The Iran Scam Continues
By Dan Miller
Neither the November 24th P5+1 “deal” nor the White House summary of the subsequent agreement to continue the process deals effectively with Iran’s efforts to have nuclear weapons.
NOTE: I tried to address much of what follows when writing earlier about the Iran Scam and have difficulty understanding why there is very little public or even official interest in the problems the deal raises. Please let me to elaborate here a bit more on why the P5+1 “deal” is a scam, why it matters and to offer some hypotheses about the lack of interest.
The text of the English language version of the P5+1 “deal” is available here and the text of the January 16th White House summary of the recent agreement to go forward by reducing sanctions and beginning inspections of some (but not all) Iranian nuclear facilities is available here. I posted articles about the November 24th “deal” here and here and the White House summary here. The first two minutes and eleven seconds of the video embedded below provide a concise summary of what has been happening.
An article by Elliot Abrams re-published at Israel Hayom questions whether, in view of the current disagreements between Iran and the United States about what the “deal” means, there is really a deal. I am concerned that there is a “deal” but that it has little to do with Iran’s continued development of nuclear weaponry.
There has been substantial albeit unilluminating media praise — particularly outside of Israel — for the “deal.” However, with rare exceptions U.S. and European media have provided little coverage of the omissions of both the P5+1 “deal” and the January 16th White House summary to deal effectively with Iran’s aggression oriented nuclear facilities and efforts — her Parchin military facility, development of nuclear warheads and missiles with which to deliver them.
On November 25th, Israel National News posted an article titled Key Omission: Parchin not Mentioned in Iran Deal. As observed there,
It is suspected that nuclear weapons research is being conducted at the Parchin site, particularly as satellite imagery from August provided evidence of ongoing construction and testing being carried out in secret at the base. [Emphasis added.]
The satellite evidence showed major alterations at the site which the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) says were meant to hide possible tests of conventional triggers for a nuclear explosion. [Emphasis added.]
The evidence followed satellite images from August 2012 showing cleanup activities at the base, as well as images showing suspicious activities at a building suspected of housing nuclear blast experiments. [Emphasis added.]
Furthermore, the IAEA has not been allowed in to inspect Parchin since 2005 despite calls by Yukiyo Amano, head of IAEA, to allow inspections.
Power Line provides an overview here. One part of it is reprinted below:
Iran is alleged by the IAEA, the United States, and at least three European governments to have had a well-structured nuclear weapons program aimed at building a warhead small enough to fit on the Shahab 3 ballistic missile.” The agreement does not even warrant that Iran has no other dual-use or enrichment or nuclear facilities. Why? [Emphasis added.]
It is reasonable to assume that such activities continue at Parchin (and perhaps at other unmentioned sites) and that Parchin may in addition have become a venue for some of Iran’s newest and most productive centrifuges.
Uranium enrichment well beyond twenty percent will likely begin (or continue) at Parchin — despite or perhaps because of — inspections of the Iranian enrichment sites mentioned in the “deal.”
By analogy if, based on substantial credible evidence someone is reasonably suspected of having stolen a horse, that suspicion cannot be assuaged, at least rationally, without inspecting his pastures and his stables. Even if (unlike Iran) the suspect is not a notorious liar, his mere assertions that he did not steal the horse cannot be taken as the truth and alone overcome credible evidence that he did. The P5+1 negotiating team has, or should have, more than reasonable suspicions about Iran’s efforts to get “the bomb;” yet by ignoring Parchin, that is what the team seems to have agreed to do.
Iranian Missile development with North Korean help
On November 20, 2012, Iran and North Korea
announced expansion of bilateral ties . . . after reaching a scientific and technological cooperation agreement which, according to Iran’s Supreme Leader Sayyed Ali Hosseini Khamenei, has brought the two countries with “common enemies” closer.
Iranian state media said the nations will cooperate in research, human resources exchange and joint laboratories and in the fields of information technology, energy, biotechnology, engineering, agriculture and food technology.
. . . .
Khamenei met with Kim Yong-nam, North Korea’s ceremonial head of state, who was in Tehran for the Non-Aligned Movement summit held this week.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran and North Korea have common enemies, because the arrogant powers do not accept independent states,” Khamenei was quoted as saying by Iranian media.
Kim said that the expansion of ties with Iran was among the strategic policies of his country. Addressing the summit, the DPRK leader criticized the recent joint military exercise of the U.S. and South Korea in the Korean Peninsula, saying the exercise pushes the Korean Peninsula to the brink of war.
. . . .
In the past North Korea has come under fire for providing Iran with advanced missiles, based on Russian designs, that are much more powerful than anything Washington has publicly conceded that Tehran has in its arsenal. [Emphasis added.]
Iran obtained 19 of the missiles from North Korea, according to Secret American intelligence assessments cable dated Feb. 24, 2010, the New York Times reported in November 2010.
The missiles could, for the first time, give Iran the capacity to strike capitals in Western Europe or easily reach Moscow, the report said, citing data obtained by WikiLeaks. The North Korean version of the advanced missile, known as the BM-25, could carry a nuclear warhead, the report said.
In December 2010, it was reported that a team of Iranian nuclear scientists has been sent to North Korea and that the two governments have agreed on a joint nuclear test in North Korea with a substantial financial reward to Pyongyang. [Emphasis added.]
With the reduction and eventual elimination of sanctions on Iran, she will have substantially more financial ability to reward North Korea. North Korea, herself under severe sanctions, needs the money.
According to a November 27, 2013 article at The Washington Free Beacon,
Intelligence reports indicated that as recently as late October Iranian technicians from the Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group (SHIG), a defense organization that builds liquid-fueled missiles, were in Pyongyang collaborating on the booster development.
SHIG has been sanctioned in the past by both the U.S. government and the United Nations for illicit missile transfers.
U.S. officials said the new booster could be used on both a space launcher and a long-range missile. Iran and North Korea are believed by U.S. intelligence agencies to be using their space programs to mask long-range missile development. [Emphasis added.]
Officials said the covert missile cooperation indicates the Iranians are continuing to build long-range strategic missiles that can be used to deliver nuclear warheads at the same time they are negotiating limits on illicit uranium enrichment. [Emphasis added.]
Intelligence assessments have said that both countries could test a missile capable of reaching the United States with a nuclear warhead within the next two years.
Henry Sokolski, head of the private Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, said he agrees with U.S. special envoy on North Korea Glyn Davies that more pressure should be applied on North Korea to give up its nuclear arms.
“As Glyn Davies put it, if the North Koreans don’t demonstrate that they understand they must fulfill their obligations, then more sanctions pressure will be brought to bear on them,” he said.
“He was speaking of the North Koreans but what’s good for the goose should also be good for the gander—in this case, Iran,” Sokolski said.
John Bolton, undersecretary of state for international security during the George W. Bush administration, said the main purpose of Iranian and North Korean ballistic missile program and their longstanding cooperation “has always been to serve as the delivery vehicle for nuclear weapons.” [Emphasis added.]
A top Iranian military leader announced late Tuesday [November 27, 2013] that Iran has developed “indigenous” ballistic missile technology, which could eventually allow it to fire a nuclear payload over great distances. [Bracketed insert and emphasis added.]
Brigadier General Hossein Salami, the lieutenant commander of Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), made the critical weapons announcement just days after Iran and the West signed a deal aimed at curbing the country’s nuclear activities. [Emphasis added.]
Salami claimed that “Iran is among the only three world countries enjoying an indigenous ballistic missile technology,” according to the state-run Fars News Agency.
Again, by ignoring Iranian development, construction and testing of ballistic missiles, the P5+1 negotiating team appears to assume with no evident basis — particularly in the context of Iran’s nuclear warhead development — that Iran does not intend to use her missiles to deliver atomic bombs. Why?
Why do the November 24th “deal” and the January 16th White House Summary mention none of these matters?
It is easy to understand why the January 16th summary does not mention them: they are not pertinent to the November 24th “deal,” which does not mention them either. The failure of the November 24th “deal” to mention them is more difficult to understand.
There is no apparent basis for concluding that the P5+1 negotiators and their helpers were blissfully unaware of Parchin or of Iran’s warhead and missile development. A suggestion of willing indifference might be more credible. But why would the P5+1 negotiators be indifferent? The preface to the English language text of the November 24th deal states,
The goal for these negotiations is to reach a mutually-agreed long-term comprehensive solution that would ensure Iran’s nuclear programme will be exclusively peaceful. Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek or develop any nuclear weapons. This comprehensive solution would build on these initial measures and result in a final step for a period to be agreed upon and the resolution of concerns. This comprehensive solution would enable Iran to fully enjoy its right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes under the relevant articles of the NPT in conformity with its obligations therein. This comprehensive solution would involve a mutually defined enrichment programme with practical limits and transparency measures to ensure the peaceful nature of the programme. This comprehensive solution would constitute an integrated whole where nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. This comprehensive solution would involve a reciprocal, step-by- step process, and would produce the comprehensive lifting of all UN Security Council sanctions, as well as multilateral and national sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear programme. [Emphasis added.]
The preface is facially comforting, particularly if read with casual indifference and in isolation. It is, and perhaps is intended to be, falsely comforting. Has the unverified (and under the “deal” unverifiable) promise of Iran that she will never under any circumstances ever seek or develop nuclear weapons been accepted at face value? With no inspections permitted at Parchin, other (undisclosed) facilities for missile and warhead development and testing as well as for Uranium enrichment? If so, what’s the point of the inspections that Iran has agreed to allow and which the P5+1 negotiators accepted? Why not simply accept Iran’s representations and promises, eliminate all sanctions and let her continue to do as she pleases? Indeed, why did the P5+1 representatives even bother to negotiate a deal? Did they do so based on (a previously agreed upon?) conclusion that sanctions would have to be lifted so that their own countries as well as Iran could benefit economically?
A related basis might be that with President Obama beset by domestic political difficulties at home due in part to the economy, and with much of Europe also experiencing dire financial problems, a need was perceived to do something in the realm of foreign policy that might ameliorate domestic problems, at least temporarily. Striking a deal with Iran would, indeed, be something. If that was the perception of President Obama et al, perhaps they misoverestimated their abilities.
If the promise never ever to seek or develop nuclear weapons was not accepted at face value, might it be because it does not matter? Perhaps it was assumed that Iran already has sufficient nukes, does not need more and therefore won’t bother to construct more. One nuke could achieve Iran’s long held and often stated goal of eliminating Israel. Even with only one remaining nuke, she would be recognized as a full-fledged nuclear power in the Middle East; perhaps that’s all she needs or wants.
A congruent explanation might be that containment would be more convenient for the Western powers than prevention; that might even might work for the United States and Europe. The threat of mutually assured destruction worked in the past, so why shouldn’t it work with Iran –particularly after she had obliterated the only reasonably free and democratic nation in the region and could thereafter coexist with the at least marginally more congenial Islamic states there?
An easier answer might be that the P5+1 representatives recognized that the “legitimate media” in the United States and elsewhere important to them have little interest in foreign policy matters that do not directly, adversely and immediately affect their audiences; to the extent that there is public (and therefore media) interest, it diminishes rapidly and then vanishes.
To the extent that the media are interested, they generally prefer good news to bad; good news “sells.” As noted in an article at Commentary Magazine titled Why the West Buys Iran’s PR Campaign,
People like [Jon] Stewart and others who are buying Rouhani’s act aren’t doing so because they love Iran or even because they despise Israel and enjoy its discomfort at the prospect of a deadly enemy being embraced and empowered by the West, though some obviously do like that aspect. What they really like about Iran’s decision to create a new façade of cordiality to the West—one that seems to them to be a repudiation of Rouhani’s repulsive predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad—is that it allows them to pretend that there is nothing to worry about. Rouhani allows them to live in denial as Ahmadinejad did not. As long as an open villain like Ahmadinejad was the front man for the regime, it was hard to ignore the truth about Iran’s bid for regional hegemony or its desire to annihilate Israel. But with Rouhani they can, like the Obama administration itself, treat the Middle East as a former problem from which they may now withdraw in comfort. [Bracketed insert and Emphasis added.]
We know Rouhani’s charm offensive is effective because it’s accomplished what every good public-relations campaign aims to do: tell people what they want to hear and persuade them it’s the truth even when it’s a lie. Under the circumstances, it’s hardly surprising that those who are willing and able to see reality—like the Israelis and those Americans who share their legitimate concerns about the direction of American foreign policy—are going to be subjected to continued mockery and abuse. [Emphasis added.]
The easiest answer might that a bunch of less than fully competent P5+1 repersentatives — facing hardly any immediate danger to their own nations and with little interest in the security of Israel — were outwitted by descendants of Persian rug merchants. That seems at least partially consistent with the principle of Occam’s Razor.
It states that among competing hypotheses, the hypothesis with the fewest assumptions should be selected.
The application of the principle often shifts the burden of proof in a discussion.[a] The razor states that one should proceed to simpler theories until simplicity can be traded for greater explanatory power. The simplest available theory need not be most accurate. Philosophers also point out that the exact meaning of simplest may be nuanced.[b]
Robert Frost once wrote this short poem:
We dance round in a ring and suppose,
But the Secret sits in the middle and knows.
Does even The Secret know what happened with the P5+1 negotiations and why? If The Secret knows and we eventually learn, will it be too late?
UPDATE, January 25th
current US intelligence efforts to detect nuclear weapons programs in other countries is [sic] totally inadequate and how agencies approach the issue needs to be revamped.
That’s hardly surprising. However, despite substantial evidence of Iran’s efforts at the Parchin site, as well as her nuclear warhead and missile development and testing efforts, all appear to have been ignored by the P5+1 representatives in reaching a “deal” with Iran.
Admittedly, it is very difficult to penetrate these closed societies and unlock their most closely guarded secrets. But this report also harangues our agencies for not developing the technologies and processes to adequately monitor and verify nuclear programs that we are entitled by treaty to inspect.Just how does the administration plan to verify any agreement with Iran that might be reached? This report declares we’re not fully ready.
We have a president who wants to get rid of nuclear weapons but apparently doesn’t care we don’t have the ability to monitor the nuclear programs of countries who would be signatories to such a treaty.