So goes the claim that Secretary of State John Kerry made to ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos this morning on “This Week.” He went on to elaborate:
Israel and the United States absolutely share the same goal here…. We both want to make it certain Iran cannot have a nuclear weapon. And Iran cannot be in a place where they can break out and suddenly get that nuclear weapon.
The deal is the beginning and first step. It leads us into the negotiation – so that we guarantee that while we are negotiating for the dismantling, while we are negotiating for the tougher positions, they will not grow their program and their capacity to threaten Israel. Israel will actually gain a larger breathing space in terms of the breakout capacity of Iran. It’s just clear.
Kerry must have had his eyes focused squarely on the ground when he spoke because America’s oldest allay in the Middle East doesn’t share Kerry’s optimism. Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, called the deal an “historic mistake.” Here is what he said, as quoted by CNN:
What was concluded in Geneva last night is not a historic agreement, it’s a historic mistake. It’s not made the world a safer place. Like the agreement with North Korea in 2005, this agreement has made the world a much more dangerous place.
For years the international community has demanded that Iran cease all uranium enrichment. Now, for the first time, the international community has formally consented that Iran continue its enrichment of uranium.
It would seem that the divergence of opinions come down to what the Islamic Republic of Iran, as President Obama referred to in remarks late last evening, brings to the table. The Washington Post writes that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was bullish on the deal, declaring in English:
It is important that we all of us see the opportunity to end an unnecessary crisis and open new horizons based on respect, based on the rights of the Iranian people and removing any doubts about the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program. This is a process of attempting to restore confidence.
At least that’s what he said publicly. His message to Iran’s government-controlled media had a slightly more menacing cast: “All plots hatched by the Zionist regime to stop the nuclear agreement have failed.”
Obama would probably advise the public to ignore the man behind the curtain, and for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is his desperate need to change the subject from Obamacare, even if for a day. But more importantly, his position toward Israel — and Iran, for that matter — has always seemed ambivalent. Last night, he stated jubilantly, “For the first time in nearly a decade we have halted parts of Iran’s nuclear program.”
Yet, as Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes writes at National Review Online:
[T]he American goal for the accord was that the Iranians not ‘advance their program’ of building a uranium nuclear bomb (and perhaps a plutonium bomb too); the apparent deal exactly permits such advancement, plus sanctions relief to Tehran worth about $9 billion.
This wretched deal offers one of those rare occasions when comparison with Neville Chamberlain in Munich in 1938 is valid. An overeager Western government, blind to the evil cunning of the regime it so much wants to work with, appeases it with concessions that will come back to haunt it. Geneva and Nov. 24 will be remembered along with Munich and Sep. 29.
Barack Obama has made many foreign-policy errors in the past five years, but this is the first to rank as a disaster. Along with the health-care law, it is one of his worst-ever steps. John Kerry is a too-eager puppy looking for a deal at any price.
LU’s J.E. Dyer has been following the run-up to the Geneva talks, reminding readers back in early November that Job 1 for remains perfecting its nuclear arsenal and that “using her newer, advanced centrifuges, Iran could produce enough high-enriched uranium (HEU) for a first nuclear warhead in as little as two weeks from making the decision to go for the ‘breakout.’”
You may want to hold your ears. The sound of this deal crashing could prove quite deafening.