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September 3, 2015 7:11 am

7 Reasons Why the Iran Deal Takes ‘All Options’ Off the Table

avatar by Morton A. Klein and Daniel Mandel

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Nuclear negotiatons in Lausanne in March, leading up to the nuclear deal. From left to right: Ernest Moniz, John Kerry, Mohammad Javad Zarif, and Ali Akbar Salehi. Photo: Wikipedia.

Nuclear negotiatons in Lausanne in March, leading up to the nuclear deal. From left to right: Ernest Moniz, John Kerry, Mohammad Javad Zarif, and Ali Akbar Salehi. Photo: Wikipedia.

Defending the Iran nuclear deal he negotiated in Vienna, Secretary of State John Kerry has repeatedly asserted something that has been much ignored in the discussion surrounding it –– that all options which the U.S. possesses today to stop Iran going nuclear will be there for a future U.S. president in 10 years. Similarly, President Barack Obama breezily assures us, “The same options that are available to me today will be available to any U.S. president in the future.”

Were it only true.

The major options available to the president in the face of an Iranian nuclear threat are covert (sabotage, cyber-warfare) and military (precision air strikes with bunker-busting bombs). President Obama has these at his disposal today. But his successor is unlikely to have them in 10 years.

Why? For seven reasons.

First, amazingly, the Vienna nuclear agreement requires the Europeans to assist Iran with training and technology in protecting its nuclear sites and program against sabotage. It is no coincidence that, in 2013, when President Obama deviated from his earlier insistence on Tehran ceasing uranium enrichment in favor of negotiating a deal permitting continued enrichment, the CIA and NSA “drastically curtailed its cooperation with Israel.” This cooperation, aimed at disrupting the Iranian nuclear project, had enjoyed “significant successes over the past decade,” according to veteran military and intelligence analyst Ronen Bergman. 

The nuclear deal thus renders future sabotage and cyber-warfare against Iran –– such as the Stuxnet virus, which wrecked a fifth of Iran’s centrifuges in 2010 –– more difficult; perhaps, in time, even impossible.

Second, President Obama has himself admitted the possibility that, at the deal’s expiration, “the breakout times would have shrunk almost down to zero.” (So much for his current claim that “Iran [would be] further away from a weapon” in 10-15 years). This means there mightn’t be time to act even militarily, since Iran may well already have one or more nuclear weapons.

Third, Tehran will have had the time to reinforce existing underground facilities and build new, deeper ones that might be impervious to air strikes. This means that the 30,000-pound Massive Ordnance Penetrator, the bunker-busting bombs which can penetrate Iran’s underground nuclear facility at Fordow, mightn’t be enough to do the job. 

Fourth, Russia is already set to sell Iran its upgraded S-300 anti-aircraft system. The S-300 system is believed to have the capacity to knock-out the latest American aircraft. The best weapon in the world is useless if the planes carrying it can’t get through.

Fifth, the nuclear deal permits Tehran continued research, development and production of its own missiles, including Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), the means of delivery for nuclear weapons. This particularly should have been rejected by the White House: Iran already has the missiles to strike Israel, but ICBMs will enable Iran to hit the United States, not now, but certainly in 10 years.

Sixth, the nuclear agreement will award Iran $150 billion in unfrozen assets and tens of billions annually in sanctions relief, enabling it to develop faster its military capabilities and lavishly fund its terror proxies around the globe. This means tens of thousands of new missiles for Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza and for the Shia Houthis taking over Yemen and threatening commerce through the Suez Canal. The existing Iranian potential to retaliate against and harm American allies in the Middle East will be vastly magnified in ten years, making any U.S. strike on Iran more complicated.

Seventh, this agreement terminates international sanctions and, if the Congress approves it or fails to override a presidential veto, U.S. sanctions will also be ended. Failing internationally-recognized Iranian violations, the U.S. will not be able to reimpose sanctions in the face of the now-UN Security Council-approved nuclear deal that lifts them. And even if sanctions are reimposed, it will take years for these to have any real impact on Iran.

In other words, today, America has the ordnance, the capability and the time to destroy Iranian nuclear facilities without fear of anti-ballistic missiles or nuclear retaliation. It is likely to lack all of these advantages in 10 years. 

So much President Obama’s “same options” being “available to any U.S. president in the future.”  So much for Secretary Kerry’s claim that U.S. options remain the same for ten years.

President Obama and Secretary Kerry’s flat-earth, rosy assertions about America’s future capacity to deal with an Iran headed for nuclear weapons warrant the Congress to oppose this deal. A future president could well use the moral, political and legal authority of Congressional rejection –– as well as the consequent impediments this will create for other countries lifting their sanctions –– to have a stronger hand in dealing with the nightmare President Obama is bequeathing us.

Morton A. Klein is National President of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA). Dr. Daniel Mandel is Director of the ZOA’ s Center for Middle East Policy and author of H.V. Evatt & the Creation of Israel (Routledge, London, 2004).

This article was originally published by The Washington Times. 


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  • Yale

    Stop worrying about ten years from now. After Iran gets the money, it will announce/demonstrate that it already has nuclear weapons by conducting a test, perhaps in the form of an EMP attack on the US.

    The deaths of 90% of the American people will Obama’s legacy, domestic as well as international.

  • Jack

    Face it, all seven reasons are in effect, except the unfreezing of assets, which will not go that far in Iran..
    The horse left the barn years ago on this issue.
    It seems the author feels war is inevitable.
    If so, why not call for war now, unequivocally.
    Ultimately if war is the outcome it will be no different than a six gun duel in the ol’ west.
    Fast, short, painful, and rarely with a satisfying result.
    At least the POTUS is trying.
    And if war, then war.
    You should at least be direct enough to admit it is what you are calling for.

  • Reform School

    Your grandparents saw Pinocchio’s nose grow when he lied. John Kerry’s mushrooming bluster over selling our security to the Persian Empire suggests mullahdollars will back his own 2016 Presidential Campaign, should he and Obama be unable to commit Terry Kerry. We should be so lucky!

  • If Iran is not going to be dealt with now, Iran will deal with America later and OBAMA will be the one that signed on the dotted line, by forcing the deal to go through.

  • Lauren Goldman

    Okay, one last time; obama is no friend of Jews or Israel, and now that he does not have to worry about being re-elected, his true feelings are coming into glaring clarity. Other than for political expediency, he would not have anything to do with us. Last summer’s war should have taken the blinders off of everyone.

    After years of continual rocket bombardment, Israel finally took measures to destroy Hamas’s terror structure. Did big o call out hamas for all of the years of attacks? No. He told Israel to ‘use restraint’ in its response to the rockets. Any censure of using human shields? No. Terror tunnels under Israeli communities? No. Instead he parroted back every lie put out by the ‘palestinians.’ Fact check? Why would he do that when those bad Jews are brutalizing the innocent civilians?

    What he did do was stop all shipment of arms to Israel in the middle of the fighting, to ‘review the purchase and delivery process.’ First of all, you do not pull this on a supposed ally the middle of a hot war. Second, these armaments were contracted and paid for, so his reason was pathetic at best. As far as ‘giving’ Israel millions of dollars for Iron Dome, at least seventy-five percent of the money goes right back to America, to pay for the production of the weapons system by American workers.

    Now we have the nuclear agreement; code for giving iran the bomb. There was no negotiation; we threw out the demands and gave them everything they wanted. The iranians said that, in exactly those words, within an hour of signing. The ink wasn’t dry and iran was already dictating which parts of it would be followed. Barry will be gone and we will be paying the price.

  • steven L

    By the same token Israel is at the mercy of the President.

  • steven L

    So if I understand, the President has “castrated” his country!!!