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February 23, 2015 11:10 am

A Dream Deal With Iran

avatar by Ben Cohen /

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The Arak IR-40 heavy water reactor in Iran. Photo: Nanking2012 / WikiCommons.

The Arak IR-40 heavy water reactor in Iran. Photo: Nanking2012 / WikiCommons. Love, as the song goes, is in the air. If the latest media reports are accurate, the United States and the Iranian regime are rapidly closing in on a deal over the mullahs’ nuclear ambitions.

Admittedly, the source of this nugget of hope was Joseph Cirincione—a former Capitol Hill operative who now serves as the president of the Ploughshares Fund, a liberal foreign policy think tank, having gotten there via the Center for American Progress, another think tank that serves as a reliable echo chamber for the Obama administration’s edicts, both foreign and domestic. Moreover, Cirincione was speaking to Laura Rozen of the Mideast-focused website Al-Monitor; Rozen’s writings on the Iran negotiations, remember, have positively fizzed with enthusiasm for Obama’s outreach to the Tehran regime. (A decent reporter would have pointed out that the concessions Obama is making fly in the face of successive U.N. Security Council resolutions demanding a halt to Iran’s uranium enrichment activities, and might have even dropped in a line or two about the regime’s abysmal human rights record. But that’s for another time.)

The point is, there’s some reason to take all this glowing optimism with a pinch of salt, given where it’s coming from. Still, it’s worth paying attention to what Cirincione had to say.

“If we get a deal that is close to the terms the administration has set out, and I believe we will, it is going to be a very good deal,” Cirincione told Rozen. “One that will surprise and please even many of the critics.”

That’s going to be one hell of a deal! I’m a critic, and I’m looking forward to being surprised and pleased.

Of course, the thing about a surprise is that you don’t want to ruin it by telling the gift recipient what it is that they’re about to unwrap. So here’s my guess at the outcome that will make us believe that Christmas (or Hanukkah) has come early.

Number one: Iran will sign an international agreement confirming its intent not to develop nuclear weapons. Iran will submit to a permanent International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) monitoring regime. Not a single centrifuge will spin without IAEA inspectors knowing about it. The IAEA can enter Iranian nuclear facilities at will, without having to make prior arrangements, and will immediately share intelligence and information with Iran’s neighbors and with U.N. Security Council. Any Iranian nuclear official engaged in suspect activity will be fired on the spot. In essence, Iran’s civilian nuclear program—if it must have one—will be under international trusteeship, and no enrichment activities that could result in weaponization will be permitted.

Number two: From the beginning, Iran’s nuclear program has involved concealed facilities, like the Fordow plant, which we’ve discovered despite the regime, not because of it. Henceforth, there will be no more concealed facilities. Iran will be compelled to reveal any clandestine activity. If they refuse, then we immediately hit the regime with biting sanctions.

Number three: Iran will announce an end to its support for rogue regimes and terrorist organizations. That means no more backing for the vicious regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. It means no more money, weapons, or political support for Hamas. It means disbanding Hezbollah, which has been able to expand its operations from Lebanon to Syria because it is owned by the Iranians. It means surrendering the suspects in the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires, in which 85 people were murdered, for trial. And if there is an Iranian connection to the recent death, in suspicious circumstances, of Argentine Special Prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who spent more than a decade investigating the AMIA atrocity, then that also needs to be judged in a court of law.

Number four: Iran will recognize the right of Israel, the Jewish state, to exist in peace and security. It will pay reparations to the families of those Israelis who’ve lost loved ones as a result of Iranian-backed terror. It will apologize for having turned Holocaust denial into a state doctrine. And it will consign that doctrine to the trash can of history, where it belongs.

Number five: Iran will announce—within a year—free, internationally observed, multi-party elections. As part of its preparation for that election, it will release all political prisoners, many of whom are held in the hell on earth that is Tehran’s Evin Prison. It will permit freedom of speech in the media, it will lift any bans in place on social media platforms like Twitter and YouTube, and it will close down its repugnant English-language mouthpiece, Press TV. Finally, it will permit freedom of worship, curbing its persecution of Christians and Jews, and ending its apartheid policies towards the Bahai minority.

Nothing in the above list is inconsistent with the principles of the U.N. Charter, which is based on the twin importance of individual freedom and responsible, prudent, diplomatic state behavior. Hence, if the deal we are supposedly about to get conforms to those principles, then hallelujah.

