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The Iran Nuclear Deal – and the Lessons of Munich
Reflections on the price of appeasing evil.
By Joseph Puder
The Biden administration, along with our western allies Britain, France, and Germany, are handling the Iran nuclear deal in an appeasement mode that reminds me a bit of Britain’s Neville Chamberlains dealings with Hitler’s Nazi Germany. Eager to have a deal, Chamberlain sold out to Czechoslovakia, and ultimately the free world in his 1938 Munich deal. Let us hope that the Biden administration is not seeking a paper deal rather than a genuine lasting and effective nuclear deal that would protect America and its allies.
Frankly, whatever paper agreement would be signed eventually in Vienna or elsewhere, it will not stand. The Iranians have proven time and again that they will cheat, and deceive the western powers, who are more than willing to be deceived for the sake of “non-escalation” politics with Iran. In the end, the US and its western allies might end up selling out the security of its allies, particularly Israel and Saudi Arabia in a Czechoslovakia-like deal.
Iran has already escalated matters by upgrading the centrifuges far beyond the level allowed by the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). They are developing ballistic missiles that are aimed at reaching Europe and ultimately the US. They already possess missiles that might be able to hit Israel and Saudi Arabia. Frankly, they have positioned a huge arsenal of rockets in Lebanon, at the disposal of Hezbollah, to be used by the Hezbollah terrorist group when Tehran gives the green light. Similarly, the Ayatollahs have provided the Yemeni (Shiite) Houtis with enough missiles to paralyze the Saudi oil production and more…
The terror and instability Iran is causing in the region is not an issue the cowed western representatives in Vienna much care to bring up. They want to get along with the radical Iranian regime, and are fearful that the Iranians might bolt and walk away. The Iranians, sensing the weakness of the western representatives, and their eagerness to reach a deal at all costs, have hardened their bargaining position. They know that it is the US, and its western allies who will ultimately give in.
The Biden administration already handed down a victory to Iran’s Ayatollahs in the form of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. The US administrations admission to its total exhaustion with wars in the Middle East, and its intent to leave the region altogether will grant Iran the ultimate prize: expelling the US from the region. In fact, that is the dream of every jihadist and the Iranian mullahs in particular.
The New York Times reported (September 12, 2021) that, “In the last minute deal before Iran was likely to be censured for violating its agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the new government in Tehran agreed to let the organization (IAEA) reset monitoring devices that help measure the progress of the country’s nuclear program.” The deal between the IAEA director general, Rafael Grossi, and Iran’s chief of the Atomic Energy organization, Mohammad Eslami, is that the content of the storage cards kept under seal, will be released to the IAEA only when and if Iran and the US agree on the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal or the JCPOA.
In the Vienna talks there are no face-to-face dealings between the Iranians and the US delegates. European’s shuttle between the Iranian and US negotiators led by special envoy Robert Malley, who sits in a separate Vienna location. The negotiations have been suspended since June. Iran has refused to provide explanations for the presence of traces of radioactive material at several Iranian sites, or the whereabouts of the materials now. The US and its western allies have threatened to censure Iran for noncompliance. The new hard-line Iranian government led by the President Ebrahim Raisi, (also known as the hangman of thousands of Iranians) responded with a counter-threat to abandon the nuclear talks in Vienna altogether if the censure resolution passed. Clearly, the US and the European allies have backed down.
In April, 2021, Iran further escalated its violation of the terms of the JCPOA agreement, by announcing that it began enriching uranium to 60 percent, far beyond the original limit of 3.67 percent allowed under the JCPOA, and closer to the level required to fuel a nuclear bomb. The excuse the Iranians gave for the interruption of the nuclear talks was an alleged Israeli attack on its Natanz nuclear facility.
The July, 2015 nuclear deal restricted the amount of nuclear fuel Iran can keep, and sought to reduce the stockpile of low enriched uranium by 98%. In addition, the agreement called for a two-third reduction of Iran’s centrifuges. All of these measures were supposed to extend Iran’s breakout time to one year, for a single atomic bomb. It seems however, that former President Obama himself, in an interview with National Public Radio (April, 2015), admitted that in the years 13, 14, and 15 of the agreement, the breakout time might shrink “to almost zero.”
Former President Donald J. Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018, because Iran prohibited IAEA inspectors from accessing any military sites within Iran. The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) controls all of Iran’s military sites and over 75% of its economy. The IRGC has been designated by the US as a terrorist organization. The IRGC moreover, had been secretly working on nuclear weapons technology for decades, and have continued to do so even after the JCPOA was signed.
The Iranian theocratic regime continues to construct and test ballistic missiles in open defiance of the JCPOA agreement and of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231. The Iranians had engaged in it before the ink was dry on the 2015 nuclear deal. The Iranian mullahs have also been smuggling in key parts for ballistic missile construction projects, and for the development of nuclear weapons. Iran is seeking to have missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
Reuters reported (June 11, 2020) that, “Cruise missiles used in several attacks on oil facilities and an international airport in Saudi Arabia the previous year, were of Iranian origin,” UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres told the Security Council. This was in clear contravention of the 2015 Security Council Resolution 2231.
The Europeans are adept at appeasement, and avoidance of facing reality. They have been appeasing Iran all along and in particular, following President Trump’s withdrawal from the JCPOA. The British, French, and Germans sought to develop a mechanism to facilitate Iranian marketing of its oil, and trade in general. It was done to counter the US “Maximum Pressure” on Iran. Let us hope that President Biden does not get trapped in the pitfall of appeasement. History has shown us the price of appeasing evil.