U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Photo: U.S. Senate Photo.
The basis of any democracy is trust between the people and their representatives. When that trust is violated not only are the violators seen as lacking legitimacy but so too are the very institutions they represent.
Like many concerned Americans, I wrote to my elected representative about the Iran nuclear framework. My representative is California Senator Dianne Feinstein, who sits on the powerful Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
If anyone should be both concerned about and knowledgeable of the potential Iranian nuclear deal, it should be someone who sits on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, unless of course allegiance to the administration transcends allegiance to the nation.
Senator Feinstein’s email response begins with the usual bromide about the U.S. being the leader (no leading from behind here) in the negotiations and how the Iranian nuclear program has been frozen in place. Ironically, the email arrived after the New York Times
revealed that over the period of negotiation Iran’s supply of enriched uranium had grown by more than twenty percent.
Feinstein despite her access to the intelligence community and the New York Times was either ignorant of this piece of public information or thinks her constituents are all lemmings who are more willing to walk off the ideological precipice than deal with reality.
Counter to the administration’s palliative assurance of a frozen nuclear program, the numbers published by the International Atomic Energy Agency—no member of the vast rightwing conspiracy—show that Iran not only failed to convert its existing stockpile into reactor rods, it has also continued to enrich uranium aggressively.
The ever-sycophantic New York Times suggested that, perhaps, we need not worry about this since it might be simply a bargaining chip for the Iranians. And the ever-bumbling state department spokesperson, Marie Harf
, told us not to worry because Iran still has until the end of June to meet the goal of reducing its supply of enriched uranium. If this is possible, the laws of physics no longer apply, at least not in Iran.
Feinstein also assures me that the IAEA has access to all
(emphasis mine) of Iran’s nuclear facilities. The problem with that assertion is its contradiction by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
, who has the final word for his country on the negotiations.
In case Feinstein thinks there is some ambiguity about Iran’s position, here is the supreme leader in his own words, “The impudent and brazen enemy expects that we allow them talk [sic] to our scientists and researchers about a fundamental local achievement, but no such permission will be allowed. No inspection of any military site or interview with nuclear scientists will be allowed.”
The military site in question is the one looming out of the desert at Fordow.
The surreptitious site that was discovered by American intelligence is a critical part of Iran’s uranium enrichment program.
Under the proposed agreement, Fordow would be permitted to keep 1,000 centrifuges running, and the type is unspecified, meaning the Iranians could use high yield centrifuges that would reduce the breakout time
for a nuclear weapon to three months, hardly long enough for any decision on a military strike. Feinstein assures me that there is strict limitation on activity at Fordow. If 1000 high yield centrifuges comprise a strict limitation, I hesitate to discover with a lenient one is.
Feinstein reassures me that if Iran breaks the rules, sanctions can be re-imposed, but we are all aware that with Europe in an economic crisis and major oil companies chomping at the bit to do business with Iran, there is no way the sanctions genie can be put back into the bottle.
Like the ungainly Ms. Harf,
Feinstein represents the administration’s deceptive shilling for Iran. In the age of the Internet, elected representatives no longer have a monopoly on the nuanced information related to negotiated agreements.
Responses like Feinstein’s only increase the credibility gap between her and her constituents. They do not reinforce the vital structures that legitimize our democracy.
Abraham H. Miller is an emeritus professor of political science, University of Cincinnati, and a senior fellow with the Salomon Center for American Jewish Thought. Follow @salomoncenter. This article was originally published by The Jewish Journal.