Somehow, though, I’ve got a feeling that once we excitedly unwrap that gift box, we’ll find that it’s empty.

Ben Cohen is the Shillman Analyst for His writings on Jewish affairs and Middle Eastern politics have been published in Commentary, the New York Post, Ha’aretz, Jewish Ideas Daily and many other publications.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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  • RobiMac

    Obama’s all for this deal as he would just love to see Iran destroy the ‘little satan.’ What he fails to acknowledge is that Iran considers America to be the ‘great satan.’ So, from where I’m sitting, it looks like he wants to see America destroyed as well.

  • Was Israel advised of this deal before it was entered into? If not, why not, since Israel is the most threatened state?

  • Barry

    deja vu?
    Another “obamacare” package – won’t know what’s in it till it’s opened.
    Yes, seems Herr Gruber was correct -Americans, a lot of them, are stupid enough to play this game again.

  • Howie Subnick

    Do we watch for the mushroom cloud to see who is telling the truth?!

  • manley kiefer

    It may be dangerous for both Iran and Israel. If they hear these conditions, they’ll die laughing.

  • if united stats can deal with iran why is it not having a pact with north korea? Atleast the misery of the common people will be over

  • Julian Clovelley

    Often a critic of articles such as these appearing in Algemeiner I find this an excellent one, because it – albeit with tongue in cheek – lays out the real difficulties of reaching an agreement that would be acceptable to leaders such as Netanyahu ,and less extreme Zionists, (the extremists being off with the fairies!)

    Ben Cohen is right, in my opinion – it won’t happen. This article cleverly illustrates why. But what needs to be discussed is an agreement that will work.

    Is it obtainable? – I am not sure it is, certainly not with the present stance adopted by the Israeli government, or with the desires of Zionism. That is the crux of the matter. For a successful negotiation to take place and for the agreement to hold, the goal posts have to be shifted on the Israeli side,

    That to my mind requires an end to the Settlement and Occupation of the West Bank, the founding under UN guidance of a viable Palestinian state that includes Gaza, and the abandoning of any dream of a Greater Israel based on the mythical Divine Donation in antiquity of the area once known as the Palestinian Mandate, to the Jews. It never happened. It never will. Religious belief is not the same as history.

    Israel needs to negotiate from a modern perspective and worldview. It needs to reconcile itself to the UN that gave it birth in the process that began with the British Balfour Declaration of 1917, developed through the 1922 League Mandate, and was completed with the 1947 Partition Resolution – There is nothing else. There never was.

    I would argue that Netanyahu’s posturing in a speech before Congress is really aimed at achieving re-election in Israel and at maintaining Zionist support overseas. But it is a posturing that endangers Jewish communities with its sheer belligerence. This is the stance that is creating opposition which is being utilised by Antisemites. Take away the stance and take away the fuel

    America is highly unlikely to consider a military action. It would be impractical anyway, Americans are not going to step along a path leading to conscription and potential nuclear confrontation with Iranian sympathisers – There already is an Islamic bomb in Pakistan and Russia would likely not just sit back, in its present mood. An already divided America – and I fear it would be far worse divided under a Republican War Administration – would be even more internally volatile than in the days of the Anti Vietnam War movement.

    Sometimes what is most needed immediately its a total change of direction and a total change in personnel. I fear Bibi’s days in politics may well be better over. It is time to retire as a statesman rather than be defeated as a politician. New leaders with a different view may succeed where he has failed

  • Yale

    Dream on.

    The big surprise will probably be a deal that exists only as long as Obama is in the White House and frees Iran to build nuclear weapons as of Jan 21, 2017.

  • can OBAMA make a deal with IRAN without approval of congress ??whats wrong with extra restrict notice now if they do not make a fair deal why keep extending final dates and giving them extra time 2 hide information which U.N. REPORT was just received and why doesn”t hearing from a different perspective from the ISRAELI P.M. cause so much negative reaction ?? the true facts r the importent needed no matter where the true comes from .DOES the american negotiating team understand the CULTURAL DIFFERENCES that IRAN brings 2 the the table its not Western ideas .

  • Sammy Eppel

    No way the Ayatollah’s will sign such a deal.If they do is to gain time and one day OH Surprise, it’s too late. They still call the US the great satan!!