Just Walk Away

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Jul 06 2015

A nuclear-armed Iran would be a threat to the United States, our allies and the world as a whole. While resolving this crisis diplomatically is in everyone's best interest, the framework the Obama administration has presented gives little confidence that the agreement under consideration is the right solution.

In fact, every news leak confirms fears that we are headed in the wrong direction. In the years since the P5+1 negotiations began, the goalposts have moved from dismantling Iran's clandestine nuclear-weapons program to containing it.

That's not what the President told us these talks were going to accomplish. That's not what six UN resolutions intended to prevent. And that is certainly not a position from which we can declare the Iranian nuclear threat has been eliminated.

In the fall of 2013, Secretary of State John Kerry told a national TV audience that the Obama administration would walk away from negotiations with Iran over its illicit nuclear program if the talks did not meet our demands.

His exact words were, "We need to get the right deal. No deal is better than a bad deal. And we are certainly adhering to that concept."

"Adhering to" is an interesting choice of words. It literally means "to stick to something" or "to stay attached." It is a phrase that is meant to convey a sense of resolve and position of strength, none of which applies to what is transpiring as the president rushes to reach an accord with the international community and Iran.

It seems that not a day goes by where we don't learn of another Obama administration concession to Iran.

For example, Associated Press headlines report that the news agency obtained a leaked document that suggests the U.S. and other world powers would actually help perfect Iran's nuclear program rather than dismantle it. Referred to as the "Civil Nuclear Cooperation," this provision would greenlight a range of nuclear technology such as "high-tech reactors and other state-of-the-art equipment" that some members of the P5+1 would be required to provide to Iran.

Furthermore, President Barack Obama now is backtracking from our requirement that Iran reveal any possible military dimensions (PMD) of its nuclear program--past, current or future.

Secretary Kerry claimed that we "have absolute knowledge with respect to the certain military activities they were engaged in" and instead of requiring disclosure of past and current military capabilities, the administration will focus on what the future holds.

The notion that an understanding of past PMDs was even possible was immediately rebuffed. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said that it's impossible. IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said three months ago that "what we don't know [is] whether they have undeclared activities or something else. We don't know what they did in the past ... we cannot tell we know all their activities."

If President Obama has his way, we will never know.

This comes on the heels of the major concessions already granted to the Iranian regime that were once thought to be unacceptable.

The president already caved to allowing the Iranians to maintain the capacity to continue enrichment activities at Fordow. This is no ordinary site. It is a fortified, underground military bunker built into the side of a mountain. It was constructed in secret and serves one purpose--to covertly produce weapons-grade highly enriched uranium.

This shows how far away negotiations have moved from the Obama administration's original position that Fordow must be shuttered.

The president argues that surprise inspections will prevent Fordow from being used for military purposes, but the idea that will compel compliance puts far too much trust in a regime that regularly deploys double-talk, delay tactics and manipulation when it comes to dealing with the international community. There is absolutely no reason, given the regime's history, to believe that international inspectors will have the ability to honestly see what is going on at Fordow. None.

Clearly, the way this agreement is shaping up, there is no way we will achieve what the president promised at the onset of entering these talks.

Our long-standing policy that the Iranian regime must abandon its nuclear ambitions is itself being abandoned.

If the administration truly was "adhering to" the concept of "no deal is better than a bad deal," we would have walked away from these negotiations long ago.

The regime in Teheran is clearly in the driver's seat, and the president is just along for the ride. The danger is obvious. In a push to cement his legacy, President Obama is willing to concede just about every demand with which we started out.

Unless we walk away, the end result will be chaos for the region, and the world at large, for years to come.

Originally posted: http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2015/jul/06/just-walk-away-20150706/?f=opinion