other manners, if Iran complied with them as well then there would be nothing left to negotiate. In other words, it would be incredibly foolish for Iran to acquiesce to your preconditions when it could accomplish the same with much less.

What is occurring right now is an exchange. Instead of getting an immediate lifting of all sanctions, Iran is going to get a gradual suspension of sanctions, which will be conditional rather than permanent. In exchange, Iran is going to be able to keep their civilian nuclear infrastructure (in violation of UNSC 1929). It’s quid pro quo; each side needs to give something up in order to get what it wants from the other party.

That “high horse” is too tall for you Warren. I can name dozens of prominent democrats and liberals who agreed with the administration at the time as well as the majority of public opinion.
Who cares? Mass-delusion is still no justification for a lie.
You simply must study the rise of the Third Reich to understand the period.
I’ve read some books and so have you. With the government purged on the Night of Long Knives and Hindenburg dead from natural causes, what exactly was stopping Hitler from putting his plan into action and starting war in 1934? I don’t think the military he inherited from the previous regime was properly equipped for invasion of Germany’s neighbors as result of the conditions imposed on Germany after WWI.
Good Lord Warren! Are you ready to stake the possibility of WWIII on nothing but your beliefs?
Even though you and I might disagree vehemently with his ideology, the Ayatollah of Iran is a rational person. Iran’s leaders know very well that starting a nuclear war with Israel would result in their own annihilation. Iran is not lead by martyrs, rather the regime will act in the best interests of Iran. An atomic weapon might embolden the regime’s commitment to proxy wars fought with conventional equipment, but it would certainly not lead to WWIII. This isn’t to say that I want to live in a world where Iran has enough confidence to double down on its proxy conflicts with its Sunni Arab neighbors, but I am not going to conflate that with the nuclear holocaust predicted by some conservatives.

Posted by: Warren Porter at April 12, 2015 6:48 PM
Comment #391184
The truth is that the Bus Administration declared that Iraq posed an existential threat with a confidence that was not supported by military intelligence. I’m not saying military intelligence did not indicate that there was a significant chance that Iraq posed such a threat. I’m just saying that the Bush administration had a moral obligation to explain the nuance of the situation to the American people and failed to do so. We were told with absolute confidence that Iraq posed an existential threat to the US and it is clear today that sentiment was borne from deception. Self-deception may have played a role within the Bush administration, but it is still deception nonetheless.

This notion that because Iraq didn’t have an active WMD program (but was intent on resuming one once sanctions were lifted) they were no threat to the US is an interesting one and completely and willfully ignores a lot of other factors, Warren. You talk nuance yet focus on one thing and ignore the myriad of other things that stand in the way of ‘hammer on bush’. The massive amount of financial aid that Iraq was pumping to terrorists groups, the threats to the US, the way it was running its country, etc…

The fact remains though, that we tried 12 years of sanctions against Iraq which didn’t bring about them complying with their 1991 cease fire agreement, the UN resolutions placed on them and only resulted in making Russia and France a bunch of money while systematically killing millions of Iraqi children in the process, and ultimately responsible for a prolonged war in the country further damaging it and us for that matter…

And we are proposing we do this all over again?

Of course, my response is let the ME deal with it, it’s a ME problem. Iran has not been actively threatening the US, has focused its terrorism support to only the ME and appears to be a lot saner than Saddam’s administration, who was willing to be annihilated in an attempt to deceive the world into making us think he was more of a threat than he ended up being. I don’t think Iran is willing to go down that annihilation path…

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 13, 2015 11:15 AM
Comment #391185
This notion that because Iraq didn’t have an active WMD program (but was intent on resuming one once sanctions were lifted) they were no threat to the US is an interesting one and completely and willfully ignores a lot of other factors, Warren. You talk nuance yet focus on one thing and ignore the myriad of other things that stand in the way of ‘hammer on bush’. The massive amount of financial aid that Iraq was pumping to terrorists groups, the threats to the US, the way it was running its country, etc…

Please don’t conflate “threat” with “existential threat”. Iraq’s financial support of Palestinian terrorist groups never threatened the US’s existance. Iraq’s fossilized chemical weapons never threatened the US’s existence. Iraq pretending to have a WMD program never threatened the US’s existance.

