France Only Delayed Inevitable Bad Iran Nuclear Deal
Posted 06:48 PM ET
In the 21st century, gallows humor has been supplanted by mushroom cloud humor. The Iranian Revolutionary Guards-linked Fars News Agency caricatures France as "a frog that drew its gun to give it the feeling of being all-powerful" after Paris last weekend nixed a deal on Iran's nuclear program with the U.S., France and the three other permanent U.N. Security Council members, plus Germany.
Bypassing the obvious question of why no outrage over the use of a bigoted epithet, Secretary of State John Kerry claims it was actually the Iranians, not the frogs, who pulled the U.S. from a boiling pot.
"Iran couldn't take it," Kerry said. "At that particular moment they weren't able to accept" — implying, don't worry, after some more talk "in the next months" they will accept much the same deal.
In essence, Tehran is supposed to "freeze" for a few months a nuclear fuel operation that is already on the threshold of producing a bomb; render its stockpile of highly enriched uranium temporarily useless as weapons fuel; not turn on its plutonium reactor, 154 miles from Tehran in Arak, just yet; and let the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency come back into the country and look around, a little.
As the Daily Beast's Eli Lake and Josh Rogin reported last week, the U.S. had already "all but stopped the financial blacklisting of entities and people that help Iran evade international sanctions since the election of its president, Hasan Rouhani, in June."
In other words, we quietly softened sanctions five months ago, with Tehran not relenting on a single thing. There's Obama's "tough diplomacy" in action.
The notion this was a deft opening of the door to a now-inevitable deal presumes that a deal is the same as a solution. North Korea, with which Iran has cooperated on both regimes' nuclear programs, should serve as a lesson to us, as it certainly has to Tehran.
In the Clinton administration's 1994 "Agreed Framework," Pyongyang's plutonium production was supposedly frozen and its nuclear facilities set for destruction in exchange for oil and a couple of light-water nuclear plants. But in 2006, North Korea — surprise! — detonated an underground atomic bomb.
The following year, the Bush administration's "Six-Party Talks" seemed to get North Korea to shut down its Yongbyon plutonium reactor, even blowing up its cooling tower for the world's TV cameras in 2008.
But in 2009 Pyongyang reactivated its nuclear facilities and detonated a second, more-advanced bomb. It tested its third in February, its most powerful yet.
That infamous "piece of paper" is, 75 years after Neville Chamberlain's naïve deal with the Nazis, still just a piece of paper, even when the names on the piece of paper are Rouhani's or Kim Jong-un's and John Kerry's and Barack Obama's.
While France might have uncharacteristically saved us this time, it may take Israeli bombers next time.