Despite their statements to the contrary, the Obama Administration appears determined to achieve an “agreement” with Iran and seems willing to breach their repeated undertakings that they would never countenance Iran becoming a nuclear power. With the Mullahs increased intransigence as they sense the desperation of the Americans to avoid a confrontation, the November 24 deadline will probably be extended, enabling the centrifuges to continue spinning whilst the P5+1 countries engage in fruitless negotiations with the duplicitous Iranians.
The Iranians have mocked Secretary of State Kerry’s overtures, including his secret appeals to them to coordinate with the U.S. in opposing ISIS. Speaking from a podium bedecked with banners blazing “America cannot do a damn thing,” Ayatollah Khamenei boasted that the “Great Satan’s” efforts to bring Iran to its knees had failed, and that President Obama lacked the courage for a military confrontation. Ali Younesi, senior advisor to “moderate” President Rouhani, referred to Obama as “the weakest of US presidents” whose six years in office were “humiliating”.
Nevertheless, the administration continues to grovel in an effort to appease the Iranians. It is widely believed that the unprecedented hostility recently directed against Israel, especially the statement that Israel had lost the opportunity of exploiting the military option to prevent Iran becoming a nuclear power, were primarily for the benefit of the Ayatollah.
The London Times claimed that American and Iranian officials have even been discussing the opening of the US trade office in Tehran.
The frenzied, initially covert, efforts to engage the support of Iran in the struggle against ISIS – despite Iran being designated by the U.S. as a terrorist state – has further undermined the little credibility the US retains with the moderate Sunni states, considered until recently as staunch allies.
Obama’s deception of his allies was exemplified when it was disclosed that he had written a secret letter to Ayatollah Khamenei pleading with him to reach to an accommodation. This, the fourth letter he had written to the Ayatollah – all of which were ignored – was an explicit breach of undertaking to his allies that any independent initiatives would be preceded by consultations.
Even one of Obama’s favorite in-house journalists, Jeffrey Goldberg, felt impelled to remark that the “most recent letter was delivered at an unfortunate moment in the run-up to the putatively climactic negotiations between Iran and the world powers” when the Obama administration had already conceded to many of the demands of Iran. Goldberg concluded his column by stating “the Iranians originally came to the negotiating table because US-led sanctions were hurting them badly. I understand the need for give and take negotiations, but I’m getting worried that the US is focused too much on the first half of that equation”.
The U.S. administration has already given approval to Iran to enrich uranium, effectively making them a nuclear threshold state. While the global powers agreed to enable the Iranians to have1000 centrifuges to process material required to create nuclear fuel, the Iranians have outrightly refused to dismantle any of the 19,000 centrifuges they have already accumulated. It is understood that Iran is already in the position to accrue sufficient enriched fissile material to become a nuclear power within a few months, if it so desired. The US has indicated that it would be willing to sign off on a deal which would extend this breakout phase to one year, hardly reassuring to the region.
The Iranians also displayed utter contempt towards the U.S. by violating the interim accord, and failing to disclose an enrichment facility in Qom and even denying access to inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency to military sites and nuclear scientists engaged in research. Clearly, the duplicitous Islamist regime would continue to circumvent any agreement which is not rigorously monitored and enforced – a procedure that the Iranians have already made clear they will never accept.
While the outcome of this issue will have immense global implications, especially in the Middle East, Israel is the country most affected. The Iranian regime’s hatred of Israel is Messianic. It openly proclaims its commitment to destroy the Jewish state. Coinciding with Obama’s groveling letter to him, Ayatollah Khamenei posted a Twitter stating that the only way to stop the “Israeli crimes”, was to annihilate” the “barbaric, wolf like and infanticidal regime of Israel”. Israel cannot accept the prospect of such a fanatical terrorist regime becoming a nuclear threshold state.
Under pressure, following the release of his letter to the Ayatollah, Present Obama has stepped back, stating that there is still a big gap and that “we may not be able to get there”. He added “our number one priority with respect to Iran is making sure they don’t get a nuclear weapon”. Even his closest associates would question their President’s credibility when he expresses such views.
The question is whether at this advanced stage, the P5+1 nations, desperate to appease and reach an accord with the terrorist state at any price, can still be deterred from capitulating.
The key rests with the United States. The extraordinary landslide victory by the Republicans at the midterm elections – clearly a vote of non-confidence in Obama – provides some hope.
Yet it should be noted that within the American political system, the president assumes the primary control of foreign relations. The Republican controlled Congress and Senate can certainly pass resolutions, but that will not necessarily limit the White House in this arena of foreign policy. In addition, realizing that on the domestic scene his hands will be restricted by Congress, Obama might even decide to intensify his foreign policy activities. The principal areas are likely to include the embrace of the Iranians and possibly trying to impose a settlement on the Israelis with the Palestinians.
However in relation to Iran, the president must persuade Congress to rescind the sanctions it originally legislated. Obama may constitutionally override the congressional sanctions and unilaterally suspend enforcement, but that could lead to a major confrontation with Congress.
Needless to say, if a reasonable agreement was achieved it would be endorsed by Congress. But all indications suggest that Obama is promoting an Alice in Wonderland deal with the Iranians which Congress would reject.
The potential incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already stated unequivocally that the Senate will review any deal with Iran and ensure that “any comprehensive agreement concerning the Iranian nuclear program, both protects the national security of the United States and recognizes Israel’s own defense as a security partner of our country.”
At this critical time, American Jews and friends of Israel should exert all their influence to convince the administration and a bipartisan Congress that appeasing the Iranian mullahs will have horrific long-term consequences and must be avoided. They should mount a powerful public campaign to demonstrate the catastrophic blunder the government would make should it appease this evil terrorist regime, which in the absence of becoming a nuclear state, is likely in time to implode internally because of the growing opposition from own its young people and the middle class.
Isi Leibler may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
This column was originally published in the Jerusalem Post and Israel Hayom