The fact remains though, that we tried 12 years of sanctions against Iraq which didn’t bring about them complying with their 1991 cease fire agreement, the UN resolutions placed on them and only resulted in making Russia and France a bunch of money while systematically killing millions of Iraqi children in the process, and ultimately responsible for a prolonged war in the country further damaging it and us for that matter…

And we are proposing we do this all over again?

Those sanctions prevented Iraq from acquiring WMDs. If preventing an Iranian atomic weapon is our goal, then our experience with Iraq should not dissuade us from utilizing sanctions, IAEA inspections, etc…

Iran has not been actively threatening the US
“Death to America” anyone?
has focused its terrorism support to only the ME and appears to be a lot saner than Saddam’s administration

Iranian-backed Hezbollah has demonstrated its capability and willingness to commit terrorism outside of the Middle East. Most notably with the bombing of targets in Argentina. This is far more internationalized than Saddam’s funding of Hamas.

Posted by: Warren Porter at April 13, 2015 2:23 PM
Comment #391186

Warren, the bully in the neighborhood, if left unchallenged, soon becomes the bully in the entire city.

It would be fantastically irrational for the US to allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons with which it could blackmail and bully the entire Middle East. Once their empire is established they would soon be a major threat to the entire world.

Hitler could have easily been stopped from major militarization by the powers in Europe had they acted when the threat was manageable. Even Hitler was surprised how easily he could manipulate European powers. He was encouraged by Europe’s capitulation and began to believe in his own invincibility.

Tyrants and bullies alike only respect, and can only be defeated by, a greater power. Iran is tyrannical and a bully. They must be checked by the world’s democracies.

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 13, 2015 3:47 PM
Comment #391187
Please don’t conflate “threat” with “existential threat”. Iraq’s financial support of Palestinian terrorist groups never threatened the US’s existance. Iraq’s fossilized chemical weapons never threatened the US’s existence. Iraq pretending to have a WMD program never threatened the US’s existance.

It wasn’t just Palestinian terrorist groups that Iraq funded, Warren. I would suggest perusing this Pentagon report, Saddam and Terrorism: Emerging Insights from Captured Iraqi Documents.

Some we knew already, including ties to several terrorists groups, not all ‘Palestinian groups’. But there is even more revelations that we’ve undercovered. Including links to al Qaeda…

Saddam’s security organizations and bin Laden’s terrorist network operated with similar aims, at least for the short term. Considerable operational overlap was inevitable when monitoring, contacting, financing, and training the regional groups involved in terrorism. Saddam provided training and motivation to revolutionary pan-Arab nationalists in the region. Osama bin Laden provided training and motivation for violent revolutionary Islamists in the region. They were recruiting within the same demographic, spouting much the same rhetoric, and promoting a common historical narrative that promised a return to a glorious past. That these movements (pan-Arab and pan-Islamic) had many similarities and strategic parallels does not mean they saw themselves in that light. Nevertheless, these similarities created more than just the appearance of cooperation. Common interests, even without common cause, increased the aggregate terror threat.

One question remains regarding Iraq’s terrorism capability: Is there anything in the captured archives to indicate that Saddam had the will to use his terrorist capabilities directly against United States? Judging from examples of Saddam’s statements before the 1991 Gulf War with the United States, the answer is yes.

As I detailed in The Case for Invading Iraq, Iraq was directly responsible for the deaths of 811 people (36 Americans) and the 2,667 injuries (91 Americans). We’ve discovered now that the number is actually greater than this.

Bill Clinton’s Administration itself maintains that the Saddam regime had ties to Al Qaeda to this day by standing by its rationale for destroying the al shifa pharmaceutical plant, operated by al Qaeda with support by Saddam’s Iraq.

“The report of the 9/11 Commission notes that the National Security staff reviewed the intelligence in April 2000 and concluded that the CIA’s assessment of its intelligence on bin Laden and al-Shifa had been valid; the memo to Clinton on this was cosigned by Richard Clarke and Mary McCarthy, the NSC senior director for intelligence programs, who opposed the bombing of al-Shifa in 1998. The report also notes that in their testimony before the commission, Al Gore, Sandy Berger, George Tenet, and Richard Clarke all stood by the decision to bomb al-Shifa.”

