The Iran Nuclear Arms Deal a Year Later

The Iran Nuclear Arms Deal a Year Later

© David Burton 2016

The Nuclear Arms Deal

     14 July 2016 was the one year anniversary of the signing of a nuclear arms agreement with Iran and, immediately after the announcement of the agreement in 2015, the media was flooded with all sorts of information, misinformation, opinions, and just plain hot air over the nuclear arms deal reached between the P5+1 and Iran. What you think about the deal is most likely determined by your political leanings, preconceived notions, and prior brainwashing. Here are my thoughts on the subject, a year later.

     As a Jew and an ardent supporter of the State of Israel, one of my primary concerns about the nuclear arms deal was and is the impact of the deal on Israel and its security. Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu was an outspoken critic of the deal, both before agreement was achieved and after a final deal was announced. There is one thing of which I have no doubt: After numerous “final deadlines” were missed and extended, the agreement that was eventually reached with Iran was tougher than the one originally acceptable to Washington because of Netanyahu’s warnings and the pressure these warnings exerted on the U.S. president and his secretary of state. Netanyahu’s speech before the U.S. Congress in March of 2015 clearly delineated the threat posed by the Islamic Republic of Iran, its expressed hatred of America, Israel and the rest of the world, its stated goal of destroying Israel, its sponsorship of global Islamic terrorism and its destabilizing influence in the Mid-east. As a consequence of Netanyahu’s speech to Congress and the American people, the Administration would have been embarrassed to sign an agreement with Iran that would be perceived as totally inadequate and weak. We should all thank Israel’s prime minister for forcing the Administration in Washington to insist upon a “better” nuclear arms deal with Tehran.

     From the viewpoint of many, “No Nukes for Iran” should have been forever, not just for 10 or 15 years. Iranian uranium production for peaceful purposes - power generation, medicine, etc. - should always be open and available for international inspection. No secret nuclear material development or production facilities anywhere in Iran should be allowed! Alternatively, an agreement could have been made by the atomic powers such as the U.S., Russia, China, etc. to guarantee a supply of nuclear material for power-plant fuel and other peaceful uses so that Iran would have no need for producing its own nuclear material.

     The Iranian nuclear arms deal does not address Iran’s sponsorship of global Islamic terror and its publically stated goal of wiping out Israel. It might be argued that the objective of the agreement with Iran was to restrain its nuclear weapons development program and, to some, the agreement achieves this objective. To many others – myself included - putting an end to Iranian aggression, sponsorship of global terrorism, and its funneling of arms and missiles to Hamas, Hezbollah and Yemenite rebels, should have been made part and parcel of the negotiations and agreement.

     Instead, the agreement does nothing to restrain Iran’s drive for hegemony in the region; it does not end Iran’s support for Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria, for Hamas in Gaza, and for the Houthis in Yemen; and it allows Iran to become the dominant influence in Baghdad. The agreement permits Iran to continue to engage in a war with Israel via its proxy, Hezbollah. Since 2006, Hezbollah has been budgeted, trained, and even directed by the Iranians.

     It must be understood that the nuclear arms deal with Iran is not between the United States and Iran, it is between Iran and the P5+1 nations and, ultimately, between Iran and the United Nations. America can accept or reject the agreement, but, the U.S. is effectively powerless to significantly impact the acceptance or rejection of the agreement between the U.N. and Iran. It is fairly obvious that the present administration in Washington has no stomach for going it alone in dealing with Iran.

     Past experiences in dealing with Iran’s and North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction programs have been abysmal. Both have successfully played the “rope-a-dope” game with the U.N., its inspectors, and its negotiators. We can also look back three quarters of a century when the international community, in the form of the League of Nations, was supposed to prevent the re-arming of Germany after World War I. We all know the consequences of that failed effort. Will the nations of the world be more successful in stopping naked aggression in the future than they have been the past?

     “President Barack Obama never submitted his Iranian nuclear deal for ratification by the Congress because he knew it would have no chance of passing. That does not make the United States unique: The Iranian parliament has never approved it either (that body passed a heavily amended version) and the Iranian president has never signed it. The Iranian cabinet has never even discussed it. And the other members of the P5+1 – Britain, China, Germany, France and Russia – have likewise given it short legal shrift. Indeed, President Obama ‘may end up being the only person in the world to sign his much-wanted deal, in effect making a treaty with himself,’ as the Gatestone Institute's Amir Taheri has said. [Emphasis mine]
     “In other words, Iran is not legally bound to do anything, something which a State Department official admitted last November in a letter to Kansas GOP Rep. Mike Pompeo of the House Intelligence Committee, in which she stated the deal ‘is not a treaty or an executive agreement, and is not a signed document.’ Instead, the official wrote, its success ‘will depend not on whether it is legally binding or signed, but rather on the extensive verification measures’ and our ‘capacity to reimpose and ramp up our sanctions if Iran does not meet its commitments.’ . . .
      - - -
     “Obama and his Secretary of State John Kerry claim that their nuke deal with the ‘moderate faction’ in Tehran might encourage positive changes in Iran's behavior. That hasn't happened. [Emphasis mine] Instead, Iran has acted with impunity, safe in the knowledge that Obama will minimize and talk around its violations, lest his centerpiece foreign policy accomplishment prove illusory. ‘Obama won't do anything that might jeopardize the deal,’ Ziba Kalam, an adviser to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, said in October. ‘This is his biggest, if not the only, foreign policy success.’ And the deal has done nothing to soften Iran's aggressive posture across many issues. [Emphasis mine]
      - - -
     “{With respect to the goal of improving relations with America and Israel} . . . the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, describes Israel as ‘a cancerous tumor’ whose elimination would mean that ‘the West's hegemony and threats will be discredited’ in the Middle East. In its place, he boasts, ‘the hegemony of Iran will be promoted.’ Today there are dozens of maps circulating in the Muslim world showing the extent of Muslim territories lost to the infidel that must be recovered.
     “Then there is Khamenei's position on Israel. It has no right to exist as a state, he believes. (He also regards the Holocaust as either ‘a propaganda ploy’ or a disputed claim. ‘If there was such a thing,’ he writes, ‘we don't know why it happened and how.’) He claims his strategy for the destruction of Israel is not based on anti-Semitism but on ‘well-established Islamic principles.’ One is that a land that falls under Muslim rule, even briefly, can never again be ceded to non-Muslims.
     “And according to Khamenei, Israel is a special case. The first is that the country is an ‘ally of the American Great Satan’ and plays an important role in its ‘evil scheme’ to dominate ‘the heartland of the Ummah.’ A second reason is that Israel is a ‘hostile infidel,’ having repeatedly fought with Muslims. Finally, Khamenei sees Israel's occupation of Jerusalem, which he describes as ‘Islam's third Holy City’ as putting the country in a category unto itself. He proposes a protracted stretch of guerilla warfare aimed at driving the majority of Israeli Jews from their country. To this end he wants to set up Hezbollah-style groups in the West Bank. ‘The solution is a one-state formula,’ he declares, and it would be an Islamic state called Palestine.
     “Certain that Obama is unwilling to undermine the nonexistent ‘deal,’ the mullahs have intensified their backing for Houthi rebels in Yemen and heightened their propaganda war against Saudi Arabia, now openly calling for the overthrow of the monarchy there. Iran's military has engaged with Russia in Syria to shore up the country's dictator, Bashar Assad. They have heightened contacts with Palestinian groups in the hope of unleashing a new ‘intifada’ against Israel. Khamenei's mouthpiece, the newspaper Kayhan, wrote in a recent editorial, ‘Palestine is thirsty for a third intifada. It is the duty of every Muslim to help start it as soon as possible.’
     “Nor will Obama's hopes of engaging Iran on other issues come to fruition, for Khamenei declared ‘any dialogue with the American Great Satan’ to be ‘forbidden.’ Nor have they moderated their ‘hate-America campaign,’ notes Taheri. 'Death to America' slogans in Tehran have been painted afresh along with U.S. flags painted at the entrance of offices so that they could be trampled underfoot,’ [Emphasis mine] Taheri writes. Inside Iran, Obama's ‘moderate partners’ have doubled the number of executions and political prisoners, recently crushing marches by teachers calling for release of their leaders, arresting hundreds of trade unionists. When the administration unveiled the agreement for U.S. lawmakers, the members of Congress were told that new sanctions on Iran would violate the deal.
     “And all of this has taken place against the backdrop of the United States having gone out of its way, as no major power in history, to help, respect, please and even appease the Islamic world. By contrast, no other nation has been a victim of vilification, demonization and violence on the part of the Islamists as has the U.S., as Taheri has pointed out.” (Ref. 1)

     Iran took very little time in thumbing its nose at the international community with its continued testing of long range ballistic missiles – prohibited by U.N. resolutions and, supposedly, by the nuclear arms agreement.

     Only three months after reaching the nuclear arms agreement, “Iran successfully tested a long-range ballistic missile that it says is capable of striking Israel. . . .
     “The events suggest Iran is sending a message to the world that, even though it agreed to a landmark international agreement three months ago curbing its nuclear program, the Islamic Republic has not abandoned its tendency to act outside the international system and assert itself on the world stage.
      - - -
     " ‘It is a violation of existing U.N. Security Council resolutions that prohibit Iran from testing ballistic missiles of this range,’ [Emphasis mine] . . .
      - - -
     ". . . ‘They don't believe we're going to do anything serious because keeping the deal together is too valuable for the U.S. and the West.’
      - - -
     ". . . ‘They're going to keep testing our limits and, under this president, they're not going to get significant pushback.’
      - - -
     "Indeed, Iran has indicated it intends to keep up its support for terrorist groups in the region, one example of the nefarious activity the U.S. continues to oppose. Its involvement in Syria, reportedly sending 1,500 troops into the country in cooperation with a Russian-led effort to prop up Syrian President Bashar Assad, shows it is increasingly nervous its ally is in a precarious position. Iran needs a friendly regime in Syria to ensure it a clear path to its Hezbollah proxies in Lebanon.” (Ref. 2)

     “Iranian leaders have breached both the resolutions and the nuclear agreement for the third time since the nuclear deal went into effect in January 2016. Iran has repeatedly test-fired, long-range ballistic missiles [Emphasis mine] . . .
     “In October and November, just after the nuclear deal was reached, Iran tested a new ballistic missile capable of carrying multiple warheads.
     “In March, Iran again test-fired two ballistic missiles.
     “More recently and for the third time, the Iranian government fired a test missile two weeks ago which was accurate to 25 feet . . .
     “The range of existing Iranian ballistic missiles has grown from 500 miles to over . . . roughly 1,250 miles, which can easily reach Eastern Europe as well as countries such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Yemen.
      - - -
     “. . . the United Nations Security Council resolution (Paragraph 3 of Annex B of resolution 2231, 2015) is clear. The resolution ‘calls upon Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.’
     “The second UN Security Council resolution 1929 indicates ‘Iran shall not undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using ballistic missile technology, and that States shall take all necessary measures to prevent the transfer of technology or technical assistance to Iran related to such activities’.
     “In addition, the Joint Plan of Action Agreement (JCPOA) of the nuclear agreement between P5+1 and Iran is crystal clear in stating that Iran should not undertake any ballistic missiles activity ‘until the date eight years after the JCPOA Adoption Day or until the date on which the IAEA submits a report confirming the Broader Conclusion, whichever is earlier.’ [Emphasis mine]
      - - -
     “The US has been trivializing the issue, failing to hold Iran accountable, and only playing with rhetoric.
      - - -
     “The US has stopped short of calling Iran’s actions as violations of UN Security Council resolutions. President Obama will continue to overlook Iran’s belligerent actions, including ballistic missile launches and the detention of US sailors by the Iranian forces, until he leaves office. He desires what he sees as his crowning foreign policy ‘achievement’, the nuclear agreement, to remain intact.
     “President Obama is concerned that holding Iran accountable for these violations might force the Iranian leaders to abandon the nuclear deal, thus causing its failure.
     “Furthermore, France, Britain and other European countries have less incentive to publicly hold Iran responsible, because of the increasing economic and trade ties with Tehran particularly in the energy sector (oil and gas).” (Ref. 3) Money, after all, trumps all other considerations!

     One year ago, in order get an agreement, and true to form, President Obama, in effect, told Congress: “debate the agreement all you want, but, in the end, It’s my way or the highway!

     “On the one hand, according to a Washington Post transcript of the president’s remarks, Obama said, ‘I welcome a robust debate in Congress on this issue and I welcome scrutiny of the details of this agreement.’ Then, within seconds of that ‘welcoming’ statement, Obama threw down the presidential gauntlet, adding, ‘I will veto any legislation that prevents the successful implementation of this deal.’ “ (Ref. 4)

     The 109-page text of the agreement with Iran, which includes five annexes, “left open areas that are sure to raise fierce objections in Congress. It preserves Iran’s ability to produce as much nuclear fuel as it wishes after year 15 of the agreement, and allows it to conduct research on advanced centrifuges after the eighth year. Moreover, the Iranians won the eventual lifting of an embargo on the import and export of conventional arms and ballistic missiles — a step the departing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, warned about just last week.” [Emphasis mine] (Ref. 5)

     “One year after the Obama-backed Nuclear Deal came into effect, {the} Islamic Republic of Iran remains the leading sponsor of international terrorism, says a policy paper published by British policy think-tank Henry Jackson Society. According to the report released on Wednesday at the House of Lords in London, Iran maintains a large and lucrative illegal financing network to bypass the remaining sanction that are in place to stop Tehran from funding terrorist outfits and regime{s}.[Emphasis mine]
      - - -
     “Iran has been quick to fill the geopolitical vacuum created by President Obama’s foreign policy of retreat. Thanks to {the} estimated $100 billion windfall from {the} Obama-Kerry Nuclear Deal, Iran now exerts control over three major Arab capitals — Damascus, Baghdad and Beirut. Last year, {an} Iranian-backed militia ousted the government in Yemen, extending Iran’s control over yet another Arab state.
     “{The} Hezbollah terrorist outfit in Lebanon and Bashar Al Assad’s regime in Syria are two of the major recipients of Iranian funding.   . . . Iran continues to fund and arm {the} Gaza-based Sunni Islamist group Hamas in its war of terror against Israel.
     “Regardless of the positive spin on {the} Nuclear Deal sold by {the} Obama administration to the media and public, {the} Iranian regime remains at war with the U.S. and its allies. The lifting of sanctions hasn’t changed the hostile nature of the regime towards the West.
     “Iran’s continuation of illicit funding of its international terrorist network is an act of war, even if {the} Obama administration isn’t willing to acknowledge it.
[Emphasis mine] (Ref. 6)

     On the positive side, the core of the agreement restricts “the amount of nuclear fuel that Iran can keep for the next 15 years. The current stockpile of low enriched uranium will be reduced by 98 percent, most likely by shipping much of it to Russia.” (Ref. 5) On the negative side, Iran can resume its nuclear weapons development program after the 15-year period is over.

     Combined with a 2/3 reduction in the number of its centrifuges, the amount of time it would take Iran to make enough material for a single atomic bomb should it abandon the accord and race for a weapon — “breakout time” - would be 12 months instead of the current estimated breakout time of 2 to 3 months.[5] “But American officials also acknowledged that after the first decade, the breakout time would begin to shrink. It was unclear how rapidly, because Iran’s longer-term plans to expand its enrichment capability will be kept confidential.” (Ref. 5)

     "In Washington, support is growing for the notion that the Obama administration has failed to hold Tehran accountable for nuclear violations, downplayed Iran’s economic windfall from sanctions relief, and ignored the deal’s negative regional implications for state sponsorship of terrorism, [Emphasis mine] . . .
     "With wording in the deal that left Iran great flexibility, Iran has continued to conduct ballistic missile testing, despite the Obama administration's erroneous belief a nuclear deal would put an end to these tests. [Emphasis mine]
     "In selling the deal, the White House declared its expectation Tehran would step back from participating in terrorism. Instead, Iran continues to be the leading state sponsor of terror, a fact announced again this year by the U.S. State Department’s Country Report on Terrorism. [Emphasis mine]
      - - -
     "A year later, staunch opponents of the Iran deal have earned the right to say, 'I told you so.' " (Ref. 7)


  1. A Bad Deal Off to a Worse Start, Mortimer B. Zuckerman, US News & World Report, 21 June 2016.
  2. Missile Test Just the Latest Iranian Provocation, Teresa Welsh, US News & World Report, 15 October 2015.
  3. Iran Breaches the Nuclear Deal and UN Resolutions for Third Time, Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, The Huffington Post,
    16 May 2016.
  4. BREAKING: Obama Just Thumbed His Nose At Congress As Iran Nuke Deal Draws Talk Of ‘War’, Norvell Rose, Western Journalism, 14 July 2015.
  5. Deal Reached on Iran Nuclear Program; Limits on Fuel Would Lessen With Time, Michael R. Gordon and David E. Sanger, The New York Times, 14 July 2015.
  6. One Year after the Nuclear Deal, Iran remains leading financier of terrorism worldwide, Vijeta Uniyal,
    Legal Insurrection, 12 May 2016.
  7. The Iran Deal, A Year Later,, 12 July 2016.

  15 July 2016 {Article 257; Undecided_47}    
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