SARASOTA — Exactly two weeks ago, July 14, the world hardly noticed that a year had gone by since the announcement that the P5+1 negotiation team (USA, Great Britain, Russia, China, France and Germany) had reached a “deal” with Iran.
We were told by the Obama administration that the “JCPOA” (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) was guaranteed to prevent Iran from building or acquiring nuclear weapons for at least 15 years by “blocking all pathways” to achieving this. We were told that the world is “safer.”
I was skeptical. After reading the published U.S. version of the JCPOA on the State Department website, which is different from the Iranian one, and learning about “secret letters” exchanged between the U.S. and Iranian negotiators, I came to the conclusion that it was a bad deal and wrote the following in this column a year ago:
My personal negative opinion was confirmed during John Kerry’s Congressional testimony, when new elements and “secret understandings” were disclosed, and was reinforced by statements from Iranian leaders after the May 14 announcement. Here are just a few of them:
The agreement is not, and never will be, signed. This is why the U.S. rushed to get it “approved” by the United Nations Security Council, thus giving a purely verbal “understanding” some pretense of legitimacy.
The promise of “robust anytime, anywhere inspections” is gone.
Iran keeps its already enriched stockpiles and bomb parts.
All military facilities, including the trigger and bomb-assembly plant in Parchin, are off limits to the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency).
All facilities are off limits to Americans.
All centrifuges remain intact though a few thousand will be temporarily unplugged.
With Russia, China and the Europeans already signing huge deals and with Russia accepting the soon-to-be-freed $150 billion as loan collateral, the sanctions no longer exist, and cannot be “snapped back.”
But the most shocking revelation was that Kerry apparently accepted the Iranian negotiators’ “solemn word and guarantee” that Iran: “Never had in the past, does not have in the present, or plans to have in the future … any nuclear weapons development or acquisition plan.” Seriously? The whole unsigned verbal agreement is based on the “solemn word” of the Iranians?
As the Iranian leadership ecstatically tells mass rallies that chant “death to America and Israel,” just how easily they led on and hoodwinked a naïve president who was so desperate for a deal at any cost that he gave them everything they wanted without them conceding anything, regional leaders are listening with growing contempt, mistrust and lack of respect for the U.S.
That was then…
Today, one year after the much-heralded, and still unsigned, so-called “Iran Nuke Deal” was announced, the U.N.’s IAEA and the intelligence agencies of the P5+1 countries admit that they have no knowledge as to what nuclear weapons development Iran did in the past (which it is obligated to disclose), nor what it has today or what it’s secretly working on.
Despite getting almost full sanctions relief, Iran has violated the JCPOA (and U.N. Security Council resolutions) several times. Its leaders still demonize the West, vow to destroy Israel within the year and are building and testing long-range nuke bomb delivery systems with impunity. The head of Iran’s nuclear program announced last week the installation of cascades of the latest “Generation 5” ultra-fast centrifuges.
Meanwhile the U.S., the “guarantor” of Iranian compliance to the JCPOA, is seen by the Sunni Gulf States (and many Israelis) as being either afraid to confront Iran (which would expose the bluff of the “deal”), or worse, being in bed with the Iranians from the outset.
So here is my one-year cheat-sheet summary of the Iran Nuke Deal:
I believe that today:
Iran is not significantly farther from the “breakout” time frame that former IAEA chief nuclear inspector David Albright determined a year and a half ago — three to six months from decision to bomb.
With the new centrifuges that time frame will be shortened considerably.
Iran is expanding its military capabilities in preparation for war against Saudi Arabia, Turkey … or both.
One of the unfortunate consequences of the failed coup in Turkey is the publication of the fact that 90 B-61 thermonuclear bombs are stored in Turkey at the Incirlik Air Base, 40 of which are allocated for use by the Turkish Air Force. With the Sunni Turks and Shiite Iranians natural and historic enemies, that are currently fighting on opposite sides in Syria, the fact that this “deal” did not eliminate the Iranian nuclear program just adds to the regional instability.
Contrary to its obligations in the JCPOA, Iran continues to support Islamist terrorism around the world.
Iran continues to threaten Israel with imminent annihilation.
And finally, together with America’s shamefully reneged “red line” threat in Syria and its failure to fulfill promises to “degrade and destroy” ISIS and al-Qaida (which is now stronger than ever after bin Laden’s demise), this “deal” has contributed greatly to the deterioration of America’s image, prestige and respect in the Middle East. Over the past year, Iranian leaders, artists, teachers and entertainers have been mocking American negotiation “skills,” while Sunni Arab leaders and opinion makers have been openly calling for stronger ties to Russia, China, Japan, India and even Israel … because the U.S. can’t be trusted to fulfill its promises or commitments … ouch!
Bottom line: The JCPA, the Iran Nuke Deal, which is still unsigned, was a bad deal then, and is a bad deal now, one year later.
Agree or disagree, that’s my opinion.
Lt. Col. (IDF res) Gil Elan is president and CEO of the Southwest Jewish Congress, and a Middle East analyst. Email: email@example.com
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DISCLAIMER: Opinions are the writer’s, and do not represent SWJC directors, officers or members.