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August 18, 2015

Democrat Senator Bob Menendez Drops Detailed, Damning Case Against the Nuclear Deal

Via @davereaboi of @IranTruthUSA, Menendez's speech (the script for which is presented here) is all but unanswerable.

Why does Iran -- which has the world's fourth largest proven oil reserves, with 157 billion barrels of crude oil and the world's second largest proven natural gas reserves with 1,193 trillion cubic feet of natural gas -- need nuclear power for domestic energy?

We know that despite the fact that Iran claims their nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, they have violated the international will, as expressed by various U.N. Security Council Resolutions, and by deceit, deception and delay advanced their program to the point of being a threshold nuclear state. It is because of these facts, and the fact that the world believes that Iran was weaponizing its nuclear program at the Parchin Military Base -- as well as developing a covert uranium enrichment facility in Fordow, built deep inside of a mountain, raising serious doubts about the peaceful nature of their civilian program, and their sponsorship of state terrorism -- that the world united against Iran's nuclear program.

In that context, let's remind ourselves of the stated purpose of our negotiations with Iran: Simply put, it was to dismantle all -- or significant parts -- of Iran's illicit nuclear infrastructure to ensure that it would not have nuclear weapons capability at any time. Not shrink its infrastructure. Not limit it. But fully dismantle Iran’s nuclear weapons capability.

We said we would accommodate Iran's practical national needs, but not leave the region -- and the world -- facing the threat of a nuclear armed Iran at a time of its choosing. In essence, we thought the agreement would be roll-back-for-roll-back: you roll-back your infrastructure and we'll roll-back our sanctions.

At the end of the day, what we appear to have is a roll-back of sanctions and Iran only limiting its capability, but not dismantling it or rolling it back. What do we get? We get an alarm bell should they decide to violate their commitments, and a system for inspections to verify their compliance. That, in my view, is a far cry from 'dismantling.'

I recall in the early days of the Administration's overtures to Iran, asking Secretary of State, John Kerry, at a meeting of Senators, about dismantling Arak, Iran's plutonium reactor. His response was swift and certain. He said: 'They will either dismantle it or we will destroy it.'

I remember that our understanding was that the Fordow facility was to be closed -- that it was not necessary for a peaceful civilian nuclear program to have an underground enrichment facility. That the Iranians would have to come absolutely clean about their weaponization activities at Parchin and agree to promise anytime anywhere inspections.

We now know all of that fell by the wayside. But what we cannot dismiss is that we have now abandoned our long-held policy of preventing nuclear proliferation and are now embarked --not on preventing nuclear proliferation -- but on managing or containing it -- which leaves us with a far less desirable, less secure, and less certain world order. So, I am deeply concerned that this is a significant shift in our nonproliferation policy, and about what it will mean in terms of a potential arms race in an already dangerous region.

While I have many specific concerns about this agreement, my overarching concern is that it requires no dismantling of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure and only mothballs that infrastructure for 10 years. Not even one centrifuge will be destroyed under this agreement. Fordow will be repurposed, and Arak redesigned.


The fact is -- everyone needs to understand what this agreement does and does not do so that they can determine whether providing Iran permanent relief in exchange for short-term promises is a fair trade.

This deal does not require Iran to destroy or fully decommission a single uranium enrichment centrifuge. In fact, over half of Iran’s currently operating centrifuges will continue to spin at its Natanz facility. The remainder, including more than 5,000 operating centrifuges and nearly 10,000 not yet functioning, will merely be disconnected and transferred to another hall at Natanz, where they could be quickly reinstalled to enrich uranium.

And yet we, along with our allies, have agreed to lift the sanctions and allow billions of dollars to flow back into Iran’s economy. We lift sanctions, but -- even during the first 10 years of the agreement -- Iran will be allowed to continue R&D activity on a range of centrifuges -- allowing them to improve their effectiveness over the course of the agreement.

Clearly, the question is: What do we get from this agreement in terms of what we originally sought? We lift sanctions, and -- at year eight -- Iran can actually start manufacturing and testing advanced IR-6 and IR-8 centrifuges that enrich up to 15 times the speed of its current models. At year 15, Iran can start enriching uranium beyond 3.67 percent – the level at which we become concerned about fissile material for a bomb. At year 15, Iran will have NO limits on its uranium stockpile.

This deal grants Iran permanent sanctions relief in exchange for only temporary – temporary -- limitations on its nuclear program – not a rolling-back, not dismantlement, but temporary limitations. At year ten, the UN Security Council Resolution will disappear along with the dispute resolution mechanism needed to snapback UN sanctions and the 24-day mandatory access provision for suspicious sites in Iran.

The deal enshrines for Iran, and in fact commits the international community to assisting Iran in developing an industrial-scale nuclear power program, complete with industrial scale enrichment. While I understand that this program will be subject to Iran's obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, I think it fails to appreciate Iran's history of deception in its nuclear program and its violations of the NPT.

....

Considering the fact that it was President Rouhani, who after conducting his fiscal audit after his election, likely convinced the Ayatollah that Iran’s regime could not sustain itself under the sanctions, and knew that only a negotiated agreement would get Iran the relief it critically needed to sustain the regime and the revolution, the negotiating leverage was, and still is, greatly on our side. However, the JCPOA in paragraph 26 of the Sanctions heading of the agreement, says:

‘The U.S. Administration, acting consistently with the respective roles of the President and the Congress, will refrain from re-introducing or reimposing sanctions specified in Annex II, that it has ceased applying under this JCPOA.

I repeat, we will have to refrain from reintroducing or reimposing the Iran Sanctions Act I authored --which expires next year -- that brought Iran to the table in the first place.

...

Whether or not the supporters of the agreement admit it, this deal is based on 'hope' -- hope that when the nuclear sunset clause expires Iran will have succumbed to the benefits of commerce and global integration. Hope that the hardliners will have lost their power and the revolution will end its hegemonic goals. And hope that the regime will allow the Iranian people to decide their fate.

Hope is part of human nature, but unfortunately it is not a national security strategy.

Of course, it's all probably just Failure Theater at this point. But I suppose we should make our voices heard, rather than bringing about doom through inaction.

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posted by Ace at 04:40 PM

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