Iran, agreement reached on nuclear deal. So Obama boasts about a hara-kiri

An historical result, so Obama boasted about the deal reached with Iran that was announced yesterday evening, assuring that the Iranian race toward the nuclear stops here. The speech was very carefully prepared, with lots of particulars, already an answer for the Congress, which will probably challenge the decision. He tried to persuade the world powers of the practical and moral force of the deal, he guaranteed that Iran would not be able anymore to use an adequate number of centrifuges; he assured that there would be no more talks about plutonium because it will not be possible anymore to enrich it in Arak.

He also defended with great enthusiasm the diplomatic choice, which only alternative – he said – is war. He attacked the “skeptical men” who did not trust his program; he praised the achievement of a “good deal” in a polemic with Netanyahu, who always dreaded “a bad deal”. And, at a first glance, the result of Obama’s effort, which he is so proud of, does not actually seem a good deal. Nor it seems that rules have been established to allow a full control over a country that proved itself very skillful in hiding its secrets. Furthermore, it does not seem that regulations have been devised to prevent the enrichment that would lead to the atomic bomb once 6,000 centrifuges will be left in the Ayatollahs’ hands.

Obama, vainly and auto-referentially, boasted about a problematic deal with an untrustworthy and extremely dangerous interlocutor. The press conference presentation was modest, with just the EU foreign policy Chief Federica Mogherini and the Iranian Minister Mohammad Jawad Zarif, while Kerry preferred to show up for the press all alone. He thanked Obama, and Obama thanked him. After more than ten years of negotiations with Iran to make it stop its race toward the atomic bomb, now Iran is de facto bringing home much of what they wanted in order to carry on with a negotiation that allows it to keep on enriching uranium anyway.

The just concluded Lausanne’s meeting between P5+1 countries and the Islamic Republic’s delegation after 18 months of discussions, does not certainly give the pacifying result Obama is praising, the partially dodged failure pushing on the pedal of last-minute concessions for fear of the shame that it could originate for the Administration. From what could be understood in these hours, Obama renounced to many of his initial decisions. Over the last few days, the works were carried out until impossible hours amid talks full of intense American pressures, European skepticism and the shrewdness of the Russians, Iran’s friends in the defense of Bashar Assad in Syria and in other cheeky international choices. Above all, yesterday’s deal seems to satisfy Iranian requests, from the Ayatollahs’ determination not to sign, as Obama wanted, a framework deal, to the promise that all the sanctions on Iran will be lifted when the decisions resulting from the meeting will be operational.

The agreement will last only ten years, the blink of an eye compared to Iran’s nuclear ambitions. And we already know that, if an agreement is reached by June, Iran will be able to go on with the enrichment, it will maintain 6,000 centrifuges, while facilities as Fordo and Arak will remain up and running. Only a fraction of the already enriched uranium will be kept in Iran. While, since yesterday, Israel is quivering over the possible abduction of a young 22-year-old in Hebron’s area, Netanyahu, a voice crying in the wilderness, points out to the world how, in the very hours when the agreement was being signed, Iran was conducting fierce imperialist actions in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon.

It is hard to understand – if not in a logic of strategic desperation – why Obama decided to bet his own legacy on a country with one of the most disgusting human rights records imaginable, followed in this by the usual European irresolution (France disagreed, but just for a moment). No later than the day before yesterday, that same country declared through the words of its Basij militia’s commander, Mohammad Reza Naqdi, that “destroying the State of Israel is non-negotiable”.

The price to be paid in the future memory could be as tragic as the landscape of a land burned down with its inhabitants in a second Holocaust. Or it could be the nuclearization of the whole Middle East, threatened by Saudis and Egyptians, who are bewildered by a choice of alliances that does not rely on moderate Sunni Muslims, but on extremist Shiites from the Islamic Republic of the Ayatollahs, who are aiming for the nuclear to promote the Armageddon that will ultimately lead to the coming of the Mahdi, the Islamic Messiah. We can only rely on their undying determination to procrastinate any deal to buy time and enrich more uranium.

This article originally appeared in slightly different form in Italian in Il Giornale (April 3, 2015)

About the Author
Fiamma Nirenstein is a journalist, author, former Deputy President of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, and member of the Italian delegation at the Council of Europe.
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