Former Secretary of Defense Cohen defended, in his testimony to the 9/11 Commission in 2004, along with other cited Clinton security cabinet members in their separate 9/11 Commission testimony, the decision to destroy Al Shifa : “At the time, the intelligence community at the highest level repeatedly assured us that “it never gets better than this” in terms of confidence in an intelligence conclusion regarding a hard target. There was a good reason for this confidence, including multiple, reinforcing elements of information ranging from links that the organization that built the facility had both with Bin Laden and with the leadership of the Iraqi chemical weapons program; extraordinary security when the facility was constructed; physical evidence from the site; and other information from HUMINT and technical sources. Given what we knew regarding terrorists’ interest in acquiring and using chemical weapons against Americans, and given the intelligence assessment provided us regarding the al-Shifa facility, I continue to believe that destroying it was the right decision.”

The simplistic ‘Iraq was only supporting Palestenian Terrorism and had zero ties with al Qaeda’ viewpoint is just not backed up by the facts. Did Iraq help plan 9/11 or was it even involved in 9/11? No, and no one in the Bush administration said that they did. But to pivot that 180 degrees and argue that they weren’t supporting international terrorist and has zero relationship with al Qaeda is equally wrong.

Those sanctions prevented Iraq from acquiring WMDs. If preventing an Iranian atomic weapon is our goal, then our experience with Iraq should not dissuade us from utilizing sanctions, IAEA inspections, etc…

At what cost? Those sanctions were directly responsible for the deaths of millions of Iraqi children. Is that worth it for us to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon? Is Iran as bent on self-annihilation as Saddam was, is there anyone really thinking that they would actually use those weapons knowing that it would result in their country being pretty much completely destroyed? Saddam wanted power and didn’t care how he got it or what the end result was, Iran doesn’t seem to me to be that insane.

“Death to America” anyone?

You say that and then dismiss Iraq threatening the United States in much more direct ways…?

Iranian-backed Hezbollah has demonstrated its capability and willingness to commit terrorism outside of the Middle East. Most notably with the bombing of targets in Argentina. This is far more internationalized than Saddam’s funding of Hamas.

As I pointed out, Iraq didn’t just fund Hamas. Also ANO, Ansar al-Islam, Arab Liberation Front, PKK, MEK, etc.

It is also forgotten by many that Iraq’s own secret police force (itself a terrorist group) was actively operating in the United States and threatening former Iraqi citizens on a regular basis.

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 13, 2015 5:48 PM
Comment #391192
the bully in the neighborhood, if left unchallenged, soon becomes the bully in the entire city.

It’s not the responsibility of the NYPD to police crime in LA. Likewise, the management of Iran’s bully tactics is the responsibility of Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. All three of those states are more than capable of determining their own destinies. Of we can always support these allies through arms exports, loans and sharing of intelligence and technologies. However, it would be very ill-advised to occupy territory in the Middle East just to stop one bully.

It would be fantastically irrational for the US to allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons with which it could blackmail and bully the entire Middle East. Once their empire is established they would soon be a major threat to the entire world.

Absolutely true. Which is why I support any deal that keeps nuclear weapons out of Iranian hands. If the final deal resembles the framework released on April 2, then that goal will be accomplished. However, as long as Iran’s military is not nucqearized, I am less concerned with the power and influence they wield through conventional means.

Hitler could have easily been stopped from major militarization by the powers in Europe had they acted when the threat was manageable.
You certainly aren’t a student of history if you think the militaries of the UK and France could have taken on Nazi Germany in 1937-1939 then you are horribly naive. The British were woefully underarmed during most of the 1920s and did not begin rearmament until the mid ’30s. Also, bear in mind that Italy was supposed to play a key role in enforcing treaties against German aggression, but by the time Hitler became aggressive, Italy was already his ally.

In my opinion, from what I have read, the only real opportunity to stop Hitler came in 1932 to 1934. That’s when Germany’s political conservatives (Hindenburg, van Papen, etc…) betrayed the Weimar Republic’s Constitution in order to grant Hitler the power he needed to take over.

Even Hitler was surprised how easily he could manipulate European powers. He was encouraged by Europe’s capitulation and began to believe in his own invincibility.
I’ll be perfectly straight with you. I think Hitler would have won World War II if Europe had show greater backbone earlier on. The unique thing about that war was that it was a total war, waged as much upon Germany’s civilians as upon its military. Democracies generally do not have the stomach to wage such atrocities as has been demonstrated in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, etc. Granting Hitler his demands at Munich not only bought time for the UK and France to rearm themselves, it also completely undercut any antiwar opposition that might emerge later on. Hitler’s evil became unambiguous precisely because he violated the Munich agreement. Intervening to prevent the annexation of the Sudetenland would have colored the conflict with nuance and grayscale that would have made winning the war much harder.

An often repeated quote from Sun Tzu: “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.” UK, US and France did not spend 1937-1939 sitting on their hands or twiddling their thumbs. They spent that time rearming because they knew they had to win first before going to war. Fortunately, Hitler did not grasp that wisdom. His diplomatic successes caused him to overextend Germany’s military might, which ultimately cost him the war.

Tyrants and bullies alike only respect, and can only be defeated by, a greater power.
This is too simplistic for the real world. One does not tame a lion merely with force. Belligerent nations need persuasion from both carrots and sticks. The Shah of Iran was also a tyrant and bully, but he respected the US. This respect was not borne solely from the US’s overwhelming power, but rather from the mutual assistance and cooperation that the US and Iran had shared over many decades.
I would suggest perusing this Pentagon report, Saddam and Terrorism: Emerging Insights from Captured Iraqi Documents.
These documents provide no evidence of Iraq granting direct material support to Al Qaeda. Occasional instances ad-hoc cooperation do not constitute an existential threat. Al Qaeda only posed an existential threat when it had the ability to create massive 9/11 style attacks. Once Afghanistan ceased to be a safe-haven for Al Qaeda, that existential threat had been extinguished and this was accomplished well before the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
But to pivot that 180 degrees and argue that they weren’t supporting international terrorist and has zero relationship with al Qaeda is equally wrong.
Marginal support might mean a 170 degree pivot more truthful than a 180 degree pivot, but the essential conclusion is the same. It was not worthwhile for the US to expend so much blood and treasure to neutralize such a marginal threat.
No, and no one in the Bush administration said that they did.
Deception can be done without telling outright falsehoods. In 2003, most Americans believed Iraq was responsible for 9/11. The Bush administration had a moral obligation to correct the record. If the war in Iraq had solely been sold on the basis of the non-existential threats that were true, then the subsequent war would have been justifiable, but that was not the case. Instead we got fallacious tales of smoking guns in the form of mushroom clouds.
At what cost? Those sanctions were directly responsible for the deaths of millions of Iraqi children. Is that worth it for us to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon?
False analogy, nobody is talking about placing sanctions on Iran that could kill millions of children.
is there anyone really thinking that they would actually use those weapons knowing that it would result in their country being pretty much completely destroyed?
Netanyahu keeps warning Israel that an Iranian atomic bomb would mean a nuclear holocaust annihilating the Jewish state.
Also ANO, Ansar al-Islam, Arab Liberation Front, PKK, MEK, etc.
Many of these are Palestinian organizations. PKK is a Kurdish Group opposed to Turkey’s control of Kurdistan. MEK is a terrorist group seeking to overthrow the Islamic Republic of Iran. None of these groups have targeted the US homeland. All these groups are regional terrorism groups restricted to conflicts in the Middle East.
It is also forgotten by many that Iraq’s own secret police force (itself a terrorist group) was actively operating in the United States and threatening former Iraqi citizens on a regular basis.
I’m pretty sure every autocracy intimidates diaspora communities around the world including the US. It’s terrible, but we cannot stop them all.


Posted by: Warren Porter at April 14, 2015 2:51 PM
Comment #391198

Warren: “I’m pretty sure every autocracy intimidates diaspora communities around the world including the US.”

I’m curious about the US. I tried to think of an instance where we intentionally intimidate our diaspora communities, but couldn’t, unless we count the new IRS regulations that are causing folks to renounce their citizenship so they can have a foreign back account. You typically make thoughtful comments, so please let me know where we have done this.

Posted by: Mike in Tampa at April 15, 2015 8:19 AM
Comment #391200

MY BAD! It should be:

“I’m pretty sure every autocracy intimidates diaspora communities around the world including in the US.”

Posted by: Warren Porter at April 15, 2015 2:10 PM
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