Recently, US Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the US and Iran were closer to a nuclear deal “that would make the entire world, especially our allies and partners in Israel and the Gulf safer and more secure.” As if he knows what is best for Israel and the Gulf States. I think they would differ in his assessment, and they have. A few days ago in Vienna, Austria the talks with Iran broke down. Kerry said there was progress but there were also problems. The truth is there was no real progress. The Iranians refused to yield in any significant way, and thankfully the US is no closer to a deal than it was when this charade started a year back. There is a new framework deadline for March and then, by July to have the details ironed out. In a nutshell, what has to be determined is how much of a nuclear program the Iranians can have, the restrictions to which they would agree, and how to implement or un-implement sanctions, during and after negotiations.
The Iranian negotiator, the smiling, cheerful Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said seven months are not needed. Even if he and Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, another “wolf in sheep’s clothing,” as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu likes to remind the world, actually do want a credible deal, and do want to enter the realm of civilized nations, and that is very suspect, the ruling mullahs who run the show, led by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, won’t sign on. At least honestly. (I always wonder about anyone who calls himself “supreme.”) Iran and its leaders have been supreme in the building of, and support for, a terrorist infrastructure that has wreaked havoc throughout all parts of the globe. Were I to list all the damage this radical country has done to the US and so many other countries, I would still be typing and not publishing this column.
So what has Iran given up thus far? Very little. High level uranium enrichment was stopped, supposedly – full access to nuclear facilities has never been given. In fact, the Iranians can and will continue development of their nuclear and missile programs. And what has the US and complying countries given up? The release of $700M a month in frozen assets to the Iranian regime. And I say regime, and not Iran or its people, because if you think the Iranian leadership is not as corrupt as they are dictatorially violent, you may as well join Kerry and US President Obama in their spinning centrifuge pipedream. So until July, just to keep the Iranians interested, about $5B more will be released to them. Even though about $100B in assets were frozen, so a few billion here or there, doesn’t seem to be much, it is much. Too much. Why give up anything? Either the Iranians need us more than we need them or vice versa. If they don’t need the West, why are they talking at all? Because they do need the West. Sanctions are working, and their once advanced, progressive economy, before the 1979 Islamic revolution that put Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and his racist henchmen mullahs into power, is suffering.
All the talks have done is allow the Iranians more time as they move forward toward a nuclear weapon and as they continue to foment terrorism and conflict, and as they brutalize their own people. Ronald Reagan used to say, “Trust but verified.” Do any clear-minded people believe that any agreement with Iran will be verifiable? So there can be no trust. The upcoming new Congress, run completely by Republicans and aided by many Democrats, will thankfully, have little patience for the sham negotiations. Obama could veto any further sanctions bills that come to his desk, but the pressure will be on.
One side has to give in with these twice-extended talks, either it’s the US and its allies in the talks (China, Russia, France, Germany and the UK), or it is Iran. For nearly a year, Iran has not really budged, or there would have already been an agreement. Perhaps a weak, untrustworthy one, but an agreement nonetheless. On the other hand, in their zeal to get any kind of agreement created, Kerry and Obama could back down and give up part, if not all, of the store. By enforcing sanctions and adding more, and by keeping the threat of military action on the table (if the US under Obama ever really meant that threat to begin with), we may be able to bring the mullahs to their knees. The Iranians as of yet do not have the nuclear capability they are trying to achieve. Now is the time to get tougher and not softer. I say, let the Iranian economy continue to suffer, and in fact, make Iran suffer more, isolate it even more. Tell the Iranians to stop their nuclear program, period. No more talks. No deal.