Monday, December 02, 2013

Making Iranian Lemonade

The very idea that we would enter in to an agreement with the Iranian theocracy on anything short of exile for Mullahs not sent to The Hague for the ICC to deal, with has been such an anathema to me that I have held back from commentary on recent events until I had time to ponder a bit.

What is, is - so we have what we have. Reading around a bit, I found the best summary from JapanTimes;
The “Plan of Action” signed by Iran, the United States, Russia, Britain, France, Germany and the European Union ensures that it will not, at least for the next six months. All uranium enrichment above 5 percent is to be halted, and Iran’s entire stockpile of 20 percent enriched material — the potential feedstock for a “dash” to weapons-grade material — is to be diluted or converted to a form not suitable for further enrichment.

Iran is not to install any more centrifuges (the machines used to enrich material), and large numbers of the existing banks of centrifuges are to be left inoperable. Even Iran’s stockpile of 3.5 percent enriched uranium (for use in nuclear power reactors) is to remain the same between now and the end of the six-month period.

And there will be no further work done on the Arak reactor, which might give Iran plutonium, and thus a second route to a nuclear bomb.

Iran will also allow more intrusive inspections by International Atomic Energy Agency officials, including daily access to the key enrichment sites at Natanz and Fordow. All it gets in return is $7 billion worth of relief (about $100 per Iranian) on the sanctions that are crippling its economy.

All the main sanctions will stay in place until a final agreement has been signed — if it is — six months from now.
There is one thing the Iranian government does - besides soak in the blood of thousands of Americans they have killed in three and a half decades - it is lie.

They lie to their people, they lie to their neighbors, they lie to their friends, and they unquestionably lie to the infidel. No agreement is worth the paper it is written on. This isn't doing business in Finland - so where is the smart money?

Would we be where we are today if in the middle of the last decade Iran had agreed to halt their ... ummmmm .... wait. Let history be your guide. Did you hear that? I think we have 2005 on the line;
The World Trade Organization announced today that it would start talks to admit Iran as a member, a reward for Tehran's agreement to continue to freeze its nuclear activities.

The decision came after the United States, in a small but important conciliatory gesture, dropped its longstanding opposition to Iranian membership in the organization that governs global trade.

"It is a long-overdue decision but it is a positive decision," Mohammad Reza Alborzi, Iran's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, said in a telephone interview. "We have a Persian proverb, 'A fish is always fresh, even if it is caught when you go fishing late in the day.' "

In Washington, a State Department spokesman, Richard A. Boucher, said the timing of the American decision on Iran's W.T.O. membership talks was "not totally coincidental." He said the talks between the Europeans and the Iranians on Wednesday demonstrate "that efforts to achieve a peaceful, diplomatic solution on the Iran nuclear issue do continue."
But the United States decided to make good on its pledge to the Europeans on W.T.O. membership talks only after the Europeans reported a successful outcome of their nuclear talks with the Iranians in Geneva on Wednesday, a senior State Department official said today.
Under a preliminary accord reached with Iran in Paris last November, France, Germany and Britain promised Iran economic, political and security benefits in exchange for Iran's "objective guarantees" that its nuclear program is totally peaceful.
The Iranians are very good at playing this game.

Remember the Three Nation Talks from a decade+ ago? They seemed old in 2006 when,
Since 2002 Britain, France and Germany have led talks meant to assure that Tehran's nuclear program would not give it the capacity to build weapons. The three countries last week declared that Iran's decision to resume nuclear research had brought the talks to an end, and, with the United States in support, asked that the matter be sent to the United Nations Security Council for possible action.

The Bush administration has long favored sanctions, but had deferred action at the request of the European nations, who convinced Iran in 2003 to suspend its nuclear program. Mr. Bush last week said that he would pursue a vigorous diplomatic push to get as many countries as possible on board for possible United Nations action.
How did that work out?

Hillary? Care to comment?
"I believe that we lost critical time in dealing with Iran because the White House chose to downplay the threats and to outsource the negotiations," Ms. Clinton said, according to a transcript of the speech published by The Daily Princetonian. "I don't believe you face threats like Iran or North Korea by outsourcing it to others and standing on the sidelines.
Yep, that was from 2006 too. Now, what did Hillary do about it when she was SECSTATE? Yea.

No need to go in to "red-lines" and all - that too does nothing. Now, go back to that first quote from JapanTimes and read that again.
All the main sanctions will stay in place until a final agreement has been signed — if it is — six months from now.
That is how we make lemonade.

I think there are not good options here. Iran is a huge country - if we attacked it we would actually help the Iranian government as the young there who are pro-American will have to turn nationalists. If Israel attacks them - well - that would have such undesired 2nd and 3rd order effects I really don't even want to ponder that from the Hazara of Afghanistan to the government in Iraq. The Sunni Arabs will do nothing on their own - and we would be fools to do their dirty work for them.

When things get complicated and a bit wobbly, what is the best thing to do? Stop, think, and go back to fundamentals. Let's do that here.

If you are being run around in circles Diplomatically, your Information and Intelligence resembles the cloital efforts of simians and their favorite oblong sports objects, your Military options run the span from impossible to undoable, that leaves you with the last part of DIME - Economics.

That is the ticket. That has always been our best hand - and we have never leveraged it as we should. So ... what do we do?

We need to pass legislation - surely we can find bi-partisan majorities for this - in the next few months that outlines very clearly the economic sanctions that will take place in six months. Large, substantial and painful economic sanctions.

That will give us two possible results:
1. Iran decides to actually do what needs to be done and will avoid sanctions.
2. Iran will fail, again, and the sanctions will kick in. Their economy will continue to collapse, and then the Iranian people will decide that they actually are tired of their corrupt theocracy.

Then again - we could blink once more at the 6-month mark and Iran will laugh and keep marching forward. If history is your guide ... but I'm an optimist.

As a side note, President Obama could not only do his nation, but himself and his party some good by taking a very tough economic line on Iran. I'd support him, and I think the American people will too - they are tired of looking weak.


DamnJAG said...

as i recall, Iran has some pretty hefty oil reserves - maybe third or fourth largest proven oil reserves in the world.

I am skeptical of their stated desire for nuclear energy, since they could do much better, faster, cheaper, etc., with the oil they already possess.

Anonymous said...

Pot, meet the kettle. The 1953 coup kind of robs us of much moral authority in the region. The US may have forgotten, but I guarantee you the Persians haven't.