A deal with Iran built on lies

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - BY WES­LEY PRUDEN

Ev­ery­thing about the so-called deal with Iran, in­clud­ing the rep­u­ta­tions of the men who ne­go­ti­ated it, is a lie. It’s likely to be a deadly lie for mil­lions of peo­ple who will die on ac­count of it. The world should mark well ev­ery­one re­spon­si­ble for it.

The first lie is that an agree­ment for more talk is al­ready “a deal.” So far the only agree­ment is to fur­ther pur­sue “a deal.” Pres­i­dent Obama couldn’t wait to take a victory lap. But not even Mr. Obama, des­per­ate to make some­thing he can call “a deal,” says there’s an ac­tual deal. Look closely at the slip­pery “clin­ton clauses,” as they were once called, in his an­nounce­ment Thurs­day: “I am con­vinced that if this frame­work leads to a fi­nal com­pre­hen­sive deal, it will make our coun­try, our al­lies and our world safer.”

That was Lie No. 2. There’s noth­ing in the “frame­work” that leads to a con­clu­sion like that. The world won’t be safer, be­cause when Iran gets the bomb — and there’s wide agree­ment that it’s not “if” but “when” — a half-dozen Is­lamic coun­tries in the Mid­dle East will start work on a bomb of their own. Saudi Ara­bia has al­ready hinted that once it’s clear that Amer­ica can’t be counted on to do what Mr. Obama em­phat­i­cally said Amer­ica would do, Saudi Ara­bia must do what it has to do. Sur­vival makes its own rules.

Once there’s an Ira­nian bomb, ev­ery crack­pot mul­lah and de­ranged Is­lamic holy man will want one. Who’s to stop them? Is­rael? The sit­u­a­tion by then will be so out of con­trol that no­body could do what only a su­per­power could have done.

The Ira­nian for­eign min­is­ter, Mo­ham­mad Javad Zarif, wanted to say com­plicit things at a press con­fer­ence in Lau­sanne on Thurs­day, but his care­fully cho­sen words were re­veal­ing to any­one familiar with pars­ing words: “Our pro­gram is ex­clu­sively peace­ful, has al­ways been and al­ways will re­main ex­clu­sively peace­ful.” (Lies No. 3, 4 and 5.) “We will con­tinue en­rich­ing. We will con­tinue re­search and devel­op­ment.”

Sec­re­tary of State John F. Kerry, feel­ing his own nose grow­ing longer by the hour, at­tempted to de­fend his com­pro­mises. “Sim­ply de­mand­ing that Iran ca­pit­u­late makes a nice sound bite,” he said, “but [a sound bite] is not a pol­icy, it is not a re­al­is­tic plan.” He should know. He doesn’t want any­one to re­mem­ber Mr. Obama’s sound bite that Iran would never get a bomb of its own be­cause he wouldn’t al­low it.

The Ira­nian for­eign min­is­ter con­cedes that Iran is “still some way away from where we want to be.” No doubt. But he’s en­ti­tled to his sat­is­fied mind. Re­lief from sanc­tions, and an eas­ily frus­trated in­spec­tion scheme, is ex­actly what the mul­lahs in Tehran set out to achieve. The only price they pay is to co­op­er­ate to en­able the lead­ers in the West to pre­tend they have ac­com­plished some­thing they haven’t.

Once the fi­nal agree­ment is in place, the mul­lahs can pro­ceed to do what they will say they are not do­ing, un­til their bomb is real and they can use it at will. Is­lamic good faith is good enough for Mr. Obama, who has a soft spot in his heart for Is­lam. Is­lamic good faith is not good enough for the rest of us. The pres­i­dent is en­ti­tled to in­dulge that soft spot in his heart, but he is not en­ti­tled to in­dulge a soft spot in his head at the ex­pense of the na­tion. He doesn’t have to be the se­cret Mus­lim some of his crit­ics say he is to be a faith­ful guardian of the in­ter­ests of the Is­lamic world.

De­scrib­ing Mr. Obama as an ap­peaser, in the tra­di­tion of Neville Cham­ber­lain cav­ing at a sim­i­lar nexus of his­tory in 1938, misses the point. Mr. Obama may not be ap­peas­ing at all, but en­abling. Ev­ery­thing about Barack Obama sug­gests that he be­lieves Amer­ica must be cut down to size, that it’s the ar­ro­gance of think­ing Amer­ica is some­thing spe­cial, the ex­cep­tional na­tion, that is the source of in­tractable trou­ble in the world. Once Amer­ica is brought to heel, men of wis­dom, bril­liance, kind­ness, in­tel­li­gence and good will — rare men just like him­self — can make the rough places smooth and forge a last­ing peace.

Th­ese ne­go­ti­a­tions have ex­posed the pres­i­dent as few events have. “Mr. Obama,” says the New York Ob­server, no par­tic­u­lar friend of Repub­li­cans and con­ser­va­tive crit­ics of the pres­i­dent, “is an am­a­teur who is en­thralled with the sound of his own voice and in­ca­pable of com­ing to grips with the con­se­quences of his ac­tions. He is sur­rounded by syco­phants, sec­ond-rate in­tel­lec­tu­als and a me­dia that re­mains com­pli­ant and un­crit­i­cal.”

His­tory won’t be able to say it bet­ter. Wes­ley Pruden is edi­tor emer­i­tus of The Wash­ing­ton Times.

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