Iranian Nukes and the New Nuclear-Arms Race

irnnksDespite last minute arguments, a House vote of disapproval, and possible other behind-the-scenes attempts to thwart The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear program it now appears almost a certainty that the deal will go forward in its present form. Future fallout will be dangerous and tragic.

Objectively, the JCPOA barely bargains a delay in, much less a halt to, Iran’s nuclear weapons program, despite the White House claim that the deal will “prevent it [Iran] from obtaining a nuclear weapon.” That claim appears rooted in the JCPOA’s preamble and general provisions: “Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons.” Good intentions embodied by that statement, however, cannot guarantee actual compliance, regardless of President Obama’s and Secretary of State Kerry’s vaporous daydreams. Iran’s circumvention of the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to which Iran is a signatory and, which manifests the same declared purpose of the JCPOA to prevent actions leading to nuclear weapons obtainment, is proof of Iran’s insolent derision of documental good intentions.

Therefore, any nuclear deal with Iran makes extremely tight assessment and verification requirements an absolute necessity, something the JCPOA woefully lacks. Abandonment of anytime, anywhere inspections as a condition of the deal many understood was essential, does not boost confidence in a rigorous verification process. Further fueling the weak-verification fire, is the recently uncovered cagey side deal whereby Iran will be permitted to provide its own inspectors and take its own photos, videos and samples at the Parchin facility where alleged nuclear weapons experiments and research took place, and, furthermore, whereby the very inspection locales chosen within that facility Iran itself played a dominant role in selecting because of “military concerns.”

Unsurprisingly, the Iranian mullahs appear very happy with the JCPOA (and its side deals, known and perhaps unknown). In addition to the pure pleasure of taking-it-to the Great Satan through superior negotiations, as well as poking the eye of the rest of the world, they can delight in two obvious areas: 1) upwards of $150 billion will be freed-up to fatten their terrorism and nuclear development accounts and; 2) that door to the exclusive nuclear arms club is opening the rest of the way for them – no matter such entrance is perhaps slightly delayed, or can be attained sooner through devious means under cover of the JCPOA.

The Iranian mullah’s vision and clear understanding of Iran’s future is one of a nuclear-weapon state. And, like the hungry moose in the creative children’s book, If You Give a Moose a Muffin, if you give the Iranian mullahs a nuke they’ll want another, and another – and so will other restless regimes in the Middle East in order to counterbalance any potential nuclear inequality and hegemony the Iranians might consequently assume in the region. Especially the Saudis must see it that way, as they are right now parleying to acquire advanced nuclear know-how and apparatus from sources such as Russia and France.

Confirming the Saudi intent, Kenneth M. Pollack of The Brooking Institute, in testimony before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on August 5, 2015 confirmed the Saudis had privately warned the administration that if Iran acquires nuclear weapons then they will do likewise (naturally, this will require some ongoing buildup activity in order to match the Iranian efforts; which, we can surmise through their actions is presently occurring). The Saudis’ basic antagonism with Iran and its skittishness about the JCPOA impacting the region’s overall stability have been no great secrets, notwithstanding the recent statement intended for public consumption by a senior Saudi official affirming Saudi King Salman’s satisfaction with President Obama’s assurances about the Iran nuclear deal after the September 4 meeting between the Saudi King and President Obama. It is highly doubtful that this publicly stated, albeit newly acquired, apparent contentment marks some true turnaround for Saudi Arabia’s posture towards Iran’s interminable nuclear ambitions.

Non-intervention arguments aside, we must distinguish Iran’s actions. Three (or possibly four) American citizens continue to languish in Iranian jails as political “hostages” or, at the very least, under dubious charges. Iran is further responsible for the deliberate killing of hundreds of American citizens. This was duly recognized as no less than an act of war by Colonel (ret) Kemp and Major (ret) Driver-Williams in their report issued March 2015. Iran’s surreptitious Fordow enrichment site deceitfully defied the intentions of the NPT, leading to the placement of economic sanctions against them. You don’t permit such evildoers and deceivers who kill and unjustly jail your citizens and directly threaten your allies with utter destruction, the means with which to produce weapons of mass destruction.

President Obama said in his 2009 Cairo speech that “No single nation should pick and choose which nations hold nuclear weapons. That is why I strongly reaffirmed America’s commitment to seek a world in which no nations hold nuclear weapons.” The JCPOA with its feeble verification procedures, centrifuge retention provisions, advanced conventional weapons and ballistic missile concessions, and eventual expiring uranium enrichment curtailments is structured more to affirm the first sentence and discount the second, notwithstanding White House propaganda gushing forth about the deal’s grandeur and the dangers of not approving it.

Contrary to the president’s war-fomenting prognostications, armed combat is not the only alternative to the current JCPOA (even though that option should not be summarily discarded), yet Congress, mostly through a coalition of partisan Democrats, seems now unable to stop it. As it does go forward, let us remember in the future the straightforward yet imperative statement made by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his March 2015 speech before Congress: “The alternative to this bad deal is a much better deal.”

The post-World War II nuclear arms race with its background air-of-dread was eventually tamed. But a brand new nuclear arms race triggered by this president’s Iran nuclear deal is more than hypothetical conjecture, and in a historically unstable part of the world: the Middle East. The Iranian moose are hungry for those nuclear muffins. The JCPOA as written will not alleviate that hunger, but will only stimulate the atomic appetites of Iran’s nation-neighbors to seek a few muffins of their own. The result will be a severe setback to nuclear non-proliferation objectives in the Persian Gulf region with a greater number of nuclear armed countries and a more dangerous world.

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