A deal with Iran — or war with Iran?

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - By Pa­trick J. Buchanan

If Bibi Ne­tanyahu suc­ceeds in clos­ing down Obama’s diplo­matic path to Iran, only the road to war re­mains open. Which is ex­actly what Bibi wants. For what ter­ri­fies Tel Aviv, and rat­tles Riyadh, is not a U.S. war with Iran, but the aw­ful specter of Amer­i­can rap­proche­ment with Iran, a de­tente.

Thus, when France’s for­eign min­is­ter tor­pe­doed the deal John Kerry flew to Geneva to sign, France soared in neo­con es­teem. The “cheese-eat­ing sur­ren­der mon­keys “of 2003 who op­posed the Iraq war sud­denly be­came again the he­roes of Ver­dun and the Marne.

“Vive La France” blared the Wall Street Jour­nal ed­i­to­rial de­claim­ing, “Fran­cois Hol­lande’s So­cial­ist Gov­ern­ment has saved the West from a deal that would all but guar­an­tee that Iran be­comes a nu­clear power.”

Did Mr. Hol­lande re­ally save the West? Or did he just rack up points with the Saudi princes for when the next big arms con­tract comes up for bid?

What is go­ing on is a gravely se­ri­ous mat­ter.

If the Ne­tanyahu ca­bal suc­ceeds in sab­o­tag­ing U.S. ne­go­ti­a­tions with Iran, it is hard to see how we avoid another war that could set the Per­sian Gulf re­gion ablaze and sink the global econ­omy.

And just what is it that has Ne­tanyahu apoplec­tic?

A six-month deal un­der which Iran would freeze all en­rich­ment of ura­nium, in re­turn for a mod­est lift­ing of sanc­tions, while the fi­nal agree­ment is ne­go­ti­ated. The fi­nal deal would put per­ma­nent lim­its and con­trols on Iran’s nu­clear pro­gram to en­sure it is not used to build bombs

And there would be more and more in­tru­sive in­spec­tions. How would this im­peril Is­rael? Iran to­day has no atom bomb. Has never tested a bomb. Has never ex­ploded a nu­clear de­vice. Pos­sesses not a sin­gle known ounce of 90 per­cent en­riched ura­nium, which is es­sen­tial for a ura­nium bomb.

Nor does Iran have enough 20 per­cent ura­nium to make a bomb. And part of the stock­pile it did have has been con­verted into fuel rods. There are in­spec­tors in all of Iran’s op­er­at­ing nu­clear fa­cil­i­ties.

The Ay­a­tol­lah has de­clared a fatwa against nu­clear weapons. The Has­san Rouhani regime says it has no nu­clear weapons pro­gram.

And U.S. in­tel­li­gence agrees with Iran.

All 16 U.S. in­tel­li­gence agen­cies in 2007, and, again, two years ago, said, with high con­fi­dence, that Iran has made no de­ci­sion to build a bomb and has no nu­clear weapons pro­gram.

How would new re­stric­tions and re­duc­tions on an Ira­nian nu­clear pro­gram that has never pro­duced an ounce of weapons-grade ura­nium, let alone a bomb, threaten Is­rael, with its hun­dreds of atom bombs?

“You can’t trust the Ira­ni­ans. They’re ly­ing about their nu­clear pro­gram,” says Sen. Lind­sey Gra­ham, South Carolina Repub­li­can. Is U.S. in­tel­li­gence also ly­ing? Ten years ago, it turned out Sad­dam was telling the truth and it was Lind­sey’s friends do­ing the ly­ing about Iraq’s WMDs.

Looks like the same old crowd up to the same old tricks.

To abort Mr. Obama’s Iran ini­tia­tive, Bibi is mov­ing on four tracks.

First, get Congress to ac­cept Is­rael’s non­nego­tiable de­mand — Iran must give up all en­rich­ment, shut down all nu­clear fa­cil­i­ties and ship all en­riched ura­nium abroad — be­fore any sanc­tions are lifted.

This is an ul­ti­ma­tum mas­querad­ing as a ne­go­ti­at­ing po­si­tion.

Ac­cep­tance would en­tail an Ira­nian sur­ren­der Mr. Rouhani could never take home. It is a deal killer. Ev­ery­one knows it, even the Repub­li­cans now em­brac­ing the Is­raeli po­si­tion as their own.

Sec­ond, per­suade Is­rael’s col­lab­o­ra­tors in Congress to im­pose harsh new sanc­tions, rub Iran’s nose in them, and scut­tle the talks.

Third, arouse Jewish com­mu­ni­ties world­wide to pres­sure home gov­ern­ments to block any deal.

Sun­day, Bibi told the Gen­eral As­sem­bly of Jewish Fed­er­a­tions of North Amer­ica that what Mr. Kerry was pre­pared to sign was a “bad and dan­ger­ous deal” that threat­ened Jewish sur­vival, and, “on mat­ters of Jewish sur­vival, I will not be si­lenced.”

Bibi in­tends to use the ex­plo­sive is­sue of im­per­iled Jewish sur­vival to break Obama and Kerry and force them to aban­don their Ira­nian ini­tia­tive.

Fi­nally, the Is­raeli lobby is be­hind the push by Mr. Gra­ham and Rep. Trent Franks, Ari­zona Repub­li­can. to have Congress pre­emp­tively sur­ren­der its war pow­ers, by au­tho­riz­ing Mr. Obama to launch a war on Iran at a time of his own choos­ing, with­out any fur­ther con­sul­ta­tion with Congress. Re­mark­able. Self-pro­claimed con­sti­tu­tional Repub­li­cans are about to vote Barack Obama a blank check for war.

What the GOP fears is another episode like the one last sum­mer where Amer­ica rose as one and told Congress not to au­tho­rize any war on Syria. A pan­icked Congress ca­pit­u­lated, and there was no war.

To­day, though Mr. Obama and Mr. Kerry in­sist “all op­tions are on the ta­ble,” Mr. Obama has no more au­thor­ity to at­tack Iran to­day than he did Syria last sum­mer. Hill Repub­li­cans seek to rem­edy that by a pre­emp­tive con­gres­sional sur­ren­der of their war power.

One won­ders if Mr. Ne­tanyahu and his amen cor­ner in Congress have con­sid­ered the back­lash world­wide should they suc­ceed in scut­tling Geneva and putting this na­tion on the fast track to another Mideast war Is­rael and Saudi may want but Amer­ica does not.

Pa­trick J. Buchanan is the au­thor of “Sui­cide of a Su­per­power: Will Amer­ica Sur­vive to 2025?”

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