We shouldn???t have made any nuclear deal with Iran – and the best reasons why are the past and similar deals that both the Clinton and Bush Administrations made with North Korea. Remember those? And, guess what? North Korea has a bunch of nukes and neither of the deals they made with us had any effect on their covert program to build them. In fact, it made it easier: The agreements allowed them to operate under the political cover of their bogus ???promises??? not to.
Such is the same fundamental defect with the multilateral ???NPT??? or ???Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty??? which several nations have signed over the years as diplomatic cover for their covert nuclear weapons program: Iran – for example ??? has had a covert program for the last 30 years!
Here are the ???scary parts??? of such agreements:
It???s virtually impossible to separate a ???peaceful??? nuclear energy program from one intended to produce material to make nuclear weapons. This is because perhaps 95 percent of the ???nuclear fuel cycle??? pertains to both programs, and so most of the ???dirty work???, i.e., the secret weapon building part, happens at the very end of a so-called ???peaceful nuclear program???.
Arms control agreements are typically written – and signed – in at least two ???equally authentic languages.??? This often means that there are two substantially different agreements ??? each of them ???authentic.??? The Soviets, for example, were expert at this, as they used KGB/GRU officers as ???translators??? ??? while on our side, we typically used contract translators who were not expert in the technical terms and descriptions critical to the agreement. The now terminated (by George W. Bush) ABM Treaty was a prime example of this; especially in it???s technical descriptions of permitted/prohibited ABM testing.
???Side agreements??? and ???secret protocols??? are another favorite technique of arms control negotiators and diplomats to reach ???agreement??? on the most contentious issues. What this means is that they ???agree to disagree??? or that certain words or phrases in the agreement actually mean something else. This is because diplomats seek and value the fact of an ???agreement??? ??? most any agreement – above all else. For diplomats ??? it???s simply ???what they do??? – and the actual meaning of it is often beside the point.
The role of the IAEA, or ???International Atomic Energy Agency??? is crucial to the Iran agreement (or ???agreements???) insofar they will have critical role in the so-called ???inspection regime???. Yet, we are told that these agreements with the IAEA are ???secret??? ??? which suggests that they are either not adequate to get the ???accesses??? necessary for verification, and/or that they will allow the Iranians enough time and space to cover their tracks for their covert programs. Add the fact that the IAEA is an international organization and replete with leaks and agents of various countries, and we have absolutely no assurance that they will/can effectively monitor the new regime ??? even if they wanted to.
Actually making nuclear weapons is now ??? and has been for many years ??? in the ???not hard??? category as far as the technical skills and capabilities to build and assemble them. The ???hard part??? has typically been the manufacture of the nuclear material itself, and this is why Iran has many thousands of centrifuges, so they can ???cascade??? them to make the material they need to build nuclear weapons. As an engineer at Oak Ridge once told me, the cascade process is much like ???distilling.???
The ???hard part??? for the Iranians will be testing the nuclear weapons they build ??? or perhaps buy. If they test it in in their desert, we will likely know about it, however an underground test might not be as detectable ??? or could perhaps be explained with a cover story. The most likely scenario would be for the Iranians to have ??? say ??? the North Koreans test the weapon for them – in exchange for using the Iranians as a conduit to evade the various North Korean sanction regimes.
My many years of arms control experience tells me that the Iranians already have the material they need for nuclear weapons – and they also may have already built a few. Hence, the agreement with them is largely ???OBE??? as they say in Washington, and will serve primarily to give them the political/diplomatic cover they need to complete the ???weaponization??? stages of their 30-year nuke program.
Also, the ???inspection regime??? in the agreement will/can not be anywhere near adequate to verify the agreement, primarily because there will be absolutely no access to the Iranian ???weapons labs??? (because they don???t have any, remember?) and other related facilities. Those facilities will remain secret, off limits and simply not affected by the agreement.
In short, the Iran agreement seems nothing more than a political vehicle for the Obama Administration to say that they have ???solved??? the Iranian nuclear issue. And, sensing our need for this political ???wink??? on the deal, the Iranians have gone along with it.
So, should Congress ???buy??? the deal? No way ??? it will make absolutely no difference in Iran???s nuclear weapons program because they likely have built them already. It is this unpleasant realty that should be the focus of our Iran policy.