By Gil Elan
Last week I predicted that the Nov. 24 deadline to reach an agreement between Iran and the “P5+1” countries (US, Russia, UK, France, China) would lead to either a “good” deal, a “bad” deal, or a “terrible” deal (a short extension of the talks while trying to maintain the current U.N. imposed sanctions and intrusive inspection protocol).
On Monday we found out that following recent threats and insults by the ailing Grand Ayatollah and his henchmen, the P5+1 group agreed to not a ‘BAD’ deal, or even a ‘TERRIBLE’ deal.
After a year of promising the world that America will never let Iran construct or acquire nuclear weapons…”period,” the U.S., leading a band of weak-kneed world leaders, agreed to what can only be described, at first blush, as a “TERRIBLY BAD” deal:
- Talks are extended for seven months.
- Iran continues enrichment.
- The Arak heavy water reactor will be built and possibly go “hot.”
- No effective monitoring or inspections will be conducted.
- No access of the U.N.’s IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) officials to a suspected nuclear weapons testing base.
- Iran will get over $700,000,000 a month from unfrozen funds
- US (and probably Israeli) military strikes are effectively suspended until July 2015.
Bottom line: As of Nov. 24, Iran is, for all intents and purposes, a break-out nuclear military power, possibly capable of detonating a rudimentary device within six to eight weeks.
It can still be stopped — but only by a country that has both the ability AND the intent to do so. Only four countries in the world have the ability: The U.S., Russia, China and Israel. The first three clearly have no intent. And because of this absurd U.N. sanctioned “talk extension”; Israel now has to wait at least until April…unless the Iranians launch a missile attack on Israel from Lebanon beforehand.
Or does it?
At second blush though, it appears that the Israelis and all P5+1 countries are “satisfied” with the seven month drag-on of the talks. To understand that we have to go back to last November when everyone agreed to a limited time attempt at diplomacy, but were united in declaring that “no deal is better than a bad deal.”
And that, depending on one’s view point, is exactly what happened: Since there was neither a “good” deal nor “bad” deal, what we have is a “no deal.”
Recent reports by the U.N.’s IAEA and foreign intelligence agencies confirm that during the past 12 months of talks Iran did not fulfill any of its obligations according to the November 2013 “Joint Plan of Action,” agreement with the P5+1, that were a condition of conducting the negotiations in the first place, and easing the sanctions.
Since Iranian leaders say that they have no intention (or incentive since the sanctions have been breached) of fulfilling those obligations — there is no reason to assume that the extended talks will have different results. President Rouhani went on Iranian TV to declare the extension a victory, saying “the centrifuges are spinning and will never stop.”
So effectively we are in a state of “no deal” — back to the situation a year ago. The only difference is that in the interim Iran has added more enriched Uranium to its stockpiles, constructed and installed newer and more efficient centrifuges, advanced and upgraded production and development of nuclear warheads and long-range missiles (though intel reports say they are still having problems with a reliable missile deliverable warhead) and is about to complete construction of a heavy water reactor.
Which logically should automatically reinstate the “Red Lines” of both the U.S. and Israel. I don’t know about America’s…but I have no doubt that Israel’s red line was never taken off the table.
By the way — the fact that Israel this week entered into election mode must also be taken into account.
Agree or disagree, that’s my opinion.
Lieutenant Colonel (IDF res) Gil Elan is President and CEO of the Southwest Jewish Congress, and a Middle East Analyst. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Upcoming briefings and SWJC events are listed at: www.swjc.org. DISCLAIMER: Opinions are the writer’s, and do not represent SWJC directors, officers or members.