Once again, the United States is negotiating with Iran over the latter’s nuclear program. Allegedly on the table is the easing of sanctions. The U.S. must keep pressure on Iran until there is enforceable, verifiable and complete elimination of any nuclear-weapons infrastructure, not just a pause in enrichment. Anything short of that, anything that gives Iran any room to obtain nuclear arms, is worse than no deal at all, and we and our allies should in no way accept it.
The deal is still in the works, and not all the details are entirely clear or finalized. From what we do know, it appears that the deal will involve easing certain sanctions while Iran stops enriching uranium. The deal is bad for many reasons, but first among them is this: Iran could restart its centrifuges at a moment’s notice. Sanctions, on the other hand, take time to implement – six months minimum, according to Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee – and they take even longer to have any effect. If Iran were to break this deal, any economic response would be too little, too late.
Furthermore, the deal would only stop nuclear material production – work on other portions of a nuclear weapon would continue apace. Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told the Senate Judiciary Committee in a Feb. 11 hearing that he expects Iran will develop intercontinental ballistic missiles – able to deliver a warhead just about anywhere in the world – by 2015.
Why negotiate now? Ostensibly, because Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, is a “moderate” – a possible friend and negotiating partner to the West. A much more respectable character than his predecessor, the borderline-certifiable, Holocaust-denying wacko Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Two problems here: Rouhani is often described in Western media as a reformer, but this isn’t exactly true. One of the more recent examples of his extremism is a quote in Iran’s government-run media that “One of the wishes of the Iranian nation is liberation of [Jerusalem]” from “the yoke of Israel” – substantially, if not rhetorically, exactly in line with the regime’s position that Israel must be wiped off the face of the earth. (Remember, a genuine, pro-Western reformer couldn’t be appointed dogcatcher in today’s Iran, much less president.)
Secondly, the president doesn’t matter. Iran is ruled, ultimately, by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, a rabidly anti-Western, anti-Semitic all-powerful theocrat. The mask may have changed, but nothing else has.