UPDATED: Iran’s nuclear deal to give much of its low-grade enriched uranium (3.5% purity) to Turkey in return for the delivery of smaller batch of higher-grade (20%) uranium within one year in order to avoid U.N. economic sanctions is ridiculous on its face. The deal would allow Iran to continue enriching uranium to weapons-grade levels while the world does nothing. It would allow Iran to cancel the agreement at any time. It would do nothing to stop Iran from building new nuclear facilities, expand existing facilities, or actually building nuclear bombs. International support for the deal would actually raise the chances of a war between Iran and Israel. Why? Because Israeli leaders could very well conclude that the world had now completely abandoned any meaningful efforts to stop Iran from getting the Bomb before it’s too late.
As a Wall Street Journal editorial noted Tuesday morning: “The deal will, however, make it nearly impossible to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program short of military action. The U.N. is certainly a dead end. After 16 months of his extended hand and after downplaying support for Iran’s democratic opposition, Mr. Obama now faces an Iran much closer to a bomb and less diplomatically isolated than when President Bush left office. Israel will have to seriously consider its military options. Such a confrontation is far more likely thanks to the diplomatic double-cross of Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Brazil’s Lula, and especially to a U.S. President whose diplomacy has succeeded mainly in persuading the world’s rogues that he lacks the determination to stop their destructive ambitions.”
- New York Times: U.S. Is Skeptical on Iranian Deal for Nuclear Fuel
- AP: Britain, Germany skeptical of Iran deal
- Jerusalem Post: Netanyahu meets with senior Israeli leaders to discuss response to Iran’s nuclear deal, brokered by Turkey and Brazil
- Washington Post: Iran creates illusion of progress in nuclear negotiations — In the long-running diplomatic battle between Iran and the West, Iran appears to have scored a victory on Monday. By striking a deal to ship some of its low-enriched uranium abroad, Iran has created the illusion of progress in nuclear negotiations with the West, without offering any real compromise to the United States and its allies, who have demanded substantive negotiations on Tehran’s broader program….The Obama administration now faces the uncomfortable prospect of rejecting a proposal it offered in the first place — or seeing months of effort to enact new sanctions derailed.”
- Wall Street Journal: Iran’s Nuclear Coup; Ahmadinejad and Lula expose Obama’s hapless diplomacy — “What a fiasco. That’s the first word that comes to mind watching Mahmoud Ahmadinejad raise his arms yesterday with the leaders of Turkey and Brazil to celebrate a new atomic pact that instantly made irrelevant 16 months of President Obama’s ‘diplomacy.’ The deal is a political coup for Tehran and possibly delivers the coup de grace to the West’s half-hearted efforts to stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear bomb. Full credit for this debacle goes to the Obama Administration and its hapless diplomatic strategy. Last October, nine months into its engagement with Tehran, the White House concocted a plan to transfer some of Iran’s uranium stock abroad for enrichment. If the West couldn’t stop Iran’s program, the thinking was that maybe this scheme would delay it. The Iranians played coy, then refused to accept the offer. But Mr. Obama doesn’t take no for an answer from rogue regimes, and so he kept the offer on the table. As the U.S. finally seemed ready to go to the U.N. Security Council for more sanctions, the Iranians chose yesterday to accept the deal on their own limited terms while enlisting the Brazilians and Turks as enablers and political shields.”
- Some of the terms of the deal: “Under the terms unveiled yesterday, Iran said it would send 1,200 kilograms (2,646 lbs.) of low-enriched uranium to Turkey within a month, and no more than a year later get back 120 kilograms enriched from somewhere else abroad. This makes even less sense than the flawed October deal. In the intervening seven months, Iran has kicked its enrichment activities into higher gear. Its estimated total stock has gone to 2,300 kilograms from 1,500 kilograms last autumn, and its stated enrichment goal has gone to 20% from 3.5%. If the West accepts this deal, Iran would be allowed to keep enriching uranium in contravention of previous U.N. resolutions. Removing 1,200 kilograms will leave Iran with still enough low-enriched stock to make a bomb, and once uranium is enriched up to 20% it is technically easier to get to bomb-capable enrichment levels.” (WSJ)