February 25, 2020

It Was A Fraud From the Start. It’s Time to Decertify It.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President George W. Bush discussed both regime change for the Republic of Iran and the pre-emption of its nuclear program.

By 2003, Iran had procured equipment necessary for nuclear weapons development and had conducted hydrodynamic experiments, cast and shaped uranium metal into hemispheres for a nuclear implosion device and achieved a sophisticated nuclear weapon design. It had conducted nonfissile explosive testing in a containment chamber; developed and tested exploding bridgework detonators; manufactured neutron initiators used to start a fission chain-reaction in a nuclear weapon; and drafted 14 workable designs for a nuclear weapon to fit inside the re-entry vehicle for the high-explosive warhead of Iran’s Shahab-3 medium-range missile.

Not only that, it had developed fusing systems for a nuclear missile warhead to perform a ground-burst or high-altitude burst above 3,000 meters.

Despite all this, in 2009, new President Barack Obama — lacking any military experience, national security expertise or real-world business negotiation skills — secretly plotted rapprochement with Iran, which was part of Bush’s “axis of evil.”

Obama falsely asserted that his outreach to the mullahs occurred only after the 2013 election of supposed moderate President Hassan Rouhani. Instead, to curry favor with Tehran, the Obama administration abandoned the dissidents of the 2009 Green Revolution and twisted American foreign policy during the brutal Syrian civil war, failing to enforce the red line after President Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons.

While Tehran carved “Death to Israel” inscriptions on its bombs, Obama repeatedly tilted against the Jewish state, “creating space” between the U.S. and our closest moral and military ally in the region.

The 2015 Iran nuclear deal rewarded a terror state, solidified mullah theocratic rule, deflated and endangered Iranian dissidents, and, astonishingly, gave Iran billions of U.S. dollars in unmarked cash, without congressional knowledge or approval. These funds fuel Iran’s nefarious roles in Iraq and Syria and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Council’s increased support of Shiite Hezbollah in Lebanon, and renewed alliance with Sunni Hamas in Gaza, all under a potential Iranian nuclear umbrella.

The Persians — who invented the ultimate game of strategy, chess — saw Obama’s ambitions for a grand deal and craftily negotiated both an end to international economic sanctions and new business contracts from European companies.

The Obama administration conducted a self-admitted propaganda campaign to smear deal opponents, even questioning the dual loyalty of American Jews. Ben Rhodes, a failed short story creative writer with no national security credentials, became Obama’s apologist in chief, proclaiming the 58 U.S. Senators who voted against the deal part of a “blob,” and admitting he made up a “narrative” that the media lapped up.

Barely avoiding a 60-vote rebuke, Obama’s Iran legacy is a Neville Chamberlain-like piece of paper, an appeasement that also signaled weakness to the North Korean dictatorship.

Netanyahu has said, “Iran has become more dangerous since [the deal] was signed, is better funded, and has sponsored more terrorism.

“Now they are going to build ICBMs [intercontinental ballistic missiles] that can reach the U.S. and have the multiple warheads to do that. That is horrible. It is dangerous for America, dangerous for Israel and dangerous for the Arabs.”

President Donald Trump decried it as “one of the worst deals I’ve ever seen. … My administration has already imposed new sanctions on Iran, and I will do more to prevent Iran from ever developing a nuclear weapon.”

Every 90 days the president must decide whether to certify the following four conditions related to the nuclear deal: 
• Iran is fully implementing the agreement and all related agreements;
• Iran has not committed a material breach with respect to the agreement or, if it has, it has rectified that breach;
• Iran has not taken any action that could significantly advance its nuclear weapons program;
• Sanctions relief is “appropriate” to Iran ending its illicit nuclear program and “vital to the national security interests” of the U.S. 

According to congressional testimony in April, Iran has failed to implement the deal and its related agreements on export controls, centrifuge development, procurement, International Atomic Energy Agency access, ballistic missile development, conventional arms activities, heavy water, enriched uranium amounts and levels, and natural uranium imports.

North Korea’s “No. 2” official, Kim Yong Nam, visited Iran to boost prohibited military trade, and Tehran has opened up new arms routes to Yemen, Syria and Russia. And recently, top Iranian political and military officials admitted they launched the Khorramshahr ballistic missile, with multiple warheads and a 1,250-mile range that can reach Israel.

The Iran nuclear deal was a fraud from the start, empowering a tyranny and its continuing deceptive activity, and giving the United States and our allies nothing in return except the contempt of Tehran. It’s time to decertify it.

Larry Greenfield served as executive director of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.