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Obama's Iran Nuclear Deal is a Bad Deal off to a Worse Start

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Photo Credit: U.S. News

President Barack Obama never submitted his Iranian nuclear deal for ratification by the Congress because he knew it would have no chance of passing. That does not make the United States unique: The Iranian parliament has never approved it either (that body passed a heavily amended version) and the Iranian president has never signed it. The Iranian cabinet has never even discussed it. And the other members of the P5+1 – Britain, China, Germany, France and Russia – have likewise given it short legal shrift. Indeed, President Obama "may end up being the only person in the world to sign his much-wanted deal, in effect making a treaty with himself," as the Gatestone Institute's Amir Taheri has said.

 

In other words, Iran is not legally bound to do anything, something which a State Department official admitted last November in a letter to Kansas GOP Rep. Mike Pompeo of the House Intelligence Committee, in which she stated the deal "is not a treaty or an executive agreement, and is not a signed document." Instead, the official wrote, its success "will depend not on whether it is legally binding or signed, but rather on the extensive verification measures" and our "capacity to reimpose and ramp up our sanctions if Iran does not meet its commitments." And how is that going?

 

President Barack Obama never submitted his Iranian nuclear deal for ratification by the Congress because he knew it would have no chance of passing. That does not make the United States unique: The Iranian parliament has never approved it either (that body passed a heavily amended version) and the Iranian president has never signed it. The Iranian cabinet has never even discussed it. And the other members of the P5+1 – Britain, China, Germany, France and Russia – have likewise given it short legal shrift. Indeed, President Obama "may end up being the only person in the world to sign his much-wanted deal, in effect making a treaty with himself," as the Gatestone Institute's Amir Taheri has said.

 

In other words, Iran is not legally bound to do anything, something which a State Department official admitted last November in a letter to Kansas GOP Rep. Mike Pompeo of the House Intelligence Committee, in which she stated the deal "is not a treaty or an executive agreement, and is not a signed document." Instead, the official wrote, its success "will depend not on whether it is legally binding or signed, but rather on the extensive verification measures" and our "capacity to reimpose and ramp up our sanctions if Iran does not meet its commitments." And how is that going?

 

So far so good for the Islamic Republic. Per Taheri, Britain now has lifted the ban on 22 Iranian banks and their companies which had been blacklisted because of alleged involvement in nuclear-linked deals; German trade with Iran is up 33 percent; China has signed deals to help Iran build five more nuclear reactors; Russia has commenced delivering S300 anti-aircraft missile systems and is angling to sell planes to the Islamic Republic; and France has sent its foreign minister and a 100-strong delegation to negotiate big business deals. Nations that weren't in the P5+1 are also scrambling to get into the act. Indian trade with Iran is up 17 percent, for example. And the country's nuclear project? It is "fully intact," the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Akbar Salehi, said in October.

 

And with international inspectors last week certifying that Iran has, thus far, complied with the provisions of the agreement, oil and financial sanctions on the country were officially lifted and as much as $100 billion of its frozen assets were released. That all marks a substantial payoff for a deal whose ongoing strictures on Iran are, essentially, nonbinding. And the Islamic Republic was able to leverage the release of five Americans it had unjustly held, getting clemency for seven Iranians who had been at minimum charged and in many cases convicted in actual credible judicial proceedings, not to mention having 14 others removed from international most-wanted lists. U.S. officials have insisted that this doesn't set a precedent, just as they once objected to the very idea of an exchange (even though it's the second time it has cut such a deal with the Iranians), but it looks for all the world like an exchange rate has been established.

 

Obama and his Secretary of State John Kerry claim that their nuke deal with the "moderate faction" in Tehran might encourage positive changes in Iran's behavior. That hasn't happened. Instead, Iran has acted with impunity, safe in the knowledge that Obama will minimize and talk around its violations, lest his centerpiece foreign policy accomplishment prove illusory. "Obama won't do anything that might jeopardize the deal," Ziba Kalam, an adviser to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, said in October. "This is his biggest, if not the only, foreign policy success." And the deal has done nothing to soften Iran's aggressive posture across many issues.

 

Meanwhile, "for the first time, the [International Atomic Energy Agency] linked various instances of previously reported clandestine activities into a coherent account of Tehran's nuclear-weapons development process," the Foundation for Defense of Democracies' Olli Heinonen noted last month; that he added, revealed that its "clandestine nuclear activities represented a parallel nuclear program (from mining to uranium conversion and enrichment) carried out alongside its declared one." Indeed, Iran had a program up to 2003, according to the report, and a scaled back version until 2009. And the IAEA confirmed it has not been able to determine the full picture of Iran's efforts as the country has not yet "come clean" about them. "The truth of Iran's work on nuclear weapons is probably far more extensive than outlined by the IAEA in this report," David Albright of the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security told the Financial Times.

 

But the Obama administration accepted a pledge in the agreement with Iran that it did not have to disclose its past nuclear weapons work or fully cooperate with the IAEA investigation in order to receive sanctions relief.

 

Read the full story from U.S